I have fallen way behind in my listening to podcasts. So I am trying to catching up with The Homebrew Chef on The Brewing Network. Here are my notes from the February 24, 2011 show, “Planning a Beer Dinner.”
This in one out of four shows about beer dinners. It wouldn’t have that much to do with cooking with beer. More about planning the dinner, and how he does it.
What is the Event? Is it a cuisine event, a seasonal food event or a beer release
Find a Theme. eg, Belgian Ales, Dutch or German Food, or German food.
How Many Guests You may need to rent dishes or silverware
How many Courses and how much food to serve For your first dinner, Sean suggested three courses. Don’t over do it. You want your guests to leave satisfied, not bloated. The size of the beer pour will vary by the number of courses and alcohol content. For 3-4 courses, do a larger pour. A 12 course dinner gets a 2-4 oz pour. A reception beer should be lighter, no more than 5% ABV. ABV should rise as the dinner goes on.
Organize the Beer Make sure the beer is cold, but not over cold. Organize the beer by course. If the beer is on tap pour into pitchers. Make sure to have openers, and make sure the guests have water to drink and rinse their glassware, if necessary.
How Much Food? Think small. Guests should leave satisfied, not stuffed. Some items should be completed and ready to plate. Think about your equipment needs and what needs to be cooked.
Don’t Rush the Meal
One server for 8-10 people
Sean’s favorite part of a beer dinner is the planning. He designs a menu by looking at flavor combinations, what’s in season, the area, and the beers he’ll be using. He decides what order they will be in, what flavors they have. Think about the transition in flavor in both the beer and the food. Give yourself time to plan. At the Toronado, for example, it takes a year to plan 12 courses. Also, make sure you have enough equipment. If you only have one oven and three things that need to be baked, rethink the menu.
How to incorporate sour beers? Sean said to pair it with something fatty like a duck. Or add it to a sorbet.
Someone asked about flambeing with beer. Sean said that it doesn’t work with beer, use hop infused whiskey instead.
Someone asked about beer breakfasts. To cook eggs: take a brown ale or a fruit beer or a blonde ale, bring it to a rolling simmer; crack an egg into a small dish. Whirlpool the beer, easily ladle the egg into the pan then poach the egg in the beer. You can prepoach the egg, put the egg into cold beer until your ready to serve. Then pop it back into the poaching liquid and bring it back up to temperature, 20 seconds. Put em on a paper towel. Take a sour beer or a wit, reduce and use that in place of vinegar in a hollandaise sauce. Serve with a breakfast stout.