Beer is no longer the beverage of choice of the old fella down the pub. Gone are the days of the stereotypical ale drinker, complete with flat cap atop his head, a tankard in his calloused hand and the head of his best bitter dripping from his salt and pepper moustache. Like beards and bikes with baskets, beer is cool again. It is no longer the drink of a minority; it’s the drink of a far larger demographic that encompasses everyone from tattooed hipsters and their burger and beer bars to real ale lovers and their CAMRA certified pubs pulling pints of proper; and from Untapped enthusiasts and their promiscuous quest to dabble in as many brews as humanly possible to the avid homebrewer, beavering away in their shed to perfect their recipes. But it is also becoming the drink of the foodie, devout on matching their dishes with the perfect beer instead of typically pairing it with wine, and it is the drink of the chef who uses it as an ingredient rather than something to sup.
Pub menus will now boast that their onion rings or fish fillets are coated in a crisp beer batter, they will shout from the rooftops that their beef pie is made with ale and if you know where to look, you’ll even find them using it to bake cakes. But in Cardiff, beer is going into a different kind of dish due to the city’s newest chutney company.
The Taverners Table, owned by former gastro pub employees Dan and Jamie, are crafting and developing chutneys around the character of particular ales and beers to create something that is really quite special.
“The range of flavours offered by ales marries well with the range of flavours you’d expect of a good chutney,” explained Jamie Mistry-Evans. “We see it as a very natural pairing that has the potential to produce a very satisfying and complex taste experience.”
By using a variety of ales and ciders, from Untapped’s Eclipse used in their Dark Side of the Spoon red onion chutney to Black Dragon cider from Gwynt Y Ddraig in their jet black Flaming Dragon mustard, the pair hope to replicate the craft beer uprising that has seen a rise in popularity of different categories and flavours of beers.
“We’re inspired by the huge variety of craft beers, ciders and real ales available today,” said Jamie, “and we want to mirror that with our chutneys and mustards.
“Each beverage offers something different in terms of ingredients, along with the complexities and subtleties of their flavours and we hope that our products will be seen in much the same way,” he continued. “They are inspired by the vibrant and exciting world of craft brewing and each one will be an exciting one-off creation that will aim to bring the subtle, yet complex flavours of a range of craft beers, ciders and real ales to your plate,” he said.
What started as Dan, a creative chef, rustling up some jars of chutney made using Rhymney beer and selling it in one of the brewery’s Cardiff pubs, is now in the process of becoming a business as unique as it’s products.
After discussing a few different business models, including developing bespoke recipes for particular breweries; the pair settled on a subscription strategy whereby new chutneys will be delivered to their subscribers each month, something that has never been done before (as far as I know anyway – correct me if I’m wrong).
With a variety of subscription packages available, The Taverners Table, funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, should be hitting our tables soon.
“We’re taking the craft beer revolution in a whole new direction,” Jamie finished.