Beer & Food: Beer vs Wine Dinner at The Courthouse

August 27, 2011, by Crafty Pint

Beer & Food: Beer vs Wine Dinner at The Courthouse

The Courthouse Hotel in North Melbourne is one of very few venues in Australia where you can satisfy an urge for fine dining, fine wines or exquisite craft beers under one roof. It’s had a good beer selection for years – well before most venues offering a similar standard of food and wine caught on. And it’s a selection that is increasing in size and quality too, with new taps added and a steadily growing bottle list. As such, it was only a matter of time before The Crafty Pint and owner Scott Thomas got talking about combining all three elements of its offering.

We held a trial Beer vs Wine Dinner a few months ago for a few beer writers and bloggers, plus some of Scott’s regulars, and this week held another one for a slightly bigger crowd, albeit in the intimate surrounds of the pub’s upstairs dining room. Chef Julian Hills was left free to create a menu that could challenge both of us in terms of matching the beers and wines – and succeeded insofar as Crafty had to look up what some of the elements were. Each course was paired to a beer and wine, some to two beers and, in keeping with the lighthearted nature of the evening, a vote was taken on peoples' favourite matches.

The full lineup was:

Borscht, creme fraiche and rye
Bacalao mousse and olive cigar

Bridge Road Saison vs NV Paul Louis Blancs de Blancs

Paul Louis won

First course
Caramelised pork hock, confit orange and cuttlefish

Feral Hop Hog vs Croucher Pilsner vs 2007 Chestnut Hill Chardonnay

Croucher won (with honorable mention for Hop Hog with the confit)

In between course
Smoked potato and truffle tortellini

Haand Norwegian Wood

Second course
Roulade of guinea fowl breast, braised leg and pine nut pithivier, puy lentils

Holgate Nut Brown Ale vs Stone & Wood Stone Beer vs 2010 Mayer Bloody Hill Pinot Noir

Pinot with the roulade; Holgate with the pithivier

Cheese course
Tome Vieux Saulnois Reserve, port and pear chutney

Westmalle Tripel vs 2009 Domaine Charvin Le Poutet Cotes du Rhone

Westmalle won

Fourth course
Rose scented parfait with chocolate, pistachio and toasted beetroot meringue

Lindemans Kriek vs 2005 Chateau Bouscasse Les Larnes Celestes

Kriek won handsomely

It was a highly entertaining evening, rounded up with some food and drink-themed musical comedy from ElbowSkin, that mixed fun with a little thought. It’s something we’ll be doing again, for sure.

In the meantime, here are a few photos from the night:

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