Those bubbly gourmets-about-town John and Lynne Ford from Sea Point’s invaluable Main Ingredient were at our &Union beer tasting and wrote up about it in their weekly newsletter.
“Yesterday evening, we attended a Slow Food function at & Union Beer Saloon/Charcuterie in Riebeeck Square off Bree Street, in the basement of the old St Stephen’s Dutch Reformed Church. We were there to taste their wide selection of imported beers and see how the flavours matched some of their charcuterie. We then ordered a light supper, very necessary after a beer tasting. As they say in their publicity, the Beer Giants (in SA and elsewhere) have forgotten how to be passionate about beer. The lads at & Union have lots of passion. They stock artisan beers from some of Europe’s’ oldest family run breweries. We started with an unfiltered lager, slightly cloudy and full flavoured, with a lovely creamy head; a good match for hard sharp cheese with mustard. Then a Gabriel Pils matched with some salametti which we dipped in chilli – it does indeed stand up to spicy food. Next came their Weissbier, which was a tinge light for us, but was a perfect match for some really excellent local smoked salmon which made it come alive. A dark lager from barley followed which went well with biltong and finally a Touro Triple Blond – fabulously deep and fruity, absolutely our favourite of the night. Sweet liquorice flavours with spices and fruit, this is a perfect match for spicy food, even fruit desserts and really nice to drink. It does have 10% alcohol, so you can’t (shouldn’t?) drink as much as you would of a lighter lager. We have to mention that we tasted a small sample of each beer – we’d not have reached home safely after full glasses. They also sell a small selection of quite pricy wines and tequila and the most expensive Whisky in Cape Town (they say) but they can’t have looked far – we know of far more expensive bottles of old whiskies in other places.
We ordered their Chalmar Beef & Coppa Ham Prego roll which comes with potato crisps, a tiny bowl of baby salad leaves and some more chilli sauce. Wonderful, tender beef, hot Prego with lots of flavour and a good deal for R60. Other items are a Cheese Bowl for R20, Cheese Board for R75; Paté for R35; Weisswurst for R30; Charcuterie Board for R65, etc. Prices of beer on the menu vary from R40 to R125 for the Touro. They train all their staff themselves and have taken 10 completely untrained men and given them a very good grounding, experience and careers. There is a lovely cheerful, friendly and helpful spirit about the place. And, when it’s not raining – it was yesterday – you can sit outside on the fenced off square.”
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