Thursday, 20 October 2011
Fly-fishing, beer and it
Perhaps one of the hardest things to talk about is cancer, or as I might prefer to call it — it. Currently, I know of at least two people who are living with it and also a couple who have had it. Ceri Keene is one of those who had it and one of the ways she dealt with it was going fly-fishing with a charity called South West Fishing for Life — this helped her a lot. I don’t fish, but I love fish and I love trout, and Ceri put out a cookbook called Fishing for Life, whose proceeds go to the charity. It’s a cracking little collection of recipes, from local chefs, the British Trout Association, friends of Keene, Keene herself and Tom Aitkens. It’s a good cause but the reason I wanted to write about the book (rather than it) was matching a beer with one of recipes — in this case potted spiced trout (one of Ceri’s recipes), which is wonderful with fresh bread from our local bakers in Dulverton — but when I made it on Sunday I thought of a couple of matches. First up: Kindl Berliner Weisse. Not the best of ideas. The beer was sweet and sour and worty and kept the chilli spice back for a while but then allowed it to rampage across my palate with the ferocity of a bad-tempered honey badger. The beer in general was a pale and pallid imitation of what I remembered, apricot ripeness hints, sweet fruit juice of the sort my son used to drink in the pub before he graduated to cola, and those damnable sweets called fruit sours. The best Berliner Weiss I have had recently is the one made by Bayerischer Bahnhof in Leipzig (it was also Bretted) so I won’t be bothering with Kindl again. Next, I tried it with the more amenable Cantillon Iris, dry hopped, a fusion of grapefruit and orange — the beer seemed to add even more spice to the dish, though without losing its own indelible character. It was a good accompaniment to something that might be a bit tricky (mayo and trout oiliness, chilli spice, clarified butter on the top) — both the beer and dish seemed to have something to add to each other, which for me is what beer and food matching is about, whether it’s a juicy plate of sausages or a spoonful of caviar (Leipizger Gose I think). As for the book if it is something that interests you please do buy it and help a wonderful charity and get some great trout recipes. BTW did you know that there is a fishing fly called Summer Lightning? Just thought I would say.