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Saturday, February 04, 2012

The Super Group of Collaboration Brewers Dinners

In pop music, when a bunch of famous musicians coalesce into a new band, it's called a "super group." Next Wednesday, a super group of brewers will be jamming at Laurelwood with the brewpub's executive chef, Aaron Nichols (6:30-9:30, at the main brewpub on Sandy). The brewers are Laurelwood's new man Vasilios Gletsos (drums?), Upright's Alex Ganum (bass, obviously), the still inchoate Gigantic's Van Havig (frontman), and (rhythm guitarist?) Tom Bleigh, now at Hopworks.

The menu:

Amuse: Chicken coronets with preserved lemon.
Beer: Cascadian Pilsner brewed by Van Havig and Vasili Gletsos

Appetizer: Mussel and shrimp soup with lemon grass, kafir lime leaf, fish stock, chilies, garlic, shallot, and Thai spices.
Beer: Thai Wit brewed by Tom Bleigh and Vasili Gletsos

Salad: Blood orange and arugula with red onions, Castelvetrano olives, and parsley.
Beer: Sour Red blended by Alex Ganum, Tom Bleigh, Van Havig, and Vasili Gletsos

Entrée: Smoked pork belly and pomegranate barbequed brisket with potato-chard gratin, and pomegranate demi glaze jus.
Beer: Scottish Ale brewed by Alex Ganum and Vasili Gletsos

Dessert: Grapefruit tart with pecan brittle and Chantilly cream.
Beer: Milk Stout brewed by the Laurelwood Brew Team
There's a bit of six degrees of Vasilios going on here--they're all brewers he's worked with who have gone on to new breweries. Tix are fifty bucks, which is a pretty good deal for this one-of-a-kind collaboration. More info here.

6 comments:

Samurai Artist said...

I got my ticket

Alan said...

Excellent music reference as super groups, like collaboration beer, attracted a lot of PR and $$ but generally kinda sucked.

Vasili said...

@Alan, I hear you. I feel the same way about some of the single batches made for any of the number of specialty festivals. While I wouldn't say any of the ones I have had straight up suck, they often don't live up to the hype, or are not as refined as any one of the breweries standard beers. It makes sense, those beers have been refined by brewing over and over again, rather then something that is outside what a brewery typically does well. Pete at Beervana Buzz wrote about this in his year end blog about festival fatigue. From a brewers perspective, not to mention a fallible human perspective, who hasn't wished for a do over to improve on what they have done? At the same time, there is that one in how ever many I try at a festival that is truly steller, which I will never likely get to try again, which keep me going back. Otherwise, I would stick to the core brands, but honestly, I would get bored. They are great to fall back on, but the innovation and pushing the envelope or testing new waters, etc., are to me a big part of what craft beer is all about, though I know it isn't so for everyone.

All I can say is that all the beers we made for the dinner are solid and it's up to each person to decide if it exceeds that. I have been to and hosted enough beer dinners to know, during the course of the dinner, some pairings work, some do not. In every one I have been to, the onerous is on the chef to compliment, contrast or miss the mark on the pairings, since the pairings are with a breweries core brands. Here, it is all on the brewers to use their experience to do the same with the menu, set beforehand by our chef. I can't say they are all a home run, that is up to the attendees, but I can say it is a very unique opportunity, to my knowledge, to experience beer pairing. As someone in search of said experiences, worth my time and effort. Perhaps you will feel the same, but it's not everyones bag.

@ Jeff, thanks for the shout out. I am more of a banjo player, whether that works in a supergroup, I'm not sure, but it's fun playing together!

Pete Dunlop said...

I also like the super group reference. Looking forward to the dinner.

Jason said...

Great, and very classy reply, Vasili. Sure the beers will be good and look forward to whatever you come up with at Laurelwood---especially if you make something akin to Spine Tingler!

Unknown said...

Jeff- I like to think that I'm more of a tambourine kind of guy. However, with the new position at HUB, I'm getting more acclimated to the cow bell.

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