Thursday, October 27, 2011

Garrett Oliver's Four-Course Beer Dinner

Beer and food pairing interest is growing across the United States.  Craft beer, which was once maligned when compared to wine in food pairings, is now a popular accompaniment and even ingredient in food.  Shows like The Home Brewed Chef on The Brewing Network, events like Savor, and articles in Brew Your Own magazine and Zymurgy all show this trend.  Even, the website of the Brewers Association, has an entire section on beer and food, which features a wide variety of recipes and tasting suggestions, including steps to host your own pairing event. also recently featured instructions and recipes for conducting a four-course beer dinner by Garrett Oliver.

Garrett Oliver is the brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery and a well-known expert on beer dinners.  His book, The Brewmaster's Table, is considered one of the key guides to food and beer pairing and he has even appeared on The Food Network's Iron Chef America series.  In the feature, Garret presents four dishes that "normal" people can prepare, along with recommended beer pairings.  The recipes include:

  • Linguine Carbonara Paired with a Belgian-style Dark Abbey Ale
  • Indian-spiced Crab Cakes Paired with an India Pale Ale
  • Roast Rack of Lamb Paired with a Brown Ale or Porter
  • Imperial Stout Float
The thing I like best about these recipes is that they are designed to allow you to host the dinner party.  This means that you should be able to socialize and interact with your guests, rather than slaving in the kitchen the whole time.  The recipes feature clear instructions on organization and what to do ahead of time and how to minimize work when the guests arrive.  They are well thought-out and clearly the result of Garrett's experience in the kitchen.

The other thing I like about the recipes is that they are interesting and different.  They do not feature the same tried and true beer pairings, but instead would likely expand the cooking skills of many home chefs and the palates of many participants.  While a bit exotic, they also feature ingredients that should be easily found in most parts of the country.

While I don't think I will be doing the entire dinner anytime soon, I do intend to give the Linguine Carbonara and the Imperial Stout Float sometime in the future.



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