The Brewers Association, the not-for- profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American craft brewers, demonstrated last night that high-quality American craft beer can accompany food just as well as wine, by collaborating with wine-oriented, modern London restaurant, Sager + Wilde.
In a one-off event, Brewers Association executive chef, Adam Dulye, and Sager + Wilde head chef, Chris Leach, devised a five-course menu using seasonal and local ingredients expertly paired with two full-flavoured, bold and distinctive American craft beers per course, to demonstrate beer’s diverse range of flavours and its affinity to food.
The following brewers travelled from America to support the event: Richard Miller, export director, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Richmond, Virginia; Robert Henry, Brewer, City Brewing Co, Alexandria, Virginia; Ryan Graham, Owner/brewerTrack 7 Brewing Co, Sacramento, California
In a break from the norm, Adam ended the meal on a lighter note by pairing lemon tart with a witbier and a blonde ale. Sager + Wilde’s award-winning wine list took a back seat as selected guests and members of the public explored the gastronomic kinship between creative and inspirational beer and food pairings.
Adam said: “Within the last few years there has been a major shift in how beer is perceived with food. The so-called rules that used to be in place, whether it be building a menu by weight of ABV or richness of style, are no longer needed. A well written menu, a beautifully executed dish, a thought-out pairing can now take the palate back and forth from big roasty flavors to light crisp notes, or from tart, funky and sour notes to big hoppy flavours.
Chefs, restauranteurs and beer educators are welcome to download the newly updated CraftBeer.com Beer and Food Course, for elevating beer and food pairings. It is available free of charge at www.craftbeer.com/food/beer-and- food-course
“When we started pairings a few years ago it was about what beer can do with food. Now it
has evolved into what beer and food can do together.”
He added: “It was important to search out a chef like Chris and a team such as Sager + Wilde’s that has built the trust of their guests and their culinary community. In doing so, more and more guests are likely to put aside any preconceived notions about beer pairings and put their trust in what Chris and his team can do on the plate.
“When you introduce a new idea, a new pairing, it is best to have at least part of the adventure known. Knowing that the flavours, textures and tastes on the plate are carefully crafted relaxes the diner and allows a more
open-minded experience into what beer and food can do together.”
Smoked middlewhite pork, fennel and baby turnips
Nebraska Brewing Co, Melange à Trois
• The craft beer scene continues to demonstrate growth in the US, with craft beer production increasing 5% during the first half of 2017. Total American craft beer exports grew by 4.4% in 2016. The UK is the second largest export market for American craft beer and exports also grew to this country by 4.4% in 2016. There are now 5,562 operating breweries in the US, an increase of 906 from the same time last year, with more than 2,700 in planning.