Open Kitchen Feast: Oregon Game and Belgian beer pairing

June 15th, 2011 by Daniel Leave a reply »

open kitchen

Sitting at the same table with the brewers of the beer has its benefits.  I attended the Open Kitchen Dinner this last Sunday which featured a five course meal from Chef Andrew Garrett paired with beer from Ambacht brewery over in Hillsboro.  I sat across from Brandy Grobart and Tom Kramer, the brewers and owners of the Belgian style ales coming from the Ambacht Brewery.  Not only was I able to evaluate the beer with the personality of the brewers as the back drop behind it, I was generously topped off towards the end of the dinner.

I skipped the Amuse Bouche of oyster en la half shell for personal reasons.

The first course: SuDan Farms chicken liver pate with pomegranate balsamic gastrique

This was paired with the Matzobrau.  Yes, beer made with Jewish Matza, about 10% of the mash is donated Matzo ends.

I liked the pairing.  The earthy, umami-laden pate had a delicate, sensual touch of fruit with a hint of thyme.  A bite, and then a dutifully moderate sip of beer.  It was fantastic, the toasty, wheaty burst of beer complemented the range of flavors still lingering on the tongue.  The experience was not dissimilar to drinking a a buoyant, liquid piece of coarse country bread dashed liberally with dollops of herbed pate and scatters of bruised pomegranate .

The golden rye came next paired with a NW bouillabaisse.  The broth was a tad cold (I watched as the Chef ladled all 30 ceramic boats with the brothy seafood before he sent them out) but the citrus/seafood paired nice with the grassy, refreshing beer.

The next little enjoyment was the spiced boar filled ravioli.  The pasta was made with duck eggs and so had an enjoyable elasticity to it and the roasted, braised pulled boar meet had a slight chilied heat pleasant to taste.  The light golden ale had just enough sweetness to bind the flavors together.

The rack of lamb was well paired with the pie cherry pale.  The sweet hints of cherry offset the roasted protein flavors of the lamb.

The last course was a chocolate cake, with sour cream cherry with bing cherry pinot noir syrup.  The beer paired with this little extravagant morsel was the pie cherry dark.  And successfully paired it was: the fruity, chocolate roasted malt of the beer was splendid and carried the salty-cream filling of the cake.

The Open Kitchen is an ongoing event that challenges chefs, farmers, vintners and brewers:  none of this is explained to the chef; none of this can be regurgitated en rote from a recipe book; none of this is easy.  So many chefs shy away from criticism and the spotlight of the media, that it is a lovely opportunity to have a young chef invite you into the intimate, personal kitchen of the mind.  Bravo, Chef Andrew Garret, a dinner well done!

Thanks to Ambacht brewery and especially Brandy for supplying that delightful taste of the golden rose ale made with rose hips.


Leave a Reply