photos by Joe Urcioli

Able Baker Beer Dinner at Veranda at the Four Seasons Hotel

Veranda at the Four Seasons Hotel hosted its first beer dinner, featuring the brews of Able Baker and the very entertaining storytelling of Able Baker co-owner James Manus, who regaled us with tidbits about the brewery’s origins as he and co-owner/brewer Randy Rohde began homebrewing in his garage, how they come up with the interesting, historical names of their beers and the descriptions of the beers we enjoyed during the dinner. 

The five-course beer pairing dinner was ably prepared by chef de cuisine Joel Ott, who had the opportunity to make a departure from the normal Italian fare his restaurant normally offers and created one-off dishes especially for the evening. 

We began with Hawaiian big eye tuna sashimi with olive and sesame emulsion paired with Test Site Saison, which James said is made with chamomile, ginger and Mexican allspice and was first brewed in his garage using a yeast strain he cultivated from a mix of saison and Bavarian hefe yeast. 

Stout-braised mushroom pie with Swiss gruyere mornay sauce and caramelized onions was matched with Chris Kael Impale’d Ale, also an original brew from their homebrewing days in the garage, and made for their rocker friend it’s named for. 

Jumbo lump crab and artichoke fritter with spicy eggplant sofrito and honey-lime-cilantro salad was served with PRESS IPA, an easy-drinking, not-bitter IPA with notes of papaya and pineapple, which is named for and made exclusively for the Four Seasons PRESS Bar and Lounge. 

12-hour braised pork belly with beer-braised red cabbage and sour cherry glaze was paired with Swimming with Debré, a sour delight that was aged in a bourbon barrel with brett for 14 months. James told the fascinating backstory of it being named for French Minister of Defense Michel Debre who swam in a lagoon in Tahiti after an A-bomb detonation in 1970 (when the French were still doing above ground testing) to make reporters think the radiological effects of the nuclear tests were harmless and surprisingly suffered no ill effects. 

The finale was mandarin parfait with Cointreau-infused brownie and chocolate sorbet with A119 Imperial Stout, an imperial dark ale with Madagascar vanilla, chocolate, ancho chiles, jalapeno and cocoa nibs, which proved to be a dessert in itself! James informed us the intriguing story of the name of this beer being derived from a top secret plan by the USAF in 1958 (kept secret for 45 years) to detonate an atomic bomb on the moon as a show of force to the Soviets, which thankfully was deemed to be not such a good idea, and the mission was scrapped. 

The dinner was held out on the restaurant’s patio on an evening with absolutely perfect weather and was nearly sold out with attendees mainly made up of fans of the brewery along with a handful of hotel guests.  Count me a new fan of Chef Ott, and without question the favorite dish everyone seated around me agreed upon was the stout-braised mushroom pie. Hopefully this will be the first of many beer dinners prepared by this talented chef. And, you will soon be hearing more about Able Baker, as mentioned in this column in the May issue, as their new brewery in the Arts District will be opening this summer.

New Local Beer Magazine Launched

Good news for beer fans is a newly launched local publication all about craft beer. The brand new publication is called Nevada Beer Quest and can be accessed online at nevadabeerquest.com; or if you are like me and like to hold a magazine in your hands when you read it, you can look for it at more than 30 locations (including 595, Aces & Ales, Bad Beat, Banger, Barley’s, Chicago, CraftHaus, Lovelady and Pub 365), with more locations being added all the time. For the complete list see nevadabeerquest.com/get-your-copy. Owners/Publishers/Editors A.D. Cook and Beti Kristof founded the magazine and in addition to writing articles, Cook also puts his artistic abilities to good use as the Creative Director. The premier May/June issue has features on brew hoppenings, a listing of places to find good beer, regional beer news, info on becoming a cicerone and a spotlight on a featured server. To my knowledge this is the first ever printed publication focused solely on Nevada craft beer and is a welcome addition to our local beer community.