If I was writing a list of things that I really like, meat and beer would both be pretty high up on that list. I tried to go veggie once, and it lasted about two days (fell into the bacon trap, didn’t I?), and although I seem to be becoming a proper adult and drinking more wine recently, there’s not much better than a tasty bottle of craft beer to go with a meaty meal.
Which is why a night of meat and beer pairing with Bodean’s BBQ and the Beer Merchants was a total match made in heaven. I’d actually visited Bodean’s Tower Hill before, where the staff actually managed to deal feeding with our 35-strong and ‘slightly’ noisy group a few years back. So I was really excited for this one before it even began. Oh, and I had the amazing Katy (who was lovely and took me as her +1!), Erica and Charley for company. Perfection.
Taking us through the dishes and their accompanying beers was Jonny from The Craft Beer Channel – a great watch if you’re like me and still quite a newbie to the craft beer world. And now, with lots of pictures that might make you pretty damn hungry, here are the night’s pairings…
Round 1: Cajun Swordfish and Big Wave Golden Ale
Ding! We’re off! When I think of Bodean’s, fish isn’t usually the dish that comes to mind. BBQ meat, very much yes, but swordfish? Definitely a new Bodean’s concept to me. But their Blackened Swordfish with Okra, Cherry Tomatoes and Mango Salsa dish was actually rather brilliant. I also discovered a new found love for okra, something I’d never tried before, but it was delicious with a spicy tang.
Our first beer was the Kona Big Wave Golden Ale, which was light and refreshing. Soft and fruit based (without being an actual fruit beer), its papaya and pineapple sweetness makes it easy to drink and a great match for fish dishes.
Round 2: Buffalo Chicken Wings and Lucky Jack American Pale Ale
Served with blue cheese sauce and celery (which, I’m ashamed to say, went untouched by me), the Chicken Wings were beautiful. Well, taste-wise at least. They’re not the most photogenic of dishes, but heck do they taste good. The slightly crispy on the outside and soft, fall-off-the bone chicken went perfectly with both the blue cheese and bourbon sauces on offer.
The Lervig Lucky Jack ale wasn’t my favourite of the night, but I did appreciate its pairing with the wings. An American Pale Ale, the Amarillo, Chinook and citra hops are balanced out by caramel malts.
Round 3: Pulled Pork, Burnt Ends and Redhook Long Hammer IPA
Double meat-based whammy! The pulled pork was wonderfully soft and flavoursome – perfect with dollops of some of Bodean’s table sauces. Burnt ends are somewhat a Bodean’s specialty and they didn’t disappoint – slow smoked chunks of beef brisket in a sticky, tasty Bodean’s BBQ sauce. Both of them were definitely dishes I’d eat again, and despite feeling pretty full already, I wolfed them down.
Redhook Long Hammer is a dry hopped American IPA (where hops are added at the end of the brewing process) and is definitely hoppy, but not overpoweringly so. At 6.2%, it has a slightly higher ABV than the beers we’d tried so far, and although I enjoyed it I’d probably recommend it for more accomplished (can you be accomplished in drinking? Heck yes) craft beer drinkers than complete beginners.
Round 4: Pork Ribs and Beavertown 8 Ball
Just when I thought I couldn’t fit any more meat into my stuffed belly, they only went and bloody brought out the ribs, didn’t they? Aka, my favourite bit of Bodeans menu. HELP. I managed to wolf down one measly rib, but HOLY PIG, IT WAS GOOD. Tender, juicy, delicious.
The beer pairing for the final meat round was Beavertown 8 Ball Rye IPA. I’d had a couple of Beavertown beers before, but not this one. Created specifically to be eaten with BBQ ribs, it has a tropical hop profile but also rye to add a tang. Unsurprisingly, it went down really well with the meat and was super enjoyable to drink. Plus, I adore the Beavertown can designs too!
BONUS DESSERT ROUND!: Chocolate Brownie and Lervig x Redchurch Softly Softly
Well, there’s always room for dessert, right? Especially when it’s a chocolate brownie – something no one can say no to. Well, unless you’re Charley and on your first day of a chocolate-free lent. She has WAY more strength than I would have done…the Bodeans brownie was, unsurprisingly, EPIC.
A collaboration between Lervig and Bermondsey’s Redchurch Brewery, dessert was accompanied by Softly Softly which is aged in sherry oak barrels. Sounds fancy. The red fruit flavours went fantastically with the chocolate, although Jonny agreed with us that it could have benefitted from a bit more cherry in its flavouring. But regardless, it’s a beer I’d happily drink with all my chocolatey desserts – and I do have a lot of chocolatey desserts…
A huge thanks to Bodean’s BBQ and Beer Merchants for having us. I pretty much fell asleep in a meat based coma as soon as I stepped in the door – but oh boy, it was worth it!