Thursday, April 17, 2008

Homebrewers Brew to Impress

One of the perks of being a beer magazine editor is regional travel and beer dinners. Yesterday I spent the day in Astoria distributing magazines and was lucky enough to score tickets for Annalou (Beer Northwest's art director) and I to attend the last Fort George beer pairing dinner of the season. This month’s dinner featured local homebrew paired with cuisine by Fort George chefs Dana and Chris.

Fort George owners Chris Nemlowill and Jack Harris held a homebrew competition to decide the five beers to be served with dinner—a new and somewhat unusual concept for a beer dinner. To be honest, I was skeptical. All beers were products of local Clatsop County homebrewers, and all were surprisingly impressive.

The menu boasted a broad range of beer styles including:

-Chris Gustafson’s Still Finnish Sahti (traditional Finnish brew typically made with juniper instead of hops) paired with lemongrass leek and potato soup

-Dan Hamilton’s “Tillamook Head Red” ESB paired with house-smoked chicken fennel apple sausage (lots going on here, but it worked)

-James’ Sullivan’s Bourbon and Oak Aged Porter paired with smoked albacore tuna loin salad

-James Bunnell’s IPA (similar characteristics to Stone IPA) paired with habanero marinated lamb skewers, roasted garlic couscous, and a (smokin’ hot) roasted red pepper coulis

-Anthonly De Luz’s “Midnight Mistress”: Bourbon and Oak Blended Stout paired with chocolate dipped sparkling strawberries infused with Wild Turkey Bourbon

Each brewer was in attendance and spoke about his beer as it was being poured. Experience ranged from three years of homebrewing practice to 30+ years of malt madness. Overall, the dinner was a major success (Chris and Jack commented that it was one of the best beer dinners they’ve ever hosted), and I encourage other restaurants and brew pubs that host beer pairing dinners to reach out to local homebrewers. You might just be pleasantly surprised.

Fort George will begin hosting parking lot brewer’s barbecues once a month during the summer. Check out the website for details (coming soon).

1 comment:

Jen said...

What a fabulous way to experience new things. I love that more and more people/places are begining to experiement with food and beer pairings. The world is a better place for it!

J & C
Big Daddy Brewing