Sunday, 30 October 2011

Beer Versus Wine or Hardknott Dave versus Tim Atkin

We weren't sure we would make it... Dave needed a good excuse to drive hundreds of miles to satisfy his ego... I convinced him we needed to deliver beer to London and and collect empty casks. After all London isn't that far away from Manchester and its a lot closer to Essex...

The morning after the night before (which is another blog altogether) we sneaked out of Dave's uncle's house (where we had sneaked in at 1am when everyone was in bed), leaving behind only an apologetic bottle of Vitesse Noir on the table as evidence that we had actually been there.

We quietly (NOISILY) started the van and headed for London. lots of boxes of beer to deliver to Utobeer warehouse somewhere in the heart of Bermondsey. Then setting the SATNAV for Thatchers Arms Mount Bures somewhere in the Essex countryside we headed East. Hardknott Dave is now getting excited. He is wound up and raring to go for the night ahead. Driving right past the hotel straight to The Thatchers Arms. He need to get there to psych himself up for the night ahead.

WATCH OUT! I'm sure that was Adrian Tierney Jones we nearly wiped out in the dark. Apparently so, according to twitter and his accusations at HardknottSooty.

A few weeks earlier Dave had written to the BBC complaints commission which resulted in a twitter attack on Saturday Kitchen for their lack of consideration to beers in the program and their continual recommendation of wines with food. The result being that Mitchel Adams from The Thatchers Arms invited Tim Atkin from Saturday kitchen to attend a beer versus wine food matched evening. Adrian Tierney Jones offered to take the opposing side of the table with beer.

The evening was in aid of Charities selected by Tim and Adrian. Solebear from Adnams was also there as Adnams offered to provided the beverages in support of the event. However, there had also been recent heated discussions between Solebear and Dave over beer duty for beers over 7.5 so this was looking like a night of fists and fireworks.
Early introductions went well and despite Mitch's attempts to keep Dave and Solebear in separate corners all aforementioned culprits took their seats alongside MrdrinknEat with HardknottSooty keeping control.

First course commenced
Carpaccio of Venison loin 7 Beetroot with port & Mustard Viniagrette
Tim's choice 2008 casa Rivas carmenere gran reserva 14.5% Chilean
Adrian's choice Duchesse de Bourgogne 6.2%

Tasting first the venison with beer and wine in turn and then the beetroot I had a dilemma, this was not so easy. I found the venison went well with the beer and the beetroot with the wine, though I believe others disagreed. There was the option of voting for both or neither if one was not obviously a better choice than the other, so I found myself voting for both beer and wine with the first course.

Mitch returned to announce the winner was BEER  phew!

Second course
Smoked Mackerel with pickled Samphire and lemon dressing
Beer from Adnams Explorer 5%
Wine 2010 Telmo Rodriguez Gaba do Xil 13.5%

Well, both were interesting but for me it had to be the beer. But I was needing some water, I realised that I maybe getting a little too much alcohol.
Mitchel returned with the vote BEER had won again.

Third Course
Delicate Sri Lankan red Chicken Curry with cardamon Rice & poppadoms
Beer Schneider Weiss 5.4%
Wine 2008 Cape Barren Estate Grenache /Shiraz/ Mourvedre 15%

An interesting course with interesting discussions. For me and those who are less keen on spicy food, the beer had a lovely calming affect on the tongue between tingly mouthfuls of spicy curry, however for mrdrinkneat and the spice lovers the wine intensified the spiciness. let voting begin...

Mitch announced BEER was the winner.

hooray it was all over 3-0 to beer.

Whoa wait...

There was an error in the second round and actually it was wine which had received the most votes, it was all still to play for at 2-1.

Fourth course
Lemon Tart with Raspberry coulis
The beer was Adnams Solebay - a champagne style beer with pilsner malt nelson Sauvin hops and Lavender
The wine a 2009 Fontanafredda Moscatod'Asti a sweet Italian dessert wine

For me there was no doubt about this course at all. It had to be the wine which was backed up by the voting.


Things were very tight with only one course to go. Everyone enjoying themselves and no arguments only lots of discussion.

The Finale
Dark chocolate Petit fours
served with Harviestoun Ola Dubh 12yr 8% and
Lustau San Emillion PX 17% award winning sweet rich sherry from Spain

First I tried the dark Chocolate with the beer and the wine. The beer definitely had it. well that's it I thought beer has won.

Best just check the White chocolate just to be sure. To my amazement the white chocolate was better with the wine. Oh no I would have to vote for both.

The votes were so close on the final course Mitchel demanded a show of hands to check for cheating. Unbelievable he declared the event a draw.

Proof that beer is definitely as good as wine and wine as good as beer.

Come on Saturday Kitchen time to do your bit!

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