Beer-paired dinners - especially a seven-course meal at $75 a head - are the ultimate in decadence and gluttony.  I admit feeling guilty knowing that these dinners are also a representation of the social stratification that craft beer has fallen prey to (along with just about everything else in our society).  This income-based social stratification has an advantage for craft beer though. 

Beer - a historically egalitarian and traditionally working-class beverage of the masses - is now becoming something for which a premium must be paid and only the privileged can afford (at least the good stuff).  On the other hand, what this means is that, finally, craft beer is increasing in desirability among the elite and gaining the artistic and gastronomic credibility traditionally reserved only for wine.  And with regard to food pairings, craft beer - with its diverse color, texture, flavor and aroma profiles - has the potential to blow wine out of the water . 

I think most craft beer enthusiasts would agree that o
ur technically proficient and creative craft brewers deserve this recognition.  One also can't deny the necessity of charging more for beer that costs more money to produce and to age.  The beautiful thing about craft beer is that it hasn't abandoned its beverage-for-the-masses roots altogether in that it remains relatively affordable, compared to wine.

The Upright Barrel-aged Vintage Beer Dinner - with a seven-course menu by Grain and Gristle chef, Nathaniel Price - was more than this writer-slash-beer-slinger could really afford, and certainly more than I've ever paid for any brewer's dinner.  Still, I jumped on my ticket as soon as I heard about it.  I wasn't alone.  Despite the price, I was told that tickets sold out in less than a week. 

The portions were a perfect size each time, artistically presented with a keen eye for balance and color.  The flavors were a perfect match with each beer, providing both compliment and contrast - and all with mouth-watering complexity.  Vintage Upright beers speak for themselves and are always phenomenal.  Vertical tastings illuminated a stark contrast between the different vintages.  Both educational and explosive, each course was a synergistic experience of orgasmic proportions. 

Keep your eye out for future Upright dinner events, because experiences such as this are priceless...

Beer descriptions below are from the Upright website:

Course 1

Ham hock rillettes, graham cracker, sour cherry and mustard seed - a perfect balance of sweet and savory in the dish, the tartness of the beer bringing out the sweetness and blending with the fruit.  This was the an excellent indication of great things to come.
  • paired with 2012 and 2013 Blend Love
  • A mix of  barrel aged Four (a wheat saison) and Six (a dark rye saison) using cherry and raspberry along with souring yeasts and bacteria. It's fruit forward in the nose with a balanced flavor bringing the malts and oak together. Named for friend and colleague Ben Love of Gigantic Brewing Company.
Course 2

Strawberry, beet, chevre, fenugreek cracker, and rose - the complexity was phenomenal in this pairing, bringing together an herbal fruitiness, bitter greens balancing sweet beet and strawberry and floral tartness of the beer illuminating the same.
  • paired with 2013 Flora 
  • The Flora Rustica (saison) is a prime candidate for barrel aging and much like the Saison du Blodget, produces a historic flavor profile in this bottling. Not quite as hoppy but drawing from the botanical elements of yarrow and calendula, the Flora displays a significant lactic edge to sharpen the otherwise earthy flavors.

Course 3

Chilled almond and bread soup with chili oil - cool richness and warm richness combine to make a perfect pairing.  The aging mellows hop character and adding malt complexity.
  • paired with 2013 Sole Composition Single Cask Six
  • Six is a dark saison textured with spicy rye across layers of flavorful malts, contrasted by delicate fruit notes and finishing dry.

Course 4

Asparagus, fava, radish, fried salami, grapefruit and chile oil
  • paired with 2011 Fatali Four
  • A blend of gin and wine barrel aged Four that has fresh homegrown fatali chiles added for a couple months before bottling. It also incorporates light use of brettanomyces yeasts providing a contrasting earthy backdrop for the bright chile flavors.
Course 5

Salmon tartare, green garlic, celery and fennel juice, sea bean and pretzel - this dish screamed fresh and cool, apricot and a lot of Brett character to add a earthy tartness which brought out the subtle flavors of the dish.
  • paired with 2014 Anniversary Saison
  • Beginning with the fifth anniversary of the brewery in 2014, an anniversary saison will be released annually. It combines gin and wine barrels with light use of apricots in a Cascade hopped brew, combining elements we love to produce a dry, snappy, and complex profile.

Course 6
main, served family-style
Jerk pork, cauliflower and alliums, chicories, apricots and basil - this was certainly a rare treat as Fantasia tends to fly fast and I had yet to try it.  All three years were excellent but vastly different.  The real stand-outs for this pairing was, first, the color - of both the beer and edible flowers adorning the dish - then the amazing way tart peach complimented and contrasted the sweet pork.
  • paired with 2011, 2012 and 2013 Fantasia
  • A barrel fermented beer using fresh peaches from Baird Family Orchards. The Fantasia is firmly tart and hugely aromatic with a character not unlike Belgian fruit lambics. Minimum one year on oak before an extended bottle conditioning prior to release.

Course 7
dessert, served family-style

Senneri Hittisau Bergkase (a cheese...yes, I had to look it up), pickled green strawberry, L'Amuse aged gouda, golden raisin and carrot five spice chutney, Jasper Hill Bayley Hazen bleu, and smoked candied hazelnut - the rich sweetness of dessert was actually in the beer with this pairing, which was perfect.  Brininess of the aged cheese contrasted the rich malt character while the chutney complimented.
  • paired with 2010, 2011, and 2013 Billy the Mountain
  • Inspired by the great Prize Old Ale once brewed by Gales in England, this beer is deeply malty and full of ripe fruit, leather, wine and oak flavors. The Billy is partially barrel aged with brettanomyces yeast, lending a distinct twang and developing unique aromas over time.
Cascade Brewing (Portland, Oregon)
Sang Noir - 2012 Project
A blend of red ales aged in oak and bourbon barrels for one year, then aged an additional six months on Bing and sour pie cherries.

Pours the color of vinous black cherry with a slightly burgundy two-finger head.  The nose is overwhelmingly tart pie cherry with a touch of wine and bourbon.

The flavor is similar to the aroma...tart cherries, very vinous. Bourbon is barely detectable when cold.  Lacto-tart and acidic at first, but as it warms up it becomes significantly more complex - the wine-like character comes out, more bourbon flavor and sweetness from the malt, creating a more balanced, pleasing character.  The bottle recommends serving at about 40-degrees, but I would recommend going a little warmer - more like 50-55.  It really opens up nicely. 

I always have a hard time spending $25 on a bottle of beer (and it seems there are more and more within this range these days, sadly for us poor craft beer lovers), but this is absolutely worth a try at least once.  Because of its sour, vinous flavor profile, it pairs really nicely with Italian food - even Trader Joe's frozen lasagna...not that I would know anything about that of course.

Available at Cascade Barrel House and in select bottle shops throughout Portland, Oregon.  Occasionally available on draft at Cascade.


    This is a survey for craft beer enthusiasts. 
    We assume that you love craft beer, but we want to know more about what you eat.  My goal is to determine demand for vegetarian or vegan beer-paired dinners within the craft beer community.  Your input really helps me.  Thank you!

Stovetop Beer Mac and Cheese (Parade)
If you've been thinking about cooking with beer, now is the time to do it!  It's not difficult - and you can impress your beer geek friends or REALLY impress your non-beer geek friends and family this holiday season.

Here is a selection of recipes I've been collecting from various online sources.  This is only a small sample of what is possible, but these should get you started...or at least get the creative juices flowing.

Soup and Salad

Chainbreaker White IPA Dressing
from the Deschutes Brewery recipes page
You can use this dressing for a salad or as a dip.  Deschutes Chainbreaker is a great, flavorful white IPA and it may be difficult to find a good substitute as it's a pretty rare style.  You could probably get away with any good Witbier, but it won't have quite the hop character that you'll get with Chainbreaker. 

3 eggs
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbs Dijon Mustard
1 tsp Tabasco
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 C parmesan cheese, grated
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 C olive oil
2 ounces Chainbreaker White IPA

Read full recipe here

German Potato Beer Soup
from The Cooking Channel
4 cups chicken stock
large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
8 ounces sliced smoked bacon
carrots, 1/2-inch dice (about 1 cup)
3 stalks celery, 1/2-inch dice (about 1 cup)
2 bay leaves
1 small bundle fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
1 leek, green top trimmed, 1/2-inch dice (about 1 cup)
1 cup pale German lager, such as Pilsner
1/4 cup sliced fresh chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Read full recipe here

Butter Leaf Salad With Smoked Wild Salmon & Mirror Pond Vinaigrette
from the Deschutes Brewery recipes page
Can substitute Mirror Pond with any of your favorite pale ales.

Ingredients for the vinaigrette
1 C Mirror Pond Pale Ale
5 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp parsley, chopped
1 Tbs salt
½ tsp pepper
1 Tbs dijon mustard
3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 C blend oil

Read full recipe here

Beer Cheese Soup
from the Deschutes Brewery recipes page
Substitute your favorite pale ale.


1/2 C butter
1 medium sized yellow onion, chopped
At least 1/2 C carrots, chopped (if you are a fan of peppers, you can use same amount of Red & Green Peppers instead of carrots & celery)
At least 1/2 C celery, chopped
1/2 C all-purpose flour
2 C chicken broth
1 12oz bottle of Mirror Pond Pale Ale
7oz extra-sharp Cheddar, shredded
7oz processed Swiss cheese, shredded
2 C half-and-half
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 lb smoked sausage (if desired)
1/2 tsp Tabasco, to taste (if desired)

Read the full recipe here

Black Butte Porter Roasted Chicken Salad
from the Deschutes Brewery recipes page
Can substitute any of your favorite porters.


Brined Chicken (see full recipe)
1 fennel bulb (two if it’s Oregon baby fennel)
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp aged balsamic vinegar
1 C mayonnaise
1/4 C apple cider vinegar
1 sweet onion-fine dice
1/2 C slivered almonds
1.5 oz sea salt-fine
1 oz black pepper

Read full recipe here


Chainbreaker White IPA Steamed Manila Clams
from the Deschutes Brewery recipes page
Simple and delicious.  Nothing quite substitutes for the flavorful Chainbreaker white IPA, though a Witbier may be used in a pinch.


1 lb Manila Clams
6 oz Chainbreaker White IPA
1/2 C tomatoes, diced
1/2 C green onions, diced
1 Tbs fresh garlic
1 Tbs olive oil
Pinch of Kosher salt
Pinch of black pepper

Read full recipe here

Hop Trip Shrimp with Mango Glaze
from the Deschutes Brewery recipes page
Another simple but delicious recipe from Deschutes.  Add a dash of cayenne for a little extra heat, but be careful as hops can intensify the heat.  Hop Trip is a high-quality American pale ale with a sweet caramel malt backbone and a lot of fruity, citrusy hops.  Any substitute should have a similar flavor profile.

2 lbs prawns (or 1 lb if prawns are huge)
2 C mango puree
3" ginger root, fresh - cut into coins
2 oz honey
1 C water
1 C Hop Trip

Read full recipe here

Black Butte Steamer Clams
from the Deschutes Brewery recipes page
A great simple recipe.  Substitute your favorite porter.


3 lbs clams
4 - 5 slices bacon, chopped
1 Walla Walla sweet onion, chopped
6 ounces Black Butte Porter

Read full recipe here

Meaty Main Dishes

Deschutes River Ale Braised Caramelized Onion Stuffed Trout
from the Deschutes Brewery recipes page
4 Trout, 12-16 oz each
2 C caramelized onions
12 lemon slices
8 sprigs of fresh dill
½ C sour cream
Salt and pepper
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 bottle Deschutes River Ale

Read full recipe here

Daniel's Smoked & Savory Grey Monday Wild Boar Shanks
from The Bruery Recipes Blog
The Bruery Grey Monday is a 19.5% ABV Imperial Stout aged on hazelnuts.  You could substitute with another imperial stout but you would be missing the nutty flavor of the hazelnuts.  As far as where you find wild boar shanks...well, you're on your own there.

750 ml (1 bottle) Grey Monday (minus a few sips for yourself)
3 gm tonka beans
3 gm star anise
6 gm organic cacao nibs
20 gm blood orange peel
30 gm molasses
43 gm kosher salt

Read the full recipe here

Black Butte Porter Meatloaf with Gruyere
from the Deschutes Brewery recipes page
Can substitute any of your favorite porters.


2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 C carrots, diced
1/2 C celery, diced
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
3/4 C Black Butte Porter
4 ounces bread, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 2-1/2 cups)
1 C whole milk
2 lbs ground beef
2 large eggs
1/2 C gruyere cut into small cubes
1/4 C fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbs BBQ sauce for a glaze

Read the full recipe here

Belgian Beer Geek's "Chicken a la Bruery"
from The Bruery Recipes Blog
The Bruery's Saison Rue is a French/Belgian-style, unfiltered farmhouse saison with malted rye.  Can substitute with a similar style.

4 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size portions
1/4 lb of smoked bacon in cubes
1 lb of green beans
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 chili pepper, chopped
3/4 cup of cream
1 cup of Saison Rue
1 handful of tarragon leaves
2 teaspoons of Five Spice powder
Cooking oil
Pepper and salt

Read the full recipe here

Jubelale Marinated Breast of Duck with Festive Cranberry Ale Sauce
from the Deschutes Brewery recipes page
Jubelale is a winter warmer with sweet caramel, dried fruit and spicy notes and a slight hop bitterness.  Subsitute any beer with a similar flavor profile if you can't find Jubelale.

Ingredients for sauce

1 C chicken stock
1/2 C white wine
1/2 C orange juice
1/2 C dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 C prunes, coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp ground mace
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 C dried cranberries
1 Tbs butter
1/2 C Jubelale

Read full recipe here

Beer Salmon Recipe
from the Dogfish Head Alehouse
Simple and delicious!  Use smoked porter for a little extra flavor.

Salmon filet slab or about 6 salmon steaks
2 teaspoons salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon pepper (per taste)
1 chopped onion
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cloves
2 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
Two 12-ounce bottles of a favorite Porter–16 ounces for the recipe and 8 ounces to drink while preparing the salmon.

Read the full recipe here

Beer-Brined Turkey
from Brandon Hernandez, on the Stone Brewing blog
If you can't find Stone Smoked Porter, you can substitute with another smoked porter.


1 gallon plus 1 quart water
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup mustard seeds
2 tbsp black peppercorns
10 bay leaves
8 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
4 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves
3 onions, chopped
72 ounces Stone Smoked Porter
1 12-15 lb turkey

read the full recipe here


Jubelale Pot Roast
from the Deschutes Brewery recipes page
Jubelale is a winter warmer with sweet caramel, dried fruit and spicy notes and a slight hop bitterness.  Subsitute any beer with a similar flavor profile if you can't find Jubelale.


2-3 lbs top round
1/2 C flour
1 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, cut into eighths
1 carrot, rough chopped
2 ribs of celery, rough chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 bunch parsley
2 sprigs thyme
1 sprig sage
3 bay leaves
1 Tbs whole black peppercorns
1 Tbs Kosher salt
12 oz bottle Jubelale
2 C chicken stock
2 Tbs butter

Read full recipe here

Side Dishes

Beer Battered Asparagus
from The Bruery Recipes Blog
1 cup white ale, heffeweizen, or pale ale
1 pound asparagus – ends trimmed and cut into 3 inch sized pieces
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Salt & pepper to taste
About 4 cups vegetable oil

Read full recipe here

Spinach and Butternut Squash Gratin with Autumn Maple Sauce
from The Bruery Recipes Blog
The Bruery's Autumn Maple is a beer brewed with yams, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, molasses, and maple syrup and fermented with Belgian yeast.  You could substitute with a sweet, spicy pumpkin beer, as low as possible in hops character.


4 pounds of butternut squash, peeled (2 large ones should do the trick)
3 pounds of spinach, fresh or frozen (for this round I used fresh spinach, but next time I’ll use frozen. Way easier.)
1 small white onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 tablespoons butter
1 recipe Autumn Maple sauce from above
1.5 cups grated cheese of your choice (2 if you want it really cheesy)  – Gruyere or Swiss work well
For the sauce
2 cups of the Bruery’s Autumn Maple
¼ cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups whole milk
Pinch of nutmeg
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

Read the full recipe here

Beer and Sausage Stuffing
from Brandon Hernandez, on the Stone Brewing blog
You can easily substitute with your favorite pale ale.

2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 pound spicy Italian sausage, crumbled
2 cups yellow onions, diced
1 cup leeks, white part only, thoroughly washed and diced
2 cups chicken stock
12 ounces Stone Pale Ale
2 tbsp fresh sage
2 tbsp fresh thyme
2 cups bread, diced and toasted to crouton consistency (preferably a combination of French and rye bread)
salt and fresh-ground pepper, to taste

Read the full recipe here

Bräuista's Beer Cheese Fondue Macaroni & Cheese
from The Bruery Recipes Blog
This recipe was made with a home-brewed nut brown ale.  Any nut brown ale will do, as long as it isn't overly-hopped (most are not).  A stronger beer will add a stronger flavor to the dish.

1 Package (16 Ounces) Gemelli Pasta
1/4 Cup Butter
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Tbsp Ground Mustard
1 Tsp Salt
3/4 Tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
2 Cups Half And Half
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Cup Brown Ale
3 Cups (12 Ounces) Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
2 Cups (8 Ounces) Shredded Fontina Cheese
2 Tbsp Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
6 Bacon Strips Thick Cut
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Cup Ritz Cracker Crumbs

Read the full recipe here

Stovetop Beer Mac and Cheese
from Parade
This one is a simple, vegetarian mac and cheese which calls for a pale ale, but it might be interesting to experiment with different styles.  Because the beer doesn't simmer in the pot long, you don't need to worry too much about the hops bitterness becoming too concentrated.


2 cups elbow macaroni
½ cup sour cream
1 large egg
⅔ cup pale ale beer
1 Tbsp cornstarch
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp flour
8 oz cheddar cheese, fresh grated (pre-shredded has additives that prevents it from melting properly)
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp smoked paprika
pinch cayenne pepper
¼ tsp salt

Read the full recipe here

Autumn Maple/Cinnamon Israeli Cous Cous with Napoleon of Sweet Potatoes and Maple/Brown Sugar Mascarpone
from The Bruery Recipes Blog
The Bruery's Autumn Maple is a beer brewed with yams, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, molasses, and maple syrup and fermented with Belgian yeast.  You could substitute with a sweet, spicy pumpkin beer, as low as possible in hops character.

2 cups Israeli cous cous
2 ½ cups Autumn Maple beer
½ cup vegetable stock
1 tsp cinnamon For the Sweet Potatoes
2 large sweet potatoes, in ¼ slices lengthwise
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp butter For the Mascarpone
¼ cup mascarpone
2 tsp ginger powder
1 tbsp brown sugar For the Autumn Maple Sauce
2 cups Autumn Maple beer
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup brown sugar

Read the full recipe here

Desserts and Breads

Spent Grain Coddodrillo Bread with Brown Ale
from The Bruery Recipes Blog
For the sponge
1 package (2.5 teaspoons) active dry yeast
¾ cup dark beer, at room temperature (I used Lost Coast’s Downtown Brown for the nutty flavor, The Bruery's Rugbrød would also work great)
3 cups cool water
1 cup spent grain flour (dried spent grain processed to a fine powder in a food processor)
2.5 cups all-purpose flour

For the dough
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup spent grain
1 tablespoon sea salt

Read the full recipe here

Stacey's Bread Pudding with Spiced Black Tuesday Sauce
from The Bruery Recipes Blog
The Bruery Black Tuesday is a bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout.  If you substitute, I would stick to the bourbon barrel imperial stouts because it's that nice warm bourbon flavor that makes it.

8 large eggs
3 1/2 cups whole milk
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1-lb loaf of cinnamon challah or cinnamon raisin bread cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup golden raisins

Read the full recipe here

Great Northern Porter Bread Pudding
from Summit Brewing Company
Can substitute any porter, or consider a chocolate porter or a low-IBU chocolate stout.


1 12oz bottle of Summit Great Northern Porter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cups semisweet or dark chocolate chips
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 baguette cut into roughly one-inch cubes.

Read the full recipe here

Autumn Maple Beer Crispy Treats
from The Bruery Recipes Blog
The Bruery's Autumn Maple is a beer brewed with yams, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, molasses, and maple syrup and fermented with Belgian yeast.  You could substitute with a sweet, spicy pumpkin beer, as low as possible in hops character.

Ingredients for the Salted Beer Caramel Sauce
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup The Bruery Autumn Maple beer

Read full recipe here

Bacon Maple Pecan Bars
from Brandon Hernandez, on the Stone Brewing blog
You can, of course, substitute with another Russian imperial stout.

Ingredients for the Filling

1 cup Stone Imperial Russian Stout
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cups pecans, chopped
2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 eggs, beaten
5 strips bacon, cooked and chopped

Read the full recipe here

Beer Brownies
from The Kitchy Kitchen
This recipe sounds amazing, with the addition of cinnamon and cayenne to give it that Aztec chocolate charm...and there's a lot of flexibility with what kind of beer you can use - basically, whatever your favorite dessert beer is.

3 ½ oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa and up)
1 tablespoon instant espresso
8 tablespoons of butter
4 eggs, at room temp
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Valrhona) 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons vanilla paste (or extract)
1/2 cup malty beer (I used the Bruery's Rugbrod, a Danish Rye Beer, but a Belgian Quad, a Stout, or a Porter would work)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts, halved and toasted lightly

Read the full recipe here

Pumpkin Beer Bread
from The Bruery Recipes Blog
This recipe was originally make with The Bruery Autumn Maple, but you could substitute any high-quality, rich, spicy beer - such as a pumpkin beer - with a low IBU.

2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 ounces beer
½ cup pumpkin puree (canned or made from fresh)
2 Tbsp butter, melted

Read the full recipe here

Black Butte Porter Spice Cake
from the Deschutes Brewery newsletter
Can substitute any good porter...

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup molasses
1 C Black Butte Porter

Read the full recipe here

Autumn Maple Oat Scones
from The Bruery Recipes Blog
The Bruery's Autumn Maple is a beer brewed with yams, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, molasses, and maple syrup and fermented with Belgian yeast.  You could substitute with a sweet, spicy pumpkin beer, as low as possible in hops character.

1 ¾ cup flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup oats
1 tablespoons baking power
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ pound + 3 tablespoons butter, cold, unsalted and diced
1 + ¼ cup autumn maple (to be used separately)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup raisins (optional)
1 egg, beaten 1 tablespoon of water (egg wash)
3/4 cup powder sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla

Read the full recipe here

Autumn Maple Sweet Potato Cupcakes
from The Bruery Recipes Blog
The Bruery's Autumn Maple is a beer brewed with yams, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, molasses, and maple syrup and fermented with Belgian yeast.  You could substitute with a sweet, spicy pumpkin beer, as low as possible in IBUs.

Cupcake Ingredients

3 medium sweet potatoes, baked, skinned and mashed 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup light brown sugar 2 large eggs 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup buttermilk 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 tbsp Autumn Maple beer syrup

Read full recipe here

Hungry yet? Get in that kitchen!

Zioglbier, paired with fried mortadella.
Before last night, I was a virgin to beer-pairing events.  This is not for lack of want by any means, but a product of the fact that for the better part of the past twenty-five years, I've been either a vegetarian or a pescatarian.  Have you ever seen a vegetarian beer pairing event?  I didn't think so.  I read that Stone Brewing did a vegan event a while back - god bless them - but that's the only time I have ever heard of such a thing.

Is it for lack of demand?  I don't think so, even in Portland - a place where people will wrap anything in bacon.  Three of my closest beer-geek friends are vegetarians and I would bet they've never been to any beer-paired dinners either.  I found myself one night complaining about the absence of vegetarian options at beer events to a couple of people when one of them said to me, "Why don't you just organize one?"

Because I am neither chef nor professional brewer, I had never even thought of such a thing...but why not?  So, I've taken on this challenge.  I have a couple of very talented (potentially) interested parties but have no idea where to begin.  Where does one begin with a new challenge?  Education.  Research.  Which leads me to the reason I found myself ingesting cow, pig, chicken and duck; pate and rillettes; liver, heart and breast last night.  Yes, I am taking one for the team.  I've signed up for multiple beer-pairing events - marrow and all - in order to better understand how these events happen and what makes them work - or not work.

Presentation was impressive
I'd also never been to Imperial Bottle Shop and Taproom before and was really impressed by the owners' engagement with the customers -and despite the pervasive, new-development concrete, which always puts me off a little, and the slightly too-bright lighting (all the better to see the color of the beer though!) it was a pretty inviting atmosphere. 

The presentation of the food - provided by Laurelhurst Market - was stellar (except for serving on paper plates) and the pairing with The Commons beer was very well done - the flavor intensity of food and beer were SPOT-ON, and the flavors complimented each other well.

I have to admit, while I admire the shit out of The Commons for their creativity and experimentation (and they're one of my favorite Oregon breweries), I haven't liked ALL of their beers.  That being said, all five beers at the pairing last night was excellent and clearly mindfully-selected. 

I'd already tried three of the beers before: Madrone (a dry-hopped amber saison with a lot more flavor than the traditional version, a great balance, a touch of funky fruitiness, a mild sweetness with a dry, spicy finish), Walnut (a roasty Belgian-style porter with a dry, slightly bitter finish - much like a walnut, in fact), and the Ortucky Common (their collaboration with De Garde - another one of my favorite Oregon breweries.  This one is a unique dark rye sour, a bit of toasted chocolate and a lot of sour throughout).  All great beers.  You can often find bottles of Madrone in stores and I suggest picking it up. 

I've been wanting to try Fleur de Ferme for a while, and this was a treat which did not disappoint me.  Fleur is a dark farmhouse ale brewed with lavender, hibiscus and chamomile - and, as one might expect there are beautiful, bright floral, herbal notes which are well-balanced by a dark roastiness.  Probably not for everyone (in reviews, people seem to either love or hate it - which is usually a sign of a truly unique beer).  I, however, love the addition of lavender to certain styles of beer and I think The Commons pulled it off really well.

The biggest surprise of the evening (besides the fact that the beef heart was delicious) was the unfiltered Zioglbier, an obscure style from Franconian Germany.  It poured a hazy, medium-golden orange with great head retention and lacing.  The aroma was subtle, with distinct lager yeast character and a slight fruitiness.  The flavor was a lot more pronounced, refreshing with citrus and fruit, a distinctive lager yeast character - a slight bready malt profile, but not overpowering - and a great earthy, spicy finish.  I usually don't like lagers (don't judge me, I'm trying), but this one was exceptional - and the woman next to me said exactly the same thing.  If you have a chance, check this one out.

Thanks to the fine folks at the Imperial Bottle Shop and Taproom.  Check them out.

Julia Herz is my effing hero.  Okay, now that we all understand THAT...

In her Craft Beer Muses column on craftbeer.com, Julia Herz - Craft Beer Program Director for the Brewers Association, beer judge, homebrewer and all-around Craft Beer Diva - passes along her vast knowledge of beer pairing with us in a way that pairing-challenged individuals who will go unnamed can finally understand it.  Thank you, @HerzMuses.  CHECK OUT THIS AMAZING ARTICLE NOW. #craftbeer
If I there is a Heaven, I would want it to look like the Cascade Brewing Barrel House.  No joke.  This is the way the gods intended us to live, where the food is fresh and the beer is aged.  And by "fresh", I mean that even the crackers taste like they were just hand-ground, with just the right texture and a little spice.

I'm a cheap-skate, which is difficult for an aspiring beer writer because good beer ain't cheap.  And to make matters worse, now I went and did something stupid - and terrifying and cathartic - by turning in my resignation at my hateful corporate job with no real distinct plan as to how I'm going to actually pay my bills.  But it was my birthday, so it was an opportunity to make my husband buy me lunch.  Naturally, great beer had to be involved.  So I chose the Cascade Brewing Barrel House.

It had been a while since I'd been to the Barrel House.  The last time I went, I had their beer cheese soup which was sinfully delicious but gave my lactose-intolerant ass a killer stomach ache.  It was totally worth it, by the way.  This time, I went all out.  I ordered the escargot (partially because it's so rare that I get a chance to have it, and partially just to watch my husband squirm), the artisanal cheese platter, and the fig pesto chevre panini, along with several beer tasters.

The attention to detail at the Barrel House clearly communicates a much-deserved reverence for the art of food and drink.  The colors and complexity of flavors sing and dance for you.  The cheese plate featured a huge variety of local and imported cheeses, covering a vast range of flavors and textures - all of which melted in your mouth as though they'd just come from the farm.  It was so carefully and artistically presented with fresh bread and fruit that you could almost taste the love.  Then there was the panini: on fresh locally-crafted brioche with apricot sour beer-sauteed black figs, house-smoked tomato pesto, and creamy chevre, there was so much going on here that it would pair well with almost any of their beers.  Important to note here is the total lack of greasiness that's usually associated with paninis and has made me avoid ordering them lately.  THIS is the way a panini is meant to be.  It wasn't huge, but for $6 - and served with their house-pickled vegetables - it's a great deal.

The beer tasters are the way to go.  It allows you to try a lot of different beers - and you'll want to at the Barrel House because they have so many great, interesting beers - and most of them are only $2.  The glasses they're served in are nice, too, and although it doesn't allow for a lot of room to stick your nose in, the Cascade beers are so aromatic that you don't even notice the difference and the shape and size allow it to warm quickly, really bringing a variety of flavors out nicely.  Okay - I kind of have a glass fetish I guess, but I won't go on about that anymore.  Below is my take on a few of the beers they had to offer that day:

Honey Ginger Lime: I'd had this one before when it was on tap at Belmont Station but my husband ordered it so I decided to give it another try.  This one is refreshing and has a good flavor profile but is not my favorite as it kind of reminds me of soda.  To each his own. 

The Vine: An oak barrel-aged blend of soured blonde, tripel, quad and golden ales fermented with fresh-pressed juice from white wine grapes, with lactobacillus.  White grape skin dominated the finish.  I found this to not be quite as complex as I wanted, but it was definitely a good, crisp sour.

Noyaux: This was the one that I'd been wanting to try for a while.  A blend of Belgian strong blondes aged with raspberries in white port barrels, then blended with strong blondes aged with the toasted meat of an apricot nut (noyaux).  This one was very complex and managed to meet my fairly high expectations.  It started out tart and crisp with a hint of raspberry and apricot then an interesting, warm marzipan finish.

Elderberry:  A sour red ale oak-aged with elderberry and spices, this one surprised me as I've read some mixed reviews.  It had a beautiful ruby color and a fragrant ruby port nose.  I kept tasting port throughout, but it was fairly complex, starting out with tart elderberry and finishing with rich dark fruit and a hint of tobacco.

Spiced Cherry Gose: Live from the barrel.  Clove really dominated in this one, with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg and a tart pie cherry finish.  Not super complex, but good.

Anti-Bourbonic: Live from the barrel, one of their non-sour beers.  A spiced double porter with a candy-sweet nose and a flavor dominated by vanilla and bourbon.  Not complex, but very good for someone who loves bourbon-barrel aging.

The Cascade Brewing Barrel House serve the freshest local and sustainable food possible and offer suggested pairings with all their dishes.  They limit you to two tasters per person at one time, but the server was so attentive, she never left us wanting.  If you missed them at Puckerfest yesterday, you can always visit their Barrel House at 939 SE Belmont St. in Portland, Oregon. 
Visit the Cascade Brewing Barrel House website to find out what's on tap

Here is a post from the Richmond Times which tells a story of beer pairing (as opposed to wine pairing) in fine dining.  According to the article, there are still those who go out to a fine restaurant and are surprised by craft beer and food pairings - hard to imagine, but in craft beer-crazy Portland, we're used to this sort of thing.  It is inevitable that people across the country will catch on to the staggering range of styles and flavors and the versatility of craft beer paired with - and cooked into - food.

As craft beer rises in status among the masses - and looks down upon us from its properly deserved seat upon its lofty throne - there will inevitably be some push-back too.  Not necessarily among the fine dining winos...no, they seem to be embracing craft beer nicely...but among those who appreciate beer's roots.  Beer has historically been a working man's drink.  This we know.  And though it can be so much more than just that, why should the working man surrender his drink of choice to those who may be willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a bottle of wine?

This will inevitably always be a debate among those who love craft beer.  While there are socio-political, hierarchical and pragmatic economic implications for the rise in rank and status of craft beer, there are people like me who fall somewhere in the middle - and sometimes, on either end - who really appreciate going out for a nice meal on a special occasion and seeing the kind of beer menu that, say, Higgins, has to offer.  Thank god!  

A word of warning: this article will make you salivate uncontrollably.  Proceed with caution!