Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cheese & Beer Dinner - CCBW 2011

Whew - we survived another American Craft Beer Week! The Illinois Craft Brewer's Guild always puts together a week full of great events right here in Chicago for the occasion. Of course, we couldn't resist hitting up a few of the events, so you'll get a rundown here. Though it may not have been an "official" CCBW event, one of my favorite events of the week, and certainly the most delicious, was a Wisconsin Cheese & Founders Beer Dinner at Kendall College.

We were asked to attend this dinner by the good folks at the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. (Thanks, Joanna!) How can you resist Wisconsin cheese paired with brews from one of our favorite breweries? Neither of us had been to Kendall for a dinner before, and were we surprised by the amazing facilities! The faculty and students there putting out some very impressive food and service for a bargain price. (Check out their Monday Night Dining Series for more info.)

For our dinner there were 5 courses on the menu, plus a beer & cheese reception. It was apparent that a lot of thought was put into each course & pairing. For me the cheeses really stood out as the most interesting part. (I am a sucker for Widmer cheddars and anything Carr Valley.) The Hook's Tilston Point Blue with the Centennial IPA was intense, but the winner in my book. (However, it was followed pretty closely by the apple salad/Red's Rye pairing.)

A couple of the pairings, although good on their own, just didn't shine like the others. The Dirty Bastard made a nice sauce for the Braised Beef, but was just a little too mild for the dish as a whole. Same for the dessert (pictured left). The big flavors of the gingerbread needed a boozier brew - like a barleywine or Russian imperial stout to match its boldness.

Overall, I think this was a fantastic event. It's through dinners like these that people who don't often think of beer & fine dining get acquainted with the subtleties of pairing beer and food (especially cheese). Thanks again to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board for hosting a fantastic evening!

PS - Our fellow guests, Guys Drinking Beer, also posted their thoughts on the evening.

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