As usual, I find myself preparing to write a food paring article having done absolutely no planning. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it allows me to be creative in the moment; luckily, I just happened to have the right ingredients to pair perfectly with this beer. In early spring 2014, Glutenberg – a Quebec based gluten-free brewery – released their first in a four beer collaboration with the renowned Quebec sommelier Francois Chartier. The series is called “Serie Gastronomic,” and each beer was created with a particular flavour molecule in mind, designed specifically for food pairings. In May 2014 I wrote an article about their first offering, Impérial Sotolon, which I paired with a maple marinated flank steak. The beer was great, but the pairing was fantastic. You can read it here.
For the winter season, this fourth Glutenberg/Chartier gastronomic collaboration yeilded two different (but very similar) beers; “Myrcène de glace” and “Myrcène de glace – Brassin spécial.” Both beers were produced in a way that mimics the flavour profile of icewine. Vidal grape must was added, and part of the beer was actually frozen during the maturation process in order to concentrate its flavours. They were also dry hopped with citra, which provides some tropical fruit elements. Both beers are quite similar, however the “Brassin spécial” is a more concentrated version, with a higher ABV of 10%; and this is the version that I’ll be drinking today. The Série Gastronomie website recommends that you pair this beer with “[…]blue cheese, gingerbread and foie gras, as well as with mango, lychee, pink grapefruit, ginger, apple, thyme, Italian parsley, coriander, nutmeg, juniper, lavender and rosemary-perfumed dishes[…]”
As I was mentioning above, I didn’t exactly plan this pairing. I opened my fridge and saw the beer staring back at me. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice to make a meal to go with a beer that’s actually meant to be paired with food?” Shortly after dismissing the idea due to lack of ingredients, I remembered the mango on my counter and the leftover fresh rosemary in the fridge – both of which are suppose to pair nicely with this libation. I also had a nice salmon filet just waiting to be cooked, a big box of baby spinach, and an avocado.
I’ve been eating much “healthier” lately, and cooking less elaborately, trying to allow the ingredients themselves to shine. My BBQ has always been my friend, but lately it’s my best friend (even in this ridiculous weather). As always, I wanted to grill my salmon, but I decided to grill the mango as well, hoping to caramelize it a bit, and really bring out the sugars. I minced up some of the rosemary and sprinkled it on top of the salmon, adding fleur de sel and black pepper as well. I made a simple vinaigrette using white balsamic and olive oil, and I sliced up some avocado too. I tossed the salad, plated it, then topped the greens with the salmon and the mango, having the avocado on the side. It was a very quick and easy meal to make; once the BBQ is hot, it maybe takes 10 minutes to complete.
While prepping, I wanted to taste this sexy beer. It pours out a golden, almost copper colour, with a small but present head that sticks around a little while. The aroma is very hop forward, with lychee and citrus fruit at the front, followed by some vinous elements as well, finishing with a kind of hard to describe malt base.
It’s far more delicate than I imagined. It has only a subtle sweetness that doesn’t rest that long before the bitterness cuts it down. It’s very fruity, with mango and lychee leading the way, mixed with some green grapes and general white wine vinous qualities. It is one of best grape must beers I’ve had (not that I’ve had a ton). The alcohol is hidden perfectly, with virtually no booziness. The dry hop has done wonders, adding a nice hoppy complexity to the already fruity base of this beer.
The grilled mango is dead on, and matches the beers profile perfectly. The white balsamic dressing matches the acidic wine complexities in the beer beautifully as well. The salmon and the mango combination works great, and the salt acts nicely against the slightly sweeter beer properties. The piney Rosemary pungency adds a nice Christmas touch to the beer, complimenting the fruityness and the hops, while the acidity of the mango matches the slight vinous tannic quality found in the beer.
I think overall this pairing worked very well. I was a bit worried about having mango with salmon, but it actually functioned just fine, especially with the other ingredients helping it along. I’m in love with avocado, and I think the fattyness and subtle flavours also helped mesh things together. I did this pairing a few months ago just before Christmas, but you may still be able to find this beer on shelves. At this point, the hoppiness will have likley faded quite a lot, but at 10%, it’s probably still drinking quite well. I think this one is my favorite Glutenberg so far; it marries beer and icewine, but keeps the sweetness in check. I think one of their best skills as a brewery is their ability to manage sweet flavours with sweetness itself. Just like the Impérial Sotolon, which had a MASSIVE maple presence, this beer provides your palate with the flavours that normally come with sweetness, but without the cloying sugar content. Great stuff!
An article Noah Forrest