Posted: April 08, 2009
A Boulder beer dinner takes potent pairings to new heights
Flagstaff House to host dinner featuring Avery brews on April 15Jay Dedrick
You’d be surprised where you find beer lovers. Take Mike Krise, dining room manager of Boulder’s storied Flagstaff House, an institution where the cuisine is as unforgettable as the bird’s-eye views of the valley and town below. Like the vast majority of fine dining establishments, wine is the beverage that receives the most attention.
But Krise is passionate about beer: He brews at home and is a big enough fan of the craft brew world to recognize one of the industry’s gurus when he’s dining at the restaurant. “Adam Avery was in the dining room, and I approached him,” Krise says. “We got talking and I thought, wouldn’t it be great if we could do a beer dinner here, with Avery beers at the Flagstaff House?”
The president of the Boulder-based brewer certainly was game. He figures he’s presided over two or three dozen beer-pairing dinners in recent years, with fare ranging from pub grub to higher-end fare. “For me, this one will be groundbreaking,” Avery says of the dinner set for April 15. “Colorado’s a big beer state, but I’ve probably done more beer dinners out of state than here. So for us, and for craft beer in general, it’s huge to have a beer dinner at the Flagstaff House. The food is spectacular.
"I’ve eaten up there a handful of times, and I’d thought about the views from there, how that would be the perfect spot for a beer dinner. And to have it here in my hometown is pretty cool.” Flagstaff co-owner Scott Monette acknowledges that in most fine-dining circles, beer might have a place at the before-dinner bar, but not so much at the dining table.
“There might be a stigma,” Monette says. “But this pairing dinner has opened my eyes to more of these special beers. We just opened a new restaurant in Hawaii (Monettes, at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel), and our young managers there put together an exciting beer list – there are some unusual Japanese beers on there. With Mike here, we’re looking to make our beer list more seasonal.” If there is a stigma attached to beer, Avery says, it’s the perception that all beer is “watery, yellow, fizzy stuff.” He prefers to get as far as that from possible.
“In the last 10 or 20 years, there are beers made by us and a handful of other brewers that have made the high-end dining world take a look at us in a different light. I’m the guy who’s going to tell you that beer will match up better with food than wine does. With all the flavor components in beer, it’s easier to match a wider variety of beers with a certain course. I like two beers per course.”
That’s Avery’s plan for the dinner, for which he’s selected a beer to closely complement a dish, and another that sharply contrasts it. One example of the latter: Avery’s Voltron, a blend of five sour ales each aged in different cask woods, paired with 12-hour braised bacon. “It’ll be amazing. I’ll also be serving a 16-percent (alcohol by volume) Imperial stout with one of the courses. Some of these Imperial styles do pack more of a punch, and they can stand up to heavy creams and sauces much better than wine or liquor can.”
The dinner is set for 6:30 p.m. April 15; the $68 price covers five courses, each paired with two Avery beers. Tax and tip are extra. For details and reservations, which are required, call (303) 442-4640 or click here.
More on beer
Speaking of extreme Colorado beers, two more are rolling out later this month, both from Fort Collins. Odell Brewing serves up Woodcut No. 2, the latest in its limited-edition series of special beers. The golden ale is aged in virgin oak barrels before being bottled in bombers. New Belgium, meanwhile, revives its Biere de Mars, a sour, citrusy brew that hasn’t been in stores for three years. It’s now part of New Belgium’s Lips of Faith series, a rotating collection of spiced, fruit and wood-aged beers.