Passion, dedication and good taste are all things required to make a good idea in to a bloody great idea. I was lucky enough to attend the event of a bloody great idea.
I’ve been to Duke’s Brew and Que on numerous occasions to indulge in my beer and rib cravings, as well as to soak up the immensely friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Located on the corner of Downham Road in Hackney, it’s often recommended as the go-to place for East London smokey treats, with their ribs named one of Time Out’s 100 best dishes in London in 2012. This time however, I wasn’t there for any normal dinner…
Logan Plant, the man behind Duke’s Brew and Que, founded Beavertown Brewery in December 2011, pushing the boundaries of brewing to create amazing bespoke beers. Often getting in to trouble with his chefs for creating the beers in the Duke’s kitchen, he has gradually moved around Hackney to larger premises, before settling into his new location on Fish Island, Tower Hamlets.
Last week Plant unveiled his latest creation, a limited edition imperial stout in collaboration with Jameson whiskey, using their barrels and Beavertown beer. The idea for a mixed brew came to Plant about a year ago at Duke’s; after talking to a member of the Jameson team he was inspired by the possible affect an aged whiskey barrel aging could have on the characteristic of beer. Finally, after meeting Ger Buckley, a fifth generation master cooper at Jameson, Plant’s vision became a reality, and two months of aging later he’d bottled Ger’onimo – named after the master cooper himself.
We arrived at Duke’s and went straight to the bar where Jameson cocktails were in abundance; whiskey sours and old fashioned’s titillating the taste buds of press, PR, friends and family, and I was immediately impressed by the relaxed and friendly atmosphere that can so often be lost at one off events.
As well as my friend, I was on a table with an incredibly passionate marketing representative and a lovely young lady from the Jameson team. All of our faces lit up when we saw the carefully crafted menu; home smoked meats and Deep South classics, paired with Jameson whiskey and Beavertown brews.
To begin we were served pulled pork sliders flashed with Jameson Irish whiskey, apricot-glazed baby back ribs, cote de boeuf, deep fried pickled shitakes and gherkins with remoulade. This course came with a glass of pale, fruity Quelle Saison which complemented the apricot glazed ribs perfectly. An unexpected highlight on the plate were the deep fried pickled shitake, which were superb with their salty and sour flavour.
The main event was happily my favourite item available on the Duke’s menu – a 17oz beef rib, smoked for 16 hours and served with a sticky molasses glaze. The ribs were paired with Logan’s Ger’onimo, as its rich coffee and dark chocolate notes perfectly complimented the tender meat. It was a taste sensation and guilty pleasure for all the diners, whose contended silence and beaming faces did all the talking. I, like most of my fellow guests, finished the entire rib with ease – it was by far my favourite course and made even better with the inclusion of Ger’onimo, especially knowing the journey it had taken to get there.
Dessert was a sweet little thing; Elle’s homemade pecan pie with vanilla ice cream and a salted caramel sauce made using Jameson whiskey. It was a delight, with hints of citrus that cut through the richness of the overall dish, and was served with Beavertown’s Smog Rocket Porter – a smokey brew with notes of chocolate and oats, another great pairing.
At the end of the night, Ger, who had travelled over from Ireland for the evening, brought out timber from Jameson barrels that had only recently been taken apart. These were for us to smell in order to appreciate the flavours that can be transferred from barrel to brew. It was at this stage that I really understood the raw passion and mutual respect that he and Logan both share for their produce and the people around them.
For everyone involved in the event, and more specifically Ger’onimo, it’s much more than just an experiment; it’s a labour of love, and one achieved with greatness.
Ger’onimo will be available at:
Duke’s Brew & Que – www.dukesbrewandque.com