Monthly Archives: October 2014

New Belgium Pairing Dinner

Last week I received a generous invite from owner Jeff at The Laboratory to join them for their first ever beer pairing dinner with New Belgium. Beer and food pairing? Of course I said yes! I’ve been dying to try out The Laboratory since before they opened and this was the perfect excuse to get a head start on my first day off in over 60 days. I feel like I’d earned it.
AM2The menu looked absolutely divine and I couldn’t wait to try everything and see how differently pairings are done in Colorado since my last one was one that I actually hosted in Studio City.
AMI walked into the spacious restaurant which is located in a walk-in basement-style space decorated with beakers, science experimental displays and glass garage doors.
AM1After securing my seat at a table (allll byyyy myyyyseeeeelf) I was immediately greeted by the owners Angela, Dave and Jeff. We chatted for a bit about the concept of The Laboratory as well as the build out, and then I ordered a sample of the New Belgium Garage Series they had on tap.
AM3LOVE the little beakers they served the beer in!
AM4Chef Don Braddy and New Belgium brewer Tamar Banner introduced the food and the beer and explained exactly why each pairing was created and what to look for with each bite and sip. The first course was a mixture of appetizers – Vegetable ceviche served in a cucumber shell, fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes and basil drizzled with balsamic vinegar on a soft slice of baguette, buffalo sausage and peach compote with spicy red peppers on a soft slice of baguette and oysters on the half shell drizzled with Sriracha, all paired with Blue Paddle Pilsner. This was the second oyster I’ve ever eaten and while I was landlocked in Colorado and slightly fearful of eating seafood so far inland, it was absolutely fresh and sweet with a hint of ocean water and zip of spice. The Czech-style Pilsner quickly calmed the burn from the wide variety of peppers and was a perfect palate cleanser for what was to come.
AM5My absolute favorite dish of the night – Coffeed butternut cup stuffed with duck confit and walnuts, fresh thyme and butter paired with 1554 Black Lager. Perfectly tender butternut squash and the delicate duck confit melted together with each bite while the black lager cut through the richness of the dish and accentuated the hint of coffee. Surprisingly enough, this dish brought out the notes of dark fruit in the beer that I’d never noticed before. Need. More. Now.
AM6Seared scallop, grilled avocado, crab and cream cheese crouton and mango relish paired with La Terroir dry hopped sour. The most interesting pairing in my opinion – while I thought the sour beer would overwhelm the delicateness of the perfectly cooked scallop, it married wonderfully when mixed with the mango relish and cut through the smoky avocado and robust blend of fresh crab and cream cheese. The accent of fried herbs added an earthy, buttery finish to the dish.
AM7Roasted pancetta-wrapped pork tenderloin served with chestnut polenta and spinach, drizzled with pear-cherry gastrique and paired with Trippel. The one pairing I didn’t think worked out quite as well as it could have – tender pork wrapped in crispy pancetta and topped with the sweet gastrique was slightly too robust for the gentle Trippel, or likely should have been plated before the intensity of the La Terroir. No matter, this dish was cooked perfectly and I loved every aspect of it. I boxed half of it since I was about to explode and needed to save space for the dessert.
AM8DESSERT. Salted caramel ice cream served in a chocolate and BACON coated waffle cone topped with brandy and stout sauce and cashew crumbles, paired with Salted Chocolate Belgian Stout. Heaven. The ice cream had a just hint of salt to balance out the sweetness without being overwhelming and the crispy waffle cone was generously coated with candied bacon and sweet caramel sauce and made the focus of the Salted Chocolate Belgian Stout more towards the rich roasty notes rather than the intense sweetness I’d experienced before.
AM9I rolled home stuffed and happy with a handful of leftovers, and can’t wait to head back to The Laboratory for a regular meal and see what other delicious creativity the chef, Don Braddy, can roll out of the kitchen.

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We did it! We survived Great American Beer Festival week! And the Oktoberfest week before that, and the week before that…
am1I’ve been kind of buried in work and haven’t had a chance to update, so I’ll do a little picture purge to recap the last few weeks for you. Dave and I visited Pateros Creek to show our support for Stevetoberfest and wish brewer Steve a happy birthday. We left our mark as is expected.
am2As everyone knows, Oktoberfests should be celebrated whilst wearing traditional German dirndls. My parental unit just got back from Germany and brought my sis-in-law and myself these so we could celebrate accordingly.
am6Keg deliveries were made in said dirndl, as is also required when running a startup business.
am5We went to the second youngest brewery, Zwei Bruder, in southern Fort Collins to try their wares, as well as to say hello to my old brew system from Wolf Creek Brewery which made its way to this new brewery last year!
am21A Colorado Avalanche preseason game was attended. Not while wearing a dirndl…
am22I was able to sneak out of the taproom for an hour one day and made it all the way down the street to New Belgium!am24Snowbank Brewing had TONS of special releases prepared for GABF week. Chocolate Porter with the cacao husks and nibs from our friends over at Nuance Chocolate which just had their first day of operation yesterday!
crank2Coffee Pale – my very own creation that I might be slightly proud of.
crank1The wonderful Susan over at Cranknstein was kind enough to model for our Coffee Pale press release picture.
chileGreen Chile Pale infused with roasted pueblo chiles. Intense chile aroma and a slight heat that hit your throat about a minute after sipping.
amWe have a lot more collaboration beers coming up that I’m beyond excited about. The local companies we’ve been connected with through this wonderful brewery have become incredible friends.
am21Last Friday morning I left the brewery in the capable hands of Broox and headed down to Denver for the Samuel Adams Longshot brunch at Marlowe’s. Pumpkin challah french toast, crab cakes, sausages made with elk, rabbit and buffalo, biscuits and gravy…
am19And of course, beer! We were the first of the public to try Samuel Adam’s new double IPA – Rebel Rouser – a west coast style IIPA that clocks in at 8.4% ABV.
am20I sat with the crew of The Brew Happy Show out of Portland, who I’d happened to meet up at Snowbank the night before!
am13After brunch I headed back up to Fort Collins to meet with my wonderful bestie craft beer girl from California.
AM15The beautiful Janelle! She was child-free this time around so she, her hubby Andrew and I hit up the town.
am12First up was Funkwerks where I had a (GABF gold medal winning!) Raspberry Provencal.
am11Odell Brewing for tacos and brews.
am10And of course I had to introduce them to my latest hangout – Social. On all the nights where we close extremely late, we can always count on Social to have their delicious menu waiting for us.
am16The next morning was GABF! The Snowbank crew filed into the Bellco theatre for the awards ceremony and sat amongst an ocean of Coloradoan breweries with full glasses of beer.
am18Colorado’s cheers for every win were only one-upped by the Texans sitting a level up. I’ve never been so proud to be a resident of this wonderful state!
GABFAfter the ceremony we filed into the convention hall and started the important part – drinking great beers and visiting with our friends, both old and new. We even ran into a few Snowbank Brewing t-shirts in the wild! I don’t think I’ll ever get used to seeing those shirts on someone else around town.
am9And now I must bid you adieu as I venture out on my first day of sales outside the taproom! I GET TO GO OUTSIDE! Like, where the sun is! I might be excited…

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