May 15th to the 21st is American Craft Beer Week. It’s a nationwide celebration of U.S. small and independent craft brewers.
The weeklong tribute provides an opportunity for craft brewers to share their diversity, creativity, and passion for the beverage they love. Samuel Adams is one of the most well-known brands of craft beer. Since 1984, Boston-based Samuel Adams has been brewing specially crafted beers for all to enjoy. I’m not a big beer drinker but when I was invited to a pairing dinner at Glass & Vine I was curious to see how Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli would pair dishes with 6 different kinds of beers. I knew the food would be outstanding, so really it was going to be a winning evening either way.
The five-course menu consisted of:
- Jamon Serrano Croqueta w/ Truffle Honey paired with Local Honey Glass & Vine Shandy made with Porch Rocker Ale
Traditionally a mixture of beer and lemonade, The Sam Adams version combines a crisp golden Helles with a blend of real lemons to create a fresh-squeezed flavor, perfect for the long yet fleeting days of summer. This beer cocktail was a delightful start to the evening and the manchego cheese in the croquetas made me wish I could just eat them until I was full.
- Local Fish Crudo w/ Florida Citrus, Radish & Herbs paired with Summer Ale Wheat Ale
Summer Ale is returning for its 21st year. It’s inspired by the blazing yellow of the afternoon sun, the fiery orange of an evening sunset, and the electric blue tint of a summer night. Summer Ale and its crisp, citrusy flavor, made for a perfect pairing with the bright citrus crudo dish. The fish had just been delivered to the restaurant that morning and there was no doubt it was fresh.
- Sea Scallop w/ Brown Butter, Miso & Sweet Potato paired with Boston Lager
This is the beer that started it all. Samuel Adams Boston Lager helped lead the American beer revolution, reviving a passion for full-flavored brews that are robust and rich with character.
Since 1984, Samuel Adams Boston Lager has used only the finest hand-selected ingredients to create this perfectly balanced and complex original brew. This beer was served in its own patented beer glass, shaped in a way that allows for the brew to have the most flavor potential possible. It was wonderfully paired with the sea scallops. If I’ve learned anything over years of enjoying Giorgio Rapicavoli’s food, it’s that this guy knows how to prepare a scallop. Everything from the addition of the miso and sweet potatoes, down to the plating was pure perfection.
- Heritage Pork Belly w/ Smoked Guava, Yuca con Mojo & Pickled Onions paired with Glass & Vine Rebel, Juiced IPA
Sam Adam’s first brewed Rebel IPAs in their nano brewery in 2014, they wanted to do something that went a little bit against the grain by brewing a West Coast style IPA that wasn’t just about bitterness, but had balance and paid homage to the aromatics and flavors of some of their favorite West Coast hops. This one happens to be a blend that has been brewed and created just for Glass & Vine. How cool is that? Also, pork belly. That’s all that needs to be said there.
- Yogurt Panna Cotta w/ Cornmeal Tuile, Soured Cherries & Burnt Cinnamon paired with Cherry Wheat Ale
This was a surprisingly sweet beer. It smelled exactly like a jar of cherries and complemented the sour cherries that topped the yogurt panna cotta way better than I thought a beer could. It was crisp and fruity with a hint of honey, this ale brewed with Michigan cherries is light on the palate, yet full of surprising depth and flavor. The panna cotta was light and not overly sweet making it a great way to (almost) end the meal.
- Chocolate & Olive Oil Truffles w/ Cocoa Nib Salt paired with Utopias Ale aged in Buffalo Trace Bourbon Barrels
If you’re a fan of vintage ports, fine Cognac or aged Sherry, this beer is right up your alley. This year’s brew is flavorful and slightly fruity, with a subtle sweetness and a deep rich malty smoothness, yet still light on the palate. Carefully timed brewing and blending was key to this year’s Utopias. Some of the batches they blended had been aged up to 22 years in a variety of barrels in the Boston Brewery. This process adds flavors like nutty oak, toffee, honey notes, fig, chocolate, raisin, vanilla, & spice to the beer. Bottles of this port-like beer are very hard to come by. Many of them are already purchased with a destination of delivery before they are even made. This might have been my favorite of the night. Or it could have been the fact that we had two desserts in one night. Knowing me, that definitely helped!
The pairing dinner was an excellent experience. I enjoyed the food as I knew I would but left the evening with a newfound appreciation for Samuel Adams and their entire craft beer family.
2820 McFarlane Rd,
Coconut Grove, FL 33133