Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Stone Brewery Master Pairings Around the World

On my recent trip to San Diego, two of my friends and I made a trip to the (somewhat) new Stone Brewing Company and Bistro for a beer pairing dinner titled Master Pairings Around the World. Tickets were $40 for the five-course meal. I will apologize in advance for the absence of a few photos of the food and beer, and I was so enthralled with the pairings that I forgot to take a photo of the meal and beer.

The meal started with a plate of cheeses and meats themed from Europe. The menu included traditional French country pate of truffled pork, duck liver mousse, Italian prosciutto, Spanish-style lamb chorizo, Nuremberg bratwurst, French brie de nangis, and Spanish Manchego. The first course beer pairing was Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux. The beer has a yellow-gold color with a filmy and bubbly white head. The taste consisted of banana and orange citrus. The alcohol content is 9.5% ABV. I really enjoyed the Avec Les Bons Voeux and I thought that it paired really well with the cheeses. The slightly spicy cheese really worked with the citrus flavors in the beer.

The second course was themed from Southeast Asia- India/Thailand. The food provided was mussels in green curry sauce with lemon grass, lime leaves, galangal, shallots, garlic, and cilantro. The pairing beer was the 2009 AleSmith Decadence. The beer had a deep amber color with a light head. It smelled of fig, banana, and raisins. The taste was full of banana with a complimentary underlying of fig and raisin. The alcohol content is 9.0% ABV. The pairing with the mussels brought out the candisugar and was, in my opinion, the best pairing of the night.

The third pairing was themed from the United States. The course consisted of macaroni and cheese with Cheswick white cheddar, Buffalo meatloaf sandwich and garlic mashed potatoes, and traditional New England style clam chowder. It was a little odd to receive the clam chowder in a double shot glass, but made for some interesting dinner conversation. The food was paired with Stone's own Oaked Arrogant Bastard. The beer had the same characteristics as Arrogant Bastard (see my previous review here) but came with an addition of an oak aroma. The taste transformed to be a little rounded and not quite as hoppy as Arrogant Bastard. However, I was surprised that pairing the Oaked Arrogant Bastard with the macaroni and cheese brought the hops back to the mellowed Bastard.

The fourth course was themed from Oahaca, Mexico The food presented was duck mole with Spanish rice. The beer pairing was Augustiner Brau Maximator. The beer has a dark copper color with no head. It smells strongly of raisins with a light fig undertone. The taste is spicy and heavy on the raisin with a nice alcohol bite. I thought that the duck smoothed out the bite, but wasn't the best pairing of the night. I could see the direction of the pairing, a chocolaty duck with a dark and sweet fruit beer, but it didn't quite connect.

The final course was themed as Asian/French Fusion. The dessert provided was three different crème brulees: green tea, citron, and chocolate ginger. The dessert was paired with Schloss Eggenberg Samichlaus. The beer has an amber color and no head at all. The smell is sweet consisting of fig and with hints of candisugar. The taste is sweet with raisin and fig. I thought that the Samichlaus paired really well with the ginger crème brulee, but not as much with the orange crème brulee, which was the best of the three crème brulees.

Overall, this was an amazing experience. If you ever have the chance to check out the Stone Brewery, please jump on the chance. Stone strives to grow their own spices for the food and bring in locally grown and raised food products. The result is some of the best tasting food I have had from a brewery. I would also go as far as to say that Stone is the best brewery I have been to, and I haven't even taken the tour yet. I plan on making a return trip as soon as possible.

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