June 13, 2013

Summer Beer Fest is approaching! Plus recap of New Belgium Lips of Faith Dinner

The Summer Beer Festival hits Westport THIS SATURDAY! Get your tickets now to save yourself $5. They're $25, but go up to $30 at the gate. From 5 - 9 PM rain or shine. It's going to be a great event with an amazing cause - proceeds benefit AIDS Walk KC.

Now, time for a recap of the New Belgium Lips of Faith Beer Dinner.

10 beers, 10 courses. Beer Ranger Adam Satz on hand, talking about the beers. It was a good night. It got off to a surprise start, when Adam brought out some 2013 La Folie for everybody! Such a great, GREAT beer. Then the festivities started...

Starting with the cheese courses. This was also the first chance to try Paardebloem, a Belgian-style ale bittered with dandelion greens. As it turned out, the Paardebloem and rougue et noir camembert was my favorite pairing, with the smooth, rich cheese going well with the little bit of funk in the beer. It was close though, all of the beers were mighty fine, and I'm a sucker for cheese. I think the aged cheddar was my overall favorite cheese. The Cascara Quad paired with the bellavitano was dang good too, with fruit flavors coming through in the combination.

The first course brought out an interesting take on a familiar dish, with General Tso's Lobster. Food court Chinese meets upscale. It worked. The Biere de Mars helped cut through the saltiness of from the sauce, and cabbage gave a good crisp to the dish. And the beer was fantastic, one that I forget about from time to time. I don't want to overlook this one anymore.

Another cheese-related dish, and I won't complain. This was a ricotta parfait with plum vinaigrette and soft croutons, with another new offering from New Belgium, Pluot. The ONLY drawback from this was that the soft crouton took some getting used to, and there was more parfait than crouton. I'm not above using a fork to eat the rest. It was that good. The pluot (a combo of plum and apricot) in the beer was sweet but tempered, and went nicely with the creamy ricotta.

I think I've stated on here before I love scallops. And obviously I love tacos. Put those together with an ahi "pico," and I will want to eat about a million of them. I was not let down. With a wonton-like shell, the flavors all melded fabulously. There was some heat to them, but the Peach Porch Lounger had a touch of sweetness to counterbalance. This was a great course. It ranks up there in the pantheon of great beer dinner courses. I want to eat this all day every day. AND, I learned that this beer was a collaboration between New Belgium and G. Love! Check out this cool video

What could follow? How about a pork shoulder in a java bbq sauce with pickled onions? Yep. Back to back great dishes. And New Belgium's Imperial Coffee Chocolate Stout was the perfect accompaniment, bringing out the coffee from the sauce. Tender, succulent meat is always a winner with me. There is no way that can be taken the wrong way.

Now dessert. After 8 beers, people were feeling good, loving life, so it probably would have been easy to look back on this through beer goggles, but whoa. A frozen lemon custard cone paired with Heavenly Feijoa Tripel and spiced berry flatbread with Biere de Garde. So a feijoa is a tropical fruit, making it a natural pairing with the lemon custard. And though the berries on the flatbread was incredible in its own right, it was overshadowed by how marvelous the custard cone was. In a meal with some highlight reel meals, this was a fitting end, with two amazing desserts. But that's not all!

Everyone at the dinner got their own New Belgium glass for their collection! Thanks to New Belgium and Adam for bringing tasty beers, and a bravo to Chef Michael Peterson. I hope he keeps outdoing himself with these dinners!

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