This is first of three collaboration (#BCBeerBloggers) posts about local Winter seasonal beers. Other participating blogs include:
West Coast Beer Geek – A beer geeks perspective on craft beer, beer events, beer pairings and more.
Mike’s Craft Beer – Not for the weak of taste buds. Lots of great beer reviews, brewery reviews and events on this site.
Dennis the Foodie – Weaving a personal story of food and beer in Vancouver, BC. Very thorough food reviews, great photos and beer pairings. Hey, that’s me!
Western Suds – An Alberta craft beer blog written by a craft beer enthusiast and ambassador for the growing Alberta craft beer scene.
Beer Rater – A beer guide without all the fluff, just some straight forward drinking advice.
If you love local beer, check these guys out! For this blog, I’m doing a food-based take on Winter seasonal beers by pairing them up with some specific food.
Steel & Oak in New Westminster only opened their doors on June 24 of this year, but have already secured a place in my craft beer growler rotation, not least for their flavourful and approachable Red Pilsner. I wrote about how great the Red Pilsner tastes with the Longtail Kitchen Green Curry, so as a companion post, I thought I’d write about their brand-new Oatmeal Stout paired with Longtail Kitchen’s neighbour Re-Up BBQ!
So here we go, Re-Up BBQ 1/2 Rack of Ribs ($11) and Steel & Oak’s new Oatmeal Stout. As you can see in this particular photo, the stout isn’t quite a jet-black stout, but more of a dark mahogany with a bit of translucency. Aromas of dry roast coffee and a hint of dark dark dark chocolate…like at least 75% cacao dark chocolate. Taste of dry roast coffee too, but also a bit of sweetness. I get less chocolate in the taste. I also get more bitter hop notes with this beer versus other stouts. One minor niggly is that I wish this beer had a bit more body and thickness from the oatmeal, as it feels a little thin. Maybe that could be tweaked in future batches (if that is S&O’s desire). As it is, it’s a good local stout with big dry roasted coffee flavour and surprisingly apparent hop factor.
I can see this being a good pairing already: smoked stouts already exist, so bringing smoking bbq meats to a stout should work great; stouts can have big roasted coffee flavours and aromas, and using coffee in bbq rubs is already a thing, so there’s another match there.
I got these ribs to-go, and I reheated them over low heat in the toaster oven, wrapped in a parchment paper pouch. I thought the precious sauce would stick and burn if I used foil, so little tip there 😉
Let’s dig in for a first bite…
Oh my lord, this is good! My teeth went through that carmelized top layer, into that succulent fat layer. Juicy, tangy, sweet (but not TOO sweet). These ribs are cooked just so…not that falling-off-the-bone stage that IMHO is waaay too soft, but tender enough, where you get a delicious resistance…interplay between the meat fibres, the fat and the juices as you bite and chew.
These ribs have a beautiful aroma of smoke. If you’re gonna go to the trouble of using wood, I wanna smell it. Re-Up uses pecan wood for these ribs. The aroma isn’t overpowering, but is present and adding its own thing to the party.
I like how these ribs aren’t drowning in sauce. It’s just a light painting of sauce over the top, just to add a bit of tanginess and sweetness. You can taste the smoky rub through the sauce. I think the sauce uses beer, and you can buy it by the jar.
How is it paired together? Pairing the beer with the ribs really brings out the dry roasty element of the beer, and the sweet element in the sauce. The smoky meat really plays well with the stout. I think a sweeter stout would taste irksome with the bbq sauce, so this was a great match. The pairing brings out the subtle qualities in each, resulting in a wonderful eating experience. I savoured every bite, washing it down with stout. I really appreciate what this magnificent animal gave up.
Check back in a couple hours for the second out of three #BCBeerBloggers posts, where my pairing doesn’t go quite as planned!