We hosted a Brewmaster’s Dinner last night at the pub for 40 lucky people. Our head Chef, Ryan ‘Mambo’, and his 3 sous chefs, Smitty, Eric and Tommy, crafted an incredible 9 course menu with beer pairings. The courses spanned so many different types of cuisines… from maple foam to sashimi to lamb. It was so delicious.
The potential interactions between food and craft beer are enormous. The flavor components in beer include but are not limited to malty, bready, roasty, hoppy, crisp, sweet, bitter, fruity, spicy, sour, and tart. Think about all of the possibilities!
Craftbeer.com has a wonderful chart about how the different flavors in beer and food complement and contrast with each other.
The dish below paired a cheese and potato pierogi and short ribs with our St. Alfonso’s Dubbel. This was definitely a case of complementary pairing. The richness of the pierogi and the meat was a harmonious accompaniment to the rich, malty, slightly spicy Dubbel!
Craftbeer.com also has a free self-guided course for pairing craft beer and food. I have not taken it yet, but I have it bookmarked and plan to eventually! I feel like I intuitively understand some pairings, but I would love to understand the contrasting and complementary aspects better. If you work with food or beer, or just enjoy food and beer together, I think this class would be awesome.
The dish below was one of my favorite pairings… pork belly with kimchi and red micro beet greens paired with Pako’s IPA. The dish was fatty and spicy and the bright, citrus bitterness of the Pako’s cut right through the fat and accentuated the spice. It was a amazing.
Also this pairing was really good… duck paired with Jenny Lake Lager. I think this pairing had both complementary and contrasting elements. The lager has a malty, bready backbone that emphasized the meaty sweetness of the duck. The lager yeast also creates a very clean, crisp finish that cuts through the fatness of the meat. It was almost like a pallet cleanser. These 2 elements made every drink/bite better by taking another bite/drink!
And Beer Advocate has a really neat interactive beer and food pairing guide. There are a lot of resources out there!
I was so impressed with the dinner these guys put together, and I think everyone else was to!
I don’t know when we will do another Brewmaster’s Dinner… I know it is a lot of work for the chefs, the entire kitchen crew, the front of house and everyone involved, but I hope we host another dinner before too long! And I hope you are inspired to try pairing food with craft beer! It’s easy, fun and delicious.