Prancing Pony Brewery is known for their long flavoured beers that have bald malt flavours and amazing hop aromas. Tonight I had the opportunity to meet Head Brewer, Frank Samson, who is always thinking about his next brew. Bringing his tradition with him from Germany, he always ensures that the traditions and innovations are upheld and passed on. At Prancing Pony, it’s all about the method and using the best raw ingredients. Traditional ingredients used are simply malted grain, hops, yeast and water, and of course, the brewer’s skill. At Prancing Pony they go through the process of grain brewing. It’s not the cheapest, but it is the best method for flavour production.
With all the Prancing Pony beer varieties on hand, Adelaide Food Central and other attendees were treated to a “Beergustation” at Ibis Adelaide as part of Tasting Australia. Dishes were carefully and creatively designed to match the distinct flavours of Prancing Pony beers. The food was by no means pedestrian and it was interesting to see how well they would go with beer.
To start off the night we had the Chef’s selection of canapes that were matched with the Prancing Pony Amber Ale. The first dish was the Olive Gnocchi with onion jam. The gnocchi was light and fluffy, and the onion jam was perfectly balanced with a subtle sweetness about it. It was certainly delicious and had me begging for more. The combination of caramel and citrus flavours in the Amber Ale complimented this dish well.
Also matched with the Prancing Pony Amber Ale was the Tomato and Tea Consomme. The appearance was certainly that of tea with a distinct sourness of the tomato. This was well balanced by the malt and citrus flavours in the beer.
After canapes we all headed into the function room to prepare for dinner. For the amuse, we had the Sansho Seared Port Lincoln Blue Fin Tuna with umibodo and house ponzu. This was matched with the Prancing Pony Sunshine Ale. The tuna slice was seared till the exterior was a light golden brown while still retaining a raw pinkish centre. The umibodo (also known as “sea grapes” or “green caviar”) is common among fine dining tables across the country. The texture is firm and simply pops in your mouth, releasing a burst of seawater flavour. When combined with the citrus flavour of the house ponzu, the combination is simply amazing. The natural fruit characters of lychee, pineapple, mango, orange and melon in the beer compliment the flavour profile of this dish.
The entree was the SA Beef Bresaola with heirloom tomatoes, quail egg, pickled walnuts, King Island wild olive oil and Woodside curd. This was matched with the Prancing Pony India Red Ale. The first thing that struck me was the presentation. It was bright and colourful, made more so with the inclusion of edible flowers. Bresaola is beef that has been air dried, salted and then aged for two to three months. The saltiness of the beef was complimented by the sweetness of the tomatoes and the sourness of the curd. The crunchiness of the walnuts provided a contrast in texture to the dish. The combination of caramel and fruity characters in the India Red Ale balanced this dish well.
The main was Paringa Farm Lamb with crubeens, bomba rice croquette and celeriac cigar. This dish was matched with the Prancing Pony Hopwork Orange Ale. There’s nothing like a good rack, especially when lamb is involved. The meat was lightly browned on the outside with a lovely juicy, pink centre.
Crubeens, to my surprise, is an Irish dish made from pigs feet (of course, I had no idea at the time). It was crumbed and fried to a golden brown. I thought it was well seasoned and rich in taste. The croquette was another component on the dish. In the form of a cube, it was crumbed to a golden brown on the outside with the inside revealing individual rice grains. The celeriac cigar reminded me of mashed potato inside spring roll pastry skin. It was crunchy and crisp on the outside with a soft and fluffy centre.
The Hopwork Orange Ale has a distinct orange flavour with hints of honey melon, mango and pine. It’s a well known fact that lamb works well with citrus flavours, so this particular ale was perfect for this dish.
Last but not least was the dessert. An Individual Rocky Road Cheesecake with liquorice ice cream and sea salt truffle. This was matched with the Prancing Pony Black Ale. Let me just start by saying that I am a big fan of cheesecake and this was simply amazing. Like a baked cheesecake, it was soft and creamy with a nice thick consistency. The bits of rocky road added a contrast to the texture. The liquorice ice cream by itself has a strong anise flavour, but when combined with the cheesecake, the flavour was more subtle. The sea salt truffle came in the form of a lollipop and reminded me of Turkish delight on a stick. The exterior was a rich and decadent chocolate coating that revealed a jelly like centre. The Black Ale has dark chocolate, liquorice and caramel characteristics which compliment this dessert well.
What an amazing night! Each dish was inventive, well thought out and executed, and matched perfectly with the distinct flavour profiles of Prancing Pony beers. Combined with first hand insights from Head Brewer, Frank Samson, and the exceptional service from Ibis Adelaide staff, it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Forget about matching wines with your fine dining dishes, there’s a Prancing Pony beer that will compliment what you’re having.
Adelaide Food Central would like to thank the South Australian Tourism Commission, Tasting Australia, Ibis Adelaide and Prancing Pony Brewery for the invitation and making the night possible.
WHERE: 122 Grenfell St, Adelaide