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.
The Toronado ready for its annual beer dinner.
With preparations for the dinner going on in the back room.
While diners waited outside for the doors to open and the feast to begin.
Back inside, the first beer, Dupont Avril, was poured and ready for the thirsty, incoming throngs of people.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Oud Beersel Geuze Vielle pickled cauliflower.
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.
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.
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.
The fifth course was 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 .
At the halfway point. Jeff Bagby, Dave Keene, Bruce Paton and Sean Paxton.
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.
Sean keeping things moving in the back room.
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.
The last course was paired with De Struise Black Albert 2009, De Struise Pannepot 2007 and Rochefort Trappistes 10.
My dinner companions at the end of the feast. Dave Suurballe and Pete Elzer from Wine Warehouse.