When Matt Vernon of Lasagna House III suggested we team up for a beer pairing dinner, Sydney and I jumped at the chance.
If you haven't had Matt's food yet, you need to get over to Lasagna House, stat. Using quite literally the freshest ingredients pulled from his kitchen garden, Matt's kitchen makes excellent Italian fare.
Matt built a unique menu (described below), cooked the whole thing and brought it down to our taproom not a mile from his restaurant. Working with Sydney, they tasted their way through the five courses, testing several beers of our 14 on tap with each dish to identify the best pairing. Here's the menu they came up with:
Vol-au-Vent filled with creamy bechemel and seasoned shrimp, paired with the Foolish Monk Witbier. The heavy, decadent flavors of the seafood cream sauce were lightened considerably with the pairing of the light, crisp wit. When pairing, you can choose to contrasting or meshing flavors; in this case the overall experience was maximized with a contrast in body and flavor.
Cioppino, an Italian-American seafood stew with shrimp, scallops, mussels and pollock, paired with the Aggressive Sunscreen Belgian Pale Ale. The citrus-tropical flavors of the Belgian Pale foiled nicely against the maritime flavors of the seafood stew. The room was noticeably quiet during this dish as the guests scarfed down the stew along with garlic bread and beer.
Cavatelli Portofino, pasta sautéed in a home-made pesto-tomato sauce, paired with RedX Express Red Rye Ale. The savory pesto with notes of garlic and basil and acidity of the tomatoes blended beautifully with the bittersweet notes of toffee and rye in the beer. This is the second time we've paired RedX Express with a dish, and it continues to impress with its unique versatility.
Secondo (Main course):
Seasoned and grilled rabbit served with grilled asparagus and Baby Bellas sautéed with beer, paired with Porters Porter Robust Porter. The salty and savory spicing of the rabbit combined with the sweetness of the marinated mushrooms and char on the asparagus melded nicely with the super-dark chocolate and coffee notes of the robust porter. I'd never had rabbit before this dish, 10/10 would eat again.
Hand crafted bread pudding soaked in buttermilk and Foolish Monk witbier, topped with a homemade sweet and creamy witbier sauce, paired with Tiny Tim’s Chai Brown Ale. This was SUPERB. The chai spices of the beer combined with the vanilla-laden decadent sweetness of the bread pudding was an explosion of flavor that put a perfect cap on the five courses.
We had a great time last night, engaging with the guests intimately in Lasagna House's cozy special event room. Sydney walked the group through tasting techniques, answered tons of questions about the beer and Southern Yankee's genesis, and generally had a great time working with Matt and his team, Madison and David, to bring the group a beautiful paired meal. We'll definitely be back with another Lasagna House Beer Pairing in the next quarter or so. Thanks everyone!