Monday, May 23, 2011

All about the bier and food at Pure Bier Fest

What better way to start a Monday morning than with a post about beer. Or bier, should I say. From 9 May to 5 June at all the Bavarian Bier Cafés, it's a celebration of the liquid gold from Bavaria and the Bavarian Purity Laws of 1516, or Reinheitsgebot.

Imported all the way from, essentially, the other side of the world, the 'Pure Biers' at Bavarian Bier Café comprise only four natural ingredients: malt, barley, yeast and water.

Pure Bier flight at Bavarian Bier Café, York Street, Sydney
During the Pure Bier Fest, beer veterans and newbies alike can sample the wares on offer through a bier flight: small sample glasses of three different biers with tasting notes too.

While the very drinkable and relatively light-tasting Stiegl has always been my favourite at the Bavarian Bier Café , I'm impressed with the fruity and wheat-y characteristics of the Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier Hell and its rounded finish.

Sounds a bit poncy but I definitely found it smoother than the Paulaner Premium Pils, which was drier with a crisp bitterness at the end of each gulp.

Pretzel on a pretzel stand
The biers go down a too well after a long day and even better with the warm pretzels served with butter. The crisp, browned outers were my favourite part and I couldn't help but think "these pretzels are making me thirsty", especially with the salt flakes baked on top. Thank goodness for the biers.

Sauteed mushroom, speck and butter lettuce salad dressed with raspberry vinaigrette
I wouldn't call the entree salad typical beer food, but knowing well the serving sizes from the venue from previous visits, the salad was a popular choice from the Pure Bier Fest "perfectly matched menu".

Digging through the forest of quite large lettuce leaves, I dug out slices of sauteed mushroom and batons of ham-like speck. This was recommended to be matched with the Franziskaner Pale though I'm not sure that beer and salad are really just strange bedfellows (unless there's soft shell crab in there somewhere).

Beef cheeks slow-cooked in Stiegl Bier served in rich root vegetable sauce with red cabbage and sebago mash
The mains of the "perfectly matched menu" are quite hearty and wintery with beef cheek being a very popular menu choice.

In a dark, rich vegetable sauce (in which parsnip particularly stood out in flavour), the flakingly soft beef cheek didn't have a huge beer flavour, but was so easy to eat with the creamy mashed potato. This was paired with Höfbräu Dunkel, a dark beer which should have made a lovely wintery match.

Chilli and caraway Landsberger sausages char-grilled served with sauerkraut and sebago mash
I didn't try these special sausages (it was my second choice on the "perfectly matched menu" by a narrow margin) but they looked pretty good, served with more mash and sauerkraut, and probably a little less heavy than the other meals.

Lamb shanks slow-cooked in Löwenbräu Bier gravy served with sebago mash and green beans
I went with the lamb shanks, not expecting the two dinosaur-sized shanks that arrived with mash, gravy and an arrangement of green beans. The meat was tender but not to the fall-apart state that I adore.

Lamb shanks paired with Höfbräu Original
There was no finishing of these lamb 'drumsticks', but I did manage all of the beautiful, creamy mash potato. This was matched with Höfbräu Original, which I remember quite well from a Munich trip several years ago.

I deliberately left a bit of capacity for dessert, I guess, for a change and to minimise potential envy issues at the end. And of course, to try the dessert matched bier, Paulaner Salvator Doppel Bock.

The Bock Biers are only available at Bavarian Bier Cafés on tap for a limited time during Pure Bier Fest. Coming in a more than 7% alcohol content, these specialty biers are made for cooler weather drinking and ferment for about three months compared to the average three weeks for the normal biers for that stronger alcoholic, almost fortified kick.

Home-baked apple strudel with vanilla anglaise
I remember the apple strudel being pretty darn good with its flakey pastry and gorgeously layered thin apple slices, enriched here with ice cream and a drizzle of vanilla anglaise.

Open apple tart served with ice cream and cream
The other dessert choice of apple tart seemed to have a very thick base, though upon trying it, it wasn't a dense pastry at all but rather light and cakey. The crunchy edge was especially browned while the apple was light with the ice cream and, strangely enough, a scoop of sour cream which didn't really go at all.

And the Paulaner Salvator Doppel Bock? I found it had fruity undertones and an obviously stronger alcohol taste, and while not horribly jarring with the apple desserts, it had nothing on a glass of dessert wine. Despite what Bier Professor Dominic Dighton from Bavarian Hospitality Group might say, I still don't think beer goes with vanilla ice cream and apple tart - but each bier drinker to his own.

The Bavarian Bier Café's Pure Bier Fest ends on 5 June - see here for the full calender of events, including the curiously named, women's only "Flights in Tights".

Food, booze and shoes was at the Bavarian Bier Café, merrily drinking and eating, courtesy of Zing and Bavarian Hospitality Group.

Bavarian Bier Cafe York on Urbanspoon

13 comments:

Rebecca @InsideCuisine said...

Natalie put a post up on Inside Cuisine too ! Now I'm wishing I had time to get there. I love the pretzels! @frombecca

Ditzykitty said...

yum lamb shanks!! do u have to prebook for the set menu?

Dumpling Girl said...

Those meals look huge. My problem would be dessert, wouldn't know which to choose they both look so good, if only the sour cream was just cream though.

OohLookBel said...

I had to miss out on this event, but the food certainly looks good. And massive!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I can't imagine a better place to have a Bier festival than here in Australia :P

sugarpuffi said...

large beer, pretzels as big as ur head, lamb shanks and apple strudel is as german as u can get! so nice to finally meet u btw! alcoholic <3

Tina@foodboozeshoes said...

Hi Rebecca - Yes, it was lovely to meet Natalie :)

Hi Ditzykitty - No, it's offered alongside the normal menu I believe.

Hi Dumpling Girl - Huge is right. I would normally stick to one course...

Hi Bel - That's a shame - good thing it's on till 5 June :)

Hi Lorraine - Or Germany... ;)

Hi sugarpuffi - The beer just appeared; I swear I didn't even order half of it!

lateraleating said...

Awesome looking food, and better looking beers! I have to make a note to go there before the festival's gone.

chopinandmysaucepan said...

Hi Tina

Those beef cheeks look awesome and huge! Great for winter too. Just curious how much this dish cost?

Tina said...

Hi lateraleating - Beers are always good at Bavarian ;)

Hi chopinandmysaucepan - I believe it was $32 on the menu

mark1308 said...

dear Tina, the four ingredients of bier are : malt (barley or wheat), hops, yeast and water.

Great article ! can't wait to try the lamb shanks

Jenn Brigole said...

Those look so "manly" LOL! :) But I am so for that beef cheeks. All that sauce must taste pretty awesome.

Tina said...

Hi Mark - Thanks for that... Bavarian Bier Cafe might need some corrections too in that case...!

Hi Jenn - They do seem a little on the hearty, blokey side, don't they? There were also fish and chicken options ;)

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