Beer with food pairing dinners are a great way to learn a lot about beer in an evening. usually these events are structured in a way that will leave you happy and full. if you’ve never been to one of these events here’s some things you can expect.
the beers won’t be a full pint. and this is a good thing. sometimes you won’t like the beer that is in front of you. which means that you’ll be dumping it in the bucket. and while it seems unfair to the beer imagine dumping a whole glass.
the food won’t be big either. remember these are portions designed for pairing. usually each beer has something that it goes with. meaning in an evening you’ll have 5-9 “courses” which turns out to be a lot of food.
this means that smaller is better. you’ll get to try more beer and eat a large diversity of food. but more importantly you don’t want to get “full” unless you like this feeling.
somebody will want to talk. this is the part of the learning part. usually your guide will tell you about the style of beer that is in front of you, what the brewer had in mind while making it and possibly a funny story to wrap it up. usually brewers and owners are quick with their words allowing you to get back to your own tables conversation.
speaking of your table, be sure to introduce yourself to everyone. you never know who will be next to you. we’ve met beer writers, judges, geeks, travelers and home brewers all of whom have a ton of knowledge that is relevant to the evening.
sometimes these things seem like they cost a lot of money. but added up it’s not that much more compared to a regular night out. remember this is part classroom, part show and a chance to try things that you might otherwise ignore or miss.
do and don’ts
if you’d like more beer be sure to finish what you already have.
before you dump a beer ask you table if they would like to finish it. somebody will appreciate that you asked.
try all the beers. don’t skip one just because you don’t like the color. who knows, that barley wine may be the best thing you’ve ever tried.
it’s a marathon not a sprint. you are going to sample food and beer for over 3 hours. so go slow. enjoy the whole night.
it’s ok to ask questions! ask your table, your hosts and the brewers.
Beer School at 21st Amendment August 2011
Explore Your Craft featuring beer from Widmer Brothers: