Bitter Tasting Room sits at the corner of Hastings and Carrall just outside of Gastown, and is another craft beer focused spot in the area. They have 8 (but I hear soon to be 14) rotating taps and the largest bottle selection in the city. The menu at Bitter features a variety of classic bar snacks as well as some innovative and substantial mains. Popular menu items include the house made soft pretzels, smoked mackerel, an insane brisket stuffed meatball and my favourite, the scotch eggs. They also just recently added a really great pulled pork sandwich to the menu, which meant I had to get in there to pair that up with a killer craft beer.
Now this pulled pork sandwich isn’t the pulled pork sandwich you might expect. It’s not that “Carolina-style” pulled pork or the smoky “Texas-BBQ” style either. This pulled pork sandwich has bit more of a southwest thing going on. It’s loaded with juicy pulled pork, coleslaw and a zesty tomatillo sauce on a bakery fresh bun.
The first thing that I noticed was the pork has real saltiness to it, which is different, as you often get a bit of sweetness from pulled pork. But the salt is nice when combined with the acidity from the crunchy cabbage slaw and tomatillo sauce. The slaw adds great texture to the sandwich as well. The tangy and slightly spicy tomatillo sauce totally completes this sandwich and makes it something truly original.
The bottle selection at Bitter allowed for the luxury (and maybe struggle as well) of choice between several different great craft beers from all over the map. But I had one in mind that I was happy to hear they were stocking at the moment. The beer I chose to pair up with the pulled pork sandwich was the Lagunitas IPA. Lagunitas is great brewery out of California that is always coming out with great beers that are often a little “outside the box”. This IPA is not too far out from what we expect in BC, but it definitely has its very own unique flavor profile.
The beer pours a nice orange colour with a big hop aroma and some citrus notes on the nose as well. The Lagunitas IPA’s blend of malt and hops creates a great balance that has you really wanting another. The flavor is sweet as the malt is not lost or overpowered by the hops. This sweetness is perfect up against salty pulled pork and the slight spice from the tomatillo sauce. The citrus notes in the beer aslo go great with the tomatillo sauce and the hop bitterness cut the fattiness from the pork, really cleansing the palate.
So, next time you’re looking for something a bit different from a pulled pork sandwich paired with a sweet but sessionable IPA then head to Bitter Tasting Room for This Sandwich and That Beer.
Check out www.bittertastingroom.com and www.lagunitas.com for more info, follow them both on Twitter @bittervancouver and @lagunitasbruhws and follow me @TSTB_blog. Head to Legacy Liquor if you’re looking to pick up a six-pack of the Lagunitas IPA.
Photo Credits: Jordan Rokosz