Pub 365 New Belgium/Firestone Walker Beer Dinner
The latest beer dinner at Pub 365 turned out to be a tag team between two brewery reps exchanging friendly barbs, but also a display of exceptional beers and an evening that was quite a bit of fun. As we entered we were handed a mystery beer in a brown paper bag, which as it turned out half of us drank the New Belgium Dayblazer Easygoing Ale and the other half the Firestone 805 (named for the phone area code of the brewery), both of which were similar in style and flavor, crisp and easy drinking, described as lawnmower beer but with all malt (no rice or corn).
The aforementioned brewery reps were none other than Kenny Ichimaru of Firestone Walker and Nick Tribulato of New Belgium. Kenny said, “We like to banter. Firestone is the godfather of breweries in terms of flavor. I was a fan of the brewery and becoming a rep is a dream job for me.” Nick added, “We are direct competitors but want to introduce people to good beer.”
And we were certainly introduced to good beer accompanied by good food. Our first course paired Ahi Crudo with celery leaf “gremolata” with New Belgium Trippel. Before it was poured Nick provided us with a tutorial on how to evaluate beer and related that the Trippel was the fourth beer the brewery ever made and is graced with a touch of coriander.
The 2nd course of Chicken Lettuce Wraps was a bit of a competition with the New Belgium Voodoo Ranger 8 Hop Pale Ale and Firstone Walker Luponic Distortion 005, two very hoppy beers. Kenny told us we were the first in Las Vegas to try the Luponic with pineapple and floral notes containing 5 hops, and Nick said the Voodoo Ranger, a West Coast Pale Ale, had only been released a few weeks earlier.
The next course of Duo of Duck, a delectable seared breast with blueberry gastrique and confitted leg with strawberry-Madeira demi-glace, was a competition between two sour beers: New Belgium Clutch Sour Stout and Firestone Bravo. Nick related that New Belgium is the oldest US sour beer producer and is currently using 64 foeders (large wooden vessels used to age the beer in) and Kenny informed us that Firestone began barrel aging 12 years ago and now is one of the most prominent breweries involved in barrel aging.
The finale was Whoopie Pies (chocolate, vanilla and red velvet) with Firstone Walker Velvet Merlin, a 5.5% oatmeal stout that is an excellent companion to dessert.
The back and forth between Kenny and Nick greatly added to the fun and Pub 365 is to be commended for a dinner that flowed very well with no gaps in service.
Note: A few weeks after the dinner, Nick transitioned into a new position as the Nevada State Craft Beer Manager for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, where, in a Facebook post, he said: “I’ll be fortunate enough to continue to represent New Belgium along with a bevy of other talented breweries.”
Rx Boiler Room De Brabandere Beer Dinner
Rx Boiler Room featured the beers of the De Brabandere brewery, one of Belgian’s oldest breweries, founded in 1894. During the reception we enjoyed Bavik Pils with passed appetizers of Chicken Pot Pie Nuggets and Kampachi Fish Tacos. The dinner was held in the upstairs private dining room, and Chef/Owner Rick Moonen introduced each food course and Global Beer Network Southwest Sales Manager Natasha Walewski filled us in on interesting aspects of each beer.
The dinner began with Linguini with Surf Clams and sea urchin butter and herbs, paired with Petrus Aged Pale, a sour beer of which Chef Rick said, “funkiness of lambic works so good with food” and Natasha related is aged in a foeder with 7 strains of bacteria for two years.
Braised Colorado Rabbit Ragu with ricotta gnocchi and foie gras butter sauce was matched with the Oud Bruin, which Natasha said is a blend of old Aged Pale with a new brown ale and Chef Rick said the depth of flavor in the rabbit worked with the richness of the beer.
Manchester Farms Roasted Quail with porcini mushroom bread pudding paired with Sour Quad brought sweetness from the malt balanced with a tartness that was more dramatic than the Oud Bruin, of which Chef Rick said goes well with mushroom and proclaimed it as heavenly and delicious.
We finished with Petrus Aged Red, a big 8.5% brown ale cherry beer, with Warm Spiced Chocolate Cake and Sweet and Sour Cherry Sorbet (made with the beer). During the dinner Natasha suggested we save a bit of each beer and at the conclusion she invited us to blend the ones we liked best, a grand idea. I wound up blending them all and enjoyed the perks of each brew.
This was my first beer dinner at Rx Boiler Room and I must confess I had no idea how entertaining and witty Chef Rick is. Listening to him talk and the quality of the food is well worth the price of admission!
Great Vegas Festival of Beer
April 7-8 greatvegasbeer.com
Big Dog’s 8th annual
Peace Love Hoppy-ness
April 29 bigdogsbrews.com/festivals/plh
April 29 montelagobeerfest.com
As always, great beer happens in Vegas!