As much fun as beer dinners are — trying unique, interesting brews thoughtfully paired with different food — my favorite part of them comes long before the actual meals.
I very much enjoy getting to work with chefs, especially ones who are relatively new to the craft beer phenomenon, on planning the menu and finding the right sweet spot in the beer-food matrix.
Which leads me to: I had an absolute blast working with chef Todd Erickson (Haven, Huahua’s) on the menu for our Sept. 24 beer dinner at Haven (1237 Lincoln Rd.) in Miami Beach.
I tried to come up with beer options that fit Erickson’s palette of flavors from Asia, the Americas and the U.S. South. He had done his homework, researching my picks online and getting the wheels turning in his head about potential pairings.
“I’m not a big beer fan, but I love flavors,” he told me. I love that.
What we came up with is a menu that includes some highlights of Haven’s current menu, plus brand-new creations that Erickson is making just for this dinner. Every course is paired with a large-format American craft beer that, we think, will bring out complementing and contrasting flavors in each dish.
The menu is below. Tickets cost $60 plus tax and tip and are available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 305-987-8885. Hope to see you on the 24th!
1. Shichime-spiced tuna tartare, buckwheat lavosh, quail egg, jalapeño masago, chive oil. Rogue Morimoto Soba Ale.
2. Pan-seared butterfish, black truffle-gruyère roasted cauliflower, pumpernickel soil, caviar beurre blanc. Stone Cali-Belgique IPA.
3. Ale-braised pork cheeks, caramelized pearl onions, barley risotto, pistachio, minted pear slaw. Avery Twenty-One Imperial India Brown Ale.
4. Café con leche flan, mexican hot chocolate, doughnuts, horchata foam. Great Divide Chocolate Oak-Aged Yeti.