Beer and food matching underrated, says ARIA sommelier
Matt Moran’s Chiswick Restaurant in Sydney is the latest upmarket establishment to embrace beer dinners, as the resurgence of beer at the dinner table continues.
Chiswick and ARIA Restaurant Group have for some time now boasted some of the most interesting beer lists in the fine dining sphere, and head sommelier Matt Dunne told Australian Brews News that beer dinners were a logical extension.
“Craft beer is huge in Sydney. We are all about supporting the locals and think our clientele at Chiswick want to see variety and unique events,” he said.
“Beer matching with food is underrated. There are so many styles and options to work with, some of which are unconventional and intriguing.
“Like wine, we look at aroma, texture and flavours, the cooking method is important too. A lot of the best matches have been yin and yang, where opposite flavours enhance the overall enjoyment of the match,” said Dunne.
The latest sellout dinner at Chiswick was a Grains vs Grapes affair, pitting Sydney’s Endeavour Vintage Beer Co against Eden Road Wines of Canberra.
Endeavour founder Ben Kooyman told Australian Brews News that his brand has done many beer dinners before, but most of them have been at craft beer-focused pubs.
“Chiswick supports craft beer quite well and they always have, but I think they’re seen as more of a premium, mainstream venue than a crafty venue,” he said.
Kooyman said it was a new experience to see Endeavour beers matched with elegant, fancy dishes such as the entree of beetroot, burnt orange and goat curd, paired with Endeavour Bright Ale.
“It was our job to ensure beer held its own in that environment. Hopefully we managed to do that with a few people that wouldn’t normally consider beer keeping company with that cuisine,” he said.
For the record, the Grapes vs Grains dinner was voted a draw. Most rounds were fairly evenly matched, though Endeavour Golden Ale was convincingly beaten by Eden Road’s 2012 The Long Road Shiraz as a pairing for Chiswick’s flagship dish, the wood-roasted Moran family lamb.