CRAFT Kelowna’s Tantalizing Twist with Cannery Brewing
By Roslyne Buchanan.
In presenting the Brewmaster’s Dinner with Cannery Brewing of Penticton, CRAFT Kelowna Executive Chef Robert Jewell took a tantalizing twist with a Mediterranean approach.
A successful brewmaster’s menu relies on great beer, great food and great interplay between the two. Typically, in thinking of beer-paired food what comes to mind are pretzels, charcuterie and cheese, fish ‘n chips, burgers, stews pizza and pulled pork. A chef digging deeper into each beer’s taste profile to conjure a truly unique combination is a flavour fiesta for everyone.
Enthusiastic participants and a comfortable setting also contribute to a hit. This dinner was rich in comradery and atmosphere with a friendly mix of local CRAFT fans and Cannery groupies from throughout the Okanagan Valley.
We were welcomed with “Beer & Jerky” – a match deceptively simple and superb. The house made jerky allowed Cannery’s Lakeboat Lager, a classic combination of Pilsner malt and Saaz hops, to display its clean, crisp and refreshing characteristics. Ross Thompson, Cannery Brewing head brewmaster and part owner, said that making a good lager is deceptively difficult. “I usually find if I like a brewery’s lager, the other beers are good, too.”
That welcome heralded fabulous tastes ahead. A big fan of Cannery Brewing, I’ve attended many paired dinners with its selections. The CRAFT Kelowna dinner was my first to see Blackberry Porter featured early rather than as part of dessert. Besides the expected malted barleys and hops, this porter is more complex and fruitier with the natural blackberries added. For the “Duck Donut” first course, Chef Jewell created a porter gastrique to highlight a duck prosciutto stuffed donut, salt cured quails egg and arugula. OMG!
Second course “Medjool Date Kibbeh” with croquettes of dates, mint, spent grain with labneh and puffed rice took Cannery’s best seller, Naramata Nut Brown Ale to new heights. Its layers of rich dark malts truly exhibited the multifaceted nuances such as chocolate, caramel, dried fruits and roasted nuts. What fun to see one of my favourite brews strutting its stuff.
“Crispy Lamb Leg and Parmesan Gaufrettes” was third course with Mediterranean marinated boneless lamb leg and traditional tabbouleh. Intended as a one-off or seasonal pale ale, The Muse & The Golden Promise with its blend of Golden Promise malts, California ale yeast and Simcoe hops is so enchanting that Cannery enthusiasts lobby for it. Earthy and grassy with notes of pine, citrus and tropical fruits with this dish, The Muse pairing was an armchair tour to the Aegean Sea.
Next stop Turkey: Dessert was “Turkish Delight” – a playful take on deep-fried ice cream with candy made using Cannery’s Barrel Aged Berry Kettle Sour. I loved the concept of ending the meal on a light and refreshing note. Pilsner and Wheat malts and a custom Lacto Blend from Escarpment Labs was used to brew it with primary fermentation in stainless steel. Racked in Chardonnay and Viognier French Oak barrels from Elephant Island Winery, Naramata Bench, it was mixed with raspberries, blueberries and blackberries and aged three months. Incredibly easy drinking, there’s an earthy complexity to this brew bursting with berries and blossoms.
Cannery Brewing brewed its first batch of beer in Penticton’s Old Aylmer Fruit and Vegetable Cannery on April Fool’s Day, 2001. What has remained consistent since day one is the dedication to brew high quality craft beers and the good sense of humour the team share. A new brewery was built in 2015 at 198 Ellis Street, Penticton, with a Taproom beside transformed inspirationally from the former ANJ Automotive. You’ll find 12 taps, tasty bar snacks, a popular warm weather deck and a myriad of activities such as live music performances. See www.cannerybrewing.com
CRAFT Beer Market expanded last year to include Kelowna reimagining the former Paramount Theatre and instantly growing the Okanagan’s exposure to BC, Canada and international craft beer. In tandem with CRAFT’s mission of celebrating beers from around the world, it strives to present a “premium casual restaurant with a passion for serving fresh local food”.
The Cannery Brewmaster’s Dinner was an outstanding example of CRAFT delivering on its promise. For upcoming dinners and other events, plus links to CRAFT’s other locations, see www.craftbeermarket.ca/kelowna
Featured image: CRAFT Beer Market reimagined Kelowna’s former Paramount Theatre. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.