You may recall that last year I set out to do my own vegetarian beer dinner. Three courses, three beers, two happy vegetarians. You can read about what I served here on Vegology.
Most beer or wine pairing dinners that I have seen are seriously lacking options for vegetarians. As much as I want to attend one, it seems like it would be a waste of money for a person who does not eat meat. Even if there were vegetarian options available, they most likely would not be paired as well with the beer as the meat dishes.
I do not expect a restaurant to accommodate my dietary restrictions, so I usually just skip out. The only exception would be the wine dinners at Secco, which always seem to have a great vegetarian option. Now I just have to rummage through the couch cushions and start saving my pennies so I can afford to attend one!
This weekend I took matters into my own hands and hosted a potluck vegetarian beer dinner at my house. Some of my favorite food bloggers and beer geeks came together to throw one heck of a beer pairing party. Each guest was assigned a course and asked to select a beer pairing to bring along with his or her dish. I provided a long tasting table adorned with mini notebooks for taking tasting notes. The table was decorated with beautiful fresh flowers from Amy’s Garden placed in repurposed glass beer bottles.
Guests used little placards to label their dishes and beer pairings. When each course came up, we shared what we brought, show-and-tell style, then everyone ooh’ed and ahh’ed at each other’s beer and food pairing innovation. Some people paired with complementary flavors and some with contrasting. Both approaches worked out great. We learned that we had a lot of beer and food knowledge in one room.
The dinner felt really cozy (read: packed dining room), and rustic (read: haphazardly decorated). I think everyone learned a lot and made some friends. I was incredibly impressed with everyone’s pairings. It went better than I had imagined. So without further ado, I present to you the Summer 2012 Vegetarian Beer Dinner!
Summertime Tomato Gazpacho with “Grilled Cheese” Straws by Sarah and Alex
Pairing: Bison Brewing Organic Honey Basil Beer
Recipe for cheese straws via smitten kitchen, with one modification: 1/2 cup whole wheat flour + 1/4 cup white flour.
Bruschetta with Green Apple and Gorgonzola Spread by Adrienne and Al
Pairing: Hoegaarden Original White
Adrienne writes hippie itch and she and Al both love good beer.
Bruschetta recipe via MyRecipes.com.
Vegetable Tian by Brittany and Isaac
Pairing: Allagash Curieux
Brittany writes Eating Bird Food and Isaac is a legit home brewing beer geek.
Vegetable Tian recipe via Martha Stewart Living.
Quinoa Tabbouleh by Bob
Pairing: *Home Brew!* Dirty Southside IPA, brewed by Bob and Kyle
Bob does not blog, but he knows more about beer than most people I know, and he is Kyle’s home brewing partner. We didn’t know the Dirty Southside was ready yet, so it was a real treat and a surprise that he brought some to share.
Recipe via Epicurious, substituting cilantro for parsley.
Zucchini and Black Bean Enchiladas by Lauren (that’s me!) and Kyle
Pairing: Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale
Hardywood Blackberry Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting by Shannon
Pairing: Hardywood Virginia Blackberry
These cupcakes were topped with a blackberry from Agriberry, the same farm that provided the blackberries for Hardywood’s beer!
Shannon writes Thirsty Richmond.
As the sun went down, the volume in the room increased, and everyone’s notes got a little sloppy. Isaac brought out a sweet, dark, caramelly Southern Tier Creme Brulee stout. Most us us had just enough room left to taste it. There was talk of pumpkin beers and Fall home brews. A suggestion that we should do this again very soon. The beginning of a plan for a vegetarian beer dinner in the Fall?
If I have anything to do with it, yes.