Food writer Delaney Mes is a beer fan
Next Wednesday she MCs the Battle of the Brewers – Portland vs Wellington at Logan Brown Restaurant. She will also host Hannah’s Laneway Commons pop-up restaurant for Wellington on a Plate, and has entered Beervana’s Media Brew with Liberty Brewing.
“We’ve done a barleywine. It will have its first taste at Beervana and then Joe’s going to age it in a bourbon barrel for six months, so its real beauty will come later on. It got me excited about brewing and now I want to start a brewery with my sisters!”
Delaney lived in Wellington for seven years, before returning to Auckland in 2011. She admits she misses Wellington’s Beertown.
"Wellington is very conducive to an after-work beer during the week. Auckland is very disparate and people commute home, but in Wellington a huge number of commuters walk, and it’s not uncommon to see people you know on the way home and join them over a beer. It has that community feel.”
“I knew craft beer was a serious thing when bars started breaking contracts to sell craft beer because they just couldn’t survive anymore without it. That was really heartening to see. And of course the amazing thing about Wellington is that there’s always a new craft beer bar every time I visit, and the city is able to sustain that, and that amazes me.
As a cook and food writer, Delaney says beer-food matching is about contrasting flavours. “Beer can be a good complementary match, like stout with chocolate, but what works better with beer is finding a contrast rather than trying to match flavours. The flavours in beer are so different to the flavours in food, and you don’t want to confuse people by having them fighting each other.”
Delaney says sour beers and related styles can be versatile food matches, and credits Golding’s Free Dive’s Sean Golding for putting her onto sours.
So what is she expecting from the matchings for Battle of the Brewers?
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw some big, spicy things like kimchi, where you’ve got that tang from the fermentation and then the spice. And we might be seeing rich things like braised beef or duck. What will be really interesting will be how two completely different beers go up against each other, with the contrast between Portland and New Zealand styles.
“In a food match dinner the chef really has to start with the beer or the wine and develop the flavours from there because that’s the thing they have control over. So it will be interesting to see how Shaun (Clouston) has taken two different beers and worked on the flavours he finds in both of them.”