Bacchus For Good

11 11 2009

Firstly let me apologise for the delay in getting this post done but I’m afraid work has been making too many demands of me this week.  Still, it pays the bills and allows me to head out on jaunts like this along with the Good Lady Wife (GLW) and, so far unseen, co-writer (HH).  Of course I could just point you in the direction of Liz’s excellent post but as I’d made some notes, well…

With military precision plans were made to drop of my #beerswap parcel at a local newsagent’s, get into town early and pick up a couple of pre-ordered Christmas pressies and meet up with HH in Waterstones.  Of course, the military themselves scuttled these plans by marching the army (OK just some of it) in parade between ourselves and HH, effectively cordoning off Waterstones in the process.  Still beer was the order of the day so despite their best efforts rendezvous was made and we strolled along to the Bacchus.

Arriving a polite 15 minutes early we discovered the doors closed so edged up the lane 10 yards or so to stand on the street corner and not look like three desperate types gasping for the pub to open.  Within a few minutes a couple of other groups furtively edged towards the doors and catching the hint of a Yorkshire accent on the wind I realised that Pete from The Brew Company had arrived so over we popped to introduce ourselves as fellow twitter correspondents.

I have to admit to having a coffee as my first drink of the day.  Given all the beers we were due to be drinking and the fact that the GLW would only be having a few mouthfuls of each before decanting into my glass (and HH’s) I figured this to be prudent.  HH of course went ahead and had a half of the Abyss “to warm up”.  Seating was secured on the raised rear level where a collection of familiar faces were congregating and now all we had to do was wait for the menus to arrive.  It was at this point I suddenly thought about the food for the first time since the event was mooted, which I guess goes to show where my priorities lay.

Starting proceedings Pete stood up and gave us all a low down on the Brewery and what we should expect from the days event.  I prepared all my essential gear, phone for tweeting the courses as they happened, camera to take the pictures you see here and a notebook and pen for the taking of tasting notes before bracing myself for what was about to come.  And then came the beer and food…

Course 1: Abyss Best Bitter 4.2% – Duck Liver Parfait with Brioche Toast


Looking like a traditional, mid brown Best Bitter the Abyss gave off lovely toasted caramel aromas in the glass.  The sweetness of the caramel was present upon tasting too with a lovely balanced bitterness finishing things off.  This proved to be a great match for the course, the sweetness matching that of the onion marmalade and the bitterness cutting through the richness of the parfait.  What a start!

Course2: Slaker Pale Ale 3.8% – Radiccho with Thai Crab Salad


What a revelation this was.  I would normally avoid something this colour like the plague but what a wonderful beer this is.  With surprisingly more body than I was expecting this was an easy drinking, smooth, fruity beer with just a slight hint of bitterness at the back of the throat.  The bitterness became a bit more prominent when drank with the food but was never overpowering.  I could quite happily drink pint after pint of this stuff on a warm summer’s day/evening and even the odd one during colder months as a pleasant change of pace.

Course 3: Hop Manefesto 4.8% – Mexicana Cheese Tart


Blimey, you want hops? Well here you have them and more so.  My first taste of this was like sucking on a juicy grapefruit and all a bit overpowering for me.  However when tasted in conjunction with the tart things settled down somewhat and it did become drinkable.  Hats off to the tart here which, with its rich, cheesy pastry and dense, flavoursome filling, saved this course.  This is not something I would choose to drink again, reminding me too much of the OTT BrewDog beers that I just don’t get either.

Course 4: St Petrus Stout 5% – Fresh Oysters, Lemon Juice & Coriander


You can’t get much more classic than this, now can you?  Smooth, full bodied milk chocolate giving way to a hint of liquorice bitterness towards the end, absolutely bloody glorious.  This worked really well with the salt and lemon juice on the oysters which didn’t clash at all.  This is close to my perfect beer so naturally the GLW decided she liked it too meaning I got very little decant this time around, although I did gain several oysters from both her and HH as compensation.

Course 5: Hop Ripper 4.3% – Thai Fried Noodles


Hmmm, Hop Manifesto Lite anyone?  I have to admit I really didn’t like this beer, although the consensus from surrounding tables was very positive.  It didn’t have the shock factor that saw my glass of Hop Manifesto emptied and I only drank about 1/3 of a pint, the noodles were particularly nice though.  Sorry Peter.

Course 6: Tantalus Belgian Dubbel 6.5% – Sticky Pork Spare Ribs


Ah, back on the rails again, this is more like it.  A dark and rich Belgian style Dubbel beer, my notes at this point read “Black treacle and malt extract…yum…yum…yum” which I think says it all.  Some of my favourite childhood tastes blended in a wonderful adult pleasure.  The pork ribs were a lovely match too but a bit fiddly when impatiently waiting to get back to the booze.

Around about now a combination of the poor phone reception, me not understanding how to use my phone properly and the effects of the beer resulted in me tweeting pics of this particular course 4 times, but it was worth it.

Course 7:  Autumnus Porter 4.7% – Dark Chocolate and Courgette Brownies


The first of two pudding courses and the end of my tasting notes so these are from memory alone.  Another great beer and food match what with the crispy/gooey contradiction of the brownies highlighting the surprisingly delicate spices of the Autumnus.  This was much more of a subtle flavoured beer than I was expecting but a particularly nice one at that.

Course 8:  Raisin to Live ~ Black Chocolate Raisin Imperial Stout 7% – Strawberry Crème Brulee


A special one off brew by Pete for the Sheffield beer festival and this was one of two remaining barrels he tells us.  There is no way you would have guessed that this was a 7% beer, it was so easy drinking with no cloyingness at all.  There was chocolate aplenty and the raisins added a wonderful fruity sweetness that made me wish that I hadn’t drank so much already.

So there you have it…quite a spread eh? In truth too much of one really and, perhaps, six courses would have been more manageable but, hey, I’m not complaining.  Pete worked like a Trojan, visiting all the tables with every course to give us a bit of background on each of the beers and that added so much to the afternoon’s events.


Andy, Paul and Pete

Thanks must go to Andy for hosting things, Paul for cooking things and once again Pete for adding depth to the whole proceedings.  So when’s the next one?




3 responses

12 11 2009

excellent post – and thanks for the link. every time i think about last weekend i feel inexplicably full again…happy – but very very full 🙂

12 11 2009

Thanks and ditto. Yep, I was reliving each course as I posted and don’t think my belly has quite forgiven me yet.

3 01 2010
The Full Measure – The Bacchus « Another Drinking Blog

[…] Other than a beer/food matching event I have only ever partaken of the Sunday lunches here.  The food is generally well cooked but there […]

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