Search for a Connoisseur & Sharp’s Brewery
Smoked Mackerel with Hot Beetroot and Horseradish Cream
I am always up for a cookery challenge and when I was approached by Sharp’s Brewery recently and asked if I would like to develop a recipe to be matched with a BEER, I was intrigued and very interested! I know that the usual pairing is wine with food, BUT, I have written about beer and food pairings, as well as whisky and food pairings before – not on my blog, but for a Scottish newspaper, so I KNOW that beer is a wonderful beverage to pair with certain foods, especially curries, pies, stews, casseroles, and this may surprise you, but certain beers go wonderfully with fish too! So, when developing my new competition recipe, I was keen to highlight Cornwall, where Sharp’s Brewery is located, and there is NO better fish to showcase from Cornwall, than Mackerel.
To whet my whistle, I was sent THREE bottles of Sharp’s beers from their Connoisseur range – Quadrupel Ale; Single Brew Reserve 2011 and Honey Spice Tripel 2011. They were all VERY different, and I decided to develop my recipe based on the tasting notes of the Single Brew Reserve 2011, which they say, is a…..”a showcase for the noblest of hops, the Czech Saaz. Whole cone Saaz, fresh from the harvest are used to dry hop the beer during maturation. Mid golden in colour, this ale has a fresh, herbal lemon aroma. In the mouth, light barley sugars give way to a perfumed bitterness. The finish is dry, clean and exquisitely appetising. Serve as an aperitif or pair with light dishes such as fresh salads or grilled white fish”.…….And although my fish of choice is an oily fish, I thought that the dry and crisp finish of this beer, was a perfect way to cut through the oiliness and richness of the mackerel.
Had the weather not been so blisteringly hot, I would have LOVE to have developed a recipe for the Quadrupel Ale, which boasts the fact that it is “dark ruby in colour and boasts an aroma of perfumed alcoholic fruit. In the mouth a full bittersweet fruitiness leads to a warming alcoholic finish”. And, it’s best suited to pair with mature cheeses and rich chocolate desserts……LOVELY! The Honey Spice Tripel 2011 was a wonderful beer, possibly my favourite out of the trio, but again, I saw it as a cooler weather brew – BUT, if time prevails, I may have a bash at two more recipes!
I think my Smoked Mackerel with Hot Beetroot and Horseradish Cream is a perfect pairing for the Single Brew Reserve 2011, and I was pleased to be able to showcase Cornish fish as well as Cornish ale as my competition entry – the mackerel salad was delightfully complex with layers of flavours and textures and the beer was the perfect accompaniment to for it. I have suggested smoked mackerel fillets, and even peppered ones work well in this recipe, but, fresh mackerel would also be wonderful too.
Here the full tasting notes for all beers, as well as information about the competition if you fancy entering!
Full tasting notes
Quadrupel Ale at 10% ABV is dark ruby in colour with a full bittersweet fruitiness and warming finish. Produced with pale, crystal and chocolate malts that are combined with Centennial, Hallertauer and Aurora hops, the beer is then fermented with three strains of yeast and matured on fresh Simcoe hops for a month at -1oC, before finally being seeded with a fourth yeast strain and bottled conditioned. This painstaking production process leads to a beer perfect for savouring and contemplative relaxation and an ideal partner to mature cheeses and rich chocolate desserts.
Single Brew Reserve 2011 at 4.5% ABV is a showcase for the noblest of hops, the Czech Saaz. Whole cone Saaz, fresh from the harvest are used to dry hop the beer during maturation. Mid golden in colour, this ale has a fresh, herbal lemon aroma. In the mouth, light barley sugars give way to a perfumed bitterness. The finish is dry, clean and exquisitely appetising. Serve as an aperitif or pair with light dishes such as fresh salads or grilled white fish.
Honey Spice Tripel 2011, at 10% ABV is an effervescent and refreshing beer with spice and fruit notes with a long dry finish. The Tripel turned the experience of a 9+% ABV beer from one of satiation to one of refreshment with a hint of provocation. A specialist strain originating in a trappist monastery has been used to add its signature spice, fruit and tartness to the beer. Honey Spice Tripel is intended to have an intoxicating aroma of bubblegum and spice with subtle clove, banana and cherry liqueur notes. All the strings have been pulled with the recipe and process to ensure the flavour belies the beer’s mighty 10% ABV.
With the help of Nathan Outlaw, Jack Stein and Alyn Williams, we’re on the search to find the UK’s ultimate beer and food connoisseur.
Watch the videos starring our celebrity chefs to discover how they’ve paired quality food with each of the three beers, and then enter the competition to create a dish yourself.
Choose your beer, try the range (or read the tasting notes), then create a dish that you believe will go perfectly with your chosen ale. Name your dish, list your ingredients and describe your method, then tell us about your dish. For bonus points, take a picture of your dish or submit a video of you preparing it (the more entertaining the better!)
The prize? Our three chefs will each choose their favourite dish and beer pairing. The three finalists will receive a day of mentoring with the chef that chooses their dish; a unique opportunity to hone your skills with one of the UK’s finest!
The three finalists will then compete in a ‘cook-off’ to be held at The Seafood School in Padstow, Cornwall, after which one winner will be crowned ‘Sharp’s Connoisseur for 2012’!
As our ‘Sharp’s Connoisseur’, you’ll be provided with exclusive first tastes of any new beers released during your winning period, a meal for two at your chef-mentor’s restaurant, a private tour of the brewery and beer tasting plus a night’s accommodation for two in Cornwall.
The competition is now open, until 15th September 2012
SO, here with a flourish of a fish tail and a slurp of fine ale, is MY entry into the Sharp’s Brewery Competition, and the beer I paired with this dish, is the Single Brew Reserve 2011, Have a LOVELY Fishy Friday, see you tomorrow, Karen