GOOD CHEER: Happy diner Rob Hodson joins Coopers regional manager Phil Gibson, chef Nick Cassidy, Coopers representative Kelly Galbraith and co-host Kirsty Muir to toast the success of the evening. Photos Tim Howard
GOOD CHEER: Happy diner Rob Hodson joins Coopers regional manager Phil Gibson, chef Nick Cassidy, Coopers representative Kelly Galbraith and co-host Kirsty Muir to toast the success of the evening. Photos Tim Howard

Beer degustation was the perfect match on display

BEER lovers know that that washing a pie or pizza down with a cold ale is one of life's delights.

When that pie is a washed rind cheese and fig bourek - actually more like a flaky pastry sausage roll - and the beer is a specially chosen Coopers 62, then you feel you might have inadvertently slipped into heaven.

That's what happened for the Clarence's beer-loving set on Friday night, when they arrived at four-course degustation dinner.

Yamba Shores Tavern chefs Nick Cassidy and Geoff Platt dialled their imaginations up to full volume to produce four scrumptiously fun entries on the menu.

And local Coopers Beer regional manager Phil Gibson and regional representative Kelly Galbraith matched the fare perfectly with four of their company's brews.

And to wrap up the evening Coopers introduced local drinkers to a new brew, Brooklyn Lager, which Coopers has agreed to brew for the American-based company in Australia. It tapped the first keg its first keg in NSW at the dinner and judging by the enthusiasm at the makeshift bar in the tavern's dining room, they are onto a winner.

Here's how the evening progressed.

Hosts, tavern owner Matt Muir and his wife Kirsty, greeted diners with starter trays of a Salumi Salami Pizzetta (sausage sourced from Billinudgel) and the bourek.

Dinner took a turn for the funky with the entree, JFC, or Japanese fried chicken. Deliciously light fried chicken balls and yakitori sauce, served with a fast food twist.

A local Coopers favourite, Original Pale Ale, accompanied this dish.

The fast food theme took a new turn with a Pluto Pup and burger main course.

But what a Pluto Pup. The confit or duck corn dog, with Sriracha sauce, was light and delicious and a million miles away from the eating qualities of its namesake.

The burger was another duck delight with shredded meat, goats cheese, honey and local rocket, served on a brioche bun. And if you wondered why no fast food bun tastes like that, it's because chef Geoff made them himself.

The Coopers Artesian Reserve Pils, with its light bitterness cutting through the flavour of the duck, was an inspired choice to accompany this course.

The final course was a return to a classic theme, but lost nothing in the funkiness stakes.

A beeramisu, inspired by the classic Italian dessert tiramisu, employed Coopers Dark Ale to soak the savioardi biscuits.

The high alcohol Coopers Best Extra Stout made for a wonderful finish to the meal.

In between courses Kelly entertained diners with some fascinating information about beer and the Cooper family who have been brewing beer in Australia for 150 years.

She also sent around samples of the Pride of Ringwood hops, encouraging people to take a whiff of the product used in all Coopers beers.

Amid the fun, host Matt pointed out the tavern's flags were flying at half mast for one of Yamba's characters and a patron of the tavern, Barbara Arnott.

He said Barbara was a beer connoisseur who was very vocal about beer hygiene.

"She always could tell you if the beer was off. She could tell you every place around Yamba where the beer had been off for 55 years," Matt said.

"But she always kept coming back here."



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