I used to struggle miserably to scrap together just a meager handful of beery events in a year much less in a month to attend with celebratory glee. Now I have to revive long dormant skills of organization by noting what’s what and when’s when on my dry erase board of beerful prophecy. For instance, the recent and more than slightly passed Oskar Blues Brewmaster Dinner at the fantabulous Town Crier Pub, home to good food, beer, spirits, and a just wonderful staff. I and my posse of peeps were deliciously hosted on the last Monday of August from 7pm till whenever the food took us in blingtacular fashion.
Typically a five course extravaganza, this one executed a little twist by adding a sixth minor addition of Humulus Lupulus proportions; the Gubna. I’m not talking politics but the beer itself, an Imperial IPA and the newest addition to Oskar Blues portfolio. Furthering the twist was his standing as the first course, a daring move that paid off in spades thanks largely to the dreamy creamy Tzatziki sauce. I’ve partaken of quite a few Gubna since its inception, but never had it tasted quite as it did whilst mingling with the lingering essence of spicy marinated beef skewers dipped in said dreamy creamy Tzatziki sauce. Truly a taste phenom and seeing as we are all Brewmaster Dinner professionals, a snappy hop bomb didn’t deter myself and everyone else from the courses to come.
By destiny the dessert typically reins supreme, furthering proof that as burgundians we all cannot resist the siren’s call of scintillating indulgence…not that I’d want to. But then there was the Cajun Gumbo paired with the Mama’s Little Yella Pils. My mama always used to say “Eat your vegetables!” which as a younger lass was never very easy, but on all my family’s gross-out list was the slimy squishy stinky swampy okra. And then there was the Cajun Gumbo. A stew straight from the heart of Cajun country, in her belly simmered shrimp, andouille sausage, and fresh okra served over the always fantastically aromatic and herbal Jasmine rice. Hands down it was my favorite course of the night. With each bite followed a quaff and with each quaff followed a bite as flavors melted into each other seamlessly, perfectly. There was literally no distinction between an end or a beginning. There was only beer and food harmony. Even now she relives in my mind’s eye, the moment when I fell in love with okra, even if only for the duration of those long languid moments.
Not to say that the rest of the courses weren’t daring excursions into flavor country, but the orgy of beer and food is ultimately a personal one, rightfully so. Tis what makes us unique and what makes a gathering of unique beers, unique food, and unique individuals so very special. It is this unity of disparity which makes humanity and civilization great, to be celebrated always and forever.
But I profess…
From the Cajun Gumbo and Mama’s Little Yella Pils onward, my five senses reveled in pairing after pairing:
- Dales Pale Ale with homemade empanada shells bursting with skirt steak twice cooked to mouth melting tenderness nestled amidst Sofrito, garlic, tomatoes, and Manchego cheese.
- Gordon, a sticky red ale, meets a soft flour tortilla wrapped around marinated skirt steak, fresh guacamole, pico de gallo, rice, sharp cheddar cheese, and cilantro sour cream, all resting atop pureed black beans for the ultimate fajita indulgence.
- Old Chub Scottish Ale parried and almost lost to the truly red hot Town Crier Chili with lamb, sausage, beans, and a stout beer infusion while an avocado puree drizzled over the top did little to ease the burn. Less heat, a smidge more meaty sweetness, a hint more smoke, and this pairing would have fared better.
- Ten Fidy Imperial Stout meets Ten Fidy Tiramisu in a scandalous tryst of moan-inducing proportions which included Ten Fidy dipped (more like soaked) lady fingers, Ten Fidy infused Dulce de Leche drizzle, and topped with a cream so light to make the heavens jealous.
As the evening wound down, so too did my posse of peeps amidst the gentle glow of night and the soft hum of blissful contentment. Our desserts snarfed, seat-backs were rediscovered for the slow pleasure of savoring our appropriately warmed Ten Fidy and each other’s company. A Brewmaster Dinner first for Dave, I do believe another burgundian has been born. Now to keep the passion stoked… I missed saying goodnight to Tim along with a job well done in presenting the beers while once more George Citron displayed his culinary prowess in soft spoken artistry. To Dave Nardi, JW, and everyone for an evening well remembered, thank you. See you soon!
(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)