Last night my fiancee, myself and 3 other couples attended the Grains vs Grapes event. This event was the official kick-off to Cleveland Beer Week and featured Brooklyn Brewery BrewMaster Garrett Oliver and Marianne Frantz of the American Wine School. The event featured food prepared by Michael Symon's Restaurant Group, and each course was paired with a beer and a wine that would be judged by Garrett and Marianne.
Brooklyner Weisse vs Prinz Von Hessen, Kabinett Riesling
Paired with a mixed green salad with pears, candied walnuts, blue cheese and a maple vinaigrette.
I really enjoyed how the blue cheese and candied walnuts paired with the smooth drinking hefeweizen. The sweetness from the pears also paired well with they very mild banana and clove hints in the beer. The beer was the winner for me because the riesling was just too sweet for my taste.
Brooklyn Sorachi Ace vs Sokol Blosser, Pinot Gris
Paired with a tuna crudo with kalamata olive remulade, haricot vert, orange and fried capers.
The tuna was very light and fresh and paired very well with the fresh citrus. The addition of the fried capers was something new to me and I totally loved them! The Sorachi Ace had a lemon presence which I thought paired well with the citrus and capers. Again, the beer took this round because the Pinot was too sweet and dominated my palate.
Spaten Optimator Doppelbock vs Crozes-Hermitage "La Petite Ruche"
Paired with crispy pork belly with rosemary ginger sweet potatoes, almonds and a cider reduction.
This to me was the course of the night! The pork belly had a wonderful crunch on the outside and was fall apart tender on the inside. One bite of pork belly with a bit of the sweet potatoes and the reduction equaled a perfect bite! As far as the drinks go, this round was a tie. The sweet caramel backbone of the beer paired well with the pork, but so did the drier red French wine. Either way this course was a home run!
Great Lakes Barrel Aged Blackout Stout vs Meeker Frozin
Paired with a chocolate cake with a sour cheery sauce.
This course was won as soon as the list mentioned the Barrel Aged version of Blackout Stout which is easily one of my favorite beers ever. The way this beer tastes is really unlike any other Barrel Aged beer. The bourbon comes out mildly on your palate and allows you to really get into the rich flavors of the stout. This beer paired with chocolate cake was a match made in heaven. Our only problem was we just couldn't get enough of the beer!
If the food and beer wasn't enough I was also honored to have a chance to talk with Garrett Oliver about craft beer!