Sonoma Film Festival Beer Dinner Thursday Night

Home-Brew-Chef film
I know it’s late notice but Sean Paxton, the Homebrew Chef, is doing a beer dinner tomorrow night, Thursday April 11, in conjunction with the Sonoma Film Festival. The dinner is sponsored by New Belgium Brewing but also features beer from several breweries. It starts at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at Ramekins Culinary School & Inn located at 450 West Spain Street in Sonoma. Tickets for the four-course dinner are $75 and can be purchased at Eventbrite. Sean’s dinners tend to be amazing, and I’m confident this one will be no different. And because it’s a school night, it’s a modest dinner by his standards, a good one to start with if you haven’t been to one his extravaganzas before.

Here’s the menu:

Pre-Movie Snacks

Popcorn
Duck fat fried heirloom popcorn, dusted in fennel pollen, grains of paradise and truffle salt
cedar smoked bacon fat popped popcorn with tomato powder, thyme salt and porcini mushroom dust

Flatbread
“The Bejkr” dough baked in the wood oven with Russian River Consecration barrel staves, shaved fennel, Sonoma Dry Jack, local olive oil, sea salt and chili

Paired with Hoppy Bock and Fat Tire

First Course

Unicorn Sashimi
Carpaccio of beets, carrots, radishes, fennel fond, arugula, shaved Cypress Grove Midnight Moon, hazelnut sesame sunflower seed butter, tarragon, sunflower sprouts, Ranger IPA foam

Paired with Rampant Imperial IPA

Second Course

The Man Who Lived on His Bike
Sea scallops poached in Sunshine Wheat and bergamot peel, sautéed lacinato kale with sage, green beans, and Tripel coriander sabayon

Paired with Brewery Vivant Biere De Garde

Third Course

Bird and Business
Sonoma County chicken and duck, mixed with Lips of Faith Cascara Quad soaked dates, caramelized shallots, black garlic sausage on a breaded Paul’s Produce rutabaga film reel, escarole & green garlic topped with a abbey coffee mustard sauce

Cheesy Movies
Pt. Reyes Bay Blue, Laura Chenel Cheese, Delice de la Vallee with Abbey Ale orange peel honey, La Folie beer jelly, clove smoked cashews, hop salt, local breads and crackers

Paired with Lost Abbey Bretta Beer and Prickly Passion Saison

Concession Stand

Movie Treats
1554 beer brittle topped with dark chocolate, toasted pistachio and smoked salt with Heavenly Feijoa beer marshmallow dipped in white chocolate with rose dust

Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream
Peach Porch Lounger ice cream with Tripel caramel ripple with Biere de Mars goat milk sherbet

Paired with Imperial Coffee Chocolate Stout and Transatlantique Kriek

A toast by the Homebrew Chef, Sean Paxton
Sean Paxton, the Homebrew Chef

Russian River Toronado 25th Anniversary Beer

russian-river
Today Russian River Brewing‘s newest beer is being released, and it’s been some time in the making. It’s a blended beer made with six beers, only two of which are actual finished beers made before, with the other four being brewed just for blending purposes. Some of the beers had been aging for many months before finally being blended and bottled in April of this year, with additional yeast added to referment in the bottle. The beer, if you haven’t guessed, is the Toronado 25th Anniversary, made for the San Francisco pub’s silver anniversary which takes place next week, though the celebrating has already begun.

Tuesday night there was an intimate beer dinner in the back room of the Toronado, to introduce the new beer for their 25th anniversary, which was called the “Toronado 25th Anniversary Dinner and Blending Session.” Homebrew Chef Sean Paxton did the food but was told he could only use one plate. In typical crazy Paxton bizarro world, he did exactly as he was told, but found the biggest plate any one of us had ever seen. The ginormous plate of many foods was paired with all six of the base beers used to create the beer.

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Known as “The Plate,” it included 547 Pate (Willie Bird turkey thighs, Liberty Duck — breasts, hearts, livers — and Sonoma County pork, marinated in Toronado 25th Anniversary, mixed with bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, thyme and pistachios), Haight Street Sausage (Sonoma County pork — shoulder, jowl and belly meat — cold smoked in Russian River Consecration barrel staves and mixed with currants soaked in Toronado 20th Anniversary, caramelized shallots and lemon thyme), Egg Head Customers (quail eggs pickled in malt vinegar infused with coriander, bay leaves, chilies and salt with red beets and sugar, garnished with a mushroom flaked sale), Fungi Dave (Petaluma chicken sous vide in Russian River Beatification, chopped and mixed with fennel, candied lemon peel and a Beatification aioli with paper thin mushroom slices, garnished with fennel pollen and truffle salt), Duck Duck Canapé (Liberty Duck confit in Toronado 25th Anniversary, made into rillettes infused with dried sour cherries topped with confit duck hearts on a hemp chia and sesame seed cracker), Riff Riff Salad (Mixed marble potatoes, green bean, yellow wax bean, apple smoked bacon and hydroponic watercress salad tossed with a Beatification funkigrette), Bejkr Bread, Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese, Beatification Jelly, Fatted Calf European-style Ham, and a slice of ripe melon.

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The six base beers were:

  1. Sonambic
  2. Blonde Ale
  3. Strong Pale Ale
  4. Ale Aged with Currants
  5. Strong Dark Ale
  6. Baltic Porter

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Around 60-70 people in the back room of the Toronado for the Toronado 25th Anniversary Dinner and Blending Session.

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I was fortunate enough to be seated at the table with my friend (and Washoes partner), Toronado owner Dave Keene, along with ….

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Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo from Russian River Brewing.

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Each table setting included a pipette and an empty tulip glass so that everyone could use the six base beers to blend their own beer.

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Arne Johnson, from Marin Brewing, working on his own blend.

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Jen Garris, from Pi Bar, Dave’s wife Jen Smith, and Natalie Cilurzo.

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All six base beers with the finished product in the middle, the Toronado 25th Anniversary. If you look closely in the center, you can see the proportions for my two attempts at blending my own beers. Both of them turned out pretty well, with the second being more sour than the first (which was what I was going for).

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There was also extra pate and the Toronado 25th Anniversary along with a taste of the Toronado 20th Anniversary beer, too.

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Sean slipped in a second plate, with a dessert on it, a Toronado ‘Bar’ Cookie (a dark chocolate brownie topped with grafitti composed of oats, pistachios, dried cherries and ribbons of malt syrup).

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Dave Keene showing off the special bread Sean Paxton made for him.

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At the end of the evening, Vinnie revealed the actual blend percentages for the base beers used to create the Toronado 25th Anniversary, which were:

  1. Sonambic = 4%
  2. Blonde Ale = 16%
  3. Strong Pale Ale = 36%
  4. Ale Aged with Currants = 28%
  5. Strong Dark Ale = 12%
  6. Baltic Porter = 4%

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Dave Keene and Vinnie Cilurzo at the end of a great evening, holding a bottle of the Toronado 25th Anniversary.

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After which, the stogies came out and the evening began, with Matt Bonney, from Brouwers in Seattle, and Dave Keene getting things started. Thanks Dave, Jen, Sean, Vinnie and Natalie for spectacular evening. As of today, the new beer is available for sale. Pick up some as soon as you can, because when it’s gone, it’s gone. There’s more details on the Russian River Blog on how to get a bottle of your very own. Basically it’s $25 per bottle with a limit of two bottles per day, and it’s very limited. But stop by Russian River’s brewpub tonight for a taste of it on draft.

Toronado Belgian Beer Dinner 2012

Home-Brew-Chef
Yesterday, one of my favorite beer events of the year took place. The annual Toronado Belgian Beer Dinner with food by Sean Paxton, the Homebrew Chef, ran to twelve courses and was paired with 21 different Belgian and Belgian-inspired beers. Including the beers that were used as ingredients in each dish, a total of 48 different beers were involved in the meal. Here’s my photo record of the event.

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The Toronado ready for its annual beer dinner.

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With preparations for the dinner going on in the back room.

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While diners waited outside for the doors to open and the feast to begin.

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Back inside, the first beer, Dupont Avril, was poured and ready for the thirsty, incoming throngs of people.

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Then Sean Paxton introduced the meal and talked about the first course, the idea behind it, what ingredients he used and the beer or beers he paired it with. This was repeated for each of the twelve courses.

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First Course: Cream of Caramelized Belgian Endive Soup. White Belgian endive coated in Belgian soft sugar and caramelized, Foret Saison, yukon gold potatoes, splash of organic cream. Paired with St. Louis Gueuze.

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One of my favorite stories of the dinner was that brewer extraordinaire Jeff Bagby and his fiance Dande were in town for a friend’s wedding, read about the dinner here on the Bulletin, and decided they could make part of the meal before catching their flight back to San Diego. Toronado owner Dave Keene wore this short in honor of Jeff and Dande coming, and in the end they cancelled their flight so they could stay for the entire feast and left the next morning.

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Second Course: Charcuturie Platter. Liberty duck rillettes infused with Itchegem’s Flemish Red, house-made headcheese cooked in Russian River Temptation Batch 3, duck heart rabbit liver Affligem Noel pâté, herbs de Provence cornichons, house-made Nieuw Ligt Grand Cru ‘03 & date mustard, dried fruit Gouden Carolus Noël compote, red beet juice & Oud Beersel Geuze Vielle pickled cauliflower, served with local ‘The Bejkr’ breads. Paired with Boon Oude Geuze Mariage Parfait 2003 and Rochefort 6 2007.

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The Oud Beersel Geuze Vielle pickled cauliflower.

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Third Course: Water Buffalo Butter Poached Sea Scallop. Smoked in Mort Subite lambic barrel staves, De Dolle Oerbier duck demi glaze, turnip purée infused with Gouden Carolus Carolus D’Or 2006, sprinkled with black truffle salt. Paired with: De Dolle Stille Nacht Special Reserva 2005.

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Arne Johnson from Marin Brewing, Rodger Davis, currently working on his own new brewery — Faction Brewing, Jeff Kimpe, from Triple Rock, and Betsey Hensley, friend of the Bulletin and former Toronado employee.

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Fourth Course: Waterzooi. Monkfish, crawfish and lobster meat mixed with purple potatoes, baby fennel, leeks, lobster mushrooms, shallots and simmered in a Westmalle Tripel shellfish stock with a sweet cream. Paired with Delirium Tremens and Tripel Karmeliet.

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Fifth Course: Lapin a lá Gueuze. Local rabbit braised in Drie Fonteinen Oude Geuze with shallots, thyme, bay leaves, served with a candied kumquat baby carrots, caramelized pearl onion gueuze sauce.

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The fifth course was paired with Russian River Temptation Batch 4 3L and Dupont Avec les Bons Voeux 2009.

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Sixth Course: Duck Braised in Sour Cherry Sauce. Sonoma county duck legs cooked sous vide with a dried and sour cherries Boon Kriek sauce on a bed of beluga lentils simmered in Goudenband. Paired with Cantillon Oude Kriek 2008 and Rodenbach Vintage 2008 .

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At the halfway point. Jeff Bagby, Dave Keene, Bruce Paton and Sean Paxton.

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Seventh Course: Carbonnade of Lamb Cheek. Westmalle Dubbel stewed lamb cheeks with leeks, caramelized onions, prunes, dried figs, thyme, bay leaves and a Mort Subite Kriek red currant sauce. Paired with De Dolle Oerbier Special Reserva 2002 and Maredsous Brune.

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Sean keeping things moving in the back room.

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Eighth Course: PB & Foie Gras. Cantillon Saint Lamvinus foie gras mousse, on a hazelnut fig cracker, tart cherry gastrique, garnished with vanilla bean sea salt. Paired with Malheur Brut Michael Jackson Brut 2006.

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Pouring Duvel.

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Ninth Course: Beyond Greens. Curry-scented cauliflower, quinoa cooked in Fantôme La Dalmatienne, mâche greens, golden raisins rehydrated in Moinette Blonde and toasted hemp seeds and toasted almonds with a Drie Fonteinen Doesjel Lambic Paneer cheese tossed in a goat yoghurt Drie Fonteinen Oude Geuze dressing. Paired with Duvel.

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Tenth Course: Assorted Belgian Cheeses, including Grevenbroecker, Meikaas Boerenkaas, Kriek Washed Fromage, Charmoix, Wavreumont, and Le Saint-Servais
With Saucerful of Secrets wort honey, The Bejkr Biologlque bread, Oude Gueuze Tilquin injected dried apricots, Cantillon Rosé De Gambrinus beer jelly and assorted crackers and breads. Paired with Bockor Cuvee Des Jacobins Rouge and Orval.

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Eleventh Course: Strawberries & Cream. Organic strawberries and lemon thyme macerated in Hanssens Oudbeitje Lambic 2006 with a homemade Advocaat, Lindemans Gueuze Cuvée René 2006 sabayon, almond crumble. Paired with Russian River Damnation 23 Batch 46.

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Twelfth Course: Liège Style Waffle. Speculoos flavored yeast waffle made with Chimay Red, Belgian pearl sugar, drizzled with a St. Bernardus Special Edition Abt 12. quad chocolate sauce.

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The last course was paired with De Struise Black Albert 2009, De Struise Pannepot 2007 and Rochefort Trappistes 10.

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My dinner companions at the end of the feast. Dave Suurballe and Pete Elzer from Wine Warehouse.

Toronado Belgian Beer Luncheon This Sunday, No Fooling

Home-Brew-Chef
I just learned that one of my favorite beer events of the year still has a few seats left. The annual Toronado Belgian Beer Dinner — really a luncheon — or I like to call it, a Blunch, is this Sunday, April 1, and that’s no joke. The food for this always amazing beer dinner is done by Sean Paxton, the Homebrew Chef, and he’s paired the twelve courses — yes, you read that right, 12 courses! — with 21 different Belgian and Belgian-inspired beers throughout the meal. The Blunch begins at 11:30 a.m. and is expected to be over around 4:30. I’ve printed the menu below to whet your appetite. As I said, there are still a few open spots left. The dinner costs $150 per person and tickets can be purchased at the bar between now and Sunday. See you there.

Toronado Belgian Beer Beer Dinner

Pre-Dinner Reception Brew: Dupont Avril

First Course

Cream of Caramelized Belgian Endive Soup
White Belgian endive coated in Belgian soft sugar and caramelized, Foret Saison, yukon gold potatoes, splash of organic cream

Paired with: St. Louis Gueuze

Second Course

Charcuturie Platter
Liberty duck rillettes infused with Itchegem’s Flemish Red, house-made headcheese cooked in Russian River Temptation Batch 3, duck heart rabbit liver Affligem Noel pâté, herbs de Provence cornichons, house-made Nieuw Ligt Grand Cru ‘03 & date mustard, dried fruit Gouden Carolus Noël compote, red beet juice & Oud Beersel Geuze Vielle pickled cauliflower, served with local ‘The Bejkr’ breads

Paired with: Boon Oude Geuze Mariage Parfait 2003 and Rochefort 6 2007

Third Course

Water Buffalo Butter Poached Sea Scallop
Smoked in Mort Subite lambic barrel staves, De Dolle Oerbier duck demi glaze, turnip purée infused with Gouden Carolus Carolus D’Or 2006, sprinkled with black truffle salt

Paired with: De Dolle Stille Nacht Special Reserva 2005

Fourth Course

Waterzooi
Monkfish, crawfish and lobster meat mixed with purple potatoes, baby fennel, leeks, lobster mushrooms, shallots and simmered in a Westmalle Tripel shellfish stock with a sweet cream

Paired with: Delirium Tremens and Tripel Karmeliet

Fifth Course

Lapin a lá Gueuze
Local rabbit braised in Drie Fonteinen Oude Geuze with shallots, thyme, bay leaves, served with a candied kumquat baby carrots, caramelized pearl onion gueuze sauce

Paired with: Russian River Temptation Batch 4 3L and Dupont Avec les Bons Voeux 2009

Sixth Course

Duck Braised in Sour Cherry Sauce
Sonoma county duck legs cooked sous vide with a dried and sour cherries Boon Kriek sauce
on a bed of beluga lentils simmered in Goudenband

Paired with: Cantillon Oude Kriek 2008 and Rodenbach Vintage 2008

Seventh Course

Carbonnade of Lamb Cheek
Westmalle Dubbel stewed lamb cheeks with leeks, caramelized onions, prunes, dried figs, thyme, bay leaves and a Mort Subite Kriek red currant sauce

Paired with: De Dolle Oerbier Special Reserva 2002 and Maredsous Brune

Eighth Course

PB & Foie Gras
Cantillon Saint Lamvinus foie gras mousse, on a hazelnut fig cracker, tart cherry gastrique, garnished with vanilla bean sea salt

Paired with: Malheur Brut Michael Jackson Brut 2006

Ninth Course

Beyond Greens
curry-scented cauliflower, quinoa cooked in Fantôme La Dalmatienne, mâche greens, golden raisins rehydrated in Moinette Blonde and toasted hemp seeds
and toasted almonds with a Drie Fonteinen Doesjel Lambic Paneer cheese tossed in a goat yoghurt Drie Fonteinen Oude Geuze dressing

Paired with: Duvel

Tenth Course

Assorted Belgian Cheeses, including Grevenbroecker, Meikaas Boerenkaas, Kriek Washed Fromage, Charmoix, Wavreumont, and Le Saint-Servais
With Saucerful of Secrets wort honey, The Bejkr Biologlque bread, Oude Gueuze Tilquin injected dried apricots, Cantillon Rosé De Gambrinus beer jelly and assorted crackers and breads

Paired with: Bockor Cuvee Des Jacobins Rouge and Orval

Eleventh Course

Strawberries & Cream
organic strawberries and lemon thyme macerated in Hanssens Oudbeitje Lambic 2006 with a homemade Advocaat, Lindemans Gueuze Cuvée René 2006 sabayon, almond crumble

Paired with: Russian River Damnation 23 Batch 46

Twelfth Course

Liège Style Waffle
Speculoos flavored yeast waffle made with Chimay Red, Belgian pearl sugar, drizzled with a St. Bernardus Special Edition Abt 12. quad chocolate sauce

Paired with: De Struise Black Albert 2009, De Struise Pannepot 2007 and Rochefort Trappistes 10

Three Ring Circus Brewer’s Dinner & Sideshow This Wednesday

Home-Brew-Chef speakeasy Ninkasi-white shmaltz
Wow, check out the Three Ring Circus Brewer’s Dinner & Sideshow happening this Wednesday night. To me, this sounds like the most off-the-hook, amazing, one-of-a-kind beer dinner since … well, since the last one Sean Paxton, the Homebrew Chef, did. If this isn’t on your SF Beer Week itinerary, it really should be, at least in my opinion. I admit a certain bias; Sean is a friend, but honestly I’ve enjoyed every single beer dinner he’s ever done. And they just keep getting better because Sean — who I like to call “The Mad Alchemist” — is always challenging himself to do more and more amazing things with beer and food.

So instead of taking your valentine out on the 14th, or buying them some chocolates, why not treat them to something truly amazing, the Three Ring Circus Brewer’s Dinner & Sideshow. Tickets are $120 each, which might sound steep until you consider that this is a nine-course meal that includes a dozen amazing beers, 6 live circus acts, live music, an emcee and a terrific setting: the historic Elks Lodge in San Francisco. Also, the three breweries will be pouring a new beer that all three, plus Sean, collaborated on called Three Ring Circus Ale just for this event. It’s described as “an anything-but-traditional nut brown ale brewed with dulce de leche, popped corn and peanuts that pays homage to the spirit of the circus.”

Tickes can be purchased online at Eventbrite. The poster for event is here and below that is the menu. Check it out. See you there!

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Three Ring Circus Beer Dinner Menu

Pre-Dinner Reception Nibbles: Gourmet Popcorn

Bacon fat popped organic popcorn seasoned with tomato powder, roasted garlic, hop salt and smoked in bourbon barrel wood

Black Truffle Oil Scented Popcorn with cooked in vegetable oil with roasted garlic salt flakes

Thyme Infused duck fat popcorn with Sonoma Vella Dry Jack shavings, green peppercorns

First Course: The Mermaid

Lobster and prawn mousse infused with Ninkasi Believer Double Red Ale, wrapped around petrale sole filets, Speak Easy White Lightning Ale “Tide Sauce”, Ninkasi Little One Beer Foam, Speak Easy Prohibition Ale quinoa “sand”

Paired with Ninkasi Sterling Pils

Second Course: The Drumstick

Willie Bird Smoked Turkey legs rillettes layered with He’Brew Genesis 15:15, shallots, dried figs and thyme, Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk cheese, malt pickled heirloom pumpkin, assorted crackers, breads and spiced nuts

Paired with Speak Easy Massacre Black Wheat Wine and Coney Island Geektoberfest

Third Course: The Sword Swallower

“Haute” Dogs infused with 4-H style Lamb, Speak Easy Scarface Imperial Stout, caramelized onions and rosemary Ninkasi Renewale Porter Beer mustard, fennel carrot slaw, sweet roll

Paired with He’Brew Bittersweet Lenny’s RIPA

Fourth Course: Hopped Cotton Candy

Centennial hop scented sugar, wrapped around a cube of Sonoma foie gras terrine mixed with He’Brew Genesis

Paired with Speakeasy Big Daddy IPA

Fifth Course: Slider

Ground elk and duck heart patty, rendered dry aged beef fat, Brioche bun, house made He’Brew Genesis 15:15 beer ketchup, baby arugula, Speak Easy Payback Porter braised red onions

Paired with Ninkasi Conventionale (2010 Imperial Stout), Speakeasy Scarface Imperial Stout and He’Brew Genesis 15:15

Sixth Course: Churro

Point Reyes Blue cheese mixed into a Speak Easy Double Daddy savory churro, roasted garlic powder

Paired with Ninkasi Total Domination IPA

Seventh Course: Three Ring Circus

Roasted red, gold and white baby beets, Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog crumbles, carbonated citrus segments, malt candied hazelnuts, micro greens drizzled with a Three Ring Circus Collaboration vinaigrette

Paired with Speakeasy Prohibition Ale

Eighth Course: Funnel Cake

He’Brew Bittersweet Lenny’s RIPA infused batter with bergamot zest, Three Ring Circus Wort Honey Drizzle, Malted Powdered Sugar Dust, Ninkasi Sleigh’r Beer Caramel

Paired with Coney Island Albino Python

Ninth Course: The Non-Fried Non-Twinkie Cupcake

Ninkasi Conventionale Imperial Stout Chocolate Cake, filled with a He’brew Jewbelation 15 mousse filling, Speak Easy Prohibition Frosting, THCO Cocoa Nibs, Caramel Malt

Paired with Speakeasy, Ninkasi, Shmaltz, Home Brew Chef Collaboration beer: Three Ring Circus

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Toronado Belgian Beer Lunch This Sunday

toronado sean-paxton
I just learned that there are a few seats left for the annual Toronado Belgian Beer Lunch taking place this Sunday, April 10. For the third year — or is that fourth? — the food is being done by Sean Paxton, the Homebrew Chef. If you love Belgian beer, good food and especially pairing the two, you don’t want to miss this. And if you’ve never been to one of Sean Paxton’s gastronomic extravaganzas, you’re in for something special. Tickets are $150 each, which might sound steep until you consider that this is a twelve-course meal that includes 20 Belgian beers! Lunch begins at 11:30 and is expected to last until at least 4:30. You read that right, it’s a five-hour lunch. Call the Toronado to reserve your seat as soon as possible. You won’t be disappointed. Payment can be in cash or check (I believe on the day of the event) but best check that when you make your reservations. See you there!

2011 Toronado Belgian Beer Lunch Menu

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Toronado owner Dave Keene with the Homebrew Chef, Sean Paxton, at an earlier Belgian Beer Lunch.

Pre-Lunch Reception:

Beer served: Van Steenberge Ertveld’s Wit

First Course

Belgian Sushi: Wit-flavored brioche infused with foie gras, roasted eel, Poperings Hommel Bier duck egg green aioli, pea shoots

Paired with DuPont Avril

Second Course

Charcuturie Platter: Duck rillettes braised in Russian River Consecration with a Supplication gelee, duck pistachio apricot infused with Sanctification terrine, pork/duck liver and Orval beer pâté, cornichons, heirloom radishes, house-made Goulden Carolus Noel mustard, currant & Consecration compote, and served with local The Bejkr breads

Paired with Chimay Grand Reserve 3 Liter and Duvel Triple Hop

Third Course

DuPont Avec Les Bons Voeux Poached Sole: On a bed of leek and turnip purée, topped with a lobster crawfish mussel Tripel Karmeliet waterzooi sauce

Paired with De Dolle Arabier and Moinette Blond

Fourth Course

Goat Butter Poached Sea Scallop: Smoked in Mort Subite lambic barrel staves, De Ranke Guldenburg demi glaze, celery root purée infused with Affligem Noel, fennel pollen

Paired with Petrus Aged Pale

Fifth Course

Seared Duck Breast with Sour Cherry Sauce: Sonoma County duck breasts cooked sous vide with shallots, thyme, with a dried sour cherries Hannsen Oude Kriek sauce on a bed of black barley simmer in Delirium Noel and TCHO cocoa nibs

Paired with Bocker Cuvee De Jacobins and Drie Fonteinen Oude Kriek

Sixth Course

Medium Rare Short Ribs: Cooked sous vide for 48 hours in Rochefort 8, caramelized shallots and thyme, served on a bed of Flemish-style mashed potatoes, with a fig, date Petrus Oud Bruin gravy

Paired with Echt Kriekenbier and Rochefort 10

Seventh Course

Crepenette: Westmalle Dubbel infused Spring Sonoma lamb, mixed with creamed leeks, wrapped in caul fat topped with a sirop de Liége (pears, date simmered in a Chimay Red ale syrup) and Belgian endive salad

Paired with Rodenbach Grand Cru 2008 keg

Eighth Course

Foie Gras: Lobes of foie gras poached in Boon Kriek, made into truffles and coated in Cantillon Rosé De Gambrinus gelee, garnished with hibiscus sea salt

Paired with Malheur Brut Reserve 2006

Ninth Course

French Lentil Salad: Lentils simmered in Fantôme Saison, curry-scented green cauliflower, ‘wit’ candied cashews, mâche greens and toasted hemp seeds tossed in a Straus yogurt bergamot orange Lindemans Gueuze Cuvée René dressing

Paired with Oud Beersal Oude Geueze Vieille

Tenth Course

Assorted Belgian Cheeses: Grevenbroecker, Wavreumont, “St. Maure,” Charmoix, Meikaas, and Kriek Washed Fromage served with pomegranate Supplication honey, The Bejkr Biologlque bread, hazelnut fig crackers, dried fruit, honey blood orange peel candied pistachios

Paired with Liefmans Cuvee Brut and Orval

Eleventh Course

Crêpe: Boon Oude Geuze Mariage Parfait beer curd, Hanssens Oudbeitje rhubarb jam, Westmalle Tripel chamomile syrup wrapped in a Sara Buckwheat Ale crepe

Paired with De Struise T’sjeeses

Twelfth Course

Chocolate Pot de Crème Deconstructed Pie: Speculoos cookie crust, Belgian dark chocolate infused custard, Chantilly cream

Paired with De Struise Pannepot 2007, Scaldis Noel 1998 Magnums and De Struise Black Albert 2009

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The Homebrew Chef cooking with nitrogen behind the Toronado bar.

Dinner With A Trio Of Lambic Legends

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Tuesday night in Philadelphia, I was fortunate to get an invitation from Tom Peters to attend his Lambic Dinner at Monk’s Cafe. The dinner included three of the best lambic brewers from Belgium: Frank Boon, from Brouwerij Boon; Armand Debelder, from Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen; and Jean Van Roy, from Brasserie Cantillon. It was an awesome dinner with some just spectacular beers.

Tom Peters, Frank Boon, Jean Van Roy, Fergie Carey and Armand Debelder
Tom Peters, Frank Boon, Jean Van Roy, Fergie Carey and Armand Debelder at the main table.

It was an eight course beer dinner prepared by guest chef Brian Morin, who cooks at the beer bistro in Toronto, Canada.

Tom Peters with guest chef Brian Morin, from Toronto's beer bistro
Tom Peters with guest chef Brian Morin.

You can see each of the eight courses below in the slideshow of the Monk’s Lambic beer dinner. This Flickr gallery is best viewed in full screen. To view it that way, after clicking on the arrow in the center to start the slideshow, click on the button on the bottom right with the four arrows pointing outward on it, to see the photos in glorious full screen. Once in full screen slideshow mode, click on “Show Info” to identify each photo.

The World’s Biggest Beer Dinner

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Saturday night, the last night of the Craft Brewers Conference in Chicago — it being a World Beer Cup year — there was an awards banquet where the medals are handed out to a packed crowd of brewers and beer industry people. This year’s banquet, with 2,000 people, is believed to be the biggest beer dinner ever done — somebody call Guinness. At five courses, that’s 10,000 plates. The amount of food used reads like those lists you see for Oktoberfest. The dinner used 600 gallons of beer to pair with the courses, 200 gallons of beer to cook with, 400 pounds of butter, 300 loaves of bread, 500 pounds of onions, 600 pounds of pork belly, 160 pounds of mushrooms, 275 dozen eggs, 160 pounds of malt and 6 gallons of honey. The meal was created by Sean Paxton and Randy Mosher, with the recipes and cooking by Sean Paxton, a.k.a. the Homebrew Chef. It was impossible to capture the whole banquet space with a photo, so below is a short video of the beer dinner’s setting, shot shortly before it began.

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Randy Mosher and Sean Paxton.

Here, Sean and Randy explain the beer dinner we’re about to enjoy.

The five courses are detailed below in the slideshow. Despite the size of the dinner, the service was surprisingly swift and before we knew it, it was time for the World Beer Cup award ceremony to begin.

After the dinner; Matt Brynildson, Nancy Johnson and Sean Paxton
After the dinner; Matt Brynildson, Nancy Johnson and Sean Paxton.

Below is a slideshow of the World Beer Cup dinner. This Flickr gallery is best viewed in full screen. To view it that way, after clicking on the arrow in the center to start the slideshow, click on the button on the bottom right with the four arrows pointing outward on it, to see the photos in glorious full screen. Once in full screen slideshow mode, click on “Show Info” to identify each photo.

Join Me For A Beer Dinner At Anchor With Sierra Nevada

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Join me for a five-course beer dinner at the Anchor Brewery in San Francisco celebrating Sierra Nevada Brewing‘s 30h anniversary and the release of their first collaboration of the year, Fritz & Ken’s Ale, which is a stout.

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There are only five seats left for the beer dinner, which will take place on April 1 (no fooling). Here are the particulars.

Join two of the original craft-brewing pioneers for an intimate one-night-only celebration of beer and food at the historic Anchor Brewery in San Francisco. Anchor Brewing’s Fritz Maytag, and Sierra Nevada’s Ken Grossman will be celebrating the release of their collaboration beer, Fritz and Ken’s Ale, in honor of Sierra Nevada’s 30th anniversary. Come and join us for a 5-course dinner packed with unique rare and vintage beers, seated amongst the kettles in the legendary Anchor brewhouse.

Reception starts at 6:00 PM on April 1st, 2010 at Anchor Brewing Company, 1705 Mariposa Street
San Francisco, CA 94107

Five-Course meal, 11 interesting beers, and souvenir glassware.

$100 tickets, limited to 60 seats, no tickets available at the door.

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Tickets must be purchased online, they won’t be available at the door. You can get them at ClicknPrint Tickets. I’ll see you there.

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Ken Grossman and Fritz Maytag in the Anchor brewhouse, where the dinner will be held next Thursday.

Drinking Life & Limb

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You probably remember the big news back in August when Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada announced they’d be doing not one, but two collaboration beers. The main one is called Life & Limb, while the second is Limb & Life, a small beer made from the second runnings of Life & Limb.

To launch the new collaboration, a beer dinner was held last Sunday at Ana Mandara in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. Both Sam Calagione, from Dogfish Head and Ken Grossman, from Sierra Nevada were on hand for the dinner.

Hosts Ken Grossman & Sam Calagione
Ken Grossman and Sam Calagione

Limb & Life, the draft-only “Imperial small beer,” was served with hors d’oeuvres while Ken and Sam talked about their collaboration together.

The five-course meal had two beers paired with each dish, one from each brewery. We started with Limb & Life and then Life & Limb was served as the last beer of the evening, with dessert. In addition, at the end of the night we finagled a bottle of Life & Limb to compare with the draft version. Personally, I preferred the bottle. Bottle-conditioning gave it a richer mouthfeel and added complexity.

I was fortunate to sit with Sam and Ken for the dinner, as they discussed the project. While Sam has done many collaborations with both domestic and foreign breweries over the years, this was Sierra Nevada’s first one. If you can find a copy of All About Beer magazine from around this time last year, you can read my feature story on collaboration beers. I love the growing trend of collaboration beers, especially when, like this one, some thought is put into it. This makes the results more meaningful, and not simply a marketing effort. Everything about it was well done, especially the artwork for the label, done by a children’s book illustrator.

Life & Limb label artwork

Below is a slideshow of the Life & Limb beer dinner. This Flickr gallery is best viewed in full screen. To view it that way, after clicking on the arrow in the center to start the slideshow, click on the button on the bottom right with the four arrows pointing outward on it, to see the photos in glorious full screen. Once in full screen slideshow mode, click on “Show Info” to identify each photo.