Inaugural Brewmasters’ Invitational Sets The Tone For Pairing Beer With Food

The Brewers Association, the trade organization which represents the majority of the small and independent craft brewers in the U.S and whose mission it is to promote these breweries, is at it again. The association is known for its efforts to educate beer aficionados about their favorite malted beverage, including how it pairs with food. Each year the association highlights this marriage of food and beer with events like Paired (held during the Great American Beer Festival) and SAVOR. Each event pairs different shelf with different breweries, highlighting this unique relationship.  

The Brewers Association has taken this a step further by bringing this unique concept directly to the beer enthusiast. Dubbed the ‘Brewmasters Invitational’ dinner, which pairs five different breweries with five different chefs. With the Invitational series, the Brewers Association looks to bring closer together two industries that often overlap each other, allowing small and larger craft brewers and chefs the opportunity to collaborate despite geographic distances. “We are excited to showcase some of our member breweries at this inaugural dinner. Partnering brewers and chefs from small and independent breweries and restaurants meets our goal of showcasing the collaborative spirit of the brewing and restaurant communities,” said Nancy Johnson, Brewers Association event director. “In addition to an amazing and fun dinner experience, dinner guests will hear directly from the brewers as they visit each table to chat about the pairings.” 

Set in a more intimate atmosphere, the event is set up more like multiple individual dinners. Guests are at their own table with each course brought to them, allowing the chef and brewer to stop by each table to talk individually about the pairings. The first of these dinners was held recently in San Antonio, Texas, with The Granary ‘Cue and Brew as the host chef. 

The Granary owner and chef Tim Rattray was clearly excited “It’s an honor for The Granary to be selected as the host for the Brewmasters’ Invitational Dinner in San Antonio this year,” said Rattray. “We’re looking forward to sharing some of our own traditional Texas barbecue techniques and craft beer specialties while hearing from other great Texas and Colorado chefs and breweries.” Joining The Granary was San Antonio’s Chef Steve McHugh, owner/chef of Cured at Pearl, and Colorado-based chefs Chef Adam Dulye of the Brewers Association, Chef Kyle Mendenhall of Arcana, and Chef Steve Redzikowski of Oak at Fourteenth (a James Beard semi-finalist). Brewery partners included San Antonio’s Freetail Brewing Co, as well as Texas breweries Eureka Heights Brew Co. of Houston and Austin’s Hops and Grain Brewing. Joining the Texas breweries were Colorado’s Epic Brewing of Denver and Ska Brewing of Durango. 

With multiple courses offered, guests had plenty of opportunities to analyze and enjoy each custom pairing. True to their word, each chef and brewery walked around discussing the stories of their partnerships, how they came up with the pairings and what it was like to work with each other. The courses were simple yet elegant. Guests were started off with a smoked king salmon from Chef Rattray with apple crisps and beets paired with Ska Brewing’s sour Pink Vapor Stew. The tartness of the slight flavor of beets was just enough to offset the savory of the salmon, creating a perfect balance.   

Other favorites included a tartare made with 7X Wagyu beef raised in Colorado and prepared by Chef Steve Redzikowski, paired with a refreshing citrusy 'Mini Boss IPA’ from Eureka Brewing in Houston; and a delectable slow cooked beef short rib prepared by Chef McHugh and paired with the venerable Imperial Stout ‘Big Bad Baptist’ from Epic Brewing of Colorado. 

So when and where is the next Brewmasters’ Invitational? “We don’t have a date set yet,” says Johnson “This first dinner at The Granary will help us fine tune the program before the second dinner, but tonight was a great start.”