Went to the World Beer Dinner at Bar Crudo last night. Very nice selections and great pairings. Here's the run-down:
Baladin Nora, Le Baladin (Italy, 6.8%) - a very strange but good beer brewed from an ancient recipe from an Egyptian grain (kamut) and ginger, myrrh and orange peel instead of hops. This was served with a monkfish liver toast that was probably the best monkfish liver I've had.
Bam Noir, Jolly Pumpkin (Michigan, 4.3%) - this is a dark saisson with a nice sour note. I've had this before and wasn't too impressed. But it worked remarkably well with the Effingham oysters with melon, cucumber and pink peppercorn. Fantastic pairing -- the food made the beer more interesting.
Schneider Weiss, G Schneider & Sohn (Germany, 5.4%) - an amber-colored hefeweizen that made me rethink my general disregard for the style. Great banana flavors that worked perfectly with the yellowtail jack crudo with peaches, avocado and orange chili vinagrette.
Reinaerts Flemish Wild Ale, De Proef (Belgium, 9%) - nice sour ale with a good Brett note that again was perfectly matched with the Dungeness crab cake with heirloom tomatoes, avocado, gazpacho sauce and spicy mustard oil. The balance of the sour ale with the tartness of the tomatoes was really impressive.
Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale, Kiuchi Brewery (Japan, 8.5%) - I've been wanting to try this beer and was happy to get a chance -- it's very interesting, with fruit, nut and earthy undertones. That said, I thought the pairing was the least interesting. The Seafood Minestrone (with clams, squid, rockfish and artic char, I believe, with a great touch of pesto) was delicious and the beer/food worked well together. Yet it just wasn't as interesting and awe-inspiring of a pairing as the others.
Olfabrikken Porter, Oflabrikken (Denmark, 7.5%) - this was a rich, toasty and downright delicious porter that was perfect with the dark chocolate mousse. The mousse was light and fluffy, topped with some smoked salt, bringing out all the coffee and toast notes of the beer. A brilliant pairing as it wasn't too heavy (too many pair porter/stouts with chocolate cakes, which just weighs the whole course down). Loved it.
Overall, this was a fantastic beer dinner with really careful and interesting pairings. I was very impressed and look forward to future beer dinners.