Beer Dinner

About to party like it’s Chimay ’99

A beer dinner party sounds novel or sends predictable signals: curry, counter lunch, pork scratchings. It shouldn’t. Beer has sophisticated and distinctive taste characteristics and is a liquid that has long been used in cooking. I have no idea why but it may have something to do with localised beer dominance or the fact that countries that excel as beer producers have relatively poor cuisines and vise versa. Not naming names here.

The dinner (held on the 13th) was a great food and drink pairing exercise, putting the beer minds of Robbie and Graham to busy work. This was the result.

Following starters of Blue Cheese and Hoegaarden White Dip served with Hoegaarden White by Rhonda. Followed by (pictured) Fullers ESB Onion Soup served with with Bitburger by me.

Aventinus Scallop Coins served with Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier by Sonya.

Vension Shanks cooked in Rodenbach Grand Cru with a Barley and Mushroom Timbale served with 3 Monts by me.

Walnut Aventinus Ice Souffle with Crème Anglais à l’Orange served with Swan Stout by Veronique

Cheese Platter had with 1999 Chimay Grande Reserve by Rhonda with the cellaring discipline of Graham.


Well to get the mea culpa out of the way, the weak link was the shanks which were mostly undercooked – an overcrowded roasting tray, an insufficiently hot oven, and a tight schedule. My fault entirely and were it not for the lure of the Chimays, I would have offed myself there and then. The rest were excellent. You may have tried most of the beers and the ones you haven’t, do so. None are more expensive than a very very average bottle of wine. I was too busy fussing or drinking for tasting notes so you’ll just have to trust me on this one.

It’s a very heavy evening. We tried to hold it back to around 5% earlier one but from the 3 Monts on, it was serious booze territory and the men folk were dropping like flies. Smaller glasses maybe.


Try at least one course with a matched beer and consider using beer as a key ingredient in a course. Identify the model plane in the picture and discuss its contribution to ending WWII.


To Rhonda and Graham for hosting and to Mark at the International Beer Shop for his enthusiasm and wisdom and an apology for calling him Rob for the past 6 months.



  1. Jeanne’s avatar

    Oh, you had to go there, didn’t you.

    The Chance Vought F4U Corsair was the first US Navy fighter to exceed 400 MPH in level flight. It first went into service in 1943, used by the Marines fighting to hold Guadalcanal, in the Solomon Islands. The most distinctive feature of the Corsair is its “cranked” or inverted gull wing (and the wings fold in half so as to allow more planes to be stored on the limited deck space of an aircraft carrier). This feature was designed to raise nose of the airplane higher off the ground without unduly lengthening the undercarriage. The reason was to allow the use of the largest possible diameter propeller in order to make most efficient use of the engine’s high power.

    The Corsair was much faster than the Japanese Zero, had a better roll rate, and could dive away to safety when necessary. Corsair pilots established a very satisfactory kill ratio and helped turn the tide of war against the Japanese. Interviews conducted after the war revealed that Japanese fighter pilots considered the Corsair to be the best all-around American fighter. The Corsair subsequently served in the Korean War, and with the French in Indochina (Vietnam). It also served as a carrier based fighter with the British Royal Navy during and after the war. Production did not end until 1953.

    [Sorry – you picked on another pet interest of mine…]

  2. Jeanne’s avatar

    Forgot to add… that Rodebach Grand Cru is really something!! We tried it in Belgium in January & really liked it. Also, the table is FULL of interesting things – the plane is probably the most pedestrian object of the lot – interesting still-life thing you got going on there. And I would like to try the beer & food matching dinner idea in the new year – watch this space for details…

  3. Anthony’s avatar


    Shouldn’t take any credit for the still life as I just shuffled around a few objects on their desk surrounded by many interesting things from a very interesting life.

    Do tell on the beer food thing – we’re heading into lager weather here.

  4. BigBob’s avatar

    Ahh beer.

    As any decent winemaker will tell you, it takes a lot of beer to make good wine.

    Sounds like a great night.

    Jeanne beat me to the plane too. Although she forgot to point out that the US Navy declined to use it and preferred the inferior F6 Hellcat until they eventually wised up.

  5. Anthony’s avatar

    Hey Big Bob

    [backfill: BigBob was general legend in commenting for good circles during the election and is living the dream by packing it in and going winemaking in Tasmania]

    Cross beverage fraternatie is a good thing and the night was a pleasure (bar shank related angst).

    I’ll leave you and Jeanne (or other plane loving readers) to sort it out but I suspect “Corsair” v. “Hellcat” may have been an early triumph of the marketing division. “Ahhhm a rootin’ tootin’ Hellcat” etc.

  6. BigBob’s avatar

    Thanks for the nice words. I speak it as I see it.

    Living the dream….hmm, I suppose I am, but like most dreams it has it’s downsides!

    Check my blog during vintage, if I can manage to keep it running, for insight into the winemaking dream.

  7. Anthony’s avatar

    Looking foreward to it, I’ll keep an eye out for it but let me know regardless.

  8. Anthony’s avatar

    ahem, forward

  9. Anonymous’s avatar

    And the reason for the F4U’s distinctive gull wings?

    Well, they whacked a massive Pratt & Whitney 2000hp Twin Wasp Radial engine into the airframe, which then required a 4 metre 3-blade propeller to get the best leverage out of the power availabe.

    And this monster prop then required long spindly undercarriage to keep it from touching the ground, but such undercarriage would never survive the rigours of the carrier landings for which it was originally designed.

    So Vought-Sikorsky just put a bend in the wings to make the undercarriage struts shorter and so stronger. A fast and dirty engineering hack, basically.

    The things you learn on a cooking blog.

    For example, I just learnt a beer dinner can be more thought through than just VB, bangers and mash.


  10. Anthony’s avatar


    Winner of the The Vice Regal Comments Awards, springer of East Timor and Afghanistan Special Forces vets, an honour. Engineering fixes bring me great joy as do the commentors who leave smart stuff here like so many deliveries of organic veges.

    The potential to do great things is within, the only limitations are our own, I’ll be organising a full breakfast buffet worked around Bacardi Breezers shortly.

  11. Anthony’s avatar

    Oh and since you said you like Kraken

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