Forget the wine – Chef Dan Keane proves that beer has just as much to offer Spanish cuisine
Hidden behind the Irish Emigration Museum and a stone’s throw from the impressive Custom House building, is another jewel in the architectural crown of Custom House Quay.
The Stack A restaurant at Urban Brewing is located in an underground vault of the 200-year-old CHQ building. When you enter, you are sent down, down, down, into a gourmet restaurant surrounded by century-old bricks, stone walls and brewery equipment.
It was a fitting setting for Spanish beer brand Estrella Galicia’s only Irish event as part of its Food Month, which aims to showcase the best of Spanish cuisine – and of course, beer.
Like many of us, I was familiar with the concept of food and wine pairings, but beer is not something I would have thought to serve as part of a dining experience. Come in, chef Dan Keane, written to change my mind.
First on the menu, a traditional cod croquette, made with bacalhau (a dried and salted cod), bathed in a béchamel sauce and served with chorizo jam and a mayonnaise made from the fat of said chorizo. It’s served with Estrella Galicia’s gluten-free beer (ABV 5.5%), Keane noting that the high carbonation of this particular beer should go well with the high fat content of the dish. This turns out to be my favorite plate of the night, along with my enthusiasm for chorizo jam, which led to chef Dan Keane personally visiting my table later that night to provide a take-out jar of it to the home.
The next step is Keane’s take on a ‘hot dog’. This is where things start to get interesting. To make the sausage, the Leixlip chef mixed black pudding with Cumberland sausage and served it with delicious red pepper ketchup and caramelized onion mustard. Onion petals, sides seared to perfection, a slice of crispy brioche and a few mustard seeds complete the dish. This is definitely the fanciest hot dog I’ve ever had.
For the main course, we are served an 18-day dry-aged Irish strip loin served with a mushroom tuille (like ketchup), onion petals and Béarnaise sauce. Surprisingly, my favorite part of this dish is the mushroom tuille – and I thought I didn’t like mushrooms. This is paired with Estrella Galicia 1906 Reserva Especial (ABV 6.5%), my favorite of the night. The beer is dark amber in color and made from malts and hops of the Perle Hallertau aromatic variety. It’s more intense than its predecessors tonight, with a toasty malt flavor and a creamier head.
Finally, it’s time for dessert. It’s a white hot chocolate mousse – yes you read that right, hot, served with a brandy and vanilla mascarpone, Amarena cherries and a brandy snap cognac. Paired with Estrella Galicia’s 1906 Black Coupage (7.2% ABV), it took me a while, but I finally felt like I had some chords. The dark lager has strong notes of coffee and chocolate, each sip adding to the dessert in front of me. With an ABV of 7.2%, he’s a big hitter, and I’m glad it’s not the first serve of the night.
I left Urban Brewing on Thursday evening with a new appreciation for beer’s role in high-level culinary delights. Unfortunately tonight’s event was unique, but I will definitely be returning to Stack A Restaurant to sample Chef Dan Keane’s other creations.
- Estrella Galicia beers are stocked at Supervalu, Tesco and a number of unlicensed independent licenses across the country