Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Beer Dinner

We celebrated my sister Carrie's birthday on Saturday by throwing a beer dinner.

This was our second beer dinner and I think people really enjoy them. Mandy creates a food menu with 4-5 courses and I try to pair a beer with each course.

We have a set of 4 oz tasting glasses that look like brandy snifters. After serving each course along with its associated beer, I'll talk briefly about the style or the brewery and give some flavor characteristics to look for. When I'm confident about the pairing, I'll also say something about why I paired the two. The menu on Saturday was:

Adam's Reuben Bites with Weihenstephaner Hefeweissebier Dunkel

Mandy's Fried Butternut Squash Raviolis (also plain cheese) with Berkshire Brewing Company's Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale

Mandy's Pumpkin Soup with Paulaner Oktoberfest-Märzen

Mom's Caesar Salad with Allagash White

Mandy's Lasagna (Meat, Spinach & Broccoli, and Cheese) with Duvel

Kelly's Pumpkin Cheesecake with my homebrewed pumpkin beer I made for Carrie

The Reuben Bites were a big hit...pastrami and sauerkraut rolled in a croissant with thousand island dipping sauce. They were great reheated on the pizza stone during the Pats game on Sunday. To be honest, I thought the Weihenstephaner was just a Dunkel Lager and thought the malty sweetness would go great with the reubens. It's actually a Dunkel Weizen, but it still went fine.

I didn't know what to pair with the raviolis, so I went with Mandy's suggestion of Berkshire's Extra Pale Ale, which went well enough.

The Pumpkin Soup was a recipe we pulled out of a magazine that was submitted by someone at Willimantic Brewery. It's actually made with an Oktoberfest beer, so the pairing seemed natural. The soup was great, as was the beer.

Allagash White was the perfect pairing for a Caesar salad. Everybody loved it.

I'm not sure why, but I've always loved drinking Duvel with Italian food. Something about its spicy, yeasty profile cuts right through the tomato and garlic and meaty flavors. It leaves my mouth feeling refreshed and ready for more food. It seemed to go over well.

My homebrewed pumpkin beer is tasting very good (if I do say so myself!). Went well with the cheesecake. My sister said it tasted the same as last year, which I guess is a good thing.

Overall, these beer dinners are less about geekery and more about having a great time eating good food and drinking good beer. It gets some people who don't ordinarily drink good beer to taste something different and talk about what they're tasting.

The lineup:

My pumpkin beer:

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