Still looking for a Valentine’s Day gift? If you happen to be the market for some special, you’re in luck. Sure, you could play it safe and order roses and get a card, but why not venture out this year and try something new. Why not get your significant other tickets to Hofbrauhaus’ first ever Bier Pairing Dinner, because what really says I love you like a night of expertly paired food and beer? As the old saying goes, the fastest way to your loved ones heart is through their stomach, right?
The ticketed event takes place Monday, February 14 at 6:30pm in Hofbrauhaus’ private King Ludwig room.
Hofbrauhaus’ Culinary Director Andy Bouchard and Braumaster Scott Shuler have created a memorable evening of Bavarian food and drink, including a four course meal comprised of an appetizer, second course, entrée and dessert, each paired with a different Hofbrauhaus beer.
Shuler explains his thought process behind the beer selection process for each dish, what went through his mind when choosing what beer to go with what dish and what you can expect from each pairing. I also took the liberty of adding some personal tasting notes for each beer for those that may be new to Hofbrauhaus Buffalo’s beer or those who not have has these particular beers yet.
The specially curated menu opens with the appetizer, citrus-cured Atlantic salmon with shaved fennel salad and blood orange emulsion, which will be paired with Hefeweizen, one of the brewery’s flagship offerings. This hefe is light and refreshing with notes of orange, banana and light pepper and clove.
“I wanted to play off the citrus notes with this first pairing,” Shuler said. “The lightness and fruitiness of the hefeweizen works perfectly with the citrus cured salmon and blood orange with a hefeweizen is extremely pleasant. The high carbonation of the hefeweizen will also cleanse the pallet between each bite of the fennel salad. But really look for the citrus to pop with this one.”
From there comes the second course, a roasted red beet salad with goat cheese and aged banyuls vinegar reduction, paired with the Original Lager, as classic a Hofbrauhaus beer as they come. The OG Lager is clean, crisp and just a touch bready, as classic a European-style lager as you’ll find.
“One of my favorite combinations is our Helles Lager and goat cheese,” Shuler explains. “I am lactose intolerant, so I do not get many opportunities to enjoy a nice bier and cheese pairing. The sweet maltiness of the lager will contrast the earthiness of the beets, the tanginess of the goat cheese and the acidity of the reduction. This is a light and nicely contrasting pairing.”
The dinner entre consists of pan seared New York strip and jumbo shrimp, carrot potato puree, sautéed Crimini mushrooms, wilted spinach and burgundy demi-glace, all paired with Schwarzbier, a black lager that roasty with just a touch of dark chocolate.
“We are looking for a complimentary experience between the burnt charred edges of the steak and the sautéed mushrooms with the dark and roasty characters of the schwarzbier,” Shuler says. “The carbonation and light body of the bier will cleanse the pallet and allow the subtle nuances of this dish to flourish.”
Finally, dessert is a Valrhona chocolate lava cake with raspberry crème anglaise, paired with Doppelbock, a malty beer with subtle notes of cherry.
“The deep dark chocolate and toffee notes of the doppelbock pair up beautifully with the rich and decadent chocolate,” Shuler says of this final pairing. “The raspberry crème anglaise counters the hop bitterness at the end creating a beautiful dance of sweet and warmth.”
Brian Campbell is co-founder and Brand Manager of the Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), and Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague).