It all started with the Beeramisu…..
The idea for the Food and Beer pairing dinner had been brewing in my mind since we attended the Craft Brewers Association Conference in San Diego this spring. My husband, the Brewmaster, had already grabbed the really exciting seminars dealing with “off flavors”, fermentation problems, and why a particular bottle cap is better than another. Being a good sport, and in the spirit of divide and conquer, I volunteered to do the less technical presentations and found myself in a ballroom with about 100 other lucky souls where we spent an hour dissecting the art of food and beer pairing presented by the fine folks at Karl Strauss.
Now, we’ve done a few of these events at Wolf Creek over the years (and some with wine as we are equal-opportunity drinkers), but in all of our travels I had never before tried the thing called “Beeramisu”. Upon comparing notes with Rob, he – not surprisingly – felt I got the better end of the deal. “We’ve got to make this!” I told him, I was sure Heather and Meghan (our amazing Wolf Creek pastry chefs) could figure this out. But what venue would be worthy of such a dessert? We had to do something more than just put it in the rotation. We had to do something special!
As luck would have it, our fabulous rep from Stone Brewing Co., Jonas Wilby, started bugging us about doing a beer pairing dinner using Stone and Wolf Creek beers. Even better, Stone was coming out with a Smoked Vanilla Porter. What better beer for a Beeramisu? It was fate!
Next step – get Rob and Chuy (our very talented chef) to get together and create some dishes to go with the plethora of beers presented to us by Jonas. Ohhh, the decisions….what to pick, what to pick? After much laborious drinking researchand development, we finally narrowed the choices down to 5. Twenty-eight lucky souls got to enjoy a fabulous night of good cheer, great food and great beers. If you missed it, this is what it looked like:
We started with a pint of Stone’s 16th Anniversary Imperial IPA to welcome everyone and thank them for coming (no easing in slowly and building up to the big stuff…this is Stone and Wolf Creek for darn sake).
Course 1: Maytag Bleu Cheese, English Coastal Cheddar, and Spanish Manchengo served with homemade fig jam, Marcona Almonds, and Greek Olives. We paired the bleu with the Hopdazed (delicious with a little fig jam as well), the English Cheddar with Stone IPA and the Manchengo with our Golden Eagle Ale. We were off to a good start!
Course 2: We did a little palate cleanser with an Ahi Ceviche marinated in our Howlin’ Hefeweizen served with crispy won tons. We paired this with either a glass of the Hef or the Cali-Belgique IPA from Stone. Hard to pick…the Hef was the “complement” to the marinade, but the tang of the Cali-Belgique balanced nicely as well.
Next up: Korean Beef Tacos on corn tortillas topped with cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes tossed in chili-garlic sauce with a little guacamole cream. Pair that up with an Arrogant Bastard Ale and you’ve got a home run! Jonas took the opportunity to tell us about the origin of Arrogant Bastard – did you know it was originally a mistake???
Now on to my favorite pairing of the night: Grilled Achiote Marinated Shrimp on a bed of jicama slaw. The Stone Ruination Ale with that slaw was one of the best combos I’ve ever had! As a special treat, Rob broke out some Vertical Epic 09.09.09 from his personal stash to pair up with those Achiote shrimp. Mmmmm…..Jonas let us know that bottles of the 09.09.09 Epic are going for about $150.00 on the eBay market. Who knew??? Well, they sure tasted worth that to those of us there!
Did anyone have room left? There was still more to come….Short Rib Sliders braised in Wild Angels Dubbel Trubbel topped with crispy onion strings and served with a side of roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Of course, the Wild Angels accompanied this, along with a taster of Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale. According to Jonas, Stone was the first to commercially brew an India Black Ale back in 2009. At this point, most of us were too tipsy full to get all of the details. It was just good!
And finally we got to the Beeramisu! But Heather, our fabulous pastry chef, would not be outdone by all the glorious creations Chuy had made. “Why”, she asked me on Tuesday, “are we only having one dessert when we are sampling so many other things?” I had no good answer for this. “I hope you don’t mind, but I decided to make some Chocolate Cinnamon Ice Cream with our Midnight Howl and some candied pecans.” Mind????? Was she crazy?? “Oh, and I hope its ok, but I made some Beer Caramels using our Hefeweizen too.” Hell, yes! It was more than ok…It was fantastic!
Those of us that could still move at that point stood to applaud the chefs and the Brewmaster and did more than a few rousing cheers (making those outside the banquet room who failed to secure their tickets jealous, I’m sure).