April 18, 2014

I-70 Showdown: A pack of Steve/Steven/Stephens

If you want to be a brewer in the greater Kansas City metro (yeah, we're including St. Louis as part of the metro), you'd do well to change your name to some variation of "Steve." This year, we added a fourth brewery to our annual I-70 Showdown beer dinner - Kansas City Bier Company. We also added a fourth to the Steve group, with KCBC's Steve Holle joining Boulevard's Steven Pauwels, Schlafly's Stephen Hale, and Free State's Steve Bradt. Holle fit right in, wearing Lederhosen to go with his German style beer. And to compete in the "best dressed" category with Hale's utilikilt. Not to be outdone, Pauwels donned his Belgian outfit. . . a scarf.

There was the usual good-natured ribbing between the boys from the breweries, and the usual great beers paired with incredible food. The meal started with halibut cheeks, chestnut brown butter, and greens, paired with Boulevard 80 Acre, Free State Coeur de Saison, KC Bier Co. Helles, and Schlafly American Brown Ale. Each of the beers offered the plate something different - 80 Acre was the hoppy beer of the bunch, and went with the bitter greens, Coeur de Saison was spicy and had the flavor to shine and cut through everything, while the Helles was nice and light and didn't overpower the plate (and was probably the best pairing for this course), and the American Brown gave a roast flavor that helped mellow the chestnut brown butter.
Stealing the photos from Beer Kitchen's Facebook. Way better than camera phone pics

The second course brought Boulevard's Long Strange Tripel, Free State's Ad Astra, KC Bier Co.'s Dunkel, and Schlafly's Biere de Garde together with a duo of roasted quail and acorn squash ravioli. The quail was delicate and was well balanced by Long Strange, the acorn squash ravioli was rich and paired nicely with the Biere de Garde. Not that the other beers didn't work with the food, because they all fit here. 

Third was a lamb shank with heirloom bean cassoulet and glazed carrots. It had a sweet, chocolaty sauce that really pulled the plate together (and I was lucky enough to sit next to an Irishman who doesn't eat lamb, so I got a second helping). The beer for this course had a couple of hoppy beers in Free State's Stormwatch Ale and KC Bier Co.'s Hopfen Doof, a big sweet Belgian style with Schlafly's Quadrupel, and a strong wild ale from Boulevard. 2013 Terra Incognita was the star here, as the Boulevard/Sierra Nevada collaboration matured very well. A little funky and great body, it cut the sweetness of the plate. 

Dessert had a duo of vanilla cake with elderberry mascarpone mousse and pistachio gelato paired with Boulevard Bourbon Barrel Quad, Free State Owd Macs Imperial, KCBC Maibock, and Schlafly Milk Chocolate. While the Maibock was fantastic, it was hard to keep up with the big beers from the other breweries. Free State's Templeton Rye aged imperial stout was boozy and great with the cake. A perfect finish to the meal!

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