Saturday, August 15, 2009

Report: Beer and Food Pairing at Greenfield Village

Thursday, Mrs. Cicerone and I were the guests of Bell's Brewing at the sold-out Blues, Brews & Local Roots Evening Dining BBQ at Greenfield Village. This was the second year for this event, and our first time attending. Chef Nick Seccia planned an extravagant five course meal, constructed around local ingredients. Local Bell's rep Dave Munro drew on his 20 years' experience as a chef and selected beers to match each course. The result was a large pavilion full of groaning, but smiling, diners. The pairings were interesting; instead of pairing the Kalamazoo Stout with dessert, Dave put it with the focaccia, cheese, and sausage. The flavor intensities were roughly equal, so it worked OK if not spectacularly. On the other side, Bell's Pale Ale was paired up with the pies, and worked very nicely. The fruity flavors came to the fore in the beer, and its crispness worked well to refresh the palate between bites of rich dessert. This pale ale is often overlooked, I think, overshadowed by its many sibling products, but is delicious and distinctive. Check it out. (Of course, the stout we'd saved back also went very nicely with the pies, as well.)

This was one heck of an event, which they plan to repeat. We will try to get advance notice on it next year, as it sold out very quickly.

The gory details, with beer descriptions by Dave:


First Course

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout
Greenfield Village herb focaccia
Peppercorn and sea salt focaccia
Infused olive oil, whipped Calder's butter
Farmstead Cheese and TMZ Farm buffalo summer sausage

Kalamazoo Stout: A rich, full bodied stout, the emphasis is on a roasted malt character that is balanced by straightforward hop bitterness, with subtle hints of brewer's licorice. 6.0%abv

Second Course

Bell's Oberon
Heirloom tomato and caramelized onion panzanella
Cider vinaigrette and micro greens

Oberon: Wheat ale fermented with Bell's signature house ale yeast. A mix of spicy hop character, mild fruit aromas and wheat malt lends a smooth mouth feel, making it a classic summer beer. 5.8%abv

Third Course

Bell's Two Hearted
Grain mustard fire roasted Tandoori Chicken
Ann Arbor goat cheese creamed corn, charred tomato salsa

Two Hearted Ale: One of the archetypes for the American India Pale Ale, Two Hearted uses 100% Centennial hops from kettle to dry hop to obtain its signature grapefruit and pine resin aromas. The hop presence is balanced by a strong malt backbone creating a highly drinkable IPA. 7.0%abv


Bell's Amber
Honey barbequed apple fed pulled Berkshire Hog
Roasted chili stone milled corn bread
Grilled squash and zucchini
Rosemary roasted Michigan potatoes
Corn relish, bread and butter pickles

Amber: Our flagship beer that focuses on toasty, caramel malt flavors, with a hint of fruitiness. Amber is great on its own or paired with food. 5.8%abv


Bell's Pale Ale

Calder's buttermilk pie
Michigan blueberry linzer pie
Vanilla sauce
Minted local melon

Pale Ale: Our Pale Ale belongs to the British school of Pale Ales in which the malt and hops play equal roles. Interesting contrast to a hop dominated American Pale Ale like Third Coast Beer. 5.2%abv

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