Dust Bowl Beer Dinner

On March 14, 2012, in Brew Pubs, Craft Beer, Family and Friends, Food, General, by Mark Ranes
Caesar Salad paired with Son of Wrath IIPA

Caesar Salad paired with Son of Wrath IIPA

I had the privilege of attending Dust Bowl Brewing’s first beer dinner Monday evening, where they paired five courses of food with beers brewed by Don Oliver, Dust Bowl’s head brewer.  It was also a privilege to share the evening with our good friends, the Josts and the Verscheldens:) We decided to meet at the Josts and take a fifteen minute stroll to Dust Bowl’s Taproom, to avoid any possible issues with driving and multiple ales.  We arrived at 6:30 and were greeted by Don and co-owner Brett Honoré at the door.  I loved that Brett mentioned my recent homebrewer profile in the Turlock Journal, that ran alongside a great article about Don and Steve at Barley & Wine, our local homebrew supply store.

We ordered up a starter ale for the evening and I got my favorite, Don’s Red IPA.  Sadly, this ale will probably be going away soon as it relies heavily on Galaxy hops that are just not available in the quantities Don needs to brew this beer (or the Galaxy Pale Ale as well).  Get it while it lasts!

Wild Mushroom Soup paired with Buckwheat Ale

Wild Mushroom Soup paired with Buckwheat Ale

Don was the Master of Ceremony for the evening’s event, and before every course, Dust Bowl’s chef, Abel Larios, came out of the kitchen and described the food we’d be seeing shortly.  That was followed up by Don describing the beer, and the nuances of how the beer and food flavors would either complement (sweet to sweet) or contrast with (bitter to sweet or salty) each other.  He announced the first course, a Caesar Salad, paired with his Son of Wrath Double IPA.  The saltiness of the anchovies in the salad paired beautifully with the aggressiveness of the hops in IIPA.  This pairing was a hit!

The second course was an amazing wild mushroom cream soup – chock full of chunks of mushrooms, paired with Don’s Buckwheat Ale.  When I broke the skin (cream soups do this:) an aromatic burst of mushroom assaulted my nose, and a taste followed, by the Buckwheat Ale, proved to be a truly wonderful experience.  I’ve always like the Buckwheat Ale, as it is one of the signature ales that Dust Bowl puts out there.  I’m hoping to see this in bottles for retail sales some day!

Crab Cake paired with Red IPA

Crab Cake paired with Red IPA

The third course was an amazing, piping hot crab cake, smothered in Hollandaise sauce, with perfectly cooked asparagus arranged on top.  This was paired with my favorite, the Red IPA!  I mentioned to the ale server that the Red IPA was my favorite of the Dust Bowl brews, and he returned with an additional Red IPA after serving all of the other guests.  A very nice touch indeed!  The crab cake was perfectly cooked, and the Red IPA was a great paring to go with the flavors the course offered.

The fourth course was the main dish, an amazing filet mignon, covered in an mushroom sauce made with Don’s Stock Ale.  This was paired with a Scotch Ale that complemented the steak well.  The filet was cooked rare, to perfection, and the sauce made for an culinary orgasmic experience when paired with the Scotch Ale.  I savored this course and lingered over each bite.  I take great pride in my ability to cook beef at home, and rarely order red meat when I dine out, but this was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had in a restaurant.

Filet Mignon paired with Scotch Ale

Filet Mignon paired with Scotch Ale

We had yet to see a previously unreleased Dust Bowl ale, hinted at by Don in the weeks leading up to the dinner, so I figured we’d see it in the dessert course.  Sure enough, Don announced that we’d soon be enjoying a new beer to Dust Bowl’s line-up, a Russian Imperial Stout, paired with a raspberry drizzled chocolate lava cake.  The RIS was nice and dry, and paired beautifully with the sweetness of the chocolate cake.  It was a perfect final course to an amazing dinner!

Overall, for a first attempt, these folks hit a home run!  Don’s beers are a given, but the food we were served was amazing.  Cold dishes were cold, as they should be, and all four cooked courses arrived at the table at the appropriate temperature.  That’s no small task considering they were serving sixty plus diners.  Most amazingly, Abel’s filets were spot on!  I could tell there was much thought put into the beer and food pairings, and the result was exceptional.  Portion sizes on both the ales and food were perfect.  I left the taproom pleasantly full, not feeling bloated by a overdoing it on either.  The service by the Dust Bowl staff was top notch.  All of the servers worked the entire room, always there when you needed them, without being pesky:)

Raspberry Drizzled Lava Cake paired with Russian Imperial Stout

Raspberry Drizzled Lava Cake paired with Russian Imperial Stout

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Dust Bowl.  It doesn’t hurt that I met Don through our love of homebrewing, and he has a following of us that realize he’s living the dream many of us homebrewers have.  These folks brew great ales, and have brought some much needed life to Turlock’s downtown.  They are exactly the kind of business we need to revitalize our beautiful historic downtown area.  I’m looking forward to more of Dust Bowl’s special events, if this is any indication of what is to come.

Here’s a photo gallery of the evening’s fun!  Warning – lots of toasts!

Well done, Dust Bowl, well done:)

Tagged with:  

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!