Beer AND doughnuts you say? Why has this not been a thing until now? Last weekend those lucky enough to be at Goose Islands LDN Block Party got an opportunity to sample such delights. The Goose Island Beer Company teamed up with Crosstown Doughnuts to offer pairings such as Roasted Peach Doughnut with Goose Halia and Sea Salt Caramel with Goose Bourbon Country Stout.
First on the menu was a pairing of Vegan Lemon-Thyme doughnut with Goose Sofie. This was my first time of trying a savoury doughnut and I wasn’t disappointed. The doughnut itself was made from a beetroot dough. It was finished with a citrus and thyme glaze and topped with a delightful vanilla crumble that added a crunch at the end. This was paired with a Saison beer brewed with Belgian yeast and aged in wine barrels. Sofie has the finesse of Champagne, with high carbonation and notes of citrus and vanilla. Coming in with an ABV of 6.5 per cent you would never have guessed that light refreshing beer would pack such a punch. The beer and doughnut sat shoulder to shoulder and worked better as a pair.
Next up was the Roasted Peach doughnut with Goose Halia. The Roasted peach was delicious enough on its own and almost never made it to the pairing. Halia is Belgian style Saison that is aged with over 20 kilos of peaches per wine barrel. While the style of the beer may be similar to that of the Sofie, the taste of the beer is that of a sour beer and one to be savoured. This sourness is due to the brettanomyces ‘brett’ that is added at the barrelling stage. The ABV is stepped up here to peachy 7.5 per cent, but again you wouldn’t know as the booze is hidden behind a wall of stone fruit. The peach composite in the middle of the doughnut is a fantastic jam and paired with the Halia, created a perfect balance of sweet and sour.
The third paring was a Chocolate Truffle doughnut with Goose Lolita. This was one of those cloying deserts, rich and heavy. A sourdough, topped with a milk chocolate ganache, with a fat ring of dark chocolate truffle running through it. Sat next to this was a wild beer, a full on sour with an ABV turned up to 8.7 per cent. Lolita may not be for everyone but straddling this doughnut the acidity really cut through the weighty treat. Loita has even more brett than the Halia, making it very tart. Thrown in to the mix is 22 kilos of Michigan raspberries per barrel, the beer is then aged in wine barrels for between eight months and a year. These two really have been thrown together. They juxtapose bold and brash, but together they manage to create a fine balance that is very palatable.
Our final paring was a Sea Salt Caramel Banana doughnut with Goose Bourbon Country Stout. The guys at Crosstown have managed to create a very light and fluffy custard banana centre encased in chocolate sourdough and then covered with lightly salted caramel with a biscuity chocolate crumble. Paired with this was the now legendary and very limited Goose Bourbon Country Stout, weighting in at a hefty 14.1 per cent ABV. The Goose Bourbon County Stout, or BCS as it’s more fondly known is a globally revered beer and one that people will queue for hours for. The BCS is a thick stout, packed with chocolate and vanilla notes and aged in bourbon barrels. Released annually, it is an ever changing monster and one that will leave you wanting more. By the end of the tasting I didn’t want to leave. I would have happy sat and nursed another glass of the BCS or combined a Roasted Peach donut and a glass of Goose Halia.
For those unfamiliar with big or sour beers, it was a great introduction and journey, showing you what you can do with foreign flavours. How things that at first may feel astringent actually sit up very well once you become acquainted with their flavours.
By Mathew Morrison