Beer Background

The great Welsh beer and wine challenge

Added: Sunday, June 3rd 2012

Beer and wine will go head-to-head in a special food and drink evening called Grape versus Grain at the Bunch of Grapes, Pontypridd, South Wales, on Tuesday 19 June at 7pm.

The owners of the pub, Otley Brewing Company, are inviting people from across South Wales to “an evening of fine dining with a twist” that will allow them to judge which tipple tastes best with food – real ale or wine. Diners will be served both cask ale and wine alongside each of five courses and they will be asked to judge which complements each dish best. The evening has not been designed for real ale or wine experts but is an event for everyone to learn about the world of finely-brewed ale and quality wine.

Each course will be carefully prepared by critically-acclaimed head chef at the Bunch of Grapes, Sebastien Vanoni. He will use locally-sourced produce to produce some of the pub’s signature dishes.

Nick Otley, managing director of the pub and brewery, will head a real ale team with bar manager Gareth Hutt. They will go head-to-head with wine connoisseur Max Lloyd of Bibendum Wines and the manager of the Bunch of Cherries, Nina Richards.

Statistics show that more than 27 million Britons are classed as wine drinkers, compared to 7.8 million real ale consumers. Otley Brewery is campaigning to change this by highlighting the diversity of real ale and attempting to prove it’s just as satisfying as a cold glass of white wine.

Nick Otley says: “It’s a known fact that a good wine can make a great dish taste even better. But we want to get people thinking about the wonders of real ale, too, and how its flavours can really enhance certain dishes.

“We’ve used ale from the brewery in meals at the Bunch for some time and our customers can’t get enough of our Otley beer ice cream, O6 Porter reduction and Oxymoron jus. If they enjoy the ale so much in their meals, then we can guarantee they will enjoy them as accompaniments as well.”

The dishes

On arrival: Colchester oysters.

First course: Nightingale bush nettle soup, peppered crème fraîche, sourdough bread.

Second course: seared carpaccio of Welsh beef fillet, pickled girolle mushroom, watercress.

Third course: Filo papillote of Anglesey-farmed sea bass, ginger, chilli and coriander, wild and red Camargue rice.

Fourth course: Confit of leg of free-range Wye Valley chicken, pea, broad bean and Swiss chard, mustard jus.

Fifth course: British raspberry crème brûlée, lavender shortbread.

£40 per head; £140 for four people. Price includes five-course meal, ales and wines. Booking essential: 01443 402934.

*Bunch of Grapes, Ynysangharad Road, CF37 4DA, off A4054;