by Dennis Kempton
Most of our enjoyment of beer involves the familiarity and comfort of sitting at a polished bar, on a stool, surrounded by friends or other beer drinkers, after a long day at work or as part of our regular enjoyment of socializing. Of course there's not a thing wrong with that. In fact, it's the way places like Fitger's Brewhouse make bank.
Craft culture and beer culture, though, is evolving so much that the ways we can encounter beer is expanding. Brewers dinners are more popular than ever before. But, imagine a time when food critics and food writers wouldn't even bother to cover or attend a "beer dinner" because ales and lagers weren't sophisticated enough in a world of fine wines. Such times did exist. But, beers have long shown their diversity, complexity, and popularity to the point where they are the great equalizer--bringing people together no matter how much money they make or where they came from.
Fitger's Brewhouse will present its Brewers Dinner on Thursday, April 4 in The Barrel Room in the historic Fitger's Brewery Complex. Head Brewer Alex Chocholousek and the Fitger's Brewhouse team will introduce six courses--yes, you read that right, six courses--of specially selected dishes to pair with six beers. Not only will attendees enjoy the grandness of a multi course dinner with their favorite beverage, Chocholousek will spend time interpreting the beers' pairings with the flavors of the selected dishes. The menu for the evening includes:
“Perfect Egg Yolk” with pico de gallo on a blue corn chip. Pairing: Apricot Wheat--a lightly tart American wheat ale fruited with apricots.
Citrus Herb Vinaigrette Salad with dried apricots and sunflower seeds, spring greens inside of a Bibb lettuce bowl with seared tuna. Pairing: Minnesota Nice & Hazy--nice and easy, this juicy pale ale features local hops and finishes crisp and dry.
Lobster Mac & Cheese with smoked paprika and breadcrumb topping. Pairing: Helles Lager--a traditional German lager brewed with heritage malt and balanced by noble hops.
Pork Belly with Wildfire & Peppercorn glaze, Parsnip Purée, seared Brussels Sprouts and Honey-glazed Carrots. Pairing: Barleywine--a strong, rich and malty American sipping ale.
Date stuffed with Chèvre goat cheese and wrapped in bacon. Pairing: India Pale Ale--a bready, semi-traditional German lager backbone carrying big hoppy notes from lemon drop and Nelson Sauvin hops.
Coconut cream cupcake with chocolate mousse filling and chocolate Stout drizzle. Pairing: Russian Imperial Stout--dark as night, this Russian Imperial features strong roasted and cocoa notes and features chocolate rye.
The six-course dinner is $65 and is all-inclusive. Why attend a brewer's dinner? First of all, they're fun. A night out enjoying some delicious cuisine and discovering the delicacies of putting food together properly with a variety of beers is going to be memorable and a conversation for months after the last plate and glass are cleared from the table. Second, they're a tremendous value for the ticket when you compare a similar experience at any restaurant without the benefit of careful pairings and a talk from the brewer. Third, they're a significant introduction to beer for the novice while at the same time deepening the experience and knowledge of beer and food for the connoisseur.
Like I said earlier, beer is the great equalizer. Find your tickets to Fitger's Brewhouse's Brewer's Dinner here.
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