Afternoon Tea and Beer Tasting
On Tuesday 20th October, a group of bloggers assembled themselves excitedly in anticipation for a very boozy and delicious treat. They were about to embark upon a journey intoxicated by the finest beers, an entire tier of Afternoon Tea goodies, which were presented alongside a running backdrop of London's most iconic sights. The event was organised by Friends of Glass, a company that promotes the many benefits of using of glass and the lovely Beer Connoisseur, Jane Peyton. The aim of the afternoon was to challenge our perceptions of beer through tasting and learning about different types of beer, which had to be eaten (as Jane explains beer is not drunk but eaten) with food that would complement each beer's individual aroma and flavour. The beer was served in beautiful wine glasses and made our Afternoon Tea and Beer tasting experience the extra bit more elegant!
who are Friends of Glass?
Friends of Glass is a community of people who want to spread the word about the many benefits of using glass for packaging such as in wine and beer bottles and also for the glasses that we drink from. There are three main reasons for why Friends of Glass feel that glass is the better choice over aluminium or plastic; for our health, environmental sustainability and taste. To find out more about the benefits of using glass have a look at their 'Why Glass?' page here.
who is Jane Peyton?
Jane is a lady who really knows her stuff when it comes to beers and wines. She is an events producer, tasting tutor, public speaker, author, tour guide of London's most historic pubs and is the UK Taste Ambassador for Europe-wide Taste Map of Europe. A very engaging and delightful woman, Jane raised the question of why is it that beer is portrayed within society as being a man's drink? She revealed how it was, in fact, women who were the first brewers of beer and debugged several foodie myths associated with beer that I certainly was guilty of believing. I was intrigued by how Jane transformed our idea of beer as a drink that we normally believed to be the most 'calorific', 'should never be eaten with food' and is a hefty drink that should be 'left to the lads'. Aside from wine, cocktails or cider, I don't think I've ever ordered beer on a night out; except for one time when I didn't want to pay France's extortionate rates for a cocktail!
Afternoon Tea is traditionally served with champagne but Jane chose to pair the Afternoon tea treats with beer as the variety of flavours in beer can be enhanced with different foods. This was definitely the perfect assemblage of British tastes: Beer and Afternoon Tea, and where better to taste these two combinations than on a Red, Vintage Bus that drove us through London's most popular streets.
We started off our beer tasting with an aperitif, (the drink typically taken before the meal), of an Indian Pale Ale. This is an aromatic beer with a tangy citrus aroma and a juicy grapefruit bitterness. Jane chose the Indian Pale Ale as an aperitif because she explained that bitter drinks prompt the digestive system into gear. This is why g&t's are often a popular aperitif!
the beer and food combinations (savoury)
Finger sandwich with cream cheese, cucumber and fresh mint - complemented by a Wheat Beer; imbued with aromas of banana, clove and a gentle citrus tang and has a creamy texture
Ham and cheese finger sandwich - complemented by a Sour Ale; full of tangy aromas and sweet caramelised flavours with a firm acidity that cuts through the fattiness of the ham and cheese.
- Smoked Salmon and cream cheese blinis - complemented by a Oak Aged Beer; sometimes mistaken as a whisky, this beer has an intense vanilla oak and marmalade aroma and flavour. Smoked fish is match made in heaven for oak flavours in beer.
- Chicken, tomato and lettuce in a bun with mayonnaise - complemented by a Wheat Beer; the citrus tang of the wheat beer does not overpower the chicken's delicacy in taste.
- Vegetarian quiche - complemented again by Wheat Beer; according to Jane all Egg dishes match brilliantly with Wheat Beer.
the beer and food combinations (sweet)
- Lemon Meringue Tart, Strawberry Mini Cupcake and Chocolate Macaroon - complemented by Porter Pair; Porter beer has an aroma of coffee, chocolate and dried fruits. Jane felt that this style of beer is delicious and versatile with puddings.
- Fruit Tart with Raspberries and Blueberries and the Plain Scone with clotted cream and jam - complemented by Sour ale due to its tangy and fruity character that fuses with the tart. The Sour ale's acidity is the right balance with the tart and produces a refreshing and soothing feeling and with the clotted cream, cuts through the fattiness and refreshes the mouth.
- Mini Vanilla Choux - complemented by Oak Aged Beer; the intense vanilla flavour from the oak enhances the vanilla in this pudding.
Enjoying the final part of the Afternoon Tea as the sun began to set (Image by The Fabulous Foodie)
Admiring the sights of London opposite the other bus! Image by The Fabulous Foodie
The bus, along with our food and beer jumped and slid about, but this didn't stop Jane from delivering a fantastic presentation on the beers. I was buzzing from all the stories behind each beer, to hear about it's made and how it really enriched and complemented our food so well. Jane's sense of humour had me in fits of giggles the whole journey. Here is a photo of me (left) sat next to Liz Burton from Me and My Shadow whilst listening to Jane speak:
My Favourite beer was the Oak Aged Beer that went with the Smoked Salmon and another by Elgood's named 'Coolship'.It was fruity, made with raspberries and so delicious; all of us loved this one. Serving the beer in glasses meant that there would be no risk of affecting the taste of the product, as Jane explained that the products within an aluminium can can often taint the taste of the drink inside.
We all left the bus feeling full and slightly (maybe more than slightly!) tipsy and also with some new friends. I met some other fellow food bloggers such as Manjiri from TravelsforTaste and Liz from Me and My Shadow. It was a super day and a great big thank you to Friends of Glass, Jane Peyton and BB Bakery who provided the Afternoon Tea Bus Experience and heavenly food.