When we lived on the front range (aka Denver) we attended a few VERY memorable food and beer pairings. Each one we attended was fantastic and well planned. Because our experiences were so wonderful, we really wanted to attend more of these delectable pairings. I mean you really can’t go wrong with food and beer. So one day I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and Kannah Creek Brewing, a local brewery in Grand Junction, had just posted the most delicious photos of their recent food and beer pairing dinner. The food looked so delicious! After looking at the photos, I made a mental note to buy tickets for the next dinner. Lucky for me, the next dinner was 6 days after Valentine’s Day (2019). It was the perfect date night/Valentine’s gift for my husband.
I got cleaned up and put on some make up. This is a really big deal for me, since I tend to live in leisure pants, otherwise known as yoga pants. I put on jeans, oh yes, and I curled my hair. It was on! Arrival time–6:00 pm. Of course, we were there on time. The dinner is held at the 12th Street location. The dinner was held in a back room passed the main dining area. The room looked quaint and romantic and also very organized. I know that those adjectives don’t match but I love organization. The décor matched the winter theme, with twinkle lights, candles, and some natural elements. Each table had individual clipboards with a very descriptive menu, and your name. All attendees had preassigned seats. Once we sat down we were given a welcome beer, Hefeweizen. It tasted so good. Dinner started at 6:30.
Here is what we ate:
**First on the menu was the Fig Chutney & Haystack Goat Cheese appetizer. Fresh baked crostinis topped with sweet, savory black mission fig chutney, toasted walnuts, fresh basil, and creamy Haystack goat cheese from Boulder, Colorado, served with the Edgewater Kölsch.
What I liked about this pairing–the mellowness and low IBU of the beer really matched well with the sweetness of the fig, the tanginess of the goat cheese, and the ripe flavor of the basil. Each person had 3 crostinis per plate. The crositinis weren’t too big, which I appreciated. I didn’t want to get full on the first course and not be able to truly enjoy the rest of the items on the menu.
**Next up, the Radish & Blood Orange salad. This lovely salad had blood oranges, navel oranges, watermelon radishes, mint, toasted pistachios, and was tossed in a blend of honey, extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, oranges, and cinnamon. The salad was served with the Chinook IPA.
What I liked about this pairing–I loved the lightness and freshness of the salad. Citrus is perfect for a winter themed dinner. I am usually not one to drink an IPA. I have been known to get pretty severe headaches from drinking IPAs. However, I took a chance with this IPA (team player :)). Lucky for me it did not give me a mind numbing headache. The IPA ended up nicely balancing out the citrus in the salad. The real stars of the salad were the watermelon radishes. They were so pretty and crunchy. I could eat them daily! This salad served as a nice palate cleanser as well as being light and tasty.
**Cue the music, the main course–Osso Buco. Veal shank braised in Talon Winery Wingspan Red wine (local Colorado wine) for six hours, served with roasted beets, parsnips, and sweet potatoes and served with the Dopplebock.
What I liked about the pairing–let me start off by saying, I have never eaten veal, at least not intentionally. I am not a picky eater. For example, one NYE in Denver, we ate at a restaurant with a prix fixe menu. First up on the menu was some sort of steak tartare, otherwise known as raw meat. Um, I like my meat cooked well. Out of my comfort zone, absolutely. My husband was shocked when I ate the tartare. But I thought, hey it is the new year and decided to….go for it! BUT, the thought of eating a calf has always bothered me, especially when I see them frolicking ALL OVER the western slope. How was I going to handle this? I mean I powered through the IPA like a champ, regardless of the fact that I could get a mind searing headache. So I did what any adult woman would do, I talked it over with my husband and my mom before the dinner and I decided to………..just go for it. I am going to be perfectly honest. I felt guilty upon first bite (I said a little prayer in my head). After all of my internal drama, here is the part you are not going to believe, it was the most tender meat that I have ever tasted. When I put my fork into the shank it literally fell apart. It was so good and it melted in my mouth. It could be best described as buttery and the braise wasn’t overpowering, so the flavor of the meat really was the frontrunner. Veal is not gamy or tough, or fatty, or bloody. Two really unusual words that I can think of to describe the taste, mild and calm. The Dopplebock was the perfect accompaniment to the veal. The beer was actually a little heavier than the veal, which was a nice balance. Isn’t is funny how we can get so worked up about something internally and have it work out beautifully? To think, I almost gave up my ticket to my husband’s friend because I wasn’t sure I could eat the veal. I am so glad that I persevered. Also, for the record, I ate the whole darn shank!
**Last up the dessert, Lemon Mascarpone Crepe Cake. The cake was made with layers of delicate baby crepes, mascarpone cream and whip cream lemon curd, and topped with blueberries, raspberries, and a dusting of powdered sugar.
What I liked about the pairing–we have been cutting our carbs for about a year now. So I am going to be honest, I ate the whole darn cake. Every last bite. No leftovers, no “can I get a to go box so I can enjoy this in the morning with coffee,” no. All of it gone. Every single berry eaten. I liked that the crepes were small. A lot of times crepes are made so gigantic and filled with so much that I feel overwhelmed. The “baby” crepes were manageable. I like that this dessert was stacked, it made it fun to cut into, almost like dessert Jenga. The combination of mascarpone and lemon curd was a light accompaniment to the heaviness of the crepes. This dessert also photographed extremely well. I think we were served a beer with this dessert, but in all honesty I don’t know what it was. I was too focused on making sure that my plate was clean, because isn’t that a sign of a meal enjoyed?
This beer pairing dinner was a wonderful, intimate experience. During the dinner each course and the coordinating beer were described in detail. The food and beer were thoughtfully paired. The ambiance was casual yet, romantic (I used this dinner as a date night with my husband). I believe there were only 20 tickets that were available. There is another beer pairing dinner at Kannah Creek Brewing in the spring. From what I was told, this is going to be a seasonal occurrence. The tickets were $45 per person plus tax for this last pairing. I am glad I bought tickets and didn’t live vicariously through the photos posted on social media. Such a fun night eating, drinking, and meeting new people!
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