Five Tips for Surviving a Beer Dinner

Plus a few to check out in November
beer dinner
Seaside beer dinner at A&O Kitchen+Bar, Balboa Bay Resort

By the shape of my well-sculpted dadbod, you can safely assume I’ve been to a few beer dinners. You would be correct! I’ve helped organize and pair a few as well. A beer pairing dinner is more than a chance for a brewery to show off its wares; these days it’s more like ‘chefs gone wild’, where five courses can go off the rails into flavor town, stopping at a few breweries along the way. Here’s how to survive your first, plus a few events coming up.

  1. Don’t “pregame” at the bar. Sure, you got excited and left work early, but beer dinners are already too much food and beer. Plus, destroying your palate beforehand is a rookie move.
  2. Evaluate the beer first with a sniff and a sip. Next, take a small bite of the food. Finally, marry the two together by taking a bite of the food and a sip of the beer before swallowing. Did magic happen? Elbow-bump the chef and high five the brewer.
  3. Keep an open mind. Sometimes chefs will break out things you’ve never tried. Sweet breads, geoduck, lingua, elk … I’ve eaten a virtual zoo at beer dinners.
  4. Look for a 1+1=3 type of pairing experience. Sometimes a beer or dish isn’t your fave. Paired together, are they better? Every now and then it takes both to complete a bite.
  5. Take photos of friends before your food. Trust me. I have gigs of foodporn and no idea when or where the pics were taken. Enjoy conversation, talk about beers you had recently, snap a photo of your table having fun!

Coming up:

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