Saturday, January 25, 2014

Beer & Food Delights on a Brewvana Tour

This week I was thrilled to hop on one of the newly wrapped, beautiful Brewvana buses for a three-course beer pairing dinner. Having done all of the planning for the tour it was extra special that I was able to enjoy, quite literally, the fruits of my labor.

The first stop was Beer on SE Stark for what in the early stages of planning was simply soup and two beers. Even after learning what the soup was going to be prior to the tour it in no way prepared me for the deliciousness that would be presented. Our first beer of the night was a crowd pleaser: Pints Brewing Amerikaner In Berliner Weiss. Low in alcohol, lightly tart and loaded with flavor it's one of my favorite beers Alan has made. Up next was the soup, a generous bowl of pastrami and cabbage soup with light rye bread, and Double Mountain Black Perle Double Stout. The 9.5% ABV beer was a great match for the full flavored soup and I would have been quite content to halt the night right there, ordering additional soup and stout. Alas, once our bowls and glasses were drained we hopped back on the bus.

A short jaunt across the river took us to Sasquatch Brewing in Hillsdale. Upon arriving we were led back to a table laid out for us, complete with personalized menus. Shortly thereafter plates of our entrée, crispy pork belly atop Bertha brown risotto with braising greens accompanied by a pickled spaghetti squash fritter and celeriac cream, were brought out. I was sold at pork belly and enjoyed every morsel of it but what really blew me away was the fritter. I mean have you ever heard of pickled spaghetti squash? And on top of that made into a fritter? It was beyond delicious. Paired with the amazing food was their Celilo Cascadian Dark Ale. I love CDAs and this was a great compliment to the rich, full bodied meal. With two incredible courses down, we headed out for stop #3 - dessert.

Imperial Bottle Shop was our destination where owners Shawn and Alex had paired Lauretta Jean's blackberry-raspberry mini pies with two beers and a cider. To top that all off, there was also a serving of Salt & Straw's olive oil ice cream. Both the Block 15 Figgy Pudding and the cider were great with the pie and the Fort George Coffee Girl Imperial Stout was magical with the ice cream. The final course rounded out a very delicious and enjoyable night.

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