Mystery Date, Part 2

If you missed part 1 of our Sierra Nevada Beer dinner, click here to catch up!

Where did we leave off? Oh yes, the second course. On to the third!

4th beer, 3rd course – Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop Ale (American IPA, 6.7% ABV) and apple wood smoked chicken, panzanella salad – grilled ciabatta, tomato, cucumber olives, feta and oregano. The tasting notes for this beer told us that a lot of traveling, time and effort had been put into the beer. The Harvest beer series is all about fresh hops, meaning that they pick the hops, immediately dry them, fly them to Chico, CA (where the brewery is located), and brew them within a week of being picked. They do this so that the IPA’s taste as fresh as possible. The hops in this beer came from New Zealand and give it hints of fresh grapefruit, caramel and pine.

chicken salad VGP

This beer is in limited release – marking another reason why these dinners give you the most bang for your buck. We were trying beers that aren’t necessarily available everywhere. Our thoughts: The food with this dish was just okay – the consensus at the table was that the olive taste was too strong. Unfortunate. The beer lightened the taste of the olives, but I was too turned off to truly enjoy or rank it. I just wanted the overwhelming olive taste out of my mouth!

5th beer, 4th course – Sierra Nevada Fungoo (Spiced/herb/vegetable, 7% ABV) with grilled a maderia glaze on a grilled veal tenderloin set atop a rosemary and mushroom polenta. This beer description caught our eye from the start. Categorized as a spiced/herb/vegetable beer, we read on and discovered that the experimental beer pulls its character from mushrooms. Dashes of shiitake mushrooms mingle with dark fruit notes to create an elusive aroma and use of California-grown wild rice provides a dry finish.

tenderloin VGP

There are only 2 Fungoo kegs in the state, so we felt that we had to give this a good, honest taste before discussing. Our thoughts: Doesn’t taste odd at all! We didn’t know what to expect going in, and although the beer was a bit strong for the dish, we can now say that we’ve had a vegetable beer. How cool is that?! THe mushrooms were fantastic, but I wish they would have worked better with the beer. The polenta nd veal complimented each other well, but it also could have been good with a potato or rice.

6th beer, 5th course – Sierra Nevada Barrel Aged Maple Stout with Coffee (Imperial Stout, 12.9% ABV) with a dark chocolate stout cakes, coconut mousse, dark chocolate ganache and salted caramel sauce. Dessert, finally! This beer was brewed with maple syrup and aged in oak bourbon barrels with dark roasted coffee beans, yielding a velvety black and rich beer. Notes of dark chocolate and toasted malts combine with earthy sweetness and a hint of maple balance the toasted coconut aromas from the barrel. The beer finishes with a roasty touch from the coffee beans and dark malts. Our thoughts: By this point, we were a little toasty ourselves! I’m a coffee drinker, but even this stout was too much for me. THe JA doesn’t like coffee at all, and he only ended up having a sip. I tried it with the cake, but let’s face it, chocolate cake will win over chocolate beer for me any day.

dessert VGP

That sums up our evening! I would definitely do another beer dinner again – even with the price tag. The opportunity to have a five-course meal paired with beverages is something I enjoyed greatly. We got to try beers that are in limited release and got souvenir glasses to mark the evening. If you’re not a beer drinker, don’t worry! You can still partake in the experience. We had someone who preferred wine at our table and the servers made sure that she had wines that paired with each course. Click here to see a schedule of upcoming dinners!

Just a reminder: We were given tickets to this event by a friend, and all thoughts and opinions of the evening (unless noted) are mine and the JA’s.


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