The relationship between food & beer has always been fascinating to me. Why do pieces of cured meat pair so well with slices of stone fruit? What about the way a chocolate stout dances alongside bites of a rich and decadent chocolate lava cake? Maybe it’s the way each flavor accentuates the other, bringing out new combination of flavors. Or because they share similar compounds, hence giving you a flavor connection. I imagine the reasons can be either scientific or artistic, depending on who you ask, but the possibilities… limitless.
In 2008, after the "hopocalypse" where a freak weather pattern killed the majority of the world's hop plantations severely limiting hop sources, Rogue decided to become farmers and grow their own supplies. Since then, their 2 Oregon-based farms have learned to grow hops, barley, marionberries, jalapenos, pumpkins, corn, rye and much more - all used in their beers, spirits, ciders and sodas.
In pushing the boundaries, I was lucky enough to attend a beer dinner pairing with friends at Rogue Ales & Spirits and Alex Anderman, founder and chef at Block 34. Being a CIA alum, Alex has been a master of crafting flavors for some time now. There’s a genuine passion that drives him to find the perfect ingredient and a fun story-telling personality that wants to bring the best experience for the eater. So it’s not surprising he dived at the opportunity to pair his dishes alongside Rogue’s unique beer and spirits and ultimately bringing us an unforgettable Farm-to-Table beer dinner.
Each course was paired with the beer in mind and many beers themselves are utilized in the creation of the food, i.e. chocolate ice cream or hazelnuts. This gives us instant connection between the food and the drink. And frankly, it’s incredible fun as well to taste the same ingredients in multiple forms.
Also, notice also the abundance of protein from shellfish to beef, fish to duck, cured to fried pork, etc. Chefs aren’t afraid to utilize the gamut of salt, fat, spices to accentuate their dishes' flavors but sometimes letting them stand on their own can be the best approach. Simply incredible!
The Ground-To-Glass Rogue dinner was a celebration of good food, people, and bold flavors. The meticulously crafted dishes were creative and exciting. We should all look forward to seeing what else Rogue and Alex come up with next. Check them out next time you're nearby. Cheers!