We’ve probably had more than our fair share of fantastic collaborations. Wellington’s a town with a nice buzz going on and the fact is it’s not been hard to come across inspiring and like-minded people doing all sorts of interesting and creative things.

But our collaboration with chef Jacob Brown and his partner Sarah, the owners of Miramar restaurant The Larder for Wellington on a Plate has definitely been our most challenging and perhaps most audacious project yet.

 

 

 

I really like Jacob. There’s no doubt he’s a great chef, but he also has a cheeky streak and you can tell that he likes to stir. Witness his soft spot for offal. It’s an interest grounded firmly in the philosophy of using the whole beast, from tail to snout - but there’s definitely a twinkle in his eye that suggests there is more than a hint of mischief at work. It’s just as well for those who are lucky enough to have tried his meals, because this kind of mischief, when it’s backed up with real skill, creates something pretty close to genius.

 

This was the premise - hatched up over beers and a slab of barbequed meat in Jacob’s back yard – a six course meal, to be held among the tanks of the brewery, each course to be served with a different beer, three courses designed by Jacob to go with existing Garage Project beers and three courses with beer designed to go with a dish suggested by Jacob.

 

 

What happened next was about three months of discussion back and forth, testing, tasting, design and revision - nowhere near as clear-cut as the original idea, but in practice even more productive and fun. The highlight was definitely brewing our Oyster and Black Pepper Stout with Jacob, sharing the brewing process with him while he shucked his way through a pile of fresh Tio Point oysters - one for us, one for the brew, two for us…

 

The result in the end was eight rather than the original six courses (there were just too many ideas that seemed too good to pass up). The beers in order of appearance were, Purple Haze Honig Hefeweizen a tart, dry Blue Borage honey wheat beer designed as an aperitif, Pernicious Weed, Bier Blonde sur Blonde, a Belgian Blonde brewed with malted barley, rye, wheat and oats, a quick Red Rocks Reserve to stall while the finishing touches were being put to the pig, Smoke and Mirrors, our lightly smoked Bock beer that’s also been served along side LBQ’s Hare of the Hog Burger, our Tio Point Oyster and toasted black pepper stout, Lord Cockswain’s Double Barreled Porter and the very last of the Double Day of the Dead.

 

I won’t give a blow-by-blow account of the night itself, that’s already been done in inimitable style by the food blogger Jeremy Taylor the Omnivore detailing the eight courses of inspired and surprising food that greeted the diners on the night. If you were lucky enough to be one of the forty people who sat down to Jacob’s dinner I’m sure it will bring back fond memories. For those who missed out, sorry, we’ll try to do it again. But in the meantime just think of this as porn for food and beer lovers.

 

 

Huge thanks to all involved, to Jacob, Sarah and their team, to Jeramiah Ross aka Module for the perfect mood music, to Simon, the small holder who takes our spent grain and of course his pig, who made the greatest sacrifice of all - you will be remembered fondly by all who attended the night.