Craft beers have come a long way. No longer all heavy and hoppy, beer lovers can now delight in choices that range from light and fruity to rich and creamy and everything in between. Here in Utah, we are fortunate to have a multitude of craft breweries succeeding on a global level and winning medals as they go. Red Rock Brewing Company is a staple in the local craft brew scene and has been making its mark by creating a high-quality beers since 1994.
On this particular evening, we were in for a treat as Red Rock came together with Windy Ridge Cafe to curate an evening filled with tasty brews and sumptuous dishes paired to match and amplify each others flavors. Each dish was prepared using the beer it was served alongside creating a delightful meshing of flavors with each bite and sip.
The evening began with a choice of pre-meal beers. The guests at our table chose the newly bottled Secale, which actually ended up as the table favorite for the evening. A Bavarian style Dopple Bock, this beer will please beer and whiskey fans alike as it was a culmination of efforts between head Red Rock Brewer, Kevin Templin, and former Red Rock brewer and now High West Distillery distiller Brendan Coyle. Super toasty and layered in rye whiskey oak barrels, this brew is dark chestnut in color and boasts a vanilla and caramel flavor with hints of whiskey.
Four Courses of Local Beer and Carefully Crafted Dishes
On to the first course! An ample serving of aged duck breast served atop chicory slaw, pickled black currant and white beer beans. The smokey profile of the dish paired well with beer No. 1, the Gineva. Beer dinners always make me a little nervous, as I admittedly am not a fan of alcohol forward beers or anything with over-the-top hops. Being a bit of a beer wimp, often I am left with little to enjoy. Not the case at this dinner, and this brew was a prime example. Spiced with juniper berries and kafir lime leaves, this was a light, fruity beer that reminded me a bit of drinking a gin and tonic. The perfect start to a scrumptious evening.
Up next, my favorite dish of the event, a fresh crab salad with grilled celeriac, blood orange, fennel soubise and micro herbs, Light and fresh, the dish was paired with a glass of Zwickelbier. An unfiltered beer, it was light, crisp and dry – a pilsner style ale that highlighted the ingredients of the course.
Delivered to our table next was the main event, an ample serving of stout braised beef short rib, cocoa onions, pickled pear and puffed rice gremolata. The perfect autumn evening main course, the beef was tender and fell right off the bone. The pairing for this dish was the Drioma Russian Imperial Stout. This beer had a stand up and take notice flavor. Heavy and toasty, the flavors were undoubtedly coffee, brown sugar and a little chocolate. Super smooth and rich, it felt like dessert in a glass.
Our evening filled with fantastic conversation, delectable food and amazing craft beer was drawing to a close, But first, we enjoyed one more course, a delightful and light orange blossom french toast served with citrus custard, spiced ice cream and Belgian ale syrup. The french toast reminded me of soft biscotti and was the perfect finish to the beyond copious amounts of food we happily noshed on all evening. You don’t often thing of pairing beer with dessert, however, in this case it worked quite well. The Marvella Belgian Triple Ale was another light, smooth and fruity brew that was easy to drink and had a bouquet that offered hints of banana. Another perfect pairing!
My first-ever beer pairing dinner was a success. Award winning locally crafted brews, tasty and well-thought out courses that paired perfectly with each beer and lots of laughs at our table was the perfect recipe for a lovely evening. This event will most definitely be on my “must-do” list for next autumn. Cheers!