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On Wednesday night we went to the Real Ale Beer Pairing at Media Grill in the Hilton Anatole. They do a beer pairing dinner every other month or so, and we have been to quite a few. They are always terrific, with the Executive chef from what used to be Nana Grill (now Ser) who is now the Chef De Cuisine of the entire hotel. They begin with a "cocktail hour" of passed hors D'oeuvres and beer and then you go into their private room for the pairing courses. The manager is always very nice. They always have the brewmaster there to talk about the beers and give some 1 on 1 time to the attendees.

This time the first beer was Real Ale's classic Fireman's #4 Blonde Ale. This was a typical first beer, and one that is popular for Real Ale, yet I was hoping for something a bit more obscure. The hors D'oeuvres were tuna tar tar, goat cheese guacamole/chip, and shrimp ceviche. They were delightful- light, tangy, spicy, full of texture and zing. I almost which they were served with an IPA (caution: I may say that again).

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The first course was Lost Gold IPA paired with Thai soba noodle salad, marinated salmon, and mango coriander coulis. This was really good. I could eat this everyday. The Chef De Cuisine, Anthony C. Bombaci, said, "this is just a pasta salad," but it was so much more! The brightness and citrus from the salad paired really well with the IPA. The brewmaster, Erik Ogershok, said the IPA pairing was the hardest, because it could have gone with more than one course.

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Next we had Full Moon Pale Ale with soft chalupas, pulled pork, fried oysters, and jalapeno. Mmmm...spicy goodness! This was outstanding, but I really wanted it with the IPA! The Pale Ale didn't quite hold up to the zing of the mini tacos- they packed a punch!

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You may need to sit down for this one...
Brewer's Cut Signature Hop Pale Ale with seared foie gras, bananas foster, plantain, and squash. What? Rich, savory, on the edge of being too much-- but not. The pairing was great and we tended to like this pale ale better than the Full Moon. FYI Brewer's Cut is their series where they let lower level brewers experiement with their own recipes, rather than using the head brewmaster's recipes.

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Ummm, just when you thought it was getting good...this course was ridic! Brewer's Cut Black Quadrupel with braised short rib, celery root puree, and coffee caramelized hazelnuts. I'll let that sink in for a bit.
First, I thought I would hate the quadrupel just because it was black and it was a quad. This was so unusual and almost sweet tasting, but in a good way. Every single part of the dish paired well with the beer, but it was best when you had a little bit of everything on your fork!

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I'll be honest. Sometimes dessert is the worst part of these beer pairing dinners because, well, people don't always pair them well. This was not one of those cases. Shade Grown Coffe Porter with milk choloate ganache, peanut butter, smoked ice cream, Shade Grown Coffee Porter meringue. The picture doesn't do justice for the amount of textures, flavors, and intricacies of this dish paired with the beer. I'll admit, this was one of my favorite coffee porters that I've tried, and I tend to think most are too bitter.  We asked for another glass of the Quad and it was absolutely wonderful with this dessert too! Gotta have options!

Good beer! Good times!
Kim



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