Founders Pairing Lunch
If you like bold flavored beers, then you'll most likely love Founder's Brewing Company. We were first introduced to them right at the source in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We went to pre-wedding party there and were urged to try the Breakfast Stout that was wonderful. The Taproom is in an old train station where one whole side can open up to outside seating and their menu boasts handcrafted sandwiches. Very fun and yummy place!
Founders does not distribute to Upstate NY unfortunately. Luckily we have a couple of friends from Michigan and family in Pittsburgh (where they do distribute) that hook us up once in a while. We savor every bottle and have been lucky enough to even have Kentucky Breakfast Stout a couple of times.
So when a Founders Lunch at Sharp Edge was announced during Pittsburgh's Beer Week, there was no question we had to go. We never had a pairing like this where all of the dishes were created with the beer it was served with. Is it cheating to pair this way or novel? Either way, we enjoyed it.
When we first arrived for the lunch, we were handed a pint of Founders Pale Ale to go with the big beautiful display of cheeses, crackers, fruit, and this interesting sliced meatloaf that had green flecks of pistachios in it. It was all yummy, including the strange cold meatloaf and paired well with the Pale Ale because you can never go wrong with cheese and beer.
The first course was mussels that was steamed in Red's Rye PA and of course served with Red's Rye PA as well. They were served in handy bowls with lids that became shell discardment containers. Not being a huge shellfish lover, these were good, great texture and I ate them all. The only thing this was missing was a good piece of crusty bread to dunk into the broth.
The second course was our favorite course! Strawberry, feta, walnut salad with Curmudgeon's dressing (I think) and Curmudgeon's Better Half Old Ale pairing. Curmudgeon is sweet, malty, oaky, and strong at around 10% but all that went so well with strawberries, feta, and walnuts! Founder's regional market manager, John Host directed the lunch and told us an interesting story about how bourbon barrels tour around different breweries and that after Curmudgeon is aged to impart the oaky flavor, they go to Jolly Pumpkin for something totally different. I wonder if that history affects flavor?
The third course was literally "meat and potatoes" and honestly was our least favorite dish. Boneless barbecue rib placed next to a side of roasted potatoes. The beer was the star and overshadowed what we were eating completely. SZRP of Doom was a rare aged IPA with maple flavor. Maybe it just needed a beautiful side vegetable to tie it all together.
The dessert course was creme brulee made with Breakfast Stout and paired with the same. The sweetness of the dessert made the coffee flavors of the Breakfast Stout really apparent. The creamy texture of the creme was fantastic but I was disappointed with the lack of brulee crust to crack. The whip cream and berries were a nice addition.
We were very happy we made the drive out. We got some nice swag as well, pint glasses, matches, beer openers, and a poster to remember the event. The service was excellent which made up for being crammed into the right side of a little room that was separated from the restaurant. Even with that said, we'll definitely keep other events from Sharp Edge in mind and foresee visiting family there for years to come.
Heather on May 18, 2012 at 9:48pm EDT
curmudgeon's better half
szrp of doom