Regional Tasting Lounge, one of two Yaletown restaurants participating in Vancouver’s first annual Craft Beer Week, hosted a dinner for Green Flash brewery on Wednesday, May 12.
The Green Flash/Regional Tasting Lounge collaboration was definitely a success, the evening had all of the qualities of my favorite dinner parties: the hosts were friendly the conversation was interesting, and the food and drink pairings were bold …and plentiful.
Regional Tasting Lounge (R.TL, 1130 Mainland Street)
I have to admit I was initially put off by the five-course meal that would accompany the five Green Flash beers. Duck, pig, and lamb were all making appearances. “They just need a bunny and they’ll be serving an entire petting zoo,” I thought to myself, as a different kind of green flash flickered across my complexion.
However, Executive Chef Darryl Crumb cleverly eased us into the meal with Scallop Ceviche. The chilled, fresh scallops and the citrus flavor of the marinade went so well with Green Flash’s West Coast India Pale Ale that I eagerly looked forward to the next the course – even though it was foie gras. The 7% beer probably helped as well. By the time the staff paraded the whole roasted suckling pig around the room, I was on my third generously poured glass of the evening and the alcohol content had increased to 9.7%. When the piglet was introduced to the room as “Henry” I didn’t even flinch, even though his little ears were still pointing out jauntily into the air.
In my opinion, the last two courses were the best. The dried fruit couscous and barley wine demi-glace were so delicious that I even neglected the accompanying braised lamb shank. Regional Tasting Lounge’s tipsy tiramisu (Beer-A-Misu) was served in a glass and had a thick, foamy texture; the Green Flash Double Stout’s dark, earthy flavour lurked under the dessert’s sweet exterior.
Green Flash Brewing Company (Vista, San Diego County, California)
The Green Flash Brewing Company website uses words like handcrafted, assertive, and distinctive to describe their beer. Brewmaster Chuck Silva described his beer, particularly the West Coast India Pale Ale, as “extravagantly hoppy” during a short speech at the beginning of the evening. He also provided some background on the India Pale Ales, which were created to survive long voyages, and how essential oils, fruit, and aroma hops could be used to make them more exciting. The two Green Flash versions of India Pale Ale served during the dinner, the West Coast and the Imperial, were tasty enough to make me reconsider my rocky relationship with I.P.A.’s in the past (some skunky and bitter experiences had left a bad taste in my mouth). However, my favorite beer of the evening was the Trippel, a fruity and spicy Belgian ale perfect for summer evenings on the patio.
Actually, I thought all the beers served were winners, so it’s not surprising to check out ratebeer.com and see that 4 out of 5 Green Flash beers listed scored higher than 80% (many are in the 90’s). Green Flash also recently won a silver for their Green Flash Stout at the 2010 World Beer Cup thanks to Chuck Silva’s talent. I was seated at his table and witnessed the best indicator of his popularity in the craft-beer-osphere when a beer enthusiast stopped by the event just to shake Silva’s hand and fawn over him like he was a rock star.
As I’m sure you can tell, I am a Green Flash convert. Yesterday, I found myself sourcing out local purveyors of Green Flash beer. I called Firefly Wines and Ales (2857 Cambie Street at 12th Avenue) and they carry half a dozen Green Flash varieties, including the India Pale Ale, Trippel, and Double Stout mentioned in this article. I also plan on revisiting the Regional Tasting Lounge to try their regular (non-petting zoo) menu. I’d like to try the beef tacu tacu and I would definitely order the Scallop Ceviche.
Vancouver Craft Beer Week
According to Leah Heneghan, VCBW’s Project Manager, Vancouver Craft Beer Week “was a bigger success than any of us (on the organizing committee) could have possibly imagined. It was a truly amazing week filled with fantastic people, incredible food, and BC’s best craft beer. Our first clue that we’d helped create something great? When opening night tickets sold out in less than 22 hours.”
Many of the events sold out quickly, so be prepared if you want to participate next year. In the meantime, check out the craft beers available locally. I asked Brewmaster Silva to recommend some local craft beer and he mentioned Central City’s ESB (Extra Special Bitter, Central City Brewing Company, Surrey)- “watch what they’re doing” and Mettleman Copper Ale (Howe Sound Brewing Co., Squamish).