Readers of the blog know that I'm a staunch advocate of beer and food. In fact I've gone on record saying that there is no other beverage (yes including wine) that pairs as well with food as beer does. For a long time now I've been throwing around having my own beer dinner, friends have asked for it, but for one reason or another I've put it off. Well putting off has stopped and last Saturday I hosted my first ever beer dinner. It was a small dinner with myself, my wife, and three of our friends. 4 courses, each paired with a specific beer.
Course 1 - Gougeres with salad paired with Boulevard Brewing Two Jokers: My wife and I call Gougeres cheesey puffs which in their simplest form I guess that's what they are. These made with grueyere and plated with a salad of arugula, roasted tomatoes and a mustard vinaigrette. The beer? Well I just had this one and thought it would pair well with the strong cheese, and hold up to the vinaigrette. I wasn't disjointed as I thought this was an incredibly strong pairing.
Course 2 - Beer Battered Fried Quail, Biscuits with Homemade Jalepeno Jelly paired with Saint Arnold's Brown Ale: Not only did I pair the food with SA's Brown Ale, but I used it for the beer batter as well. This was probably my favorite pairing of the night. Maybe it was using the beer in the batter as well as the glass, but the rich maltiness of the Brown ale paired incredibly well with the richness of the Quail while at the same time offering a nice contrast to the slight heat of the jalapeno jelly.
Course 3 - Catfish Cakes on a bed of Summer Squash paired with Real Ale's Full Moon Rye Pale Ale: My take on crab cakes, uses much cheaper catfish, is baked and stays really moist. Its one of my favorite recipes that I've picked up recently. There was some heat in the Catfish Cakes that the Pale Ale stood up very well too. The breadiness of the rye complimented the cake as well. While not the strongest paring of the night, the two complimented each other that it was still a hit.
Course 4 - Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Raspberry Coolie paired with Lindeman's Framboise: Finished the evening with somewhat of a classic pairing, a fruit pairing with a Lambic. While not my favorite beer, Lambics are great desert beers and offer a wonderful tartness to the palate. It was that tartness that played off the buttermilk panna cotta beautifully well. This was a great pairing and an awesome way to finish the evening.
The Future: Well all in all this was a fun event, and I am already planning my next dinner (sometime in the fall). Next time? Make sure I always have a Texas beer in the mix, try some unusual pairings, and pictures. I promise next time I'll have pic's of each course.