Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Guest Post: New Belgium beer dinner @ Dat Dog

On Tuesday, July 23rd, Dat Dog on Magazine street hosted a unique beer and food event, a six course pairing of beers from New Belgium with a selection of “Haute Dogs”. 


The menu

Nora was on a plane to Boston at the time, so I attended in her stead. Each course consisted of a smaller portion of hotdog and bun, paired with a 4oz pour of the accompanying beer.



Sea Dog with Shift


The first course paired the tempura-battered cod “Sea Dog” with Shift pale lager. Sometimes a food and beer pairing works because the individual components have complementary differences. I like fried fish, but find that a little goes a very long way, and it quickly becomes too heavy. Having a crisp beer like Shift to cut through the richness of the batter makes it a much more pleasurable experience. Somehow this course made me feel like I was back in New England.


Crawfish Dog with Ranger IPA

The second course paired the spicy crawfish dog with Ranger IPA. This is the course where I realized that things were going to get a little messy. Ranger is a solid IPA, but one that isn’t quite to my taste. My effete British palate prefers IPAs with a little more fruit and citrus than up-front bitterness. Having said that, the pairing worked very well. A more delicate IPA would have been swamped by the spiciness of the crawfish and the richness of the etouffee, but Ranger held its own and even had its flavors heightened a little by the spice.


Fat Tire bratwurst with Fat Tire Ale

The third course paired New Belgium’s flagship Fat Tire Ale with a one-off batch of bratwurst boiled in Fat Tire. “There’s a whole lot of Fat Tire going on in this,” said Chris Johnson, Bar Manager at Dat Dog and mastermind of the event. This was a pairing that worked because the elements were similar: both the beer and the brat had warm and comforting flavors that merged together so well that you could not tell where one ended and the other began.


Bacon Werewolf dog with Rampant Double IPA

The fourth course took a completely different approach. This was food and beer pairing as particle physics: slam two powerful flavors together and hope that something interesting is thrown off by the collision. Rampant Double IPA was paired with the Bacon Werewolf dog, which smothers a lightly smoked Slovenian Sausage with bacon, relish, onions, tomatoes, and creole mustard. Rampant has the powerful bitterness you expect from a double IPA, topped with some fruity flavors from Calypso hops. A full-sized dog and a full pint of Rampant might have been too much, but as a concentrated burst of two flavors fighting like weasels in a bag, the pairing worked.


Guinness dog with 1554 Black Ale


Fifth course was the “Guinness” dog, paired with 1554 Black Ale. This was another pairing that worked through similarities in the flavor profiles. The light roasted flavor of the beer worked with the richness of the dog to create an almost chocolatey combination. This was perhaps my favorite pairing of the night, which is just as well because I was becoming very full by this point.

Duck hot dog with Sunshine Wheat

The sixth course was the “pseudo dessert” course. A duck hot dog smothered in blackberry preserve, served with Sunshine Wheat. The citrusy flavor of the beer worked well with the blackberry, and the sweetness of the preserve sharpened the the beer in contrast. The overall effect was oddly reminiscent of blueberry lemon pancakes. Overall, this was a very enjoyable event. It was a nice evening to be outside, listening to good music (provided the Grasshoppers and David Fera), drinking good beer, and eating good food. It was also a great bargain at $30 ($35 at the door), which included a full pint of New Belgium to enjoy after the tasting. I hope more restaurants start to see the potential of creative, but casual, beer and food pairings.

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