Bristol Beer Week @ Box-E

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These days, there are many special weeks celebrating culture, history, education or society.

Some of my favourites are as follows:

  • Long Train Delay Week; celebrating the many and varied ways that a train might become late.
  • Wolfhounds that Warble Week; bringing together the best of the singing breeds.
  • Oof, I had a bit too much to eat Week; an often celebrated and sometimes maligned festival, where belts are loosened and Rennies liberally taken.
  • Questionable Zombie Week; where people apply a low degree of care to their Halloween outfit, make a low gurgling sound and simply claim to be a zombie.

However, the creme de la creme of celebratory weeks is Bristol Beer Week.

Food Type: Modern Seasonal British Cooking

Time and Day Visited: Thursday 8.30pm Sitting – Bristol Beer Week

With: My Chief Wing Man, Mr Borrow.

Cost: £££ out of £££££

Staff: Knowledgable, passionate and warm.

Venue: A shipping crate, which has been lovingly decorated with bare plywood. The tables and chairs are simple, clean and utilitarian. The lighting soft and inviting. On the grim rainy night we arrived, the restaurant was welcomingly cosy.

Crockery: Hand Made earthenware, which fits each course perfectly.

Thoughts: It was difficult to imagine that this event was ever going to be anything other brilliant, with Lost and Grounded providing their range of creamy, flavoursome modern ales and Box-E providing their recently recognised Michelin Guide quality food, yet it still managed to exceed my expectation.

With an 8.30pm sitting booked for tea and a usual routine based around my little person, by the time we arrived, I was unbelievably hungry. So I was really glad to be presented with some freshly baked bread. It was light, fluffy and crisp. The bread had been made with brewers lactic acid, which is a key part of Lost and Grounded’s brewing technique (For more information see – http://lostandgrounded.co.uk/brewery/). Uniquely, for a brewery in Britain, Lost and Grounded use a lactic acid tank as part of their brewing process. This is a piece of kit, which lowers the PH level of the wort as it brews and adds a characteristic creamy note to their beers.

After this we were served deep fried whiting, which were crisp, freshly fishy and well seasoned. It was paired with a creamy, zesty aioli. This was paired with Keller Pills, which is a creamy, hoppy light lager that is full of flavour.

Next up was the celeriac prepared in three ways. The roasted celeriac, which was hidden in the middle, was earthy, nutty and lightly peppery. It was sat on a garlicky, creamy pureed celeriac and on top were thin sweet and sharp pickled celeriac slices. Grated over the top was nutty pecorino and heady grated truffle. This course was paired with Running with Sceptres, which is a zesty, fruity lager that again carries the house creamy notes.

Third course was the mackerel. The fish was a well balanced mix of salty, charcoaled skin and creamy, oily fish. The fish was sat on top of cubes of heritage beetroot and thinly sliced radish, which were sweet and sharp at the same time. The grapefruit lifted the dish, but I wanted more of it! This course was paired with Hop Hand Fallacy, which is full of orange zest and herbal coriander notes.

The final savoury course was a melt in the mouth, umami bomb of a venison loin. It was moist, earthy and well seasoned. Paired with delicious caramelised roast cauliflower, creamy pureed cauliflower, and a vegetal, earthy gravy. Add to that the nutty flavour of spelt, the bitter notes of celery and the occasional joyous roasted hazelnut and you have a party in the mouth. Each bite drawing new flavour pairings. Here the beer was No Rest for Dancers, a fruity, hoppy red ale, which drew out the earthy notes from the food.

Last up was the power combo of treacle tart, quince ice cream and two more beers – the Apophenia and Saison d’Avon. The ice cream was sweet, fruity and nutty. Think Membrillo paste, but in a creamy frozen format. This paired superbly with the fruity saison, which again had savoury, herbal notes. Finally, we had the majestically sticky tart. The treacle tasting like marmalade when paired with the tripel, the pastry being short, moreish and buttery and the ginger from the tart and cream bringing warmth and depth.

With each course, we were treated to new combinations of taste, all showing depth of flavour, quality of cooking and finesse of touch. Add to that a fantastic range of beer and you have a brilliant evening.

Perfect for… a special treat or anniversary.

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