In 2017, we launched our Flynn on Fire Smoked Beer Initiative and ever since, we’ve been working hard to bring smoked beers to the forefront of American craft beer culture. So how does a small brewery in Vermont even begin to accomplish this daunting task? One way is to help craft drinkers think about beer from a different angle and to open their minds to the possibilities of how beer can and should be experienced, particularly when it comes to pairing it with food.
On May 17th, we’ll be bringing our Flynn on Fire series to Savor, a craft beer and food experience in Washington, D.C. At this unique event, The Brewers Association Executive Chef, Adam Dulye, blows guests away with his thoughtfully orchestrated craft beer and small-plate pairings. Each pairing is an experience built to illustrate just how well the two can complement each other.
Chef Adam will be pairing our Smoke 40 IPA (smoked IPA) with a plate containing dry-aged rib eye, mushroom crust and shallots. We asked Adam a few questions to learn more about his thought process when building food & beer pairings and why he felt this was the best pairing for our beer.
CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT WHY OUR SMOKE 40 IPA PLAYS SO WELL WITH THE DRY-AGED RIB EYE, MUSHROOM CRUST AND SHALLOT?
One of the core concepts behind the Savor menu is highlighting flavors between beer and food. What can a beer do to a dish so familiar to many? How can food change your perceptions of how a beer tastes? With your Smoke 40 IPA, we took the tasting notes from the crowd sourced tasting and decided to highlight what the richness of umami found in mushrooms can do for smoke and hops. In taking that a step further, a seared rib eye seemed a great way to play off the caramelization found in both a seared steak and malt. In the end the palate should be deciding if the smoke notes came from the beer or the food.
WHAT DO YOU WANT GUESTS TO EXPERIENCE WHEN THEY HAVE ENJOY A FOOD & DRINK PAIRING?
Everything! Seems the easiest answer, right? But very seriously, everything. Through food, many will try beers they may not otherwise try and the same for new foods with a beer they know well. The key here is to have some level of comfort, whether the food creates memories, or the beer is well known to the guest. The exploration of new pairings works best when there is something familiar to anchor the palate.
WHAT SHOULD PEOPLE BE THINKING ABOUT WHEN THEY ARE ATTEMPTING TO BUILD THEIR OWN FOOD & BEER PAIRINGS?
Tough question. I think the best advice here is to not overthink it. Always start with something you like or something you want to try that’s new. Keep that a constant until you find what you like it with. The other one...pairing is uniquely personal. Don’t spend time trying to make something work you don’t like or trying to find what someone else says is there. Pay attention to your tastes, that’s how the next great beer is found, and the next great recipe written.
We’re looking forward to experiencing our Flynn on Fire Smoked Beer Series in new ways at Savor! Keep your eyes peeled on our social media where we’ll be showing our favorite highlights of the event.