The offices of Foodpairing are located on the outskirts of one of Belgium’s most beautiful cities, Bruges. We were of course very happy when the city’s brewery “De Halve Maan” contacted us and allowed us to do flavour analysis on their beers. From now on the beers of brewery De Halve Maan can be paired in the Foodpairing Explorer. Here is an overview of the flavour and Foodpairing potential of one of their most precious beers: De Straffe Hendrik Heritage.
The Straffe Hendrik Heritage is a dark quadrupel beer of 11% alc vol, it has a fruity spicy flavour with flowery and cheesy undertones. A baseline of caramel is underlined by a maturation in oak casks. This adds an oaky complexity to the beer that fades into chocolate, maple and coffee notes. Furthermore the cask adds a touch of vinous acidity to the beer that makes it a complaint food companion that does not overpower, even with its high alcohol. Straffe Hendrik Heritage is a beer with a refermentation in the bottle, so it can be kept for several years, during which time the taste will further evolve.
A green theme lies submerged under the fruity and caramel oaky powerhouses. This interesting observation let us to specifically search for Foodpairing matches in that green direction, in an attempt to highlight this fresh quality of the beer. We found that cucumber and tomato excel in doing just that, the latter also plays on the fruity theme of the beer. These ingredients were the seeds of the following two recipes.
It is well known that crab and other crustaceans pair well with dark and black beer types, this can be backed up by flavour analysis and Foodpairing® theory. Our first recipe can surely be added to the list of pro evidence; it pairs a crab salad to the Straffe Hendrik Heritage. Cucumber and apple – remember the green theme – were added to the salad providing bite and freshness. A tomato coulis was prepared with candied tomatoes in order to give body to the dish and strongly match the beer.
Thrilled by the green theme and the subtle links it makes with the beer; we took it one step further and went all in with a cucumber dessert paired with the Straffe Hendrik. White chocolate was used to add richness, and a texture contrast is being provided by broken coffee meringues. Mind that all ingredients can be found in the Foodpairing tree of the beer… Taste to believe!
A third recipe than we designed to pair with the Straffe Hendrik Heritage is an oxtail stew with aubergade and bell peppers. The links are somewhat more straightforward compared to the previous recipes; focusing on the big roasty and caramellic themes present in the beer. Though we could not resist adding a touch of stubborn innovation in the form of goat cheese, providing freshness while going along with the cheesiness in the beer.