Friday, 15 January 2010

Tapas Con Cerveza de Brooklyn

Look, I know this won't come as a surprise, but I love Brooklyn Lager. Everyone loves Brooklyn Lager. It's the fall-back of the beer-lover, a bit like draught Guinness in pubs - you know what I mean, if it's all kegged crap, and maybe one dodgy looking handpump, Guinness is usually a safe bet.

We had a day out today, and went to check out Distrikt in Leeds. It's a bar that serves tapas, rather than a tapas bar. It's underground, moodily lit, and quite cool. I have to say that my hopes weren't that high, until I saw the beer and food menus.

Put simply, they had Brooklyn Lager. This is a mark of sense and taste on any bar menu. It's easy to drink, but has plenty of slightly caramelly malt and floral dry-hop charater to make it interesting. It also goes well with anything, as we were about to demonstrate.

Now, you can argue that I should have gone for a Spanish beer, and they have quite a few of them, all of the golden lager variety. This works well in Seville in the inferno of a mid-afternoon lunch. But it doesn't cut it in Leeds on a cold, wet Friday.

The food was Spanish with a Middle Eastern influence. If I was being kind, I'd say it was a nod to the Moorish ancestry of Andalucia. If I was being unkind, I'd say it was a lot of really tasty looking stuff all thrown together. That's not terribly unkind really, is it?

We ordered five small tapas plates; dukka dukka spiced chicken, merguez with red onion jam and skordalia (garlic mash, FYI), squid stuffed with red pepper and chorizo risotto, aubergine gratin with rocket pesto, and petit Lebanese pizza with lamb, pine nuts and pomegranate. I won't go on, but they were all great, and good value at £3-£4 each.

Through it all, Brooklyn Lager kept it's head. The lemon-pepper rub on the succulent chicken wings, the bite of the red onion jam, the creaminess of the risotto-stuffed squid - the beer coped with them all, enhancing, contrasting, and making the food shine more brilliantly than it might have done without it.

Two tiny criticisms - cold plates for the tapas meanthat bite-sized portions go cold quickly. I could have just eaten faster, I guess. Plus the flatbread for the lamb pizza was a tab lumpen. But these are minor quibbles.

I love Brooklyn Lager, and I love it more with this sort of spicy, toothsome, bite-sized food.


  1. I'll let you into a little secret Zak....

    It will soon be in the UK on 'draft'. Keep it quiet though. >tips hat<

  2. Thanks for the tip about Distrikt Zak - we called in on a Sunday lunchtime. The place went from a bit quiet to very quiet [ie just us and the staff] while were there, but the food was very good indeed - bit of a dim and spartan decorstyle, but the tastes distracted us.
    And, of course, you were right about the Brooklyn.


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