Going With The Grains
In time for Oktoberfest, try these restaurants with impressive beer lists and a brew for every flavour on the dining menus.
Photography by Peter Markiw
Above: Served in a signature vessel, the fruit-scented Kwak finds its match in the Warsteiner beer-marinated Belgian porl tenderloin at Continental Treat.
Continental Treat is known for its central and eastern European-inspired menu, but it also boasts the largest European beer selection in Edmonton, with about 100 mainstays and new additions monthly.
Co-owner Sylvester Boro?wka can happily pair one of the beverages with your meal. For the smoked salmon ($15.95), served with capers, pickles, and horseradish mousseline, he selected a bottle of 3 Monts ($19.95/750 millitres), a Biere de Garde, meaning it’s a northern France pale ale. It’s slightly sweet and carbonated, complementing the saltiness of the sides, and pairs equally well with the pickle soup ($4.95/cup).
The Belgian pork tenderloin ($28.95) takes beer pairing even further. It’s marinated with Warsteiner beer before being simmered in a creamy tarragon sauce and served with Polish potato dumplings. Accompany it with Kwak ($8.95/330 mL), a fruit-scented amber strong ale served in a signature vessel and wooden podium.
For a heartier eater, the beef stroganoff ($28.95) is a tenderloin sauted with peppers, stewed in a house tomato sauce and served with sptzle, a German egg noodle that goes nicely with Westmalle Abbey’s Trappist Dubbel ($7.95/330 ml), a heady ale with a dry aftertaste.
Some beers even extend into the territory of dessert. Finish with a 14-per-cent Austrian malt liquor, Samichlaus Doppelbock ($14.95/330 ml), which has a root-beer-float flavour if you use it to chase the crme caramel ($8.95). (10560 82 Ave., 780-433-7432, ctfinebistro.com) -Kim Collins-Lauber
Red Star Pub is a favourite spot for hipsters, so it’s not a surprise that posters of punk-rock icons surround the wood tables and benches, and, depending on the DJ, indie rock, reggae and soul music blares.
But these mods and rockers can choose from some truly gourmet grazing options. Red Star may have the shortest pub-fare menu in the city, but it’s quality over quantity.
Start with a truffle salad ($12), a meal in itself, with roasted hazelnuts giving it a toasty finish. Erdinger Weissbeer ($7.25/500mL), a light, refreshing wheat beer, goes well with the greens.
The pub also makes one of the best crostini plates ($12) in the city. What’s key is the roasted tomato, which is cooked until it’s super-sweet. If it wasn’t mixed with mozzarella and fresh basil, it would be a dessert. To complement the sweetness, go with the Floris Ninkeberry ($7.25) from the pub’s extensive beer list. It’s a light Belgian wheat beer (just 3.5-per-cent alcohol) that’s heavily infused with essences of mango, passion fruit, apricot and peach. It smells and feels like Champagne on the tongue.
For the main, try the mini-burgers (three for $13). The bacon and apple relish is what elevates these sliders above the rest – if you like pineapple on burgers, the apple is a step in that direction. Try it with an Erdinger Dunkel ($7.25/500mL), a German dark beer that’s not overly heavy, but has the deep malt flavour that goes well with meat. (10534 Jasper Ave., 780-428-0825) –Steven Sandor
Bistro Meets Bar
The Pourhouse Bier Bistro carries 60-plus brews, including hard-to-find ginger beer, and the food, a twist on pub grub and continental fare, is surprisingly handsome.
The servers know their beer and can articulate the flavours well, but pairing is where they fall short. However the chef’s daily specials are designed to accompany the weekly list of beverage specials, so the server was able to set up my entree, a shrimp and havarti stuffed chicken breast ($14.50), with a special and unusual Japanese Cabernet ale served in a cobalt blue bottle. The Minoh Ale ($10) is heavy with grapes complementing the dish’s sweet kernels of corn and beans.
When it comes to the menu’s staples, the albacore tuna dish ($18) finds its perfect partner in the Schneider-Weisse Hefe-Weizen ($8.75/500mL), a German wheat beer with an acidic, slightly spicy flavour and apple finish. Like the beer, the tuna – well-done on the edges and rare in the middle – has a sweet aftertaste, from the sesame seed crusting and ginger sauce drizzle. A hint of wasabi echoes the Schneider-Weisse’s spice.
The Pourhouse has several burgers, including a curious grilled chicken with Brie, cumin aioli and mango cubes ($14). It’s a heavy sandwich, so I recommend you cut through it with a very light and dry pilsner from Turkey called Efes Pilsen ($6.25). Efes has a bitter finish that tastes like it was made for the Brie. (10354 82 Ave., 780-757-7687, pourhouseonwhyte.com) –Omar Mouallem