An Affordable Luxury
As for the side programs offered, my favorite episode was in the Media Beer and Food Pairing on Sept. 30, where our friend Garrett Oliver was hosting a light dinner and explaining to us clueless beer writers that “beer has different talents.” At that point, he turned to the hotel server, asking her for white wine glasses in which to serve the beers. You should have seen the shocked look on that poor lady’s face! She didn’t say it, but you really could read it in her eyes: white wine glasses―for beer? Surely you jest! She was aghast; it was almost as if he had used the F-word in church! I had a terrible time keeping myself from laughing. Indeed, I stuffed a napkin in my mouth to stay civil. It would have been very unseemly for a clueless beer writer to be rolling on the floor in mirth at such an august time.
Garrett’s menu was beautiful and complicated―a dinner where wine would die at the first sip. My favorite entrée combination was the second course: Thai crabcake from jumbo lump Dungeness crab meat, encrusted in Macadamia nuts and served with lemon grass coconut emulsion garnished with cilantro. This was served with Avery IPA from nearby Boulder. The flavor hook here was, as Garrett explained, “Hops versus cilantro,” and he pointed out that the beer’s bitterness gives cutting power over the spicy entrée.
OK, and how about this for dessert: individual chocolate Macadamia nut tortes from chocolate cookie crust with a chocolate Macadamia mousse filling topped with fresh whipped cream and chocolate shavings, served with his fine Brooklyn Brewery (NY) Black Chocolate Stout.
Most of us “foodies” just dabble because we enjoy it, but Oliver is a true believer. He’s in love. How else would you explain this wonderful statement: “Wine is a fruit sauce―the flavor of Cabernet has absolutely nothing to do with the flavor of steak! His message: “Great beer is affordable every day, compared to great wine occasionally. It’s not a fad but a return to normality.” (Howzatt?)
But I digress, and that’s really Michael Jackson’s job (!). My 2005 surfing efforts were rewarded with several outstanding brews, although I’m not sure any were medal winners. Perhaps my favorite was Duck-Rabbit Porter (NC), or maybe it was New Belgium Tripel (CO), or Goose Island Matilda (IL). In any case, I do know my favorite T-shirt of those I saw. It came from New Glarus Brewing (whose Rye Bock was also impressive). The shirt’s legend said it all: “Real Women Don’t Drink Light Beer.” There are a number of ladies of my acquaintance who’d love that T-shirt, but it wasn’t for sale there.