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With one of the best beer selections in Toronto, it’s no surprise that the Bier Markt (@BierMarkt) has exclusive Canadian availability of Chicago’s Goose Island (@GooseIsland) Honker’s Ale on draught.

Last week, I attended a dinner at Bier Markt marking their launch of the beer. But before I get to the dinner, let’s talk about Bier Markt. Their beer selection includes over 150 beers from over 30 different countries. Their comprehensive beer menu is organized by country and contains a handy glossary of beer terms.

Bier Markt

Their restaurants are designed like a European brasserie with a similarly themed food menu created to complement their beer offerings. They have an extensive menu with something for everyone – salads, sharing appetizers, cheese boards, seafood, meat, several kinds of schnitzel, Flammekueches (Belgian flatbreads) and even large-format meals which includes a whole-roasted pig for the table.

During our special Goose Island dinner, we were treated to a series of Bier Markt dishes paired with Goose Island beers. We were lucky enough to be guided through each pairing by Executive Chef Michael Cipollo (@BierChef) and Brewmaster Brett Porter.

Goose Island Bier Dinner

Our first dish was the Salt Spring Mussels – baked Salt Spring BC mussels, smoked bacon & aromatics, herbed bread crumbs & beurre blanc paired with Honker’s Pale Ale. The mussels were one of my favourite dishes of the evening. I’m accustomed to eating mussels in a broth so this rockefeller-like preparation was a pleasant surprise. I loved the smokiness from the bacon and the crispy crumb topping.

Salt Spring Mussels

The Honker’s Pale Ale, which has a subtle apricot flavour, complemented the mussels nicely as it wasn’t too overpowering.

Honker’s Pale Ale

Up next was the Beet Trio – roasted crimson beet, cider poached golden beet, shaved stripe beets, pickled breakfast radish, crisp quinoa croutons, goat cheese coulis & red beet vinaigrette paired with the Sofie Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale. I love beets so needless to say, I really enjoyed this salad. It had a nice variety of beets and the crispy quinoa croutons were a very original (and delicious!) addition to the salad.

The Beet Trio

10% of the Sofie is barrel-aged for 3 months with orange peel which gives it a subtle citrus flavour. We were told that if it was aged for less than 3 months, it would taste too fresh (like raw orange peels) and any longer than 3 months and it would taste almost rotten. They’ve definitely got it down to a science! I particularly enjoyed this pairing as the light and refreshing Sofie ale and fresh salad played off each other wonderfully.

Sofie Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale

For our main course, we were served the Short Rib – Leffe Brune Abbey Ale braised certified AAA Angus short rib sous-vide, heirloom baby carrots, grilled asparagus spears, roasted cauliflower puree, caramelized turnip & veal glace paired with the Pepe Nero Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale.

Short Rib

What a delicious piece of meat – fatty (just how I like it!), moist and fall-apart tender. It was a very hearty and comforting dish which required a strong beer that would stand up to the meat. The Pepe Nero accomplished just that. With its black pepper notes, it’s definitely a strong beer that won’t get lost when paired with a bold dish.

Pepe Nero Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale

Our meal ended with the Dessert Charcuterie – milk chocolate “country pate”, strawberry white peach prosciutto, red velvet “boudin noir”, peach & apple terrine, poached pear, cherry & almond tapenade, chocolate “rye bread” & banana crostini, compressed melon & sweet yogurt which was paired with the Matilda Belgian Style Pale Ale. It was an incredibly creative dessert which replicated components of a charcuterie board in the form of a dessert. It was certainly a fun dessert that’s ideal for sharing.

As the Matilda is aged over 5 years, it’s difficult to make exactly the same each time. Over the years, the beer loses its sweetness and becomes more acidic. Even though we had so many components with our dessert, I felt they did an excellent job choosing the beer pairing.

Dessert Charcuterie

Needless to say, I had a fantastic evening trying out Bier Markt’s newest menu items and beer offerings. Drop by your nearest Bier Markt and check it out for yourself!

*This was a complimentary meal. The opinions in the post, as always, are my own.*

Bier Markt Esplanade on Urbanspoon

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