Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Urban Chestnut Beer Dinner

Instead of going to the big Wine & Cheese Festival over the weekend, I decided to try the Brewmaster’s Beer Dinner hosted by Florian Kuplent of Urban Chestnut Brewing Company. I had sampled a couple of Urban Chestnut’s beers during Craft Beer Week at a Beer and Cheese pairing class, so I was curious about some of their other beers.

I remembered the first two beers right away because they are both so light: The Zwickel and the Schnickelfritz. I was surprised that a heavy roasted garlic and bread soup was served with the Zwickel, but it was a good match of opposites. The soup was actually a bit too strong…perhaps a rye flavor…so the sweetness of the Zwickel was needed to calm down the soup.

The mixed green salad was a much better pairing because the Schnickelfritz was mixed into the dressing. Both the dressing and the beer had a tangy finish, and the spiced pecans were the secret treat in this dish.

Getting to the meatier courses, quite a few people thought the pan seared halibut with the Chinook India Pale Ale was the best pairing, even though you wouldn’t think so by just looking at the description. The hops used for the Chinook IPA were so mild that it had a smooth finish instead of a bitter one. I was shocked! The halibut was served with a grapefruit beurre blanc over Israeli couscous and the tartness really helped to balance out the beer even more.

Packing even more flavor was the Harwood Myth, and my friends who quickly dismissed the Zwickel and Schnickelfritz for being too light, would totally love this beer. A thick, coffee stout (or was that a hint of chocolate?) was full of flavor and not too bad of a bitter finish. This beer matched up well with the porter braised short ribs placed on top of parsnip puree, which looked just liked mashed potatoes but tasted so much better.

Of course we finished on a light note for dessert. The Apotheosis was almost a palate cleanser since it was so light and crisp. This beer is really meant for summer, but it helped tone down the richness of the white chocolate and raspberry bread pudding. The saison ice cream was actually a sharp, lemon flavor to add sweetness on top of sweet. It was safer to let the bread pudding soak up the ice cream and raspberry flavors.

I was really impressed by Executive Chef Tony Cole. There were several other parties going on at the same time and our courses were amazing and well paired.

I think I made the right choice after all and definitely would do the Brewmaster’s Beer Dinner again next year.


Urban Chestnut = http://urbanchestnut.com

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