Battle of the brewers and the winner is me!

I had the pleasure of attending one of the Road to Beervana events last week. I found out about it when a friend was tweeting about it asking if anyone wanted to go. The event was Battle of the Brewers (BotB) Portland vs. Wellington. The event is described as:

Portland comes out punching with Pelican Brewing Company​, Barley Brown’s Brew Pub​ and Breakside Brewery​. Wellington fights back with Garage Project​, North End Brewing​ and Kereru Brewing Company​. Four courses supremely prepared by Shaun Clouston, a beer match each from Portland and Wellington.

Only one city can reign supreme. You decide who did it best.

The brewers from the Wellington and Portland breweries will be at this event to talk through their beers, and fight their corner. This is a fantastic opportunity to get up-close and personal with some of the US’ best exports and Wellington’s brewing elite.

With a five course meal prepared by Logan Brown’s chef Shaun Clouston and beers to match from Portland and Wellington, it’s safe to say that those attending were all winners. 

First course

The event was hosted by New Zealand food writer and personality, Delaney Mes. Delaney did a great job of being short and to the point while being friendly and inviting. Before each meal we had a talk from Shaun about the meal his team had prepared. Then a word from each brewer about their beers before being served the first course.

My friend and I were seated at a table with four other strangers but it was a great time and everyone was super friendly. We were joking and laughing away throughout the event.

The first course was:

Ōra King Salmon “Char-tar”, Salmon Biltong, Scampi Popcorn, Wasabi & Yuzu

This was served with two beers. A Garage Project’s Wabi Sabi and a Breakside Oui, Chef.

A run down of the brews is below for those that have not had a chance to taste them before. The Wabi Sabi is described as:

The concept of Wabi-Sabi is hard to define. It is natural simplicity – flawed beauty – the way imperfection can make an object more compelling. Sourness produced by lactic bacteria in beer is normally considered a flaw. This beer is naturally soured and its sharp, tart character complimented with Honeydew melon and the juice and rind of fresh Yuzu. nothing is perfect – but sometimes imperfection can be beautiful.

  • Style: Frust & Spice
  • Alcohol: 7.7%
  • Brewed with: Yuzu and Honeydew melon

The Oui, Chef is described as:

Oui, Chef is a straw-coloured Farmhouse ale brewed with European spelt and two types of fennel. We use both fennel seed and fennel pollen at different points in the brewing process to layer in the complex savoury and herbal notes from the spice. Originally brewed as part of our Chef collaboration series in 2012, this beer was designed by our brewers and Chef Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon Restaurant in Portland.

  • Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale
  • Alcohol: 6.9%,
  • Brewed with: Malts – German Pilsner and Spelt, Crystal 15L & cascade hops with special ingredients fennel seed and fennel pollen
Left: Wabi Sabi; Right: Oui, Chef

Our tables initial views was that the Oui, Chef was our preferred choice. However, once we were served our food, our minds changed quickly. The Garage Project’s Wabi Sabi beer was matched amazingly to the food. Our table did agree though that the Oui, Chef was a better match to the Scampi popcorn but the meal overall was better matched to Garage Project’s Wabi Sabi.

After every course there was a quick show of hands to determine which beer was the winner. In most cases the vote was close, but for first course Garage Project’s Wabi Sabi was the winner!

Stay tuned for my run down on the next course details and my thoughts on it.