Only 12 hours after landing back in the UK after our holiday my husband Dave and I were sitting in the cosy surroundings of Peel and Stone in Harborne ready to start our ‘All the Pig, All the Time’ dinner and beer pairing.
Who can resist a menu that starts with something surely Dracula would be proud of ‘Pain Au Blood’!
The first beer was from London Fields a brewery I have to admit to not having tried before. However after tasting their 3 Weiss Monkeys I shall be seeking them out. It was a very crisp, pale white IPA with a sharp lemony flavour. This sharpness of flavour worked well with the buttery croissant where the chocolate was replaced by black pudding, it was a great start food and beer wise – in fact the beer was so good Dave had a second!
The carbonara and beers
The next course was ‘Proper Carbonara’. Sounds simple and I guess it is but I’ve also had some awful ones! This was not one of those – sweet crispy bacon, creamy but not heavy sauce and lashings of parmesan. But the beer….this gem of a dish was paired with Purity’s Lawless Lager. I have to say straight off this is not a beer I like, I find it far too malty and sweet. I can see the idea of the pairing but the sweetness of the bacon cut through the sauce and I would have liked something with a bit more bite be that hoppyness or citrus flavours, it was a sentiment echoed on a few of the tables around us too. Dave had the right idea and kept some of his 3 Weiss Monkeys back to try with it – a much better match.
A light break then with ‘Pig Ear Salad’ – pickled watermelon with crispy strips of pigs ears. To be honest the only pigs ears I’d come across before were the ones you feed to dogs so I was a bit dubious but it was delicious. This was paired with Twisted Barrel’s Saison from Another Place (MBBC 1st Birthday Special Edition). I was so pleased to have a chance to try this beer as I missed out on the birthday party (by being on our aforementioned holiday) and it did not disappoint – lemon curd aroma with a floral, sherberty taste. A very clean tasting beer with an slight lactose flavour (but of course not an ingredient as all their beers are vegan!). It paired really well with the salad creating an almost margarita type flavour with the watermelon. My favourite beer of the evening.
Roast pork, dauphinois and veg
Moving onto the heavy hitters then it was ‘Roasted Pork Rump, Dauphinois, Date Jus and Roasted Veg’ paired with Anspach and Hobday’s Sea Salt and Chilli Stout. I was a little nervous about the rich meal and beer pairing but it absolutely worked. The beer has a rich chocolate, figgy aroma but is so light and easy drinking. There is a hint of the salt and the chilli is warming rather than blow your head off. When paired with the food we also detected some more liquorice notes coming through in the beer which with salt and chilli worked well.
Finally the dessert, how would they get ‘pig’ into this we wondered?! Turns out through lovely sweet bacon strips in the Bacon, Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Cherry concoction served as a little stack in a glass. The beer pairing here was Redchurch’s Hoxton Stout. A very light aroma to this one with a sweet, hoppy, vanilla flavour. The pudding was very rich (but delicious) and this added an interesting bitterness to the beer that was not there when it was drunk alone. An interesting mix of a rich beer with a rich flavoured dessert that created a balance.
I finished off my evening with a Almanac Horchata Milk Stout. A slight bitter aroma to this with a sweet chocolatey flavour. I didn’t get a lot of cinnamon or almonds as you would in the source drink but there was a fruitiness to it that balanced out the sweetness very well.
A cracking first evening back in the UK and we managed to stay awake through to the end! And as always great service and atmosphere in this little ‘hidden gem’.