Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Beer and Curry (well, Halcyon and Kedgeree)

Because I'm such a frightful ponce, I like to try out food and beer combinations. I like to think that sometimes, you can get something that's greater than the sum of its parts - the beer and the food enhance each other, and you notice things in each that may have slipped by unnoticed. And of course, because I'm such a frightful ponce, I couldn't possibly do something as simple as compare a couple of IPAs over a chicken jalfrezi. No, tonight it's Thornbridge Halcyon (7.7%abv) and kedgeree.

I won't write a great deal about the beer, as I sort of cover everything I want to say about it in the video. But I will say that after a long chat on the phone with Kelly Ryan, one of the brewers who helped create Halcyon, it's clear that they are both a brewery who like to push the envelope a bit, and are quite open about what happens when they try to do that. Kelly didn't pretend to be delighted about having a lot of very loose sediment in the bottle, but neither did he think it was the end of the world. In fact, as I show in the video, there's nothing wrong with the sediment, and I'm almost sure it was more strongly-flavoured than the brighter glass of beer I drank afterwards. Who knows - maybe some of those flavour compounds are lipophillic and bound to the lipids in the yeast cells. Yes, I know I'm good, but I didn't figure that one out myself - egg-headed, Segal-bodied Stuart Howe of Sharps planted the seeds of it here.

The Halcyon wasn't a perfect match for the food - I think that maybe a hopfen-weisse would be a better match - but it did the job pretty well, acting as an admirably spicy, citrussy cut against the spice and smoke of the kedgeree. Irritatingly, a chicken jalfrezi with a load of mango chutney would have been near perfect with Thornbridge Halcyon

Kedgeree for two.

Cook a couple of handfuls of rice (I like basmati and wild mixed). Towards the end of cooking, add a couple of handfuls of peas. You can also steam the fish over this - 300g of undyed smoked haddock will do it. And you can either boil a couple of eggs in here also, or poach a couple of eggs to go on the dish at the end.

Fry two finely sliced onions with half a finely diced green chilli, until the onions are golden. Add ground cumin and ground black pepper to taste (about half a teaspoon of each). Add the rice, peas, flaked fish, the chopped boiled egg (or top with a poached egg), and a handful of chopped coriander. Stir, season, serve.


  1. Nice one Zak, love both the beer and the food, i like to add a bit of smoked paprika and a bit more chilli to mine tho....

  2. With you on the yeast ... for me it can often make the beer seem fuller and smoother in the mouth. I've found this with Kernel Centennial Pale in particular.


  3. I always associate kedgeree with breakfast. Accompanying it with beer would make a very traditional English breakfast.

  4. I prefer the videos where we see you in your shorts. You have shapely calf muscles.

  5. nice one Zak - sounds good. Gotta have that egg! otherwise it ain't right!

  6. Andy - is there anything to which you don't add a bit more chilli?!

    Chunk - if the yeast is compacted, I wouldn't agitate it, but I guess if it's loose it's hard not to

    Will - funnily enough, I had the leftovers for breakfast this morning (sans beer), and very good it was too - particularly the chilli kick

    Cookie - wait til you see my kilt

    Leigh - you're right, and I prefer having a runny poached egg on it

  7. Funny how times change. You're about the only beer blog I can stomach.

  8. We were just discussing this sort of match. I was just presented samples of a Kingfisher clone outfit, a lager, pilsner and strong lager. All well brewed in a beer for simple refreshment kind of way but totally inapropriete for spicy food. Ofcouse the marketing material went on about how the beer was specifically developed to match with spicy cuisine ect ect. Wheat beers do well so do IPA, a blend of the two styles would work I would imagine.

    Kedgeree is awesome.

  9. Monty - oh, what happened to all that bile? Don't tell me the SoCal sun has sent you soft? I'm sure my upcoming homebrew efforts will fire you back up.

    Kieran - yeah the prevailing "wisdom" here is still that "Indian" lager is best for curry. Cobra does actually have less saturation of CO2 than other brands, so it is less gassy, but it's also not a great beer - inoffensive at best. But I will try again with a hopfenweisse - we have some Schneider-Brooklyner at the moment.

  10. What exactly are you doing? A guy with your palette is NOT going to be satisfied with tin can kits. If I can help, don't hesitate to contact me.

  11. Monty - calm down, I sprung for a full-grain 3 vessel system. First brew will be a pale malt and single hop summer ale, to try and get a feel for it.

  12. That's sweet! Be sure your water has fairly low alkalinity when using just pale malt. A little CRS and you'll be good to go. Shit, listen to me! I'm sure you're getting solid info from the many breweries on the island. Good luck to you sir!!

  13. Zak, it's funny but I don't remember my bottle that I sank last week suffering from the problem. It was a little hazy but by no means anything different than any other bottled-conditioned ale I've had.

  14. "Because I'm such a frightful ponce, I like to try out food and beer combinations"

    Don't beat yerself up about it eh?

  15. zak - I dont have chilli on my cereal....honest

  16. Baron - that's odd - I spoke to Kelly about it, and he acknowledged that this year's batch had quite a lot of non-compacting sediment. Did you get a clear glassful of beer?

    Matt - just a little self-deprecating humour

    Andy - I half believe you, but I bet you put chilli sauce on your fried eggs.

  17. too right i do, chilli and egg is the best post session cure!

    gotta say i noticed the sediment and haze, i put the haze down to the hops like last year it had an almost mystical glow about it.

    look forward to seeing your brew kit and hearing about your first brew.

    i really need to get my arse in gear and upgrade my kit!


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