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SF Beer Week: Beer and Nosh Beer Dinner

By Joe Ruvel · February 21st, 2009 · 2 Comments

Work has gotten in my way and I have fallen behind on my beer week postings. But I’m back, so let me try and share a few memories of the awesome Beer And Nosh dinner last week. Jesse was our hostess with the mostest for the evening. And boy, did he do a good job. One of the things I liked best about this event was how it came together. Jesse is a blogger and an avid beer drinker. He knows Chef Jen Biesty (from Top Chef faux-hawk fame) who cooks at Scala’s Bistro these days. They talked – worked together – melded food and beer minds – and out came a heartfelt and awesome beer dinner. A lot different than I am use to. The people I saw around me were not all the usual beer dinner crowd. They had seen Jen on TV and now wanted to taste her food – why not pair beer with it? Some were huge beer fans (like Jasmine and I) and others were just getting into beer. A really nice mixed crowd. Ah and then there is the beer and food.

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Let’s go through the menu  – dish by dish. I use to do that all the time on my food blog – it’s nice to try it again here.

Sacramento Brewing’s Abbey Extra
House made Pilsner Malt Pretzels with Beer Mustards

I was running late, but my gracious dining partner saved me a nice glass of the Abbey Extra and a house made pretzel with beer mustard. The beer was good – my memory of it has escaped me a bit but damn did I love that pretzel. I am a pretzel nut – soft pretzels mostly. And the beer mustard was good and spicy with a bit of beer flavor.

Triple Rock’s IPAX India Pale Ale
Shrimp & Scallop Beignet, Simcoe Hops, Ginger, Basil Pesto 

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Great pairing here. The beignet was very tasty – a bit soggy – but the flavors really came through. I love that Jen used hops, ginger, and basil – it all came together very well. And then the beer – this is the single version of Triple Rock IPAX that won silver at the Double IPA festival. And it was a beauty – full of flavor – good hop balance – light enough not to overwelm the shrimp and scallop, but strong enough to not get washed out by the basil and ginger.

Shmaltz Brewing’s Coney Island Albino Python
Local Squid, House made Chorizo, Squid Ink Risotto,
Pickled Fresno Chilies, Wild Arugula

I was looking forward to this course the minute I saw it on the menu. I mean, this is not your everyday pairing. Jeremy from Shmaltz came out and talked about the beer and his company. Shmaltz had a posse and they seemed to be having a fine time at the dinner – which is totally great . That’s the idea – to bring people together, to eat and drink and talk and work together. There was a very positive vibe in the air. Ok, back to the food and beer. The food was sexy – does that sound odd? Not sure, but it was. I don’t think I have ever had stuffed squid – and it was good squid, tasty chorizo and then to top it all off, really well done risotto. The dish was playful, tasted good, and was just overall one of my favorite dishes. And the beer  – a crazy beer in it’s own right – with lots of spicy flavors playing off each other (it doesn’t taste like the wheat beer it looks like) went with the dish very well.

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Drake’s Special Barrel Blend
50% Merlot Barrel BrettAmber / 50% Grenache Barrel Belgium Triple
Duck & Pistachio Terrine, Smoked Raisin Mustard,
Crystal Malt Crackers, Fried Pickles

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Another great pairing – a special beer that Jesse got to help blend at Drake’s (so cool!! it even was served at the sour beer fest at Triple Rock  – a surprise to Jesse. It was called “It’s Fity”) – some cherry sourness, full flavor, wine-like. I want more! And with this, a fatty wonderfulness that is duck and pistachio terrine – kick ass smoked raisin mustard and fried pickles! Fun on the plate and in the glass.

Firestone Walker’s Reserve Porter
Coffee & Malt Rubbed Beef Short Rib, Cocoa Nib, Meyer Lemon &
Tangerine Gremolata, Sunchoke Puree

The beer is one I have had before and loved, and I really liked the gremolata and sunchoke puree – soooo smooth and tasty. The gremolata was that type of citrus that will cut right through the porter and make you smile ear to ear. Personally (and this was not a feeling shared with pretty much anyone at our table) I just didn’t love the short rib – not sure why – just wasn’t the cut or style for me I guess. And you know what – that is ok. I was very full at this point and loving the conversation with people at the table and with the brewer discussions before each beer.

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Shmaltz Brewing’s Coney Island Human Blockhead “Blockhead”
Big Woods Blue Cheese, Asian Pear, Walnuts, Saba

This course was just pure fun. The beer – it is a doosy – big bad lager barley wine. This is another beer in Shmaltz’s Coney Island series. If you see it out there in the wild, pick some up. We got a treat before the course. Donny Vomit – the one and only freak show performer who’s visage is on the bottle – performed for the crowd. Wow! Amazing beer, great food, AND a guy pushing a nail with a power tool into his head through his nose. There was sword swallowing too – which of course he did with humor and a certain confidence that I feel is very neccassary to the profession. Oh and the course went well together – a blue cheese and a barley wine. One of those pairings that makes so much sense. I also had never had saba ( a type of balsamic vinegar) but it worked very well with the blue cheese.

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Oskar Blues Ten-Fity Imperial Stout
Pale & Crystal Malt Gelato, Stout Float, Carafa Malt Shortbread

And then there was dessert. Ten Fity could have been a dessert on it’s own. You think Guinness is like a whole meal – try this canned craft beer – wow – RICH and full of chocolate flavors. The stout float part was a bit bitter for me, but the pale and crystal malt gelato was great and a perfect end to the meal. No good pictures of dessert unfortunately. I was enjoying the beer and gelato too much.

By this time the haze of the beer and fine food washed over me. A wonderful event – thanks Jesse and, I am sorry, but you did such a good job putting this event together everyone will be expecting more events in the future. The rest of our pictures are here. We recorded a few videos of the brewers’ introductions too. They are a bit dark -we might try and post the audio only soon.

Tags: Beer & Food · Tastings

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Melissa Komadina // Feb 24, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Hey Joe, this is Melissa from the Shmaltz posse. I’m so glad to read that you enjoyed the dinner as much as we did, particularly the Python/Blockhead courses, which were delicious and totally sexy. Thanks so much for the support!

  • 2 Joe Ruvel // Feb 24, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Thanks for the comment Melissa. You guys keep putting out great beers and I will keep drinking them (and telling everyone I know to try them)!