OCB Week 2013 – Beau’s Beer Dinner at The Branch

The Branch Restaurant & Texas Grill has always been a supporter of the Ontario Craft Brewers. It was no surprise to see that they paired up with Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company (Vankleek Hill, ON) for a “Meet The Maker” Beer Dinner titled; The Branch, Beau’s Beer, and A Brewer Named Bartle.

The Branch closed its doors to the general public on June 19th for five courses of flavour prepared by Chef Bruce Enloe and his amazing team paired with five impressive beers provided by Beau’s. Brewer Andrew Bartle & Sales Rep, David Beauchesne were also there to give a little bit more of a background on Beaus and what makes their beer so great.

The atmosphere was warm and inviting and as people gathered around their tables, I took my seat up at the bar. The dinner started by David giving thanks to owners Bruce and Nicole then a small introduction on Beau’s. The floor was then given to Brewer Andrew Bartle, as he spoke passionately about brewing, half pints of LugTread were passed around which naturally lead into the first pairing. Chef Bruce then entered to welcome everyone and proceeded to explain how excited he was to get creative with the dinner.

I could already tell that the effort put into the food preparation and presentation was above and beyond expectations. Starting off with Champagne & Oysters – Beer battered, flash-fried oyster, scallion and LugTread mignonette.

Next came out a Grilled Endive Caesar – grilled Belgian endive, vanilla-lavender aioli, smoked pork head cheese, beer bread croutons, Glengarry 4 year gouda. It was paired with a Cask-conditioned Festivale Alt-Bier, the first seasonal to be created to compliment their flagship LugTread. Festivale on cask was wonderful! Definitely a lot more hop. Amber in colour, thick off-white hair. Floral aromas and strong malts. Taste like the aromas grassy, malty, hops were well balanced. Smooth drinking. I really enjoyed this beer on cask.


We followed with Moules Frites – fresh Nova Scotia mussels, thai coconut curry sauce with Kaffir lime leaf & bamboo shoots; served with hand-cut sweet potato fries and mango-garlic scape mayo for dipping. Paired with Rudolphus VI Belgian IPA (Pro-Am series.) Pours a golden colour with frothy head. Leaves a nice lacing. Aromas of pine and citrus (starfruit & grapefruit.) Hops were predominant for taste, specifically simcoe. (Andrew explained to us he used all organic Simcoe, Motueka, & Pacific Gem.) Citrus flavours also lingered. Finish was bitter, but I really enjoyed it. It paired really nicely with the mussels.

The main event was the highly awaited ‘Tom Green Beer’ a collaboration beer. It’s a milk stout, which can sometime present its challenges to pair with but the team at The Branch proved that they can hold up to any challenge by pairing it with ‘Roadkill’ Stew. Which consisted of Trillium Farms red deer & veggies braised in stout, coffee, & spices; served in a hazelnut stout bread bowl.

The Tom Green Beer poured a nice deep burgundy with generous head and nice lacing. The aroma coffee was strong as well as chocolate. Taste was smokey, nice chocolate flavours. Mild sweetness, over all nice beer.

For dessert we were served Smoked strawberry ‘spotted dick’, Clarmell Farms goat cheese creme Anglaise, vanilla-maple-bourbon macerated Rideau Pines strawberries, and burnt sugar. Paired with The Greener Futures Project – Burnt Rock Vanilla Porter. The porter was a dessert all in itself. Pours almost black with light mocha coloured head. Rich aromas of vanilla and coffee. Taste was a nice balance of dry roasted malts and sweetness of vanilla. A nice porter.

Throughout the evening Andrew & Chef Bruce lead everyone through each sip and each bite. The passion from both came across as they spoke, which made the event even more enjoyable. The evening was a complete success in my books. The staff at The Branch should be applauded for not only their food but for the quality of service. Each server was extremely pleasant and nothing but helpful, they all went above and beyond. Cheers to The Branch Restaurant and Beau’s All Natural Brewing company, cannot wait for your next event.

– The Beer Gypsy


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