Simpsons vs Purity – matching fine food and real ale

Last time I had a pint of Purity Brewing Co’s Mad Goose, I think I was standing in The Wellington surrounded by the smell of sweat and salt and vinegar crisps. That’s probably a fairly typical accompaniment to real ale, but following a chance meeting between Andreas Antona (Simpson’s chef-proprietor) and Paul Halsey (MD of Purity) at the Taste of Birmingham festival, that might all be about to change…


Andreas and Paul decided to put together an evening to celebrate both artisanally made food and beer, and last week at Simpson’s there was a fantastic five-course menu on offer with a different beer to accompany each dish, including Purity’s real ales Pure UBU, Pure Gold and Mad Goose, and its imported beers Veltins Pilsner and Maisels Weisse. Although Loaf wasn’t there on this occasion (we found out too late!), reportedly the evening was a real success, with around 20 guests tucking into the delicious food and beer.

Purity also had Paul Corbett, the Managing Director of its hops merchant Charles Faram, on hand to talk to the guests about how the hops in its beers impacts upon the finished flavour. All of Purity’s hops are specially selected to produce unique tasting beers, making them a great choice to match to different types of food.

Paul Halsey was there to help host the evening and he said: “Andreas did a brilliant job of designing a menu that perfectly complemented our ales and imported beers. It’s great that people are starting to realise that real ale can be enjoyed with fine food just as well as, if not better than wine.”

Purity kindly provided Loaf with the menu from the evening – let this whet your appetite:

Terrine_of_HamCourse One – Terrine of ham hock, chicken & foie gras, sweet corn puree, truffle vinaigrette
(Beer Veltins Pilsner)

Course two – Escalope of salmon on a bed of sauerkraut, light mustard sauce
(Beer – Pure Gold)

Course three – Slow-cooked belly of suckling pig, ravioli of braised trotter, fennel compote, spiced baby pears, honey & cracked pepper sauce
(Beer – Mad Goose)

Caramelised_BananaCourse four – Caramelised banana, caramel parfait, peanut butter ice-cream
(Beer – Maisels Weisse)

Course five – Welsh rarebit
(Beer – Pure UBU)

Although Simpsons were unable to provide a specific example of supporting local farms through their delicious looking menu, they are stalwarts of the local food scene in Birmingham, buying from great Midlands butcher Aubrey Allen, and Staffordshire’s Manor Fruit Farm among other local producers.

A quick google search reveals there’s a lot of resources out there for would-be ‘ale sommeliers’. Try this CAMRA guide for a start, or if you can get hold of Purity’s excellent Ales (check stockists here, or buy from their shop), here’s what they recommend:

Pure Gold is a refreshing golden ale with a dry and bitter finish that is easy to drink. It would suit light savoury and spicy dishes, such as Indian, Thai and fish dishes, especially salmon.

Pure UBU is a distinctive premium amber coloured beer that is balanced and full of flavour making it a pleasure to drink. It would go well with any red meat in the form of casseroles, stews, steak and kidney pudding and also with most strong-tasting cheeses.

Mad Goose is a classic pale ale that is zesty and full-bodied. This light copper coloured ale would go with pork and lamb dishes. (what, not salt and vinegar crisps then?!)

These two great local businesses obviously hit it off, as they are hatching plans for a second date on the 12th November, where they’ll be matching game and beer. Stay glued to the site as full details will be published here when they are released.

Were you there? Tell us what you thought by leaving a comment below.

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