Candles were lit and soft music played as a five-course meal with beer accompaniments ran its course in the AC Hub on Nov. 4.
The Beer and Food Pairing event was free for students to enjoy.
Geoffrey Skeggs, a teacher in the sommelier program at the college, was the expert for the evening. He guided the students through the different types of beer, explaining the history behind each one and why it pairs so well with the foods offered.
The meals for the evening were prepared by the college’s neighbour, Chances’R. The event had previously been catered by Algonquin’s culinary students.
“We had to switch to an outside caterer after moving to the hub,” Skeggs said, referring to when the event was hosted in the Restaurant International. “There’s no kitchen facilities in here so it’s harder but we’re huge supporters of the culinary students and what they do here.”
Despite the lack of a kitchen, the AC Hub worked well as a location for the event.
“Doing an event like this in here as opposed to the talks showcases the flexibility of the space,” Skeggs explained.
The beers served all came from local craft breweries and were paired with an array of different meals. Dishes served ranged from spanakopita to Thai-inspired shrimp to a chocolate peanut butter cheesecake to finish off the evening.
Skeggs chose all of the beers that were served himself and then made suggestions to the chefs based on what flavours would work.
“Sometimes I’ll give them examples of what they could make and they’ll just make exactly that,” he said. “Sometimes they’ll have fun with it. There’s a lot they can do. You can have the weight of the dish contrast the weight of the beer or you can have them complement each other.”
“I never imagined how much a drink can be influenced by food.”
Skeggs was able to teach his students of the night a lot of the technicalities of beer without coming across as boring thanks to the subject matter students would be interested in. He taught students about the ingredients that go into a good beer, how they are made and more between dishes.
Eric Vieria, an AC Hub employee, attended the event as a student.
“It was nice things to learn,” said Vieria. “I gained a lot of knowledge tonight.”
Iulyya Shchilnyk was very impressed with the evening.
“Everything was well explained,” she said. “I never imagined how much a drink can be influenced by food.”
Some students who attended had specific opinions about what was served.
“The cheesecake was awesome,” said Tanya Kremer. “But I didn’t like the beer that went with it at all.”
At the end of the night, AC Hub employees made sure that students got home safely.