At the end of February, Aaron, our sales rep from Dickerson came by with John Gilroy from Merchant du Vin, an importer of specialty beers. They wanted us to taste a lineup of beer. Usually we drop everything at a moment’s notice to taste, but it was one of those days that keeping any ball in the air was a challenge. In our disjointed conversations between phone calls and other interruptions, we discussed a beer event. “Our patrons are wine connoisseurs”, I said. “I don’t think I can pull off a strictly beer event.” “How about a Beer and Wine dinner?,” John retorted. “Let’s do it. We’ll figure this out via email.” Then I picked up the call on hold and as they say the rest is history.
We decided on an Italian-themed dinner and chose the Small Vineyards portfolio of wines, small, family owned estate produced wines. We sat down with a rough menu, the wines and 10 beers - all contenders for the dinner. We tasted and ate small bits of food as we tweaked the menu, selected the beer and wines imagining the pairings – not just with the food but the compatibility of the wine and beer together as a flight.
The tasting was eye opener. The beers were wine-like, the Orval, reminiscent of a Pinot Grigio with a pleasant acidity on the finish that I would not normally associate with beer. The Dunkel, with a roasted malt flavor, sweetness and delicate hop balance. The Chocolate Stout – lush bittersweet chocolate aroma and roasted barley with a smooth rich taste and finish. We also learned that each beer is poured differently – ales are poured gently at a 45 along the inside of the glass, hefeweizen are poured slowly so the head doesn’t over take the glass while including the yeasty sediment at the bottom of the bottle, stouts require a delicate pour to achieve a thick head, and pilsners require a vertical pour to get a hearty head.
This tasting and subsequent Cask and Cork
dinner instigated a shake up to Coho's modest beer list. In addition to the Pike’s Pale and Scotch Ale and Raspberry Lambic, look out for a Samuel Smith Lager, Ayinger Dunkel, Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout and Chocolate Stout and Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock.
We are planning another Cask and Cork
dinner in October with a German theme – German beer and wine; what could be more perfect for Octoberfest! Stay tuned.