A Year of Beer #11 - Asparagus and Belgian Triples
Another part of our (hopefully) year-long video project, A Year of Beer. looking at the idea of beer and seasonality - how different styles of beer are more appropriate to different seasons, weathers, festivals and so on. There will also be a bit of beer and food matching thrown in because, hell, we love to eat as much as we love to drink.
This week: Asparagus and Belgian Triples
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Asparagus and Belgian Triples
There's a story that has been related to me about a sign that hung in a Victorian gentlemen's club that read "Would members please refrain from urinating in the umbrella stand during asparagus season". If you've eaten asparagus recently, this will have an added resonance, I'm sure. Put bluntly, it makes your pee stink. And I think that the griddling treatment that the asparagus gets here makes it even worse. Ah, the sacrifices of the gourmet.
Belgian triples are a classic match for asparagus. There is something about the pungency of the vegetable, and the sappy, herbal, almost medicinal hop bite of a good triple. Of the three tried here, Gouden Carolus, Westmalle and Affligem, the Westmalle was a clear winner; something about the dry, herbal bitterness works very well indeed.
Another good match, flagged up by the redoubtable Rupert Ponsonby (one of the founders of the Beer Academy, esteemed beer connoisseur, and all-round good egg), is Chimay White (referred to in some circles as Chimay Triple, given it's pale colour, good hop character and 8% abv). Following a marathon taste-off of beer and asparagus (and let's not dwell on how that made the toilets smell), Rupert writes: "I found the Chimay White fabidoodulous and the reason, glancing back at it, was that I drank the Chimay with asparagus and creamy sodabread and creamy, rich, vinegarred hollandaise. It was perhaps the inclusion of these other 'bridging' elements which made the combo so fantastic for me - and confirms my musings that the more spicing and other textures you have - the greater the complexity and power of the beer which will suit."
I wouldn't normally tolerate people saying things like "fabidoodulous", but Rupert is such beer-flavoured hero that I'll bow to his linguistic eccentricities. Anyway, the asparagus season is fleeting, so get some on a griddle pan, get the beers out of the cellar, and get all gourmet on yourself.