February 15, 2011

Pics - Grain vs. Grape Dinner

Sunday night's 'Valentine's Day Eve' Brewmaster's Dinner at Beer Kitchen was an epicurean battle that pit wine against beer, and the night couldn't have been more interesting or informative.  Each of the 5 chef-inspired courses was paired with a wine, chosen by guest-speaker & sommelier Kathy Rohlfing, and a beer chosen by Beer Kitchen manager Randyl Danner.  Guests were asked to vote for their favorite pairing with each dish, and the votes were counted at the end of the night to declare a winner for each pairing as well as overall.  Many thanks to those who made it out, but for those who didn't - here's what you missed:

The ballots.  Each card was hand-made by McCoy's bartender Ricardo Ruiz, as well as the commemorative buttons.

Reception course: Heartland Creamery Chevre Crostini & Burnt End-stuffed Maytag Cheese Puffs

Reception course part 2: Dupont Avec Les Bon Voeux Saison from Belgium & New Mexico Gruet Sparkling Rose from New Mexico.  The highest-rated Saison in the world won this battle.

Sweet Potato-crusted Sea Bass with Chorizo, Potato Chowder & Cilantro Oil served with Urthel Hop-it Blonde Ale, from Belgium & Marc Bredif Vouvray from France.  This dish was out of control!  Wine took the victory on this one.

Lemon-Thyme Roasted Duck Leg with Red Lentil-Baby Arugula Salad paired with Bell's Pale Ale from Michigan & Garnacha, Borsao, "Tres Picos" from Spain.  Wine took a 2-1 lead on the third course.

Braised Beef Short Ribs, Peruvian Purple Potato, Braised Root Vegetables with Young's Double Chocolate Stout Demi served with Aventinus Weizenstarkbier from Germany & E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone from France.  Beer tied the score 2-2 to make things interesting...

Chocolate Decadence with Caramel Foam, Macerated Blackberries & Vanila Tuille Cookie paired with Lindeman's Framboise from Belgium & Chapoutier Banyuls from France.  Beer won this dish by a landslide.  The tart, slightly acidic flavors and light effervescence of the lambic paired wonderfully with the dense cake.

Overall, beer may have won the battle in a narrow 3-2 victory, but the real winners of this dinner were everyone who attended.  It was truly a great way to spend Valentine's Day and these dinners are always something to look forward to.  Next month's will be no exception as we welcome Paul DeVries of Chicago's Goose Island Brewery on March 27.  We'll be tasting their Belgian-inspired beers including Sofie, Fleur, Pere Jacques, Juliet & Dominique.  More information on that as it becomes available.  Cheers!

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