Monday, March 25, 2013

Beer Dinners: Odonata American v Belgian night

In case you haven't tried it yet, a beer and food pairing dinner is a fabulous way to spend an evening with friends.  Nationwide, chefs and brewers alike are putting care & love into creating great food and great beer experiences: a delightful development in the craft beer industry today.  
Thank you all the fantastic chefs and enthusiasts out there 
who take the time to prepare fine food and libations for us!
These photos are from a unique meal that pairs each course with 2 samples of a Belgian beer style: a Belgian original and an America version of the same style.  The happy diners then choose their favorites and debate the merits of stylistic contributions while working their way through an amazing diversity of food and beer.

Course 1 revealed the secret menu & beer list which opened with with delicate wit and  & fresh oysters
Course 1-Wit Menu & Chef
Click photo to zoom in
 With the super-secret menu, even I didn't know if Odonata Saison would be on the evening's agenda.  So I was thrilled when the  house's Cellar Reserve Saison came out against the wonderful Glazen Toren D'Erpe-Mere.  The owner and the chef each made some dining comments and the tasting began.
Course 2-Saison: Odonata v Glazen Toren
The Saison comparison was a good match for both style and technique: both the Odonata and the Glazen Toren had been laid aside for traditional farmhouse cellar conditioning: a technique not commonly found in the fast-paced American production market.  I was amazed at the similarity in the complex nose of the two Saisons with both finishing very dry but full of fruity Belgian flavors.  

With the fatty richness of the paired pork belly tostone (corn foundation), the Glazen Toren exhibited more of a floaral/herbal finish and the Odonata Saison highlighted a dry black raspberry note.  The Odonata was slightly fuller on the malt - reflecting our more american malt bill.  Rumor is the vote tallied slightly in favor of the local brew :)

Course 3-Tripel
While the crisp Saisons had been paired with a rich pork belly course, next a light and beautiful salad was presented with the full flavored Tripels from St Feuillien and Allegash.  I was sad to see that salad go but plenty was still on its way.
Course 4-Tripel IPA
 The rich spicy Triple IPAs came next with a spicy duck "wing" that was so good I didn't even want to let the bones go to waste.  I thought after the duck wing course it was going to be hard to beat, but then along came  a wonderful cheese interlude.
Course 5-Dubbel
 The Black Diamond Dubble was a solid hit with the honey and Humbolt Fog cheese.  Not an easy feat with the tart-sour-strong-sweet of honey and cheese, but the beers and the course delivered delightfully.

Course 6-Flemish Red
If you're trying to decide what to do for a belgian dinner, throw in some Flemish Red and a traditional Flemish stew - how could you go wrong?  Of course, when you decide to make it your Lost Abbey Red Poppy course..... you are destined to make the dinner epic.

Course 7-Quad & Dessert
 Dessert was served.  Glasses were emptied.  Toasts were echoed.  The evening was delightful.

Odonata Saison and Glazen Toren D'Erpe-Mere
Good Beer and Food was had by all

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