Sierra Nevada, Wed, Feb 9, 2011
When I was a young foodie back in the day, there weren’t really that many choices when it came to American craft beers. There was Anchor, there was Sam Adams, and there was Sierra Nevada. That was pretty much it. Times have certainly changed since then and now we’re happily in the middle of an American brewing explosion. It is such an exciting time to be a beer drinker in America. But one thing that hasn’t changed is that these guys who were at the front of the revolution are still making great beers. It’s just that sometimes we need to stop and remind ourselves of that amongst the din of shiny newness.
On February 9th, Aubrey Adcock from Sierra Nevada will be joining us for a beer dinner showing off both some of their delicious stand-bys as well as some unique seasonals and special bottlings that you may not be familiar with. Before we sat down for the tasting, my bar-manager Andrew mentioned that he thought the Kellerweis may be the best Hefeweizen in the country. Not sure I can disagree.
For some reason or another, I sort got a little, well, giggy with the menu this time. Should be fun…
Grouper cruda with salted radish, scallions, cilantro, and prickly pear gelee
Yucca-encrusted prawns with guajillo-garlic-oregano sauce
Savory pork, Poblano, and pear enchiladas with sharp cheddar
-Torpedo Extra IPA
Grilled pork loin with dried apricot, caramelized shallots and adobo
-30th Anniversary Ale
Maytag blue cheese flan with candied grapefruit
$42 per person plus tax and gratuity
Smuttynose, Wed, Jan 26, 2011
Well, now that the holidays are behind us, it’s time to get back to the business of pairing delicious craft beers with some great food. First on the slate; Smuttynose Brewering Co. of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. These folks have already built a feverishly loyal following up north, and for great reason. They make honest and delicious brews that taste like what they’re supposed to. The Pale Ale, easy and juicy, the Old Brown Dog, satisfying and ready, the Robust Porter, deep but balanced like a porter ought to be. You get where I’m going with this?
We also stashed a few bottles of their fall Dopplebock to round out it’s edges and it’s showing great right now, a perfect and serendipitous foil for a dish of local goat. Word has it that Brad, who’ll be joining us to talk about the beers, has a special treat in store, some aged Farmhouse, I’m told. Could be fun.
At any rate, I hope you’ve all missed these dinners as much as I have and will come on down and help us get our 2011 Beer Dinner series off to a great start.
Yucca hash, seared panela cheese, and roasted dried fruit
-Shoals Pale Ale
Crispy prawns with celery, almond, grapefruit salad and rosewater crema
-Big A IPA
Sonoran hot dog
-Old Brown Dog Ale
Grilled half cornish hen with black mole
Local goat barbacoa with dates and a caramelized shallot-barley ragout
$43 per person plus tax and tip
Lagunitas Brewing, Tues, Nov. 30, 2010
So here’s a brewery that is really easy to like. Seriously, everything they make is either pretty damned tasty or better. And when “pretty damned tasty” is your baseline… We’ve been loving the Pils, and the Sumpin’ Wild, but honestly, everything else as well. And if that’s not enough, the beers are really a value for what they are. This is kind of a fun line-up of beers; four really bright, refreshing, and assertively hoppy brews, with one big boy to cap the night. It should be noted that this may be all you see of the Imperial Stout this year and we made a point of holding on to one case of the delicious Hop Stoopid just for this event. So that’s pretty cool.
Mostly though, it’s just another excuse to drink some delicious brews along side some hand-crafted food paired especially for it.
Oh, and this is likely our last beer dinner for the year, so there’s that.
Scallop, tomatillo, and radish ceviche
Grilled prawns with green pineapple and a cilantro-purslane puree
Poblano-stuffed chicken with avocado puree
-Hop Stoopid Double IPA
Pork chile verde with roasted plantain and grilled onions
-Little Sumpin’ Wild Belgian-style IPA
Sweet cheese and raisin filled empanadas with dulce de leche
$40 plus tax and tip
Oskar Blues Brewery
Pescetarian/Vegetarian Dinner, Wed, Nov 10, 2010
Crab (or cactus) Salpicon tostada with tangy jalapeno sauce
-Little Yella Pils
Sugar cane and wine braised soy tamales wrapped with tlanepa
-Dale’s Pale Ale
Butternut squah tortita with toasted nuts and adobo
-Old Chub Scotch Ale
King oyster mushrooms
braised in chile-flavored veggie “demi-glace” with garlic spinach
-2009 “Ten Fidy” Imperial Stout
Founders Brewery, Wed, Oct 20, 2010
As fall brings us a welcome break from the heat, I start looking to a bigger and richer beer. Mind you, just like I don’t forget about stouts in summer, I still find room for a nice pilsner in winter. But, in general, it’s a nice time of year to put your arms around something richer and bolder and our dinner with Founders Brewing Co. gives you just such a chance. Three of the five are as sultry and decadent as it comes and the dishes paired follow lock-step.
If you’re a fan of the brewery, then I’m sure you’ll jump at the chance to taste this year’s Nemesis and Breakfast Stout. If you’re unfamiliar with Founders, then I do suggest you come find out what all the fuss is about. Because these beers are stellar.
Salad of grilled nopales, carmelized onion, panela cheese, and fried sage leaves
Roasted Poblano, stuffed with oil-poached tuna, olives, and aromatics, with a roasted tomato vinaigrette
-Red’s Rye Pale Ale
Jujube and pork filled tamal with Black rum and cayenne
-Dirty Bastard Ale
Maple flan with toasted almonds
Local Homebrewers Charity Dinner, Wed, Oct 6, 2010
Born from a great idea by friend and home brewer Mike Frost, we decided to mine the talents of home brewers around the triangle and do a benefit dinner for local charity EarthShare. Each home brewer will be in attendance to discuss his beer.
Green tomato salad with crispy shrimp and browned garlic vinaigrette
-Jason Alarcon – Straw Dog Belgian Wit
Chile-seared watermelon and tomatillos with country ham
-Tom Matthews – Rye Pale Ale
Grilled chicken “en escabeche” with oatmeal sopes
-Erik Snyder – Oatmeal Raisin Porter
Almond, currant, and spice-braised pork stuffed poblano with piloncillo cream
-Aaron Bedra – Perditious Pumpkin Imperial Pumpkin Ale
Toasted walnut-stuffed dates with ancho-chocolate sauce
-Bob Silk and Mike Frost – Red October Imperial Stout
Beer Geek Series #3, Double IPAs, Fri, Oct 1, 2010
It’s quite a phenomenon among beer geeks, the Double (or Imperial) IPA is quickly becoming the crown jewel of the industry. It seems like everyone is making one and, well, maybe a few more than should be. One thing that bears mention is, despite the eye-popping IBU levels that they boast, they’re often less perceptively bitter than your typical American style IPA. Mostly because there’s so much more malt to carry the load.
At any rate, since this series is intended to provide a study on styles rather than a celebration of a particular brewery, I thought this would be a fine opportunity to delve into these beasts and really get a sense of the range within the style. After all, the definition is rather broad, with alcohol levels ranging from 8 to over 10% and IBU levels going from right around 100 to over 125. Some you’ll find are really malt driven and others loaded with tropical and pine flavors found in the hops.
One thing for sure, I’m really looking forward to lining these babies up because there’s nothing like a tasting such as this to pinpoint what your preferred style is.
Medium apps, chosen to match the flavors found in the beers will be served, but not individually paired with each beer.
Space is limited. The Line-Up:
Victory Hop Wallop
Dogfish Head 90 Minute
Great Divide Hercules
$25 plus tax and tip
Brooklyn Brewery, Wed, Sept, 22, 2010
We’re doing our latest Vegetarian Beer Dinner with Brooklyn Brewery and I think both the food and the beers themselves are going to be delicious. I’ve always been a fan of the brewery, but I’ve taken an even greater liking to them now that they’re releasing more and more interesting beers, including one that is certainly among my current favorites, the Sorachi Ace. This is a beautiful beer and, feigned apologies to the High Life, really is the “Champagne of Beers.”
Eggplant al a Veracruz
Green pineapple, purslane, mint, citrus, and queso requeson
Zucchini and Sea Vegetable enchiladas with pumpkin seed sauce
Savory butternut squash and canela flan with slivered garlic jus and panela
-Post Road Pumpkin
Fried Onions with blistered raisins with adobo
Aviator Brewing Co., Wed, September 1st, 2010
Vegetarians, this is the one that got away. Typically, if a dinner is starting to go veggie halfway through the tasting, we go veggie. Well, we weren’t quite halfway into this one when I mentioned that point to Mark, the owner of Aviator, and a very unpleasant quiet came over us all. “Um, we kind of really like meat around here.” Then he offered us—for this dinner—ground beef from locally raised cows that are finished on spent grain from his brewery and, well, we went carni. Of course, as always, we’re happy to put something together for those of you who don’t eat meat. And while we’d have liked to, we just couldn’t fit all their worthy brews into a single meal.
These guys have been around about as long as we have and make a very diverse and delicious selection of beers—right around the corner in Fuquay Varina. They also seem to really get off on what they do. In fact, Mark’s bringing the whole crew (and likely the two farmers who raise the cows) up with him along with this crazy infuser contraption to make an “a la minute” dessert beer at the end of the meal. And the diners get to play along. It should be really, really fun. It’s easy for us here in Durham to get caught up entirely with in-town brews, but these guys aren’t all that far away, and they’re making some really amazing beer.
Summer squash timbale with garlic, guajillo sauce, and queso fresco
–Hot Rod Red
Grilled prawns with nopales and salsa verde
-Hog Wild IPA
Pan-roasted, herb-encrusted mahi mahi with pumpkin seed, celery puree
–Devil’s Tramping Ground Tripel
Cinnamon-encrusted pork tenderloin with mango-chile sauce
–Cave Man Alt
Dried fruit and spent grain-fed beef-filled chile with walnut, chile cream
–Black Horizon Black Belgian IPA
–Special Secret Interactive Beer Stunt Dessert Course–
$40 per person
Unibroue, Wed, August 18th, 2010
Now here’s a brewery that deserves more attention. Like Allagash, and well, all the breweries featured in the dinners of early August, Unibroue specializes in Belgian ales and does an outstanding job of it. They’ve also got a great website that comprehensively explains both the origin of the beer styles but also of the legends behind their imaginative names. Each of these beers is unique and true to its style and you can certainly see the craftsmanship. The final beer, Quelque Chose, will blow your mind.
Salad of cherry tomatoes, radish, and celery with crispy calamari
-Blanche de Chambly (Belgian White Ale)
Grilled cola and chile-marinated chicken with heirloom shell beans
-Noire de Chambly (Black Ale)
Braised pork with coconut, tomatillo, and chile arbol
-La Fin du Monde (Golden Triple Ale)
Black mole of beef with sweet peppers and chard
-La Terrible (Abbey Ale)
Apricot crisp with vanilla ice cream and pomegranate syrup
-Quelque Chose (Blended Cherry and Brown Ales)
$43 per person
Allagash Brewery, Wed, August 11th, 2010
Certainly among the great Belgian-style breweries in the US, Allagash has found its way into our cellars here with both their year round beers and their gloriously unique specialty brews. We’ll be featuring a bit of both here in a nice mix. If you were curious but not quite bold enough to take the plunge into the Wild Ales dinner on the 4th, this will offer you a more gentle introduction into the style with Interlude, perhaps the most disarming version of the style I’ve had. The Curieux, in typical Allagash fashion, is seductive but judicious in its use of bourbon barrels and the Black is a perfect stout for the warmer months. And lest we forget, both the White and Dubbel are fine examples of their styles and should provide a fine backdrop to the headliners that are commanding all the attention.
Bacalao fritter with corn and jalapeno chowder
Ripe cheese filled, fig leaf-wrapped tamal with cherry tomato coulis
-Interlude Ale 2009 (Wild Ale aged in Merlot and Syrah barrels)
Simple mole of duck and eggplant
Quail and butternut squash with almonds and garlic
-Curieux 2010 (Triple ale, aged in bourbon barrels)
Dopple bock and coffee braised beef short ribs with black chile mashed potatoes
-Black (Belgian-style stout)
$45 per person
Beer Geek Series #2, American Wild Ales, Wed, August 4, 2010
A style of ales associated with the use of wild yeast (known as brettanomyces) that often leads to a somewhat sour profile to the beer. These are certainly love it or hate it beers, though I’ve found some have done a fine job of integrating that tartness into other complimentary flavors to make it harder for the haters to hate. Me? I love these unique gems. We’ve assembled six beers (seven if we get enough people to sign up) that I think show a nice range of the flavors one can find. The beers will be poured in three flights of two along with appropriate dishes.
Grilled NC white shrimp with tomatillo-peach salsa
-Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabaza
-Allagash Confluence 2010
-Ommegang Ommegeddon 2009
Aged cheese and onion-filled Anaheim chile with pomegranate reduction
-Allagash Interlude 2008
-Allagash Interlude 2009
Grilled, herbed chicken with roasted tomatoes and almonds
-Ommegang Biere de Mars 2008
-Bruery Saison Rue
A Vegetarian Dinner with Terrapin, Wed, July 28, 2010
I’m uniquely excited about a number of these pairings. Number one, I think the tangy tomatoes and purslane are going to really show well against the clean, grassy component of the Rye Pale Ale. Secondly, I love the Cpt. Crunkles and am fired up about being able to get a little keg of it for the dinner (and days surrounding). Lastly, I think this is the first time we’re doing a dessert course with a beer that isn’t dark. I mean, I get the chocolate and stout thing. It’s something you could pull off nearly all the time but I try not to lean on that crutch too often (which is why we often just go with 5 savory courses). Here was a chance to pair a bold and somewhat sweet beer that’s pale in color with a dessert course. And I think it’s going to be pairing of the night because this beer just oozes sweet pineapple fruit. The tepache syrup is going to be our attempt to make a dessert sauce that resembles the barely fermented punch made from pineapple skins.
Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the dinner is starting to fill up despite not being “officially announced” prior to now, so…
Onion and Yucca fritters with eggplant puree and Oaxacan cream
– SunRay Wheat
Heirloom Tomatoes with purslane and panela cheese
– Rye Pale Ale
Dried fruit and sweet-potato-stuffed poblano with walnut cream
– Hopsecutioner IPA
Black mole of grilled Yukon gold potatoes, nopales, and field peas
– Cpt. Crunkles Dark IPA
Pineapple Tres Leche cake with tepache syrup
– Gamma Ray Wheat Wine
Fullsteam Brewery, Wed, July 14, 2010
It was either about a year or two ago or sometime before any of us were born when rumors started about beer activist and hipster extraordinaire Sean Wilson starting up his Plow-to-Pint brewery in downtown Durham. Well, the wait is finally over. Fullsteam Brewery is up and running and we’re proud to be hosting what is essentially their de-facto coming-out party. Sean has certainly done the rounds, offering free tastes of his fine brews in the name of charity and community, but this may be your first chance to actually pay the guy. And that’s something he’s certainly earned by now.
In honor of their commitment to local ingredients, we’re doing the same for the dinner. Nearly everything used will be from our coastal waters or manageable drive from the Triangle. And since I know Sean loves him some pig, well, the pig’s gonna play a major role.
Clam, masa, and onion fritters with green tomato, jalapeno salsa
-El Toro Lager
Cantaloupe, salted NC snapper, and hot chiles
-Rocket Science IPA
Salad of house-made chorizo with green peaches and cucumbers
-Bitter Basil Farmhouse
Clove-scented pork confit with cabbage, figs, and chipotle
-Carver Sweet Potato Ale
Cochinita Pibil: Yucatan-style banana-leaf-roasted pork with pickled onions
-Hogwash Hickory Smoked Porter
Ommegang Vegetarian Dinner, Tues, July 13, 2010
Of course it wasn’t that long ago when we did a dinner with these guys, so they weren’t high on the queue for another so soon. However, fate had different plans for us. The day before Diana and I were set to go on a road trip, which, among other things included a tour of craft breweries in the northeast, I was told that a representative from Ommegang would be in the Triangle on July 13th and was hoping we could host a beer dinner. What a coincidence, since we were actually going to be at Ommegang two days later. Something about tasting beers at the brewery itself to write a menu is particularly inspiring, especially one as beautiful and impressive as Ommegang. Further, something about tasting and being offered beer otherwise unavailable is really, really inspiring. That beer is a batch of their wild yeast Ommegeddon that was held back at the brewery since May ’09 and was just now released. I’ve tried “fresher” batches of the beer and must say that I’m very happy with what happened to this beer over time—it picked up a richness and opulence that offset the tanginess one expects from a beer like this.
So, here’s the other twist. For our last go-round with these guys, we did an all vegetarian dinner. Without even trying, I noticed half-way into writing this menu that it too was vegetarian. So, why not; people have been asking when I was going to do another, and that time is now. The cool thing about this one is that it is in the height of the summer, with all those beautiful summer fruits and veggies in full effect. Here’s what I have in mind…
Cherry tomato, celery, and pumpkin seed salad with local goat cheese
Grilled nopales and onion with roasted tomato, garlic, and oregano
-Rare Vos Amber Ale
Summer squash and spice timbale with tomatillos, peach, and habanero
-Hennepin Saison Ale
Mole coloradito of eggplant, spinach, and aged cheese
-Ommegeddon Batch #4 Wild Ale
Local Artisanal Chocolates
-Three Philosophers Quadruple Ale with Cherries
$45 per person
Beer Geek Series #1, Mikkeler Single Hope IPA Tasting, Fri, July 16, 2010
Starting Friday, July 16th, we’re going to start a series of beer geek “dinners” that focus on particularly exotic beer styles and studies. The hope is that those in attendance will walk away with a particularly in-depth understanding of the style of beers tasted. As the intention is to focus on the beers themselves, we will not be pairing food course by course, but rather serving simple fare designed to complement the study.
Our first of the series will be an exploration into specific qualities of individual hop varieties. It just so happens that an avant garde brewer from Europe named Mikkeller has created a series of single hop IPAs, all made the same way and patterned after the aggressively hoppy style developed here in the US, all featuring a single variety of hop used during all stages of brewing. This is a unique process because most have found that certain hop varieties lend themselves better to bittering (and are thus added earlier in the brewing process) and others to aromatics (and are thus added at the end). While that may yield a fine brew, it does make it hard to determine which hops were responsible for which flavors (something that perhaps a geek might be curious about). Well, be curious no more as we are currently assembling several of these ales. Certain to be on the table are the Simcoe, Chinook (Diana’s favorite), Centennial, East Kent Goldings, Nelson Sauvin, Cascade. My sources assure me that two others will be found in time for the dinner, but I’m just not sure which ones yet.
Again, we’ll be putting some tasty food together that I feel complements IPAs well, and this should prove a great opportunity to connect with some fellow hop heads. It should be noted that these beers are by no means inexpensive and the food will be enough to consider a light meal, so the event is really quite a value.
Eight single-hop Mikkeller IPAs with appropriate snacks
$27 per person
Triangle Brewing Co, Wed, June 9, 2010
So, a couple of years back, an organization called Eat Local Triangle encouraged local restaurants to make a point, every day in June, of featuring at least one dish using all local ingredients (except spices, oils, etc.). While that doesn’t appear to be happening this year, in its honor, we’re going to feature all locally sourced ingredients in our next two beer dinners.
Both dinners will feature beers that are coming literally from blocks away. The first will be with our neighbors at Triangle Brewing Co. (see below). The next one is with Fullsteam Brewery in July—but is yet to be finalized since these guys are so new they’re not even new yet! Fullsteam is the much anticipated, newest member of the local brewery scene, but let’s not confuse ourselves into thinking that they’re new to the local brewing scene; they’re just newly official (or at least will be by dinner time).
As for the food, we’ll be reinforcing our newly heightened commitment to sourcing local and sustainably by showcasing local farmers, ranchers, and coastal waters. Doing so will come at the expense of some Mexican authenticity, but I think the tradeoff is worth it.
So, here’s June’s beer dinner. If you haven’t tried Triangle Brewing Co. out, well, here’s your chance. Great beers from top to bottom and perfect for this time of year. And remember where your money is going: To a local brewery, local farmers and ranchers, a Durham-based seafood purveyor bringing fish from the NC coast, and of course, a locally owned restaurant.
Crispy NC prawns taco with salted cucumber and spicy mayonnaise
Pan-roasted mahi with cilantro, arugula, and lime
Grilled chicken sope with zucchini, oregano, and garlic puree
-Extra Pale Ale
Roasted Cane Creek pork loin with pecans and adobo
Spice-rubbed grilled Cane Creek beef with stout-braised onions and new potatoes
$45 (plus tax and gratuity)
Jujube/Dos Perros Late-Night Tequila Cage Match
$45 each or $80 for both (plus tax and gratuity)
OK, here’s the story. Kerry (my Jujube manager) knows a thing or two about tequila and came to me with the idea of doing a tequila-based cocktail dinner at Jujube.
“But doesn’t that seem like an idea better done at Dos Perros?” I asked. “Here’s the menu,” she said confidently as she handed me a pretty damned impressive-looking list of cocktails and accompanying dishes. I mean, what’s a guy to do but see if Nate (and I) could come up with something as good at Dos Perros.
Raul (my Dos Perros manager) has Nate’s back and says Kerry and Jujube shouldn’t box outside their weight. Kerry says that maybe Raul should put his money where his mouth is. I’m just afraid someone might get hurt. But again, what’s a guy to do?
So, I’m assembling a small set of judges who agree to go to both and see if I can put this blood-feud to rest. And I invite any of you to come along to one or both and sample the wares for yourself. As you can see from the drinks listed, we’ll be pouring the good stuff and aren’t pulling any punches in terms of imagination and drink-making chops. This isn’t merely a series of margaritas but some truly innovative takes on what can be done with this delicious and versatile spirit.
So…LET’S GET READY TO RRRRRUMMMM-BLE!
Jujube Cage-Match Menu
Friday, June 11, 2010, 10pm
– Mayahuel: Corzo silver, Cointreau, kaffir lime juice, agave, salt
Tempura squash blossom stuffed with sage goat cheese
– Zen Arcade: Corzo silver, Karen Coy sake, shiso, mint, lime, cucumber water
Mizuna, grapefruit, avocado, and five-spice almonds in a tequila-soy vinaigrette
– When Doves Cry: Herradura Reposado with yuzu-chamomile soda
Tequila-marinated steak, miso-maple glaze, shiitake-yam gratin, and greens
– Boricha Boracho: El Tesoro Anejo, miso, maple, lemon, barley,egg white
Banana tart tatin with coconut cream and chocolate-sichuan pepper sauce
– Tila Tequila: Espresso infused tequila, sweetened condensed milk, kola nut
Dos Perros Cage Match Menu
Friday, June 18,2010, 10pm
Salad of ham, melon, and marinated nopales
– Hue are You: Corzo Silver, avocado, mint, lime
Crispy prawns with spicy citrus, raisin confiture
– Orange Flip? Orange Flip? Orange Flip? Three Orange Flips:
Hornitos Reposado, date syrup, calvados, orange bitters, egg white
Antique vermouth-cured grouper, cucumber-jalapeno jam, and black bean frites
– Hippie Chick: Cazadores Reposado, lemon balm, lime, mole bitters, artisan tonic
Al Pastor with roasted jicama puree
– The Pastor: Cazadores Reposado, grilled pineapple, habanero, maple, lime
Cinnamon flan with candied orange peel
– Mauby Better Blues: Don Julio Anejo, mauby bark, fig, anise, honey, orange
Victory Brewing Co., Wed, May 26, 2010
I go way back with these guys and have always loved both the variety and quality of their beers. I think, including events at Jujube, this is my fourth dinner with them and I’m actually still including beers I hadn’t used before. Also, this event marks the unearthing of our first release from the beer library we started when we opened last year. In fact, it was a Victory V-12 Ale that put the thought of archiving age-worthy beers here at Dos Perros. See, last summer when we did a dinner with these guys, one enthusiastic guest brought an older bottle of V-12 from his own cellar at home to try against the current release. The change was truly remarkable and the beer was showing this amazing apricot fruit along with a subtlety that the new release lacked. Well, guess what. The first beers I put down were V-12s and the guys from Victory assure me that it has been long enough to start seeing an evolution. Where am I going with this? For an extra $5, we’re going to offer a nice pour of both last year’s V-12 and the current release so you can decide for yourself. The stuff is pretty rich and, frankly, a bit sweet. So just think of it as dessert.
Oh, and one more thing, while I highly encourage everyone to try the poached tongue course (not only because I do think it will go wonderfully with the beer, but also because it’s just flat-out delicious unto itself), we’d hate to scare-off anyone otherwise interested in coming to the dinner. Thus, we will avail an alternative for those so inclined.
Salpicon de Jaiba (spicy crab tostadas)
-Hop Wallop IPA
Cordenices a la rosa (Quail with rose petal sauce)
Lengua en escebeche (Poached Cane Creek cow’s tongue with pickled vegetables)
Torta de masa a la tapatia (pork and masa casserole)
-Golden Monkey Ale
Enchiladas Ocotzingo (shredded beef enchiladas in simple mole)
-Yakima Twilight Ale
$45 (plus $5 for optional special vintage V-12 tasting mentioned below)
Great Divide Brewery, Tues, May 11, 2010
OK, for those keeping score at home, these guys have been listed by two of the most prominent beer websites among the top ten breweries in the world. So they have that going for them. Hailing from the craft brew powerhouse state of Colorado, Great Divide certainly makes its name on outstanding IPAs and stouts, but shows a very deft hand at a variety of other styles. To be honest, I wasn’t all that familiar with these beers before I tried them for this menu and I’m literally kicking myself for waiting so long.
Bunelo de Camarones con rabanos , puerros, y salsa habenero (Dried shrimp fritters with roasted radishes and leeks and habenero salsa)
Sopa de Chipilin con Bolitas (Masa soup with Mexican greens and cheese dumplings)
-Colette Farmhouse Ale
Gallena con flan de calabaza (Orange, ancho chili, and cola marinated hen with savory zucchini and oregano flan)
-Hoss Rye Lager
Almendrado con Lomo a las Bugambilias (Pork loin in almond sauce a la Restaurante Bugambilia)
-Hercules Double IPA
Vientre de Puerco con chocolate (Mexican chocolate and chipotle-braised pork belly)
-Yeti Imperial Stout
New Belgium Brewery, Tues, April 20, 2010
So, here’s something cool. And, well, this is how it was explained to me. The guys at New Belgium Brewery are bringing to the triangle exactly two kegs of their latest “Lips of Faith” series beers, a Belgian-style Blond Ale. One they’re going to be pouring at the beer festival in Raleigh, and one is coming here to pour at this dinner (and, of course, in the days that follow). Now this part may not exactly endear me to those very same kind folks at New Belgium, but I’m actually going to do this dinner without their flagship beer, Fat Tire. Honestly, nothing against it, but you see it everywhere and I really think it would be a shame to leave the other beers on the sidelines. So, maybe you’ll find a new favorite New Belgium beer as well.
Ensalada de verdolagas con mango y queso panela (Purslane salad with grilled panela cheese, mango, and citrus vinaigrette)
Chicharones con Nopales (Pork cracklings with pickled cactus)
Camarones con mole verde (Grilled prawns and poblano peppers with mole verde)
-Mighty Arrow Pale Ale
Cordonices rostizados con platanos (Grilled quail with roasted plantain and spice coulis)
-Lips of Faith Belgian-style Blond Ale
Bisteak con cafe (Grilled, spice-rubbed flat-iron steak with coffee, molasses, and chipotleand corn-masa pudding)
$45 per person
Ommegang Vegetarian Dinner, Tues, Mar 30, 2010
Anyone who has ever asked if we can accommodate a vegetarian for one our beer dinners knows that we’re happy to work something out. That said, there’s a difference between “working something out” and actually putting on a vegetarian beer dinner. Well, we found a great occasion to do so. Turns out Steve Cardello, who represents Ommegang brewery in the Mid-Atlantic and his fiancé are having their rehersal dinner with us later this year. And both are vegan. While we were discussing their party, I asked if he’d like to host a vegetarian beer dinner with us. God knows I’ve had enough requests for one. So, there you have it. Some amazing American-made, Belgian-inspired beers and some tasty veggie grub made to go with it.
Ensalada de Mango y Verdolagas (Salad of mango, purslane, and citrus)
Tortitas de Platano Macho (Green plantain-masa patties with salsa verde and Oaxacan cream)
Mole Verde de Pozole y Pina (Mole verde with hominy and pineapple)
-Ommegeddon Funkhouse Ale with Brettanomyces
Molletes con Nopales y Queso Panela (Toasted bread with refried beans, grilled cactus and panela cheese)
-Rare Vos Amber Ale
Mole Poblano de Camotes y Espinacas (Mole Poblano of sweet potatoes and spinach)
Sweetwater Brewery, Tues, Mar 16, 2010
The first brewery east of the Mississippi to be crowned “Brewery of the Year” in the Great American Beer Festival, Sweetwater Brewery of Atlanta really just seems to be focused on making good beer and not taking itself too seriously. It really shows in the product. These are some very tasty beers that don’t beat you over the head or get in the way of enjoying yourself. Mind you, should you stop for a moment and contemplate the tasty brew before you, you’ll be rewarded with lovely nuance and great balance. But nobody says you have to.
Ceviche de Atun y Toronja (Tuna and Grapefruit “ceviche” with salted cabbage and pickled onion)
Tamal de camaron (Shrimp tamal with guajillo chile sauce)
-420 Extra Pale Ale
Puerco a la Parrilla (Grilled pork with tangy prune sauce)
-Dark Tank Belgian Quad
Pato Rostisado (Roasted duck with almond sauce)
-Happy Endings Imperial Stout
Lonerider Brewery, Tues, Feb 23, 2010
We’re happy to wrap up our first series of North Carolina breweries with a visit from Lonerider Brewing Company of Raleigh. These guys just celebrated their one year anniversary and have been earning fans and fast, so I’m excited to put a dinner together with them. What struck me about these beers in particular was that they were almost stylish in their craft. Hard to describe, I suppose, just a deft touch and balance. Nothing out of place and nicely hemmed. Further, I’m pretty excited myself with the food. The pork dish is going to be a sort of Mexican porchetta and, well, Josh knows his way around porchetta.
Trucha frita con platanos verdes y frijoles negros (Crispy trout with green plantain tortitas, black bean puree, and pickled onion)
-Shotgun Betty Hefeweizen
Papadzules (Egg-filled enchiladas with pumpkin seed puree and tomato sauce)
-Peacemake Pale Ale
Puerco rostizado con chile cascabel (Herb-stuffed roasted pork with grilled onion, cascabel sauce)
-Sweet Josie Brown Ale
Cordero con nogales (Braised lamb with walnuts, oregano, garlic, and roasted carrots)
-Dead Eye Jack Porter
$35 per person
Mother Earth Brewing, Tues, Feb 9, 2010
We’re happy to help welcome one of North Carolina’s newest breweries into the market. Mother Earth Brewing of Kinston has taken a very devoted approach to the environment through both the construction and operation of their brewery. Of course, they’ll be here on the 9th to give you the details, but if you’re curious, check out their website www.motherearthbrewing.com. As for the beers themselves, I was really impressed. The Wit had a beautiful citrus quality, the kolsch made me pine for baseball season (hence the hot dog, which btw, is a classic Mexican street food), the IPA actually reminded me of a Southern Rhone red wine, and the dish I wanted for the Dunkel popped into my head right away. I’m really looking forward to this one.
Ceviche con pomelo, nopales, y salsa de tuna verde (Citrus-cured grouper with grapefruit, cactus, and prickly pear coulis)
-Weeping Willow Wit
Perro caliente de tocino-envolvió (Mexican-style bacon-wrapped, house-made hot dog)
-Endless River Kolsch
Frijoles “Flor de Mayo” con pato y chorizo (Mexican “Cassoulet”)
-Sisters of the Moon IPA
Lomo de puerco en salsa de ciruela (Pork loin in prune sauce)
-Dark Cloud Munich-style Dunkel
Highland Brewery, Wed, Jan 27, 2010
I remember fondly when we hosted the affable Oscar Wong at Jujube to feature his delicious Highland beers, so I’m truly looking forward to his return. Honestly, it was pretty tough narrowing it down to just these five beers. In fact, they made it harder still by dropping off a sample of the 15th Anniversary Ale at the last minute. An embarrassment of riches to be sure and a truly impressive array of beers, but I’m sure most of you already know that. The last “pairing” is a bit more intimate than we normally get as we’re actually mixing the beer with the ice cream to make a float.
Tostada de pescado frito (Fried grouper tostada)
–St Therese Pale Ale
Ensalada tibio de atun, olivas, nopales, y chiles (Warm salad of tuna, olives, cactus, and pickled jalapenos)
Sopes de cabrito (Masa patties with roasted goat and pumpkin seed sauce)
-Special Fifteenth Anniversary Ale
Bistek con mole negro (Grilled steak with black mole)
Black Mocha Stout and Mexican chocolate ice cream float with toasted almonds
Dos Perros/Jujube Beer Geek Winter Cage Match, Dec, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009, 7 pm
Shrimp toast and sesame-fried plantains with sweet chili sauce
-Victory Moonglow Weizenbach
Seared scallop with cashews and black vinegar caramel
-Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale
Kung Pao deconstructed
-Rogue Mogul Madness
Black soy and shaoxing braised beef with turnip cake
-Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
Five-spice ice cream with chocolate sauce
-Bell’s Special Cream Stout
$42/person + tax and tip
Dos Perros Dinner
Wed., December 9, 2009, 7 pm
Chicharones y “chicharones” con nopales (Braise pork cracklings and cactus with crispy wheat chips)
– Victory Moonglow Weizenbach
Almendrado de camarones (Shrimp in almond sauce)
-Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale
Pierna de puerco en adobado (Roasted pork leg with adobo sauce)
-Rogue Mogul Madness
Pato en mole negro (Roasted duck with black mole)
-Brooklyn Double Chocolate Stout
Camotes con tamarindo (Candied sweet potatoes with tamarind syrup and pumpkin seed brittle)
-Bell’s Special Cream Stout
$42/person + tax and tip
Dogfish Head, Mon, Nov 23, 2009
-60 Minute IPA
Tamal con queso y rajas (Green chile and cheese tamale)
Camarones con yerba santa y guajillo (Herb-wrapped shrimp with garlic and guajillo sauce)
-90 Minute IPA
Mole Coloradito (Roasted chicken with red mole)
Borrego rostizado (Roasted goat with oregano)
-India Brown Ale
Costillas con tamarindo (Tamarind-glazed beef ribs with roasted carrots)
-Palo Santo Marron
$45 plus tax and gratuity