Devil’s Peak Brewing Company pairs with Beerhouse food! Beer like no other!


Beerhouse Devils' Peak branded glass Whale Cottage PortfolioBeerhouse opened a year ago, with the proud claim of having the largest collection of bottled beers, 99 in fact, as per the song.  Last night a number of writers were invited to the first of a monthly ‘Meet the Brewer’ food and beer pairing evenings. The Devil’s Peak Brewing Company and Beerhouse food pairing was led by Brewmaster JC Steyn, previously a winemaker for nine years at Dornier in Stellenbosch, and a brewmaster for the past two years.

We were a mixed bunch: wine writer Harry Haddon, whisky aficionado Bernard Gutman, beer blogger Lucy Corne, blogger Amy Rankin, and blogger Karissa of ‘My love affair with Cape Town’, and others.  The biggest surprise was seeing Chris Zöller, previously at Kloof Street House, now at Beerhouse, a gem of a host, an asset for Beerhouse.  His brother had worked with Beerhouse GM Murray Slater when they worked in London.

Chef Roy MacAllister took us through the do’s and don’ts of beer and food pairing, and he saidBeerhouse Roy MacAskill Whale Cottage Portfolio there aren’t many. ‘Anything goes’, he said.  It is not an exact science with hard and fast rules. The yeast and hops add flavour to the beer, and one needs to take this into account when choosing matching food.  The bitterness in beer, which seems to go with a higher alcohol content, accentuates the salt content of food.  Stronger beers can over-dominate the food, he warned.   The chef had chosen the appropriate food pairings without the brewmaster.  Each of the Devil’s Peak beers was paired with two or three food items.  Each of the food items were prepared especially for the evening, and are not on the Beerhouse menu.  It is planned to add food and beer pairings to the menu in future.

Devil's Peak beers Whale Cottage PortfolioJC led us through the tasting of five of the Devil’s Peak Brewing Company beers, the four Founder Series beers names all linking to an aspect of Devil’s Peak: Silvertree, First Light, Woodhead (the first dam on Table Mountain), and King’s Blockhouse ( a National Monument on Devil’s Peak).  It was said that Devil’s Peak is not like any other beer, being ‘quite way out‘, and it has pushed the boundaries of beer brewing.  While one may add ingredientsDevil's Peak JC Steyn to beer, Devil’s Peak only uses water, yeast, and hops.

Our first pairing was with Silvertree Saison (season), a Belgian-inspired 4% alcohol beer. The bulk of the hops come from Slovenia and some from New Zealand.  It is not over-dominated by hops, and is a good summer drinking beer, we were told.  Chef Roy paired the beer withBeerhouse Devil's Peak Oysters Whale Cottage Portfoliooysters and shallot vinegar (not a good pairing, in my opinion), Portobello Franschhoek Angelot cheese with green fig preserve (good pairing, the acidity of the beer cutting through the fat in the cheese Chef Roy explained), and chicken liver paté (excellent pairing, matching the earthy and spicy taste of the hops in the beer).

First Light Golden Ale has a 4,5% alcohol level, and is designed to attract lager drinkers. It is made from American hops, and is not bitter.  It was paired with a smoked mackerel paté with gooseberry chutney (food overpowered), and apricot and Beerhouse Devil's Peak  Mackerel Pate and Baklava Whale Cottage PortfolioAmaretto baklava containing a taste of marzipan (reasonable pairing).

Woodhead Amber Ale is much darker, with greater bitterness and 5% alcohol.  No dry-hopping is used, instead hop-bursting is applied, adding hops in the last 20 minutes of the boiling process, giving the Beerhouse Devil's Peak Ribs cheese sweet Whale Cottage Portfoliobeer a roasted caramel taste.  This was paired with very yummy BBQ pork baby back ribs (an excellent pairing), Banoffee pie, and a very dominant vintage (12 month matured) Gruyère cheese (too dominant for the pairing).

King’s Blockhouse India Pale Ale (IPA) is ‘overly hoppy’, JC explained, it being a bitter beer style. It ferments for five days, has an alcohol level of 6%, and has a strong pronounced bitterness and fruitiness.   It was first made in the UK and then sent to India, the hops acting as a preservative on the journey.  IPAs are popular in the USA. The pairing with curried chicken Bitterballen was overpowered by the beer, while the carrot cake with a peanut butter frosting was an odd pairing choice.

Imperial IPA is only available in the Devil’s Peak Brewery, and is part of their Explorer Series. Beerhouse Devil's Peak Lamb, Cheese, chocolate Whale Cottage PortfolioIt has an alcohol content of 7,5%. This was paired with slow braised shoulder of lamb, and it came across as very salty when paired with the beer.  The dark chocolate calzone was a weak pairing, the beer overpowering it, and Gorgonzola and roasted pistachio was a balanced pairing.

The next Beerhouse ‘Meet the Brewmaster’ event will take place on 14 April, with Lakeside Brew Works presenting.  The monthly beer events are an excellent way of getting to know more about craft beers, to meet the brewmaster, to experience Beerhouse, and to meet some very nice beer drinkers.

Beerhouse INterior Whale Cottage PortfolioBeerhouse,  223 Long Street, Cape Town.  Tel (021)  424-3370 Twitter: @BeerhouseonLong    Tuesday – Sunday, from 12h00 until ‘late’.

Devil’s Peak Brewing Company,   95 Durham Avenue, Salt River .  Twitter: @DevilsPeakBC

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: Twitter: @WhaleCottage

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