AU - Gong's next beer dinner: make mine a lambic
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE BEER DINNER
The Little Prince, Wollongong
November 26, 6.30pm
A sour beer dinner at the Little Prince could be seen as evidence that the city’s interest in the range of beers is growing.
Sour beers – also called lambics – are created by the intentional addition of wild yeast or bacteria. They’re not all necessarily ‘‘sour’’ either.
Some, such as those flavoured with fruit, can be sweet, while others can have a dryness resembling champagne.
They’re a bit of a niche in the world of craft beer and, as they’re brewed largely in Belgium and Germany, not very well known in Australia.
But that may be changing given the response to the sour beer dinner being held at the Little Prince later this month.
Co-owner Katie McKenzie said the idea for the dinner came from Little Prince patrons.
‘‘At our previous beer dinners, some of the more interesting beers were very well received and we got great feedback,’’ McKenzie said.
‘‘I also had a few regular customers ask ‘are you going to do a sour beer dinner?’.
‘‘Also coming into summer and some nice weather, we thought we’d give it a crack and hope that people were interested in something a little bit more obscure.
‘‘Ticket sales have actually been the fastest-selling out of all the beer dinners so far.’’
The dinner will feature five beers paired with a five-course meal. Most of the beers are imported from Belgium or Denmark but one comes from a little bit closer to home.
The Illawarra Brewing Company (IBC) has created a sour beer – mysteriously named Jerome – based on a previous brew, the oak-aged French Kiss.
IBC brewers Ashur Hall and Shaun Blissett will be hosting the dinner and talking about sour beers. McKenzie said the pair add an extra element to the dinner.
‘‘Both Shaun and Ashur know a lot about food as well,’’ she said.
‘‘There’s someone there giving the story behind what you’re eating and what you’re drinking and explaining it to you, it allows you to have a much more interesting experience.’’
Hall said explaining about the flavours of each beer can give people an appreciation of what they’re drinking and, in the case of sours, an understanding as well.
‘‘It’s just a matter of talking people through the beers and what they might expect instead of just saying, ‘here you go, what do you think of that?’, Hall said.
‘‘People might approach a beer not knowing anything about it, taste it and not like it. But if they’re told a bit of the back story of how it’s done and why it’s done, the flavours that you get and the reasons for that then they learn to appreciate it.’’
Blissett said that, despite the description of ‘‘sour’’, the style of beers can actually appeal to a broader range of palates.
‘‘There are some that are a lot more familiar tasting than others,’’ Blissett said.
‘‘The kriek, it tastes like cherry yoghurt, and that’s an incredible flavour to come from a beer.
‘‘They’re approachable to everyone because the vast majority of the flavour is not a beery flavour. It’s not a strong malty flavour, it’s not a strong yeast flavour.’’