Thursday night I attended the first ever gluten free beer pairing dinner at Churchill’s Pub with Duck Foot Brewing Company. I was beyond excited when I was asked to go. An entire meal that is actually gluten free AND paired with real beers that I could drink. It didn’t take anything more to get me on board, I was ready to go.
First, If you’ve never been to a beer pairing dinner at Churchill’s in San Marcos, you should do it. Executive Chef Albert Warfield, has a knack for putting these pairing dinners together. His technique is interesting because he works backwards when pairing these meals. He bases the meal after the beer first, not the other way around. C is also a huge fan of his beer pairing dinners as well.
You will need to cut out a couple hours of your evening and secure a safe ride home. With an average of five courses and a welcome pairing, you will leave full, happy and educated on new beers and ways to enjoy them.
Beer: Strawberry And Lime Zest Berliner Weisse
Plate: Banana Bread Crostini with Strawberry Bruschetta And Candied Lime Zest
The welcome tasting was tart and slightly sweet. I loved the take on bruschetta. The beer was light but sour. It was easy to drink and very enjoyable. I could certainly enjoy a couple on a warm evening. It really paired well with the strawberry bruschetta.
Beer: Honey Ale w/ Kumquat & Mint
Plate: Ginger Duck Breast Medallion With Sweet Potato Blini, Granny Smith Apples. Honey and Micro Lavender Mint
I love duck so I was excited to start off with this dish. Each bite was reminiscent of the tastes you would get from a thanksgiving meal, only fresher and more crisp. The beer was a delicious summer ale with American honey, citrus and mint with a sweet finish.
Beer: Belgian Tripel
Plate: Fried Quail Leg with quail Egg with poached golden raisins and red amaranth.
If you’ve never had fried quail legs I suggest that you put them on your food bucket list of things to try because they were delightful. Speaking of, does anyone else have a foodie bucket list or is that just me??
Crispy and crunchy with the occasional pop of sweetness from the poached golden raisins were a great surprise with each bite.
Beer: Dry Hopped Double IPA w/ Chili Peppers
Plate: Jumbo Lump Blue Crab Cake, Blistered Peppers, Roasted Corn with Avocado Mousse, Pickled Cucumber and Old Bay Pearls
This course was exciting. It was unlike anything I have ever tried. I enjoyed the heat from the chilli peppers as the beer hit the back of my throat with each finish, but I wasn’t a fan of the initial taste the beer gave off. It was neither bad nor good. Probably just my underdeveloped beer taste buds, if there is such a thing.
This course had me at Blue Crab. Sometimes I’m easy to please, but truth be told, I have had a bad crab cake or two in my time as a devoted foodie, and this one was delicious. It was meaty, I can’t recall breadcrumbs, which is great, the more crab meat the better. I loved the blistered pepper with it and the corn and avocado mousse with old bay pearls was fantastic. This course was basically made up of some of my favorite flavor profiles, so yeah, I ate it in about 2.5 seconds.
Beer: Ukrainian Imperial Stout ( Nitro)
Plate: Cocoa Dusted Lamb Rack w/ Purple Cauliflower Puree, Vanilla Salt, Shallot Confit, Porcini Mushroom Demi and Shaved Dark Chocolate with Micro Herbs
This course was very satisfying. I loved the shallot confit with the purple cauliflower puree. It all worked really well together. The shaved dark chocolate with the micro herbs was as great touch and really finished off the taste of every bite.
The beer with this pairing was hard for me to finish. Obviously being new to beer drinking, I just couldn’t handle the full bodied taste, but I can see beers such as this being an acquired taste. Something that was very interesting to me however, was that this beer was carbonated with nitrogen. How cool is that?? Apparently, it create more of a fuller bodied taste.
Beer: Chocolate Hazelnut Porter w/ Espresso and Peanut Butter
Plate: Flourless Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Icing, Hazelnut Dust w. Coffee Ice Cream and Vanilla Whipped Cream
Of all the courses I was a little bummed out to see a flourless chocolate cake as the dessert option because that is usually everyone’s standard GF dessert at most all restaurants, but I get it. However, I was actually surprised with how delicious it was. There was nothing standard about this dessert. Instead of just being served alone with a dusting of powdered sugar he served it with the most mouth watering peanut butter icing that I’ve ever tried. Bits of hazelnuts crunched along with every bite and soft and airy vanilla whipped cream smoothed it all out with hints coffee ice cream.
It was basically a chocolaty party in my mouth and a wonderful way to end the dinner. The beer was perfectly paired with this dish because it basically contained all of the same flavors. It was robust and full bodied thanks to the coffee and chocolate flavors. By this point I couldn’t finish the beer. I can see myself just sipping through a beer like this last one as a dessert by itself.
Do you have a restaurant around your city that you think I should check out? Let me know and I just might have to stop by and try it out! Make sure to follow me on snapchat to see all the behind the scenes moments! snapchat: Life and Splendor
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