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Posts Tagged ‘beer dinner’

This past week I had the honor of being flown to Charleston, SC to attend an all-expense-paid, super special beer dinner co-hosted by the Culinary Institute of Charleston and Samuel Adams.

beer menu

There were several highlights of the night –one of which included meeting and conversing with the phenomenal team of chefs from the Culinary Institute of Charleston. The food and the beer were obviously major highlights as well.

But hands down, the ultimate highlight of the entire evening was the opportunity to meet, interview and talk beer (and other non-beer topics) with Sam Adam‘s Head Brewer, Bob Cannon. And get this — he not only sat at MY TABLE, but also sat RIGHT. NEXT. TO. ME.

bob

And let me just tell you, Bob is one heck of a guy. He is extremely personable and an amazing conversationalist. I could have talked with him for hours upon hours … upon hours … upon hours (and so on and so forth).

Prior to the actual event, I was sent an invitation that listed the various courses and pairings for the beer dinner. Other than knowing the tentative list of food & beers, I had absolutely no idea what to expect from the evening.

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Needless to say, any expectations that I may have even remotely had were completed exceeded by both The Culinary Institute of Charleston and Sam Adams. The Culinary Institute was beautifully decorated and the table settings were simple, yet effective.

I arrived at the event early with my good friend Lain Bradford. Almost immediately upon entering the building, we were both introduced to Bob Cannon. Even though I didn’t believe him at first, I was very humbled to have learned that Bob had actually heard about me and my blog prior to the event. (Apparently, “The Beer Wench” was a brief topic of conversation at the Great American Beer Fest … who woulda thunk?)

Bob was kind enough to allow both Lain and myself interview him. The footage will be released in the near future.

And now without further ado, allow me to present my Sam Adams Beer Dinner RECAP through the use of visual media …

Disclaimer: the following video is the first of its kind to be released on my blog. I used a FLIP camera to record myself prior to the start of the dinner. Ummm … enjoy?

Okay, so I might need a wee bit o’ practice in the self-video department.

Let us move on to the nitty gritty.

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Upon entering the doors to the Culinary Institute of Charleston, guests were immediately “bombarded with beer. We were forced to sample the Samuel Adams Pils and the Samuel Adams Ale.

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We were asked to vote which one we preferred best. And you will NEVER guess in a million years what The Wench voted for … :)

(If you even need to ask, then you are not stalking me well enough — tisk tisk)

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Soft pretzels and whole grain mustard and beer is a natural pairing. These delicious knots of joy were a slam dunk with the Samuel Adams Boston Lager.

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This was our modest cheese spread. Only about 5 pounds worth per guest …

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Super sexy close-up of the cheese. Ohhhhhhh yeah.

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That was some seriously coagulated casein. I’m drooling just looking at the picture.

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Mmmmmmm beer.

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Adobe chicken wings and livers. To die for. Really.

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Mussels steamed in garlic & Boston Lager. Absolutely delicious!

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The Beer Wench and Chef David Vagasky — the brilliantly talented chef behind all of the appetizers.

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The simple, yet completely perfect center piece.

The spit bucket was just for decoration.

I don’t think anyone  actually used it …

The table confetti consisted of two types of barley and dried hops leaves — which I proceeded to chew on at the end of the meal. HEY, hops are good for digestion. Among other things :)

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The Beer Wench with Chef Ben Black — the other brilliantly talented chef responsible for the amazing appetizer spread!

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The Salad Course: Shrimp and Citrus Salad paired with Samuel Adams Summer Wheat Ale.

The salad was super light and refreshing and the beer complimented it extremely well.

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The First Entree Course: Cajun red snapper with Texas caviar and mango salad with a mango Irish Red reduction. This was paired with Samuel Adams Irish Red Ale.

I loved this course. I would almost argue that it was my favorite. The Irish Red Ale was definitely my favorite beer of the night, hands down. (It is also Bob Cannon’s favorite SA beer)

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The Second Entree Course: Salmon Nicoise — Fennel crusted salmon atop a nicoise olive & haricot vert salad finished with a reduction of whole grain mustard and paired with Samuel Adams Boston Lager.

This dish was very tasty and the salmon was cooked perfectly. Samuel Adam’s Boston Lager is one of the only American Lagers that I actually enjoy.

duck

The Third Entree Course: Pan-seared SA Blackberry Wit Muscovy duck breast with blackberry-lemon gastrique and griddled Anson Mills hoe cake paired with Sam Adams Blackberry Wit.

The duck was out of this world. This was also the first time I tried the SA Blackberry Wit — and needless to say, I was impressed. Light & fruity. Perfect pair for this dish.

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The Fourth Entree Course: Hold onto your seats for this one, kids.

Kobe beef short ribs braised in SA Cream Stout atop a bed of roasted garlic buttermilk mashed potatoes and paired with Sam Adams Cream Stout.

This dish was absolutely pornographic. The cream stout was rich, thick and oooohhh so creamy.

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The Fifth Entree Course: Sam Adams Black Lager & chocolate ancho chile rubbed lamb ribs paired with Sam Adams Black Lager.

Ridiclous. Absolutely ridiculous.

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The Dessert Course: Paired with Sam Adams Cherry Wheat.

Part 1 = Apple walnut & cream stout tart

Part 2 = Malted chocolate gelato with macerated cherries, vanilla bean creme fraiche and SA Cherry Wheat foam.

I completely devoured both desserts. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if pictures of me licking the plate surfaced.The cherry wheat complimented both deserts very nicely. It was not too sweet and slightly tart.

uptopia

LA PIECE DE RESITANCE: SAMUEL ADAMS UTOPIA.

This is the strongest beer in the entire world. It is roughly 27.5 %ABV. It is only produced every two years — and will run yo about $200 bucks a bottle.

And what does The Wench have to say about it?

Wow. Just … wow.

I am still speechless.

Well, folks. That is all the photos I have to share from the event. The event was almost too enjoyable that I forgot all about taking pictures.

BIG THANKS go out to both Samuel Adams and The Culinary Institute of Charleston for putting on such an amazing event and allowing me to be a part of it. I had a tremendously wonderful time. The food was amazing and the beers were spectacular — but it truly was the people who made the event as enjoyable as it was.

CHEERS!

I am still speechless.

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Anyone who has ever remotely interacted with me knows that I possess (what we will call) the “gift of gab.” I talk a lot … and I mean a lot. This is partly because I think a lot … and partly because I think that I have a lot to say (whether or not what I have to say is important, however … is an entirely different story).

gab

Two topics in which I seem to possess a seemingly endless ability to talk about are beer and social media (specifically Twitter). I constantly find myself engaging others (often strangers) in conversations about both. And usually, these conversations result in me looking like the biggest geek on the planet. Which is fine by me.

Super_Geek

My love, passion and affinity for social media has introduced me to some pretty damn amazing people as well as has brought me opportunities that I would never have found otherwise. One such opportunity is a charity beer dinner with Samuel Adams (The Boston Beer Company) at the Culinary Institute of Charleston, SC on July 14th.

culinary of charleston

Little (well I’m not so little) old (technically I’m not old either) me got invited to attend THE ULTIMATE BEER AND FOOD EXPERIENCE. The event is being co-hosted by The Boston Beer Company and The Culinary Institute of Charleston with Special Guest, Bob Cannon — Head Brewer for Samuel Adams.

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And the best part? It is ALL EXPENSE PAID.

Now how does one get such an honorable invitation? This is where all of my time and energy on social media platforms has successfully paid off (hey Mom & Dad … look at me now).

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Combine a passion for writing with a passion for beer and a passion for all things Internet … add in a community of equally passionate food, wine & beer bloggers … create interactions and develop relationships with this community … and you have one big OPEN DOOR to the (food & beverage) world. The connections and opportunities are endless on the internet — and especially on Twitter. And there is no greater proof than this latest opportunity that just “fell” oh so gracefully into my lap.

beer dinner

The image right above is the menu for the beer dinner. Select chefs from The Culinary Institute of Charleston have incorporated the beers of Samuel Adams into a tasting menu to be envied. In addition to containing beer as a major ingredient, each dish will also be paired with a Samuel Adams beer.

This dinner excites me for several reasons. Not only will it be the “ultimate beer & food experience“, but it will also give me an opportunity to taste some of Samual Adam’s more rare and less mainstream, specialty beers. One such beer is UTOPIA — arguably the boldest, most alcoholic beer in the world. Rumor has it that Utopia will be paired with one of the desserts. (I am praying that both my stomach and my liver will hold up until dessert — and by the sound of things, this may prove to be quite a challenge).

utopia

Naturally, every great event has an equally exciting & exhilirating after-party. Lucky for me, I have also been invited to attend the special “VIP” after-party with special guest and head Samuel Adams brewer, Bob Cannon.

Now I know what you are thinking — what is the catch? After all, there is no such thing as “free” in a capitalist society. Well folks, I have agreed to do somethings in exchange for a free flight to Charleston, a free night’s stay in one of Charleston’s premier hotels, a free ticket to the beer dinner and free pass to the VIP after-party. For all this, I will blog … and tweet … and talk about the event. And while at the event, I will also blog, tweet, talk — and even live ustream the event.

Beer Will Change The World

Life, my friends, does not get better than this. I get to do some of the things I love to do most in life (traveling, eating good food & drinking good beer with good people) in exchange for two other things that I love to do most (writing my blog & engaging with others).

Stay tuned for more information regarding the event! CHEERS!

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Tonight I will be co-hosting my very first beer dinner.

beer-dinner

Now I’ve hosted tastings, pairings & beer parties. I’ve also ran beer tastings at bars and restaurants. I’ve also done staff training (for both beer & wine).

But this event is completely different. Two of my other “Twitter” buds and I are tri-hosting a beer vs. wine event. While the idea itself is not entirely unique, the execution of the event is the first in its kind.

Unfortunately, tonight’s event does not have an official “name.” The closest any of us have gotten to naming the event is calling it “@docledebbie @mmWine @TheBeerWench Twitter Taste Live event.” And that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue very well, now does it?

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If you follow me on Twitter, you are probably more than aware of this event. If you are unfamiliar with Twitter, you probably have no idea what I am talking about. Either way, let us clarify the specifics!

As a result of Twitter, I have been connected to some pretty amazing people. Some of my closest friends are people that I’ve met via Twitter. Before you start thinking that I’m lame for meeting friends on Twitter … I ask you to reconsider. Twitter has connected me with many people that are as passionate (if not more) and obsessed with the world of food & beverage as I am.

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One such person is Dolce Debbie (aka Chef Debbie Frangipane), Executive Chef and Culinary Director for Savory Adventures as well as a Personal Chef and Personal Trainer. Dolce Debbie (@docledebbie on Twitter) currently resides in Tampa, FL – with her crazy, yet adorable, husband Barry (@barryfrangipane on Twitter). Debbie & Barry have toured Italy extensively and together they own Savory Adventures, a company that offers a unique and exciting way to explore Italy, its land, its people, its wine and its foods.

savory-adventures

I first met Dolce Debbie through a mutual Twitter friend, Matt Scott (aka @mmWine on Twitter). Based in West Palm Beach, Matt is the author of the wine blog “A Good Time With Wine.” He is also the co-founder of ZsaZsa and Company, an Internet based wine store that offers an elegant yet fun way to give gifts of wine (you can follow them on Twitter – @zsazsaandco).

zsazsa

Matt and Debbie co-hosted a Twiter Taste Live event back in February. The theme was Piedmont, Italy. Dolce Debbie prepared a fantastic and delicious spread of Italian foods traditional to the region of Piedmont. Matt paired some equally excellent wines with each course. Several people from Twitter, including myself, attended the event. I spent the night alternating between stuffing my face full and twittering non-stop. Matt did a live U-stream video of the event. You can find the original footage on his blog.

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The day after the tasting, the three of us (well and Barry) sat down and started planning out the next event. I suggested doing a wine versus beer dinner … and the clocks started turning.

Tonight will be the first Twitter Beer vs. Wine Dinner event … in the entire history of Twitter. Dolce Debbie has created a 5 course menu. Matt and The Beer Wench are going head to head on the first four courses. Obviously, I will be pairing beer and Matt with be pairing wine. (Bring it on Matty!!!)

The menu is set. Dolce Debbie has already turned into a madwoman in the kitchen. I am actually sitting at a table next to her kitchen (I am the official taste tester) – so I can say from first hand experience that she is just tearing it up in the kitchen! This morning she made us all enormous Belgian waffles SMOTHERED in whip cream, fresh berries & sliced bananas.

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Matt and I are both here – and both of us have arrived safely with our beverages of choice. So without any further ado, allow me to present the tasting menu … complete with the wine and beer pairings. The beers have been bought, so there is no going back now. HOWEVER, I would love comments and feedback about my choices. Thanks!

Appetizers-Fried Rice Ball w Shrimp, Bruschetta, Fried Zucchini Straws
Beer Pairing Lagunitas Czech Style Pilsner
Wine Pairing Bisson Prosseco 2007

First Plate – Parmesan Risotto
Wine Pairing Bonci Verdicchio Carpaneto 2007
Beer Pairing Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale

Second Plate – Pistachio encrusted Sea Bass
Wine Pairing Deforville Chardonnay 2007
Beer Pairing Jolly Pumpkin Brewery Calabaza Blanca

Main dish – Grilled rack of lamb encrusted in Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and rosemary.
Wine Pairing Pievano Sagratino Montefalco 2003
Beer Pairing Dogfish Head Raison E’Etre

Dessert – Lemon Cake with strawberries marinated in Limoncello.

cameraman

Interested in watching the event?

Live video streaming starts at 6:30, with the event itself starting at 7pm. Video stream will be on the Twiter Taste Live home page as well as HERE with a ustream chat room for viewers to interact during the event (you don’t have to be on Twitter to view the ustream video and interact in the chat room).

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