August 18, 2008

Beer Dinner II: Locavores

For the second installment of the Beer Dinner, we went with local beer (as opposed to la cerveza loco, the crazy beer). High-minded pairing be damned, I just filled the fridge with offerings from throughout Northern California, and one tipple only those present can smack their lips and reminisce fondly.
The opening round called for Butte Creek's Organic Revolution Imperial IPA (Chico) paired with crudite (I called a plate of veggies crudite), hummus, and three cheeses: raw, 16-month aged “San Juaquin Gold,” smoked gouda, and an awesome and stylish cheddar Irish porter, which I didn’t bust out my lone bottle of Anchor Porter, mainly because I was so digging the Imperial India Pale Ale, and that's not really like me. Everyone agreed it was a winner to wake up our taste buds.

Second bottle to be uncapped was MateVeza's Yerba Mate Ale (Chico) And to complete the Chico trifecta, I poured what Jesse called the farthest local beer possible: Sierra Nevada’s Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop Ale. (But now how will the Kiwis hop their brews?)

For K’ro’s creation, she concocted a broccoli-riccota-chive dip (with beer) and we fashioned a recipe for sundried tomato, pimento-stuffed olives (and beer) bread into a thick crust for something akin to pizza using fresh mozzerela, roasted chicken, and a bottle of bbq sauce that we pilfered yesterday (scroll down for previous post!).

Jesse & Eliana arrived toting the pieces de resistance (or as Gavin is fond of saying, amuse bouche). Our intrepid homebrewer flaunted his bottle-conditioned Belgian Triple with Vanilla Bean, which astoundingly complemented the alumna of the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) Eli’s empenadas. Two kinds: lentil veggie and North African spiced lamb. When it comes to beer and nosh, they rocked the Casbah.

Richard, who I think wasn’t quite prepared for the depth of a beer dinner, brought a cheese pizza pie and his conversational reparte, such as his analysis about his current reading selection, God Against the Gods.
I then busted out a bomber I guess I picked up down in Banana Slug country: Santa Cruz Ale Works’ Hefeweizen. Not exactly a show stopper/dinner topper. So sue me.

Lora, one of my oldest friends who is out visiting from NYC, is scratching and clawing and julienning her way into the culinary world. I won’t even get into all the tasty vittels she made in my “test kitchen,” but will simply say this for her offering: Chocolate bread pudding with a Pyramid Apricot Ale reduction topped with farm-fresh raspberries. Pouring: Chocolate Stout from Bison Brewing (Berkeley, ergo organic). Delicioso. (Lora’s special friend Dan poured the last of the Belgian Triple and along with it, the vanilla bean. Unlike the worm, it’s not recommended drinking.)

Two last libations were brought out: Eli’s homemade apple (and pear) cider and El Toro’s Oatmeal Stout that, were it not for the fact that it’s from Morgan Hill and pretty tasty, is hardly worth mentioning after that cider.

Now I need to figure out the theme for the next beer dinner; fortunately this feast should last me until then.

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