As I have grown older, I have become increasingly susceptible to the seductive charms of beer. I put this down to two key factors: the newly prevalent proliferation of decent beers that actually TASTE of something, and - probably more significantly - the ever-increasing distance between my current self, and the eighteen-year-old version who used to force down plastic pint glasses of evil brown murk at Owen's Park bar purely because they cost 90p.
And so it is with no little excitement that I note that super-cool Northern Quarter bar Trof is teaming up with legendary craft beer experts BrewDog to offer an evening of beer tasting and food-matching at Manchester's Deaf Institute next Thursday, 23rd August. This promises to combine two of my very favourite things, ie BOOZE and FOOD, in a unique environment - the Music Hall is apparently being transformed into an old-fashioned Beer Hall for one night only, meaning that if I play my cards right I can triumphantly file this one away under "Culture" rather than the more usual "Oh dear GOD - is she eating again?" category.
Advance tickets are £20 a head, and can be booked here. For this, you get hefty half-pints of a range of BrewDog draft ales, cunningly matched in some of the following combinations:
- Mini Yorkshire puddings with pork and sage chipolatas, tomato, apple and 5 A.M. chutney, matched with 5 A.M hoppy amber ale. Mr Liz has been a surprisingly keen advocate of the mini Yorkshire pudding, despite the presence of the word "mini" (normally something of a deal breaker) within its name, so he'll be looking forward to this one.
- Punk IPA battered haddock goujons with homemade tartare sauce, matched with Punk IPA, a contradictory, contemporary take on classic India Pale Ale. If I were the sort of person who made their own fish and chips rather than sending Mr Liz to the nearest chippy, I like to think I would put beer in the batter, although whether I would be allowed by Mr Liz to use BrewDog in such a manner is doubtful.
- Mature cheddar cheese rarebit, matched with Hardcore, another, even more radical IPA with crafted on a rich, toffee canvas. Not being renowned for my hardcore nature on work nights, it is possible Mr Liz or anyone else seated close to me might start picking up my beer slack round about now (note: NOT a euphemism).
- Individual Lancashire cheese hot pots with homemade pickled Dogma cabbage, matched with Dogma, a heather infused Scotch ale, at a heart stopping 7.4 per cent. 7.4%? Ditto (see above).
- Cheeses from near and far with assorted Alice Porter chutneys, matched with Alice Porter, a unique take on this traditional drink from the British Isles. I rather like the idea of "cheeses from near and far" - I'm picturing myself standing on the table, looking through a telescope, crying "Ahoy, Cheese". Maybe those who have sat near me purely to pick up my beer slack will move away round about now.
- Frosted chocolate brownie, matched with Lost Dog, an imperial porter with notes of red berries created in collaboration with the award-winning Lost Abbey brewery. Chocolate and beer? I stand to be convinced, although it certainly SOUNDS nice.
All of this takes place between 7 and 10pm, and the only thing - the ONLY thing - that threatens to spoil the occasion is that Mr Liz has just told me he's not working next Friday - BAH; I think we can ALL see where that beer slack will be going...