the food: Brooklyn Beer Dinner at Alamo Lakecreek
the music: "Lovecraft in Brooklyn" The Mountain Goats
Garrett Oliver is a bad ass. I don't have a more delicate way to say it. He is a founding board member of Slow Food USA, has judged Great American Beer Festival for the past 11 years, and authored The Brewmaster's Table which is all about pairing food and beer (and #1 on my Christmas wish list.) I was fortunate enough to attend the Brooklyn Beer dinner with my husband on Sunday night and it was an experience better than I even imagined.
Garrett Oliver welcomed the crowd and started talking about Wonder Bread. He eloquently and concisely traced the decline of American craft breweries with the decline of real food in America, but explained beer is coming back, thanks to the rise in food culture. According to Oliver, making beer that tastes like water is actually pretty difficult, much in the same way that an accomplished baker could never make Wonder Bread in their home kitchen. It made me think of the guys from King Corn trying to make high fructose corn syrup in at home (3:51 in this video).
The food was meat based, so we unfortunately did not get to taste all the pairings. But I think we did get to taste the best one. The second course was Chingri Malai paired with Cuvee de Cardoz (not available in Texas, but I will keep my fingers crossed). Chef Paul prepared the curry the same day as the feast, and was kind enough to fry up a little tofu for us to enjoy the creamy coconut milk and lemongrass sauce. As soon as I sipped the beer, I understood the curry pairing. Oliver collaborated with an Indian chef to develop the beer, and it is deliciously complex and spicy. The only flavor I immediately identified when I sipped was ginger, but there are so many tastes that perfectly complimented its curry companion. You can read a more specific description of the beer here.
We sadly missed out on dessert- homemade pumpkin graham cracker, Local 2 marshmallow 'smore- but had the delicious Black Chocolate Stout, so we weren't lacking in flavor. This is a new beer to me, just popping up in our Central Market. I generally shy away from Chocolate Stouts- they are often just too sweet for my taste. But this beer was so subtle and calm- nothing overwhelming or syrupy. The perfect dessert, really. And as if that wasn't enough, I also sampled a fan-baked pumpkin chocolate beer cake from MisoHungry. Woah.
Other beers we sampled were among our favorites... the Local 1 and Local 2, which we are fortunate enough to have access to in Texas. Oliver ended the evening by saying that his goal as a craft brewer is to make beer worthy of the time you spend around the table, which is the most important and best time we all have together. He encouraged us to slow down and pay attention to what we eat and drink.
Again, I was a little sad to not taste the other amazing looking chef creations, but I'll take what I can get. Alamo Lakecreek shows a lot of love for beer and brewers, and I always jump at the chance to attend any of their beer events. We had a blast, and I'm grateful to the Drafthouse for yet another fantastic night spent around the table.