As we well know from the Doughnut Digest Series, the last year has had me obsessed with the donut scene in Edmonton. Each donuterie has come up with it’s own unique stylings, and the flavours have put my taste buds in a tizzy. Concurrently and regretfully, I’ve been following along with Sea Change Brewing Co. on social for a while, but still hadn’t had the opportunity to go. After stumbling across the post about them collaborating with Farrow, I knew my time had come.
A donut and beer pairing? Don’t mind if I do.
The pairing was hosted in Sea Change’s Taproom. Doors at 6pm, pairing at 7pm, and unlike our typical fashion, D and I showed up reasonably early…well 6:25pm. Turns out they wanted all food orders in by 6:30pm to ensure they were ready before the pairing, so we panic ordered two beers (the English Brown and the Blonde) as well as a couple of bánh mì (Vietnamese sammies) that Sea Change brings in from Pho & Bun (OG Deluxe Pork Belly for him, and the Lemongrass Chicken for me). I definitely had food FOMO after taking a bite of his sandwich, but pork belly is hit or miss for me so I opted for something I knew I’d like. As a result of doing a terrible job of taking pictures when I’m starving, I don’t have any pictures of the sandwiches, which is lucky for me as now I have an excuse to go back.
But who fucking cares? We’re on to the pairings, and I’ve got pictures for those.
The first pairing was made up of Sea Change’s Irish Red Ale at 5.0% ABV, which had caramel and toffee notes, paired with a sour green apple filled donut, topped with a caramel glaze and toffee pieces. The green apple filling was an exceptional bright green colour, but the texture was more reminiscent of crumbled jello which was both unexpected and strange. Had the texture been different, I think I would have been a bigger fan of this donut. That said, the beer and the toffee topping really played well together. Following this pairing, we were informed that full sizes of the donuts would be available for purchase after the event. “Well shit,” I thought. “Here’s hoping they don’t get better.”
They got better.
The second pairing had the hoppy, citrus juice flavours of The Wolf (5.5% ABV) paired with a pineapple lime curd filled donut, topped with meringue made of egg whites infused with the same hops used to make the beer. Fuck me sideways, this was easily my favourite pairing. The texture of the egg whites in the meringue smoothed and perfectly offset the acidity of the pineapple lime curd. I wanted this donut over and over until my eyes rolled back. Sign me up for the full size, cuz I want it thick and I want it creamy.
The third pairing consisted of the the Prairie Fairy, made from Alberta two row barley and malt, featuring a tart blackberry explosion. With these slightly acidic, fruity undertones, Farrow paired this beer with s Swedish Berry glazed donut, that had a mini strawberry Poptart placed atop it. This was our first non-filled donut of the night. The donut itself was a smidge dry, but the glaze was quite sticky and delicious. Ultimately I believe that its consistency is what made for this donut to be considered dry – had there been more of it, or if it had been similar to an icing then I don’t think this would have been an issue. The mini Poptart was adorable. The pastry was lovely, and anything with multicoloured sprinkles, as we well know, has my heart.
The fourth and final pairing put Sea Change’s strong 8.0% ABV Imperial Stout rotational with a cakey chocolate donut more along the lines of something you’d get from Moonshine. The donut was made with the same hops from the beer giving it a grainy texture, and was drenched in a dark chocolate caramel ganache and topped with in-house made marshmallow fluff. The stout, with its rich, bold notes hinting at dark roast coffee, bakers chocolate and dark fruits paired with the brownie-like donut assimilated the flavours of the beer and donut, which made for a captivating experience. It became hard to separate the flavour notes of the beer from those of the donut. While the second pairing was perfectly complementary, this pairing drew parallel.
We picked up a full size of each donut on the way out, and I actually crushed an additional pineapple one to myself, but the curd in the center was much more bitter than what was in the minis, and sadly wasn’t as good. That said these donuts, just like Farrow’s sandwiches, were wonderfully thought out. The pairings were indulgent and refined. The intertwining of flavours between the beers and donuts was notable, and if they host more of these in the future (they mentioned it to be a possibility once new beers were on tap!) then I would absolutely do it again.
Also, thanks to our original rushed order we managed to accidentally stumble through the entire beer menu at Sea Change. “Great Beer From Right Here” is right. All of these beers can be described as easy drinking, no matter what the style. The stout all the way to their IPA can be enjoyed by everyone, even by the guy whose idea of a good beer is drinking Coors Banquet instead of Coors Light.
Hunger: 3 (following the bánh mì)
Portion size: 2
Drunk n disorderly: 2