Belhaven x Archerfield Winter Sessions
While wine is the drink more commonly associated with food pairings, there is a growing appreciation that the right beer can also bring out the flavours of a dish.
It is a wild, blustery night when our group gather at Belhaven Brewery in Dunbar to learn more about the range of beers and, with the help of the team of chefs from Archerfield, how they can be paired with dishes from the Clubhouse restaurant’s new menu.
The evening starts in the tasting room with a sample of 80 Shilling and a selection of curated bar snacks including ‘beer can chicken’ popcorn, winter spiced nuts, roasted chestnuts and salmon jerky from another local favourite, Belhaven Smokehouse, while we learn more about the oldest working brewery in Scotland.
The main tasting session then takes place at the brewery’s own cosy bar, Monk’s Retreat, where we are brought four award-winning Belhaven beers alongside four tasters from Archerfield’s seasonal winter menu, showcasing the rich food heritage of East Lothian.
The atmosphere is relaxed and increasingly convivial, with plenty of time to discuss the flavours or ask questions of the brewery staff or Archerfield Executive Chef Dave Jamieson.
The first course is Belhaven Cured Salmon with pickled cucumber, smoked dulse and fennel crisps, expertly matched to the crisp yet floral notes of Belhaven Craft Pilsner – a light and fresh start to the evening.
Next up, Venison Tartare with sweet potato crackers foraged brambles and blanched almonds, a taste of the season. The rich, sweet dish is well balanced by the deep flavour of Belhaven’s strong (7%) Scottish Oat Stout.
My favourite, the third course perfectly combines the variety and quality of the food available in the region – Crispy Pork Belly from the Brand Family Farm with oh-so-light East Lothian langoustine tempura and heritage apple. Alongside the malty and nutty Belhaven Scottish Ale, this really is a match made in heaven.
The ideal dessert pairing is Belhaven Black Forest Chocolate Ganache with Belhaven Black Scottish Stout, essentially the beer version of an espresso martini and a smooth, satisfying conclusion to a delightful event.
These exclusive ‘Belhaven x Archerfield Winter Sessions’ will take place on 24 November and 1 December, with the first taking a St Andrew’s Day theme and the second focusing on more festive fare. Tickets are £25 per person. Booking early is advised as places are limited and they are likely to be popular.
Belhaven Brewery - Brewery Lane, Dunbar EH42 1PE - Tel: 0845 607 5325