Stone brewing is doing a beer vs. wine dinner next week that sounds like it should be great fun, not to mention informative and delicious. Here’s the press release for the dinner:
Stone Brewing CEO Greg Koch is a tireless exponent of the virtues of great beer, and is nothing if not confident of his company’s handiwork. Yet he concedes that the image of beer still has room for elevation in the culinary world. “The understanding of the extraordinary culinary aspects available in the world of beer is lagging,” says Koch. He maintains that beer offers more range and depth of flavor than what is found in any other beverage. And he aims to prove it. “I will never argue that you can’t carefully pair a great wine with certain select dishes with very good results,” says Koch. “However, I have no hesitation in arguing that, more often than not, great beer is a superior mate for great food.”
It does appear that the culinary world is waking up to the reality that great beer compliments great food. In the June 2007 issue of TIME a full-page article began with the headline “Instead of uncorking a vintage red, Michelin-starred chefs are tapping into a long list of artisanal beers.” The article continued to state that “Now some of the country’s best restaurants are offering craft beers – produced by small, independent brewers – on the menu and often suggesting food pairings.” Recently, National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition program ran a story extolling the virtues of pairing craft beers with food; and NBC’s Today show aired a similarly themed segment featuring Stone’s very own inimitable Arrogant Bastard Ale with Food & Wine magazine’s Senior Wine Editor in which it was proclaimed “Beer is the new wine.”
Celebrated Bocuse d’Or Chef Gavin Kaysen—of the Rancho Bernardo Inn’s equally celebrated restaurant El Bizcocho—may have yet to be convinced. After all, it’s not “Food & Beer” magazine that Chef Kaysen currently graces the cover of, it’s Food & Wine (which to the magazine’s credit recently featured a surprisingly enlightened article on the artisan beers of California’s Napa Valley). Koch indeed realizes he is placing the odds squarely against himself by agreeing to hold the challenge dinner at the clearly wine-centric environs of El Bizcocho. “I want the challenge to be extremely fair, if not even stacked against me,” says Koch.
Guests at the “Beer v. Wine” dinner will sample both a craft beer and fine wine selection specifically chosen for each course. Koch will introduce each beer, and Certified Wine Educator and Sommelier, Barry Wiss will introduce each wine. Wiss is Vice President of Trade Relations at Trinchero Winery in Napa Valley. Once guests taste both the beer and the wine, they will have a chance to fill out a small card with their preferences as to which beverage pairs best with the dish. Results will be tabulated and announced at the end of the dinner. Allowing that there are more gustatory possibilities than could possibly be represented by one meal, one of the contest’s stipulations is that the loser of this round has the right to challenge the opponent to another dinner at a venue of their choosing.
While Koch might be very confident when it comes to beer’s prowess in pairing with food, Wiss is somewhat more dubious. “There is no doubt that some foods are complemented by the tastes and flavors of beer, but those foods tend to be less complex, with the possible exception of spicy Latin and Asian cuisine,” explains Wiss. “For centuries wine has been the preferred accompaniment to the world’s finest dishes, and there is little doubt that it will remain that way.”
Who is correct? You can help determine by attending the Beer vs. Wine Dinner. Reservations can be made by contacting El Bizcocho at the Rancho Bernardo Inn.
Located at 17550 Bernardo Oaks Dr. in San Diego, CA, the Rancho Bernardo Inn, recently completed a $25 million enhancement and expansion project. The hotel is a member of Preferred Hotels and Resorts Worldwide and is the distinguished holder of many honors, including Mobil Four Star (18 years), and AAA Four Diamond (31 consecutive years) ratings. Rancho Bernardo Inn is owned by JC Resorts, whose other holdings include Surf & Sand Resort, Temecula Creek Inn, and JC Golf. For reservations and additional information, please call 800.770.7329 or visit www.ranchobernardoinn.com.