Baron on Tour: Hardknott Meet the Brewer

Last Saturday night was the next in the series of "Meet the Brewer" nights at Source Deli in Ormskirk. This time it was Hardknott's turn and they added a little twist, each beer was match with a particular food.

Chris and I got there around 7:30 (official kick-off was at 8pm) to find Hardknott Dave & Ann (as well as Andrew & lady) there setting up as well as a few other early starters.

As we had a little while before the Hardknott ales would be presented we decided that a Marble Dobber was really the only way to start - although we had a tough choice, check out the range of ales that Source Deli now stocks:

The place really filled up with 28 of the 25 places available filling the room and getting a good buzz - everyone was in good spirits, I think everyone had a pre-drink drink :)

Dave started the evening by introducing himself, Ann and the brewery and said that his bottled beer selection was designed to be paired with food. Source Deli know a thing or two about food and both Paul and Matt who own and run the place enjoy their ales so we were all looking forward to trying out the matches.

As it was standing room only, the food was all finger food - considering that some courses were curries I was wondering how we weren't going to make a complete mess of the place!

The first beer of the evening was Infra Red (Ruby IPA) which was paired with Beetroot & marinated feta tart. Dave picked out  a roast parsnip (caramelised vegetables) smell in his ale which was mainly coming for the large amount of crystal malt used to provide the reddish tint and toffee/caramel smell.

It worked really well with the beetroot tart (this was proper beetroot, not the vinegar-soaked stuff). Infra Red also has a strong hoppy side to it which Dave told us was coming from the heavy use of some US citrus hops - Cascade & Centennial. It's also dry-hopped with pellets when in the tank for further hoppiness!

Next was Dark Energy (Stout) which was paired with Goan fish curry. The first mouthful of this match was really good with the beer providing a peppery finish but after that the beer dominated and I wasn't convinced - it's an excellent beer though and quite hoppy for a stout.

Code Black (Black IPA) was paired with Slow roast pork belly, chick pea & crisp chorizo stew. Code Black is hopped with Cascade & Amarillo to provide some citrus & grapefruit flavours along with the coffee and chocolate which was coming from the malt.

The pork belly was an excellent match, the slight spiciness of both the food and the beer worked amazingly well - I would have had this combo as a full course.

Aether Blaec (Whisky barrel aged stout) which was paired with Slow cooked beef shin with horse radish bubble & squeak cake - This was a good match as well, this year's Aether Blaec is a bit more forgiving than last years and the slow cooked beef (either cooked for 6 or 8 hours depending on if you talked to Paul or Matt) was amazing.

The beefy meaty gravy flavours of the food worked well with the strong sweet stout aspects of the beer. It also highlighted to me that whisky-barrelled ales should be judged per version which is produced - this year's is miles smoother and easier to drink than last years - it's all down to the barrel.

Next was Queboid (Double IPA) which was paired with Cheese board (Cropwell Bishop Blue Stilton & Quicke's farmhouse mature cheddar). Dave explained that Queboid was a Belgium-style double IPA and so along with the hoppiness gave some banana and golden syrup qualities. It went well with the cheese, which was two small squares of cheese on a long cracker so you could try the beer with each cheese. It went well with the cheese and the new 300ml bottled version is a lot less sweet compared to the 500ml older bottles - A better move in my opinion.

Granite (Barley Wine) which was paired with Bakewell tart. Granite was the strongest beer that Dave has ever made at 10.1% (at that point). They reheat the sugary wort with more barley to get even more sugars out of it to get the sweetness up so that the yeast can go mental and produce a high ABV beer.

It was reasonable match with the Bakewell tart (didn't note the reason why not - it was getting to 'that' stage of the evening!).

Last up was Vitesse Noir (Triple Imperial Vanilla Mocha Stout) which was paired with Hazelnut biscotti with bitter chocolate & salt caramel. This was an excellent match, the bitter chocolate was holding back the sweetness of the stout - really really good food match.

That concluded the meet the brewer evening also Dave & Ann stuck around for quite a while afterwards as did Karl from Liverpool Organic Brewery and quite a few others. Source Deli's shelves were slowly demolished as people bought a ton of beer to take home with them.

All in all it was an excellent evening, a great event for Hardknott brewery to get their ale range tried by the beer-loving folk of Ormskirk (and was brilliant to catch up with Dave & Ann again), and a great night for Source Deli to see their excellent line-up of craft ales!

Dave recently posted an excellent video summary of the event, make sure you check it our to hear him introduce each course. Maybe you could also play 'spot the baron'?


beersiveknown said...

favourite beer, favourite pairing?

Leigh said...

Some lovely sounding pairings right there; you guys and Source are doing things very, very right. Good work.

pdtnc said...

Nicely done video.
Is that Carl from Liv Organic second shot up from the bottom? If so, its about time i knew who I was talking to and swapping beers with :)

Neville Grundy said...

I'm not particularly into beer and food pairing, but each to their own. It sounds an interesting evening.

Baron Orm said...


Cheers for the kind comments although I can't take any credit for this event it was all arranged by Hardknott & Source Deli.

Of course if I hadn't twisted Paul's arm to do the first beer night around two years ago then this event wouldn't have happened ;)


The video is all Hardknott Dave's doing, and yes that is Karl from Liverpool Organic.


This was a good event to be at, they are always a lot of fun. Are you aware of "The Ormskirk Tap" night at Source Deli? It's on Friday 24th Feb and Paul & Matt are opening their upstairs bit as a 'bottled craft ale bar' for the evening - if successful this could become a monthly event.

Baron Orm said...


Cheers for the kind comments although I can't take any credit for this event it was all arranged by Hardknott & Source Deli.

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