Beer Dinner #2

I had a little beer dinner at my house last Saturday night. Anyone who knows me knows I love beer dinners. Going to them is what really got me into beer and food. I think they are a perfect way for people who may otherwise not try some beers to get into them. They showcase what beer and food can do together and how beer can make a meal special.

Quoting Garrett Oliver in The Brewmaster's Table, "And this is what real beer can do: it can make every single decent meal that you have an interesting and memorable flavor experience. It can be something that will light up your senses and make you actually want to pay attention to what's happening on your palate. Paying that little bit of attention, both to your food and to your beer, is the difference between having an 'OK' culinary life and having one filled with boundless riches of flavor. Learn a little bit about the amazing variety and complexity of flavor that traditional beer brings to the table and in return I promise you a better life." See? Doesn't that sound awesome?

So I planned for five courses all paired with beer and invited some people over. This is the second beer dinner I've put on for friends where I cooked all the courses. I ended up repeating a few of the dishes from the last one I did since it was all different guests. I think everything ended up pretty successful. Here's a little summary of the courses along with some snapshots.

1. I chose my coconut shrimp and scallops dish for the first course. Shrimp and scallops cooked in coconut milk and beer on some toasty bread with some mango papaya salad. This dish was the first post ever on my blog (which I just realized was almost exactly a year ago). And it's still always a hit. I used White Rascal for the sauce and the pairing. Good example of what beer can add to a dish as an ingredient. It just wouldn't be the same without it. The witbier works really well with the coconut milk, mango salad, and seafood.

2. The second course was ceviche. Because I just didn't want to have a dinner without it. So good. I was considering doing my tuna tartare with a stout reduction instead but couldn't commit to not making a Peruvian ceviche for everyone. Definitely next time. So we tried it with Stone IPA and Victory Helios because we wanted to see how each would complement the dish. I always love IPAs with ceviche but it was nice that Helios provided something bright and kind of funky to go with the acidity in the dish.

3. The third course was a newer one. My homemade gnocchi with a dubbel mushroom sauce. I was a little scared to prepare this for the dinner since one of the dinner guests has Italian parents who prepare amazing gnocchi for her all the time. But she approved and said they were just right :) I used Ommegang Abbey for the sauce and paired it with Korbinian. The only change I made, which I think is an awesome one, was to add crispy sage leaves. I fried them up in a little oil so they get all crispy and shimmery and pretty and delicious and then put one on top of each serving. If you can't tell, crispy sage leaves are my new obsession. They taste so good, even by themselves. I can't stop snacking on them. They were perfect with the rich mushroomy sauce and they went great with the dopplebock pairing.

4. The main course was Old Chub braised beef brisket and some mashed potatoes. I cooked the brisket for a few hours in Old Chub and a bunch of other yummy stuff. Old Chub, a scotch ale, is perfect for slow cooking meat with its flavors of caramel and smoked malt. Super rich and tasty dish. And once the meat is all melded with the flavors of the beer, the pairing becomes perfect.  I was almost going to go with a lamb chop dish for the entree but I figured this would get me more bang for my buck. Although people didn't need too much food at this point. Everyone was starting to get full. 

5. But there's still room for dessert! Or, in this case, breakfast. French toast with strawberry syrup paired with Wake-n-Bake from Terrapin. I used Challah bread and cooked up some strawberries with maple syrup. Coffee stout with french toast. What more could you want? This is a picture of some I had the next morning with a little bacon on the side. The bacon was not included in the dinner :P

So thanks so much to those of you who came. I hope you had a good time and enjoyed everything. I had a lot of fun cooking for you guys :) ♥

Can't wait for the next one!