Beer and sushi. Not the first combination that comes to mind when considering gastronomy’s great history of complimentary duos. It works, trust me. And not just the delicate flavors of raw fish and light lager. Imperial Stouts and big Belgian Dubbels have found a place at the new pairing table. No one displays this fact more creatively than chefs Loren and Davin Waite who have created a five course sushi menu with Iron Fist Brewery.
Watermelon gazpacho with Fijian albacore and an American Pale (aptly named Nelson the Impaler) hints at what kind of a meal this is going to be. To state that seared fish, sweet watermelon, and hoppy pale ale belong together as an appetizer is intrepid. And even more so when it works so well, the sweet fruits mingling with the citric almost tropical notes of Nelson. The New Zealand origin of these hops is undoubtedly showcased through such a dish.
The brashness continues through 5 courses. Seared Scallops with coconut curry sauce and Dubbel Fisted, a caramelly Belgian Dubbel that somehow was always meant to be served with coconut curry. Kolsch beer and cucumber salad. How has this beauty eluded the millions of Sushi restaurants around the world. Sake does have its merits but this is a new level of artistry. Kaiseki, a beautiful arrangement of fresh ingredients, highlighting innately good flavors to evoke complex tastes.
And the coup de grace… Miso smoked halibut with jalapeno raspberry gastrique, roasted sesame seeds, and an unapologetic Imperial Stout. A combination with so much complexity and depth that one can’t begin to describe it entirely in one meal. Brewer Brandon Sieminski comments on how the apple wood smokiness in the fish eclipses the bitterness in the stout, leaving you with cocoa nibs and coffee in every sip. This is the evolution of master pairings. Desserts be damned, we can and will serve stouts with sushi.
Enjoying the meal from a barrel converted table 20 ft. from where the beer was brewed is an added benefit and nod to an excellent night amongst friends and food lovers.