Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dionicess IX: A Craft Beer Cocktail Pairing for Charity

Dionicess is an annual beer-centric charity event hosted by Gev Kazanchyan and benefits Real Medicine Foundation. The ninth iteration recently took place at Steingarten and upped the bar with craft beer cocktails and food pairing. The pairing is a collaboration by bartender Matt Biancaniellio from Library Bar and Dave Watrous from Beachwood BBQ who were preparing the beer cocktails, and Randy Clemens, author of the Sriracha Cookbook, who prepared all the food (along with the staff at Steingarten LA)

We were greeted by some mint water while Matt and Dave were hard at work shaking up the first cocktail:
“The Lambic Pentameter” - white balsamic, basil, strawberries, elderflower liqueur and Drie Fontinien Spirit of Armand.

Lambic Pentameter
The name Pentameter was chosen because the drink consisted of 5 ingredients. The Armand is a rare distilled Lambic from Belgium that is not typically not available in the US. Only one website in the world sells it!
Watrous told an interesting story behind the Armand. Purportedly they were trying to make lambic but the thermostat broke during lambic fermentation so he basically had cooked the lambic. They considered throwing it out, which was going to drive them out of business, but the distiller decided to try to distill and save it. The cocktail had a tartness that all came from the spirit, as there was no added citrus. (Traditional lambic is not the sweet type like peche lambic that we are mostly familiar with here, but it's tart and acidic).

This cocktail was paired with:
“Don’t Let This Get Your Goat, Just Figure It Out” – figs and herbed Chevre.
Fig and Chevre

Second course: “The Cascading Hophead” made with gin infused with seasonal Cascade hops for 3-4 days, grapefruit, honey, lemon and Beachwood Brewing Thrill Seeker IPA. This was the first beer cocktail Matt had ever created.
This drink was very hoppy, just like a straight up beer, except that it was 40% alcohol.

Second bite: "The Hop and The Hound" - Cabot Clothbound cheddar with yuzu marmalade, pickled habanero, and micro greens.
Spicy Clothhound
The pickled habanero in  the marmalade was very spicy. I had to take most of it off but it was a good pairing with the hops.

The third course was Dave Watrous' creation: “The Currrent, Currant Attraction” - Dogfish Head Festina Peche (a Berlinerweisse, which has no added yeast, fermented with peaches), Campari, gin, agave, grapefruit, lemon, raspberries and lemon verbena
This drink was originally called the Currant Attraction and they used champagne currants but then they disappeared from farmers market. Light and refreshing with a nice aroma from the lemon verbena.

The bite: "2 Cous, 1 Cup"
Couscous Cup
The perfect healthy snack! Loved the spiced carrots here.

An intermezzo: ‘The Calabaza Gazpacho’. This lightly chilled soup consisted of heirloom pumpkins, yams, cinnamon, and nutmeg, topped with fried parsnip.

For the fourth cocktail, Matt told us of how he had to show constraint in creating today's cocktails so that the beers can shine through.
The “No Need to Cross Fingers, We’ve Got it Haandled” was made with a smoked beer from Denmark, rum, lemon, sage and topped with heirloom pumpkin “air”.
He originally tried this with pumpkin juice but he found that it distracts from the beer so he decided to make it pumpkin air. Indeed, now you still get the essence and aroma of the pumpkin, but the smoked beer takes center stage. This may be my favorite cocktail of the day (other than the dessert), I loved the smoke at the back palate.

Fourth bite: "Risottopop" - Arborio Rice Arancini

Fifth cocktail: V-H8 – heirloom tomato juice, Hangar 24 orange wheat beer, tequila, dusted with cayenne pepper. I'm loving the names here!

“Taquit-Ohhh Yeah!” - taquito stuffed with huitlacoche, with Monterey Jack cheese, jalapeno, fire-roasted corn, guacamole and queso fresco.
A good huitlacoche dish is always a nice treat for me, as it's not that easy to find in this own.

The dessert cocktail was on another level with its presentation: "The Upside Down Deconstructed Umami Milkshake in 2 Stages".
This is a beer float made with candy cap mushroom-infused bourbon (this type of mushroom has a natural maple flavor) Scoops ice cream, served over Intelligentsia coffee-infused Cynar, Belgian Tripel reduction and cassis. A maraschino cherry in the center passageway separates the ice cream and the drink below. Even the serving ware is very hard to find now.
Umami Milkshake
This was paired with “Brittle Me This, Brittle Me That,” a super sticky pecan brittle with Aleppo pepper, molasses and vanilla.

At the end, Gev and the Dionicess IX team presented a check to the representative from Real Medicine Foundation. Hooray beer cocktails for charity!
Dionicess Crew


Gourmet Pigs   © 2008. Template Recipes by Emporium Digital