Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Beer Dinner at a Grocery Store

When a last minute opportunity presented itself for me to attend the Whole Foods Market Brewery Dinner it was an offer I couldn't refuse, in large part because the brewery partner was one of my favorites - The Commons. Additionally I was intrigued to see that Whole Foods was dipping their toes in the beer pairing dinner waters.

The dinner was held at the downtown location, upstairs in The Salud. Part of it overlooks the store and part of it overlooks 12th Avenue, a bright and airy space that seems much bigger than it is. While it's set up with those fancy, tilted mirrors for cooking demonstrations the night's focus was what was right in front of us on the table.

Josh and Travis were on hand representing The Commons and after a brief introduction we dove right into the introductory course of two cheeses, baguette, olives, fresh figs and nectarines. Paired with it was The Commons Saison. While Harbison, the softer of the two cheeses immediately won my heart over it was the firmer goat cheese, reminiscent of a parmesan, which I thought paired better with the beer (also delicious with the bright green olives).

The appetizer course was something I was reserved about as I prefer my oysters raw, but I was pleasantly surprised to find these cornmeal-crusted oysters cooked perfectly, retaining their juicy delicateness. The sweet and sour beet emulsion gave the plate a vibrant burst of color and was a visual compliment to the flavors of Flemish Kiss, the pairing for the course. The oysters and the beer were delicious together although the wilted greens the oysters were served atop seemed to clash with the beer.

On to the entrée, a Copper River salmon fillet paired with Fleur de Blanc. The salmon, mussels and veggies accompanying it and the beer were all very bright and light and just plain rocked together. I'd go so far as to say that Mag, who isn't a big fish fan, would have really enjoyed by this pairing as well.

To finish out the event we were presented with a generous portion of chocolate soufflé cake and 2014 Brotherly Love. The dark chocolate flavor of the cake was a perfect complement to the beer, a Belgian Dark Strong ale aged in Bourbon barrels with NW grown sour cherries and Ecuadorian cacao nibs, and my favorite pairing of the night. The whipped cream and berries that the cake was served with were good but unnecessary.

Thanks to The Commons and Whole Foods Market for a delightful evening of tasty treats!

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