Bite and Booze by Jay D. Ducote

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Avery Brewing Co. Beer Pairing Dinner at The Gregory

by Paige Johannessen

A few nights ago we were thrilled to attend a beer pairing dinner featuring Avery Brewing Co. at The Watermark in downtown Baton Rouge. I have had a couple of Avery Brewing’s beers and have always been impressed by the quality and creativity of the brewery. The Boulder, CO based brewery opened in 1993 and boasts 30 beers on tap at their brewery at any given time.

For the tasting we were seated in the private dining room adjacent to The Gregory. I know this post is all about Avery Brewing and our wonderful dinner, but I just have to say one thing: THAT ROOM! I drool every time I walk by that beautiful room and it’s floor to ceiling wine cellar display. If you haven’t walked around The Watermark and The Gregory, I highly recommend the trip downtown. The amount of detail and nods to Louisiana Trust & Savings Bank headquarters (the original owners of the building) is very impressive. There’s hand-painted ceiling murals and gorgeous marble details throughout the building. Not to mention the old bank vault replicas adorning one of their meeting spaces.

Now, about the dinner:

To start off, the tables were decorated with bowls of fried pork rinds tossed in Jay D’s Spicy and Sweet BBQ Rub. Needless to say, we loved them and ate them all and can’t wait to make our own.

The first course was a yellowtail tiradito paired with a Raspberry Sour. This delicate dish of thinly sliced raw fish in a spicy sauce was bursting with flavor. Chef made his own beer vinegar from the Avery Brewing Raspberry Sour that added a fun element to the depth of flavors.

Tiradito - yellowtail crudo, raspberry beer vinegar, ‘el gose’ aji sauce, guasaca, cancha corn
The next course was a first for me, octopus tacos! I was unsure how the flavors would mesh but the combination of octopus, peach and blue cheese was surprisingly delicious; and it’s pretty fun to say “octo taco” (don’t be ashamed, give it a try). This dish was paired with Avery Brewing’s Liliko'i Kepolo, a fun tropical island twist to the spicy traditional witbier. The aroma and notes of passionfruit were a nice compliment to this funky dish.

Octo Tacos - clementine lemongrass pulpo, peach salsa fresca, american blue cheese

For the third course, chef came out with bowls of green harissa topped with beer poached meatballs. The real show stopper of this dish was the mint chutney. The lamb sausage blend of the meatballs with the mint chutney was so satisfying and a nod to growing up with a mother who regularly cooked lamb roasts topped with a delicate mint jelly. The best. 

Merguez Meatballs - beer poached meatballs, green & red harissa, haloumi, mint chutney, grilled flatbread
This dish was paired with Avery’s Maharaja IPA. This imperial IPA is mighty, packing a 10% ABV punch. As Avery Brewing explains “The Maharaja flaunts his authority over a deranged amount of hops: tangy, vibrant and pungent along with an insane amount of malted barley – fashioning a dark amber hue and exquisite malt essence.” 

For the main course, we were brought a beautiful twist on the traditional lomo saltado. This traditional Peruvian dish combines marinated strips of sirloin with onions, tomatoes, french fries, and is typically served with rice. We were served a thick and buttery cut of seared beef over a bed of popcorn rice with purple frites as a fun compliment on the side. The main dish was paired with The White Rascal, Avery Brewing’s flagship beer. The Belgian style white ale is unfiltered and spiced with coriander and CuraƧao orange peel, producing a refreshing classic ale.

Lomo Saltado - seared beef, soy aji gravy, purple frites, aji popcorn rice, charcoal roasted peppers, coriander

The dessert course was certainly the most aesthetically pleasing. The beer-misu came decorated to look like a frothy beer. It was too cute. The rich hazelnut chocolate with mascarpone cream was the perfect mate for Avery’s Vanilla Bean Stout. It was a heavy dessert but too good to put down. 
Beer-misu - espresso vanilla stout, mascarpone cream, hazelnut chocolate, cocoa nibs
Thanks to The Watermark for inviting us to this impressive beer pairing dinner. We can’t wait to see what they will come up with next. Check their Facebook for upcoming culinary events, you won’t be disappointed!

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