JB’s is fast becoming one of my favourite places to eat, drink and be merry.  Least of all because they have an incredible selection of beverages and excellent food offering, actually it’s all about those two things coupled with the team of folks that work there.  So when I got a call asking if I wanted to pop along and partake in their BrewDog craft beer and food pairing evening, The Dogs Dinner,  I said yes immediately.  I then reminded myself that we were still a few days away from the end of dry January and I’m not a massive fan of beer, or so I thought!

So along I popped, on a rainy Thursday wondering what the evening would bring.  I was mainly hoping it wouldn’t bring any further opportunities to prove just how bad I am at playing ping pong… my likeness to a T-Rex has been mentioned on far too many occasions in the office since the last time, there’s even talk of a t-shirt!

Thankfully I managed to dodge the tables and instead got welcomed by co-owners Josh Band (now that man can play ping pong) and Marcus Calvani, oh and a teku tasting glass of the BrewDog Punk IPA, which was just one of the beers that also formed part of the tap take over for that weekend and honestly it wasn’t half bad.

Our table was shared with a number of craft beer lovers and a few sceptics all waiting to get stuck in with course one of six.  I feel that I should perhaps work in my punchline here and let you know that I was fully converted during the evening, having only had wine paired with food before I really wasn’t sure how beer would work as I assumed it was just for supping, but the team at JB’s, overseen by  chef Trev Howard, nailed the combinations of food flavours and the chosen BrewDogs perfectly.

The first of the six courses were served and in came a fried Gorgonzola barley-risotto ball, homemade pickled walnut ketchup & celery cress, which was paired with the Punk IPA –  5.6%, which we were greeted with.  The flavours worked brilliantly together and the use of barley rather than rice was a great choice as it added a texture that I wasn’t expecting.

To go alongside the zesty cured hand dived scallop we were lucky enough to get our hands on the very last of the Mikkeller Swindle – 5.6%. This beer has notes of juicy citrus  fruits, which worked brilliantly with the dish. Sadly this little beauty is no longer available as it’s one of the many limited seasonal brews that BrewDog create.

Next up was Candy Kaiser, a northern German style retro altbier – 5.2%, another BrewDog seasonal served alongside pure Jersey beef bresaola, which had been cured by Trev at La Cantina, which was sublime, possibly the best I’ve ever had.

Arcade Nation, a seasonal black IPA – 5.2% had its debut at the Dog’s Dinner. Running the knife-edge between an India Pale Ale and a Stout, you get citrus, mango and pine from the hops  which then play off against the roasty dryness from the malt bill. Brilliantly paired with a brioche slider bun, filled with JB’s epic 12hr pulled pork, dill pickle, red cabbage slaw & skinny rosemary chips

A fruity beer is one I’d normally steer clear of, thanks to bad experiences in the past, but Hello, My Name Is Holy Moose is a clever blend of cloudberry, lingonberry, blueberry and sea buckthorn.  Another IPA – 5.5% this time an attractive colour in the glass, which in itself complemented the poached pear, ginger and holy moose tapioca pearls with a blackcurrant sorbet and basil.  This was a great finish and perfect palate cleansing.

Just when you thought it was all over in came cafetieres filled with what we thought was coffee, but no instead it was Hinterland a 9% ABV oatmeal milk stout brewed with vanilla pods and cocoa, served in espresso cups with a decadent homemade dark chocolate truffle, which had been cleverly infused with Tactical Nuclear Penguin, a multi-frozen 32% ABV fortified porter! Yes 32% beer, rare, delicious and cleverly hidden in a delicious truffle.

Thanks to the very skillful food pairing and the excellent explanations from Emma the BrewDog representative, I and the rest of the sceptics left The Dogs Dinner feeling well fed, well versed on craft beer and totally converted. Can’t wait for the next evening planned for March with London based brewery, Beavertown.