Imperial Session New England Beer Pairing Dinner

This quarterly dinner series by Imperial Session duo Advanced Cicerone Ryan Spencer (Bailey’s Taproom) with dishes from Chef Spencer Watari (Clyde Common) pairs beers and food. Unlike many beer and food dinners, this pop up concept does not beholden itself to any particular breweries or restaurant so they can select any beer or dish to make an interesting pairing without worrying about representing or promoting any business. The last dinner focus was on beers from New England.
Imperial Session New England Beer Dinner Imperial Session New England Beer Dinner Imperial Session New England Beer Dinner, Ryan pouring beerse for one of the courses Imperial Session New England Beer Dinner

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Curse of the Haunted Curds 2016 at Portland Brewing

Two years ago I attended the first Curse of the Haunted Curds event at Deschutes. Although I missed it last year being out of town, this year I’ll be attending again and I’m super excited about it! The Curse of the Haunted Curds 2016 will be taking place at Portland Brewing Company Tap Room at 2730 NW 31st Ave. From 11 AM at lunch to the 8 PM evening on October 27, guests can choose to sample a flight of 5 poutines (fries, gravy, and cheese curds), each created from 5 competing chefs for just $10. You can optionally enjoy the poutines with beer pairings for an additional $6.

The Curse of the Haunted Curds at Portland Brewing 2016, 5 poutines from competing chefs of 5 breweries using beer in their gravy and Face Rock Creamery Vampire Slayer cheese

As before, Curse of the Haunted Curds continues to be for a good cause. 50% of all poutine and beer pairing proceeds go towards Friendly House, a non-profit neighborhood center and social service agency. Founded in 1930, Friendly House provides programs and services at no charge or on a sliding fee scale to ensure access to all members of the community of all ages and backgrounds in three program areas: Children’s Programs, Community Recreation and Education, and Community Services.

You’ll be sampling the 5 poutines from competing chefs from

Then cast your vote for the People’s Choice Award for Curse of the Haunted Curds 2016. The winner of the live judging as well as People’s Choice will be announced at 7:30 PM. Each of the poutine recipes must use one of the breweries’ beers from the competing brewery in the gravy.

Curse of the Haunted Curds, a Poutine Pop-up with proceeds to the D Wright Way Foundation featured 5 poutines from 5 chefs for $10 at Deschutes Brewery Portland Public House
My flight of 5 poutines from 5 chefs from 2014 Curse of the Haunted Curds

Teaming up with them is also local (Bandon Oregon) Face Rock Creamery with their Vampire Slayer cheese curds, which took 1st place at the American Cheese Society’s 2013 Competition. Face Rock sources grass-fed cow’s milk from Oregon dairy families, and they make cheese the same day the cows are milked. Face Rock cheese, including these curds, are available at their creamery, in more than 3,000 stores, and online at their website.

At $10, there’s a huge value with the amount of poutine you get, definitely enough for 2 to share. They are also doing a costume contest!

If you haven’t been to the Portland Brewing Tasting Room before, parking is easy in this industrial area and they offer not only their own brewed beers but also beers from their sister brewery the Pyramid Brewing Co. Their Thursday daily special is “Throwback Thursdays” with $2 pints from 6 PM to close – they have one daily special every day, ranging from Kids 12 and under eat free for each adult Sunday to matching a purchased flight or pint or growler with a free one on other days and “hoppy hour” every day 3 – 6 PM and 9 PM – close.

This entire month of July 2014, Portland Brewing is donating a portion from every case or growler of ZigZag River Lager (growlers must be purchased at the Portland Brewing Co Taproom, cases must be purchased in the state of Oregon) sold back to our Northwest waters via Sandy River Basin Watershed Council.

Have you been to Portland Brewing? What do you think about this upcoming Curse of the Haunted Curds 2016 at Portland Brewing event?

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Beer for Breakfast

Beer is the perfect accompaniment to dinner or lunch. But it also goes great with breakfast! Especially when the beers themselves taste like some of our favorite breakfast treats.

The Beer for Breakfast special event on September 25th brought together beer and food pairing in a meal many not think to pair with beer. With two seatings available at 9AM and then 11AM at Great Notion Brewing, the event offered for $50 a grand 3 courses with literally a dozen beers – 4 beers with each course!
Beer for Breakfast at Great Notion Brewing on September 25, 2016 with 3 courses (omnivore or vegan) along with 12 beers with beers from GNB as well as guest breweries

Great Notion is not usually open for brunch, though I hope they might consider doing so after tasting how great these dishes were and how well they paired with beer. I also greatly appreciated that there was an omnivore option as well as a vegan option, which allows the meatless eaters out there to also be able to enjoy the deliciousness.

Course 1

Parfait (either dairy or vegan yogurt) with marionberry and ginger compote and pulverized hazelnut brittle and Random Order blueberry muffin or a vegan blueberry fig bar.
Beer for Breakfast at Great Notion Brewing on September 25, 2016: Course 1 Parfait (either dairy or vegan yogurt) with marionberry and ginger compote and pulverized hazelnut brittle and Random Order blueberry muffin or a vegan blueberry fig bar. Beer Pairings of Great Notion Brewing Barrel Aged Apricot Mimosa, Reverend Nat's Tepache with Prosecco, Culmination/Ruse Breakfast in Paradise Imperial Wit with Pineapple, Great Notion Brewing Blueberry Pancakes Beer for Breakfast at Great Notion Brewing on September 25, 2016: Course 1 Parfait (either dairy or vegan yogurt) with marionberry and ginger compote and pulverized hazelnut brittle and Random Order blueberry muffin or a vegan blueberry fig bar. Beer Pairings of Great Notion Brewing Barrel Aged Apricot Mimosa, Reverend Nat's Tepache with Prosecco, Culmination/Ruse Breakfast in Paradise Imperial Wit with Pineapple, Great Notion Brewing Blueberry Pancakes Beer for Breakfast at Great Notion Brewing on September 25, 2016: Course 1 Parfait (either dairy or vegan yogurt) with marionberry and ginger compote and pulverized hazelnut brittle and Random Order blueberry muffin or a vegan blueberry fig bar. Beer Pairings of Great Notion Brewing Barrel Aged Apricot Mimosa, Reverend Nat's Tepache with Prosecco, Culmination/Ruse Breakfast in Paradise Imperial Wit with Pineapple, Great Notion Brewing Blueberry Pancakes

Beer Pairings

  • Great Notion Brewing Barrel Aged Apricot Mimosa
  • Reverend Nat’s Tepache with Prosecco
  • Culmination/Ruse Breakfast in Paradise, an Imperial Wit with Pineapple
  • Great Notion Brewing Blueberry Pancakes

By itself, I liked the hint of spicy of the Tepache with Prosecco with its effervescence. But, it seemed a bit much with the yogurt unless you made sure you got a spoonful of the ginger with your bite. The Blueberry Pancakes, the stout of these four, went best with the blueberry muffin, no surprise there not only for its hint of blueberry but because it’s stronger sweet maple syrup could then be balanced by the crumb of muffin.

Meanwhile I liked how the Imperial Wit with Pineapple highlighted the berry and the yogurt with its fruit and bit of funkiness in the flavors of the beer. I’ve always like the Tepache, but since it’s not a beer even though I adore it it won’t make my list of best beers of the brunch, though it is a fantastic mixer for many a beer.

Of all four beers, my favorite of them all in this pairing since it went with everything was the Barred Aged Apricot Mimosa that was tart and refreshing with a fruitiness that went well both with marionberry and with blueberry. This beer also makes the top 2 faves of the whole meal.

Course 2

Oatmeal Brulee with grilled peaches, caramelized brown sugar, Double Stack Stout reduction and either housemade sausage or vegan sausage
Beer for Breakfast at Great Notion Brewing on September 25, 2016: Course 2 Oatmeal Brulee with grilled peaches, caramelized brown sugar, Double Stack Stout reduction and either housemade sausage or vegan sausage. Beer Pairings of Great Notion Brewing Bellini, Double Mountain Lyle Rider Bloody Mary Red Ale, Scout Beer Porridge Oatmeal Pale with Vanilla and Raisin, and Great Notion Brewing Double Stack Imperial Breakfast Stout Beer for Breakfast at Great Notion Brewing on September 25, 2016: Course 2 Oatmeal Brulee with grilled peaches, caramelized brown sugar, Double Stack Stout reduction and either housemade sausage or vegan sausage. Beer Pairings of Great Notion Brewing Bellini, Double Mountain Lyle Rider Bloody Mary Red Ale, Scout Beer Porridge Oatmeal Pale with Vanilla and Raisin, and Great Notion Brewing Double Stack Imperial Breakfast Stout

Beer Pairings

  • Great Notion Brewing Bellini
  • Double Mountain Lyle Rider Bloody Mary Red Ale
  • Scout Beer Porridge Oatmeal Pale with Vanilla and Raisin
  • Great Notion Brewing Double Stack Imperial Breakfast Stout

My #1 favorite beer of the entire Beer for Breakfast event is definitely the Double Mountain Lyle Rider Bloody Mary Red Ale which perfectly mimicked a bloody mary. I found the Bellini to carry peach flavors well, but also had a slightly harsh finish as if it was a Bellini made with a cheap prosecco? Ha ha I still finished it though. The Oatmeal Pale had a great texture, but I was hoping for more vanilla and raisin then I got than just porridge.

The best pairing of the four was the Double Stack Imperial Breakfast stout with its sweet maple and roasty coffee – since the oatmeal has reduced Double Stack reduction the fact these two were complimentary – with the reduction being sweeter and thinner so you could detect more body and coffee (including natural coffee bitterness) in the beer – was intriguing for me.

Course 3

House Empanada stuffed with pepper bacon, sharp cheddar, home fries with scrambled cage free eggs, or alternatively for vegans the empanada was stuffed with marinated tempeh, Daiya cheddar, and home fries with scrambled Ota tofu
Beer for Breakfast at Great Notion Brewing on September 25, 2016: Course 3 House Empanada stuffed with pepper bacon, sharp cheddar, home fries with scrambled cage free eggs, or alternatively for vegans the empanada was stuffed with marinated tempeh, Daiya cheddar, and home fries with scrambled Ota tofu. Beer Pairings of Great Notion Brewing Blueberry Muffin Berliner Weiss, Great Notion Brewing Orange Creamsicle, Cellarmaker Coffee and Cigarettes Coffee Porter and Modern Times City of the Dead Barrel Aged Coffee Stout Beer for Breakfast at Great Notion Brewing on September 25, 2016: Course 3 House Empanada stuffed with pepper bacon, sharp cheddar, home fries with scrambled cage free eggs, or alternatively for vegans the empanada was stuffed with marinated tempeh, Daiya cheddar, and home fries with scrambled Ota tofu. Beer Pairings of Great Notion Brewing Blueberry Muffin Berliner Weiss, Great Notion Brewing Orange Creamsicle, Cellarmaker Coffee and Cigarettes Coffee Porter and Modern Times City of the Dead Barrel Aged Coffee Stout Beer for Breakfast at Great Notion Brewing on September 25, 2016: Course 3 House Empanada stuffed with pepper bacon, sharp cheddar, home fries with scrambled cage free eggs, or alternatively for vegans the empanada was stuffed with marinated tempeh, Daiya cheddar, and home fries with scrambled Ota tofu. Beer Pairings of Great Notion Brewing Blueberry Muffin Berliner Weiss, Great Notion Brewing Orange Creamsicle, Cellarmaker Coffee and Cigarettes Coffee Porter and Modern Times City of the Dead Barrel Aged Coffee Stout

Beer Pairings

  • Great Notion Brewing Blueberry Muffin Berliner Weiss
  • Great Notion Brewing Orange Creamsicle
  • Cellarmaker Coffee and Cigarettes Coffee Porter
  • Modern Times City of the Dead Barrel Aged Coffee Stout

The Orange Creamsicle here boasts strong orange flavor, but a hint of bitterness like from the rind ratehr then vanilla creaminess like I was expecting – still an enjoyable beer, but I was mislead by the name of the beer.

The Barrel Aged Coffee Stout had the most coffee of all the coffee beers this day, but it does have the extra advantage of using barrel aged coffee beans and that extra depth from bourbon. Of all the coffee beers though I still preferred of all of them the Coffee and Cigarettes Coffee Porter because I liked the strong smokiness and I thought the mouthfeel was so smooth with a nice body.

I was surprised to see the Blueberry Muffin here as really does taste like a muffin, but with extra tartness from the Berliner Weiss – perhaps juxtaposing it with the actual blueberry muffin in Course 1 was too on the nose. I really like the beer – but was a little confused on how it went with eggs or an empanada. I might have swapped the Tepache with Prosecco of course 1 with this one.

Beer for Breakfast at Great Notion Brewing on September 25, 2016 with 3 courses (omnivore or vegan) along with 12 beers with beers from GNB as well as guest breweries

Overall, a fantastic event. One thing I wish had been clear is that although the ticket purchase via Mercury Tickets had described the price as all inclusive, we were asked at the end to drop some cash tip to show appreciation for the staff – fine to ask for, but wish we had known before hand so we could have been better prepared.

The other wish is that it would have been nice to hear a little extra about the beer or the food on why they were chosen or why the particular food preparation based on the beer. On one hand it is nice to taste everything on your own to see what you experience without being told what to look for, but on the other hand it can be educational since some might have finer palates to hear on what they might pick up on.

Ok, maybe one more wish. I wish this event, or the ability to at least have Great Notion Brunch, would be available again, not just this one event – maybe even if it’s just the last Sunday of a month, or quarterly, I would so love to experience this again and not have to wait a year. Particularly many of the GNB beers as you saw from this list are so perfect for a brunch pairing!

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Imperial Session Beer Dinner Pop Up Series

A new pop up is starting up in Portland this time focused on food with another PDX famous love, beer! Advanced Cicerone Ryan Spencer (you may have seen him at Bailey’s Taproom) and Chef Spencer Watari (Clyde Common, Pok Pok) are collaborating together under the name Imperial Session to launch a quarterly dinner series focused on beer and food pairing. The first Imperial Session Beer Dinner will be a five course dinner with pairings for each course on Sunday September 18th at Shift Drinks’ Makeshift Room (former home of Nomad PDX). The dinner seating starts at 7 PM with reservations via tickets available now on EventBrite, with a suggested cash donation of $55 paid at the end of the meal.
Imperial Session Beer Dinner Series, this pop up offers guests the ability to experience a wide range of beer and food interactions without boundaries of a single brewery or single restaurant

Ryan and Spencer are working together to break down the biases and commitments of a typical beer dinner, with the goal of offering guests the ability to experience a wide range of beer and food interactions without boundaries. For instance, usually beer dinner events feature a single restaurant working with a single brewery.

“The problems we found with these dinners were that they all felt more promotional than genuine. Brewer’s wanted to showcase their flagship beers and restaurants wanted to promote their establishments. Both parties seemed to be looking out for their own best interests with little collaboration taking place. We wanted to create a dining experience where we could pour whatever we wanted and serve food that created the ultimate pairing.” Ryan and Spencer explained.

Imperial Session Beer Dinner Series, this pop up offers guests the ability to experience a wide range of beer and food interactions without boundaries of a single brewery or single restaurant

Meanwhile, Imperial Session has intentionally selected beers that are a little outside of the norm. For instance, for this initial dinner, 2 of the 5 beers are unavailable in Oregon, 2 are vintages which are no longer available, and 1 is a small batch brewery only release.

The dinners are intentionally small in order to have guests easily interact with Ryan and Spencer as well as with other guests and allow for smaller batch sourcing of quality ingredients, including rare beers.

Down the road Imperial Session hopes to feature different local chefs to create unique tasting menus for the dinner series, where Spencer operates as the permanent chef and assists the guest chef in formatting their menu into their constraints while also working with Ryan to create pairings.

They have also discussed the opposite situation where they bring in someone from the beer industry to curate a selection of beers to pair with one of Spencer’s menus. Imperial Session could be a venue and opportunity to work out some creative ideas with people whose formal positions in the food and drink industry don’t currently allow that chance.
Imperial Session Beer Dinner Series, this pop up offers guests the ability to experience a wide range of beer and food interactions without boundaries of a single brewery or single restaurant

Background on Imperial Session

Ryan and Spencer have known each other for the majority of their lives, both having grown up in the Portland Metro area and first meeting in third grade and then attending University of Oregon where they home brewed together. Growing up in The Pacific Northwest, surrounded by a wide range of food and beverage,  they said it seemed pretty natural to both of them to pursue careers in those two fields.

Ryan got his start as a dishwasher position at Hopworks before expanding to jobs at Deschutes, Gigantic, and his current position at Bailey’s Taproom where he also has been getting cicerone certifications (the equivalent of a wine sommelier, it requires various levels of examinations). Meanwhile, after college, Spencer moved around for a bit until he settled at Pok Pok for two years before he transitioned to Clyde Common to continue to develop his skills with a more diverse range of cuisines.

For years they have both talked about going into some type of venture together. The specific idea for joining forces to do beer and food pairing dinners came from attending several “Brewer’s Dinners” throughout Portland when Ryan was studying to take the Master Cicerone exam and trying to gain experience with beer and food pairing. Imperial Session is finally those talks, their history, experience, and their expertise coming together for them.

Menu for Upcoming Beer and Food Pairing Dinner

Here’s a look at the menu for this first Imperial Session beer and food pairing dinner. For this particular menu, a few of the dishes were dishes Spencer was really excited about, they tasted through them, and Ryan tried to find beers that might work. On the other hand, a few of the pairings started with a beer that Ryan felt would be really interesting and food friendly, then they designed a dish around the beer. They hope to impart some of the knowledge they acquired from the beer and food pairing process to guests as part of the dinner.

This is the omnivore menu, a vegetarian version is available by advanced notice at their discretion.

Course One:

Grilled corn, kewpie mayo, togarashi cracklin, and avocado puree
Paired with Trillium Pier (a hopped American Pale Wheat Ale from Massachusetts)

Course Two:

Radish and turnip salad, caramel egg dressing, carbonated citruses
Paired with Breakside Carte Blanche (American Wild Ale with Brett, gin and hops)

Course Three:

Lamb pierogies, mint chimichurri sour cream, peas, spring allium
Paired with De Garde/Heater Allen Doppelbock (Eichenbock, an oak barrel-aged Doppelbock)

Course Four:

Sai oua sausage, fingerling potatoes, charred green onions, mushroom demi-glace
Paired with Holy Mountain The Goat (Saison / Farmhouse style ale from Washington)

Dessert:

TBA
Paired with Block 15 2015 Kriek (Kriek is a cherry sour /wild ale style)

 

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Snackdown 2016 Recap

This past Sunday, I attended the closing event of Portland Beer Week, and here is my Snackdown 2016 Recap! Taking place 12 – 4 PM at The Evergreen event space above Loyal Legion, Snackdown was a food and beer pairing event where 10 of Portland Chefs and 10 Oregon Brewers are paired into 10 Brewer/Chef teams to make snack and beer pairing. The atmosphere is styled like a WWF style Smackdown with brewers and chefs hyping their pairing on the mic – possibly while sporting wrestling themed costume – while in the background a large screen played old matches from the days of Hulk – I guess in the mid 80s.
Snackdown Portland Beer Week 2016 Closing Party

DJ Rev Shines was playing fun music to keep everyone grooving while snacking. Everyone seemed to be having fun and in a great playful mood.
DJ Rev Shines was super cool at playing fun music to keep everyone grooving while snacking at Snackdown 2016 P.R.E.A.M. / Ecliptic Brewing was another favorite pairing of mine, see my Snackdown 2016 Recap for more details

Herb of Loyal Legion served as MC and got all the brewer/chef teams to take turns doing a little smack talking throughout the event
Herb of Loyal Legion served as MC and got all the brewer/chef teams to take turns doing a little smack talking throughout the Snackdown event Herb of Loyal Legion served as MC and got all the brewer/chef teams to take turns doing a little smack talking throughout the Snackdown 2016 event

Guests got to vote on their favorite pairing and the winning team will be awarded the Snackdown Belt – which is apparently a wristlet version for the brewery and restaurant,  here being modeled by Co-organizer of the event, Ben Love of Gigantic Brewing.
Guests at Snackdown 2016 got to vote on their favorite pairing and the winning team will be awarded the Snackdown Belt - which is apparently a wristlet version for the brewery and restaurant. Guests at Snackdown 2016 got to vote on their favorite pairing and the winning team will be awarded the Snackdown Belt - which is apparently a wristlet version for the brewery and restaurant.

The 10 Brewer/Chef teams for 2016 were:

  • Loyal Legion / Portland Brewing & Double Mountain showcased the official 2016 Portland Beer Week beer by pouring a Sub-Continental IPA, a collaboration between Portland Brewing and Double Mountain to create a ~7% ABV northwest IPA brewed with Indian spices like pepper, cardamom, clove, cumin and saffron. Meanwhile Loyal Legion used the Sub-Continental IPA to braise their homemade sauerkraut which they then fried into a krokotten and served along with a spicy beer mustard that also had Sub-Contental IPA in the mustard.
    Snackdown 2016 Loyal Legion / Portland Brewing & Double Mountain showcased the Portland Beer week beer by pouring a Sub-Continental IPA, a collaboration between Portland Brewing and Double Mountain to create a ~7% ABV northwest IPA brewed with Indian spices like pepper, cardamom, clove, cumin and saffron. Meanwhile Loyal Legion used the Sub-Continental IPA to braise their homemade sauerkraut which they then fried into a krokotten and served along with a spicy beer mustard that also had Sub-Contental IPA in the mustard Snackdown 2016 Loyal Legion / Portland Brewing & Double Mountain showcased the Portland Beer week beer by pouring a Sub-Continental IPA, a collaboration between Portland Brewing and Double Mountain to create a ~7% ABV northwest IPA brewed with Indian spices like pepper, cardamom, clove, cumin and saffron. Meanwhile Loyal Legion used the Sub-Continental IPA to braise their homemade sauerkraut which they then fried into a krokotten and served along with a spicy beer mustard that also had Sub-Contental IPA in the mustard
  • Bollywood Theater / The Commons Brewery also combined beer right into the food by pairing the Commons Fleur de Blanc, a Rose and Elderflower White Farmhouse Ale, with Bollywood Theater creating an Indian curry with mussels cooked in the Commons Fleur de Blanc with Indian spices, coconut milk, and rose petals. It was a little hard to eat in such a small little bowl to get the mussels out, but the mussels dish added a little heat while bringing out some of the funky and floral notes in the beer, which I thought made an excellent combo.
    Snackdown 2016 Bollywood Theater / The Commons Brewery combined beer right into the food by pairing the Commons Fleur de Blanc, a Rose and Elderflower White Farmhouse Ale, with Bollywood Theater creating mussels cooked in the Commons Fleur de Blanc with Indian spices, coconut milk, and rose petals. Snackdown 2016 Bollywood Theater / The Commons Brewery combined beer right into the food by pairing the Commons Fleur de Blanc, a Rose and Elderflower White Farmhouse Ale, with Bollywood Theater creating mussels cooked in the Commons Fleur de Blanc with Indian spices, coconut milk, and rose petals.
  • Lardo / Heater Allen Brewing I always love seeing Chef Rick Gencarelli at an event – he’s always excited about what he’s doing which I miss seeing when he gave up the Lardo cart for the multiple successful businesses of his current brick and mortars, but you get a glimpse of how fun he is and what a good hearted guy every time he’s at one of these food events in front of the people again.
    I always love seeing Chef Rick Gencarelli at an event - he's always excited about what he's doing which I miss seeing when he gave up the Lardo cart for the multiple successful businesses of his current brick and mortars, but you get a glimpse of how fun he is every time he's at one of these food events. Here at Snackdown 2016 he somehow kept that awesome wrestling mask on while doling out the most precious and super delicious mini lobster roll to pair with Heater Allen's Das Bier Kolsch I always love seeing Chef Rick Gencarelli at an event - he's always excited about what he's doing which I miss seeing when he gave up the Lardo cart for the multiple successful businesses of his current brick and mortars, but you get a glimpse of how fun he is every time he's at one of these food events. Here at Snackdown 2016 he somehow kept that awesome wrestling mask on while doling out the most precious and super delicious mini lobster roll to pair with Heater Allen's Das Bier Kolsch
    Here he somehow kept that awesome wrestling mask on while doling out the most precious and super delicious mini lobster roll to pair with Heater Allen’s Das Bier Kolsch.
    Snackdown 2016 Lardo created the most precious and super delicious mini lobster roll to pair with Heater Allen's Das Bier Kolsch Snackdown 2016 Lardo created the most precious and super delicious mini lobster roll to pair with Heater Allen's Das Bier Kolsch
  • The Bent Brick which just officially went to a tipless system and is one of six gratuity free restaurants in Portland, presented what they called a Pig Picnic with porky picnicky vibes in a pork and beans stew / Block 15 Brewing brought their Sticky Hands IPA
    Snackdown 2016 The Bent Brick presented what they called a Pig Picnic with porky picnicky vibes in a pork and beans stew / Block 15 Brewing brought their Sticky Hands IPA The Bent Brick presented what they called a Pig Picnic with porky picnicky vibes in a pork and beans stew / Block 15 Brewing brought their Sticky Hands IPA Snackdown 2016 The Bent Brick presented what they called a Pig Picnic with porky picnicky vibes in a pork and beans stew / Block 15 Brewing brought their Sticky Hands IPA
  • Old Salt Marketplace created “Last Year’s Succotash” with alubias gigantes beans, pickled corn, fermented pepper vinagrette, shaved country ham and arugula on a pork rind – sadly I found the pork rind to be old and chewy rather than crispy / Ex Novo Brewing with their Thick as Thieves Dry Hoppped Belgo-American Sour Pale, a collaboration beer they created with Solemn Oath Brewery in Chicago which they just released during Portland Beer week
    Snackdown 2016 Old Salt Marketplace created 'Last Year's Succotash' with alubias gigantes beans, pickled corn, fermented pepper vinagrette, shaved country ham and arugula on a pork rind to pair with Ex Novo Brewing with their Thick as Thieves Dry Hoppped Belgo-American Sour Pale, a collaboration beer they created with Solemn Oath Brewery in Chicago Snackdown 2016 Old Salt Marketplace created 'Last Year's Succotash' with alubias gigantes beans, pickled corn, fermented pepper vinagrette, shaved country ham and arugula on a pork rind to pair with Ex Novo Brewing with their Thick as Thieves Dry Hoppped Belgo-American Sour Pale, a collaboration beer they created with Solemn Oath Brewery in Chicago
  • Toro Bravo / Hopworks Urban Brewery was the winner of Snackdown with their rich Baller Grilled Cheese and “Tomato Soup”, a rich three cheese (truffle cheese, manchego, and mahone on Grand Central brioche) and modernist tomato soup sphere with the HUB Xocolatal Xake Up Belgian Style Spiced Quad to wash it down with.
    Toro Bravo / Hopworks Urban Brewery was the winner of Snackdown 2016 with their rich Baller Grilled Cheese and 'Tomato Soup', a rich three cheese (truffle cheese, manchego, and mahone on Grand Central brioche) and modernist tomato soup sphere with the HUB Xocolatal Xake Up Belgian Style Spiced Quad to wash it down Toro Bravo / Hopworks Urban Brewery was the winner of Snackdown 2016 with their rich Baller Grilled Cheese and 'Tomato Soup', a rich three cheese (truffle cheese, manchego, and mahone on Grand Central brioche) and modernist tomato soup sphere with the HUB Xocolatal Xake Up Belgian Style Spiced Quad to wash it down Toro Bravo / Hopworks Urban Brewery was the winner of Snackdown 2016 with their rich Baller Grilled Cheese and 'Tomato Soup', a rich three cheese (truffle cheese, manchego, and mahone on Grand Central brioche) and modernist tomato soup sphere with the HUB Xocolatal Xake Up Belgian Style Spiced Quad to wash it down
  • Kim Jong Grillin brought the spice with smoked bo ssäm made with smoked pork, a braised pork in Breakside beer Rye Curious, an apple kimchee, ssämjang sauce made with Breakside Rainbow & Unicorns beer, jalapeno, and green leaf lettuce/ Breakside Brewery cooled it down with Rainbows & Unicorns, their session IPA which also seemed appropriate given that it was Pride Festival weekend in Portland.
    Snackdown 2016 Kim Jong Grillin brought the spice with pork ssam/ Breakside Brewery cooled it down with Rainbows & Unicorns, their session IPA Snackdown 2016 Kim Jong Grillin brought the spice with pork ssam/ Breakside Brewery cooled it down with Rainbows & Unicorns, their session IPA
  • P.R.E.A.M. / Ecliptic Brewing was another favorite pairing of mine, starring a Beef Tartare with flavors of cheeseburger with Ecliptic’s chocolatey and malty Capella Porter
    John Harris brewer of Ecliptic dressed in wrestling costume The Snackdown 2016 P.R.E.A.M. / Ecliptic Brewing was another favorite pairing of mine, staring a Beef Tartare with flavors of cheeseburger with Ecliptic's chocolatey and malty Capella Porter John Harris brewer of Ecliptic dressed in wrestling costume The Snackdown 2016 P.R.E.A.M. / Ecliptic Brewing was another favorite pairing of mine, staring a Beef Tartare with flavors of cheeseburger with Ecliptic's chocolatey and malty Capella Porter Snackdown 2016 P.R.E.A.M. / Ecliptic Brewing was another favorite pairing of mine, staring a Beef Tartare with flavors of cheeseburger with Ecliptic's chocolatey and malty Capella Porter Snackdown 2016 P.R.E.A.M. / Ecliptic Brewing was another favorite pairing of mine, staring a Beef Tartare with flavors of cheeseburger with Ecliptic's chocolatey and malty Capella Porter
  • Biwa gave a special nod toward’s Buoy’s coastal origins by creating Clam Chowder Croquettes while chef Gabe Rosen hilariously posed as Bernie / Buoy Beer poured Rice Rice Baby, a wild rice blond ale using wild rice from Minnesota with rye malt to make a nutty blond that is reminiscent of a saison, a special one off beer for this event and only in limited quantities at their tasting room
    Snackdown 2016 Biwa gave a special nod toward's Buoy's coastal origins by creating Clam Chowder Croquettes / Buoy Beer poured Rice Rice Baby, a wild rice blond ale using wild rice from Minnesota with rye malt to make a nutty blond that is reminiscent of a saison Snackdown 2016 Biwa gave a special nod toward's Buoy's coastal origins by creating Clam Chowder Croquettes / Buoy Beer poured Rice Rice Baby, a wild rice blond ale using wild rice from Minnesota with rye malt to make a nutty blond that is reminiscent of a saison Snackdown 2016 Biwa gave a special nod toward's Buoy's coastal origins by creating Clam Chowder Croquettes / Buoy Beer poured Rice Rice Baby, a wild rice blond ale using wild rice from Minnesota with rye malt to make a nutty blond that is reminiscent of a saison Snackdown 2016 Biwa gave a special nod toward's Buoy's coastal origins by creating Clam Chowder Croquettes while chef Gabe Rosen hilariously posed as Bernie / Buoy Beer poured Rice Rice Baby, a wild rice blond ale using wild rice from Minnesota with rye malt to make a nutty blond that is reminiscent of a saison Snackdown 2016 Biwa gave a special nod toward's Buoy's coastal origins by creating Clam Chowder Croquettes while chef Gabe Rosen hilariously posed as Bernie / Buoy Beer poured Rice Rice Baby, a wild rice blond ale using wild rice from Minnesota with rye malt to make a nutty blond that is reminiscent of a saison
  • Nomad with a frozen barley mousse, anise custard, strawberry, and fennel frond/ Gigantic Brewing with their Holy Oak Whisky Sour beer rounded up snackdown with dessert
    Snackdown 2016 Nomad with a frozen barley mousse, anise custard, strawberry, and fennel frond/ Gigantic Brewing with their Holy Oak Whisky Sour beer rounded up snackdown with dessert Snackdown 2016 Nomad with a frozen barley mousse, anise custard, strawberry, and fennel frond/ Gigantic Brewing with their Holy Oak Whisky Sour beer rounded up snackdown with dessert Snackdown 2016 Nomad with a frozen barley mousse, anise custard, strawberry, and fennel frond/ Gigantic Brewing with their Holy Oak Whisky Sour beer rounded up snackdown with dessert Snackdown 2016 Nomad with a frozen barley mousse, anise custard, strawberry, and fennel frond/ Gigantic Brewing with their Holy Oak Whisky Sour beer rounded up snackdown with dessert

I really hope they bring this Snackdown event back for next year – it was a great value I think since for the price with 10 small dishes from high quality restaurants (some which are harder to get into like Nomad). Also, receiving 10 five ounce pours of beers is a lot – after a while I realized I had to start cutting back on my sipping. Congratulations to Toro Bravo and Hopworks on their win this year!

It was a little haphazard trying to find a place to put a plate and glass down in order to be able to eat – just a few more cocktail tables, even along the side wall by the DJ, could have helped as I saw some people take a gamble by placing glasses on the floor to eat. But, there never seemed to be a line of more than a handful of people to get a pour – a combination of the number of people who came this year I think at a manageble size and each of the stations was well prepared with food plates ready. A checklist sheet listing all the beer and food pairings made it easy to know ahead of time who you wanted to visit in what order and track that you enjoyed all ten teams.

It’s also unfortunate there was no award for best dressed brewer –  Gigantic’s Ben Love went all out, Ecliptic’s John Harris and those fly arm bands and velvet cape, and the cozy PJs with hand drawn hop crest of Ryan Pappe of Portland Brewing were all outstanding and committed to a whole wrestler hero vibe experience. And Herb was perfect as an announcer – everyone was so much fun. The friendly tongue I’m cheek smack talking and friendship between the Brewers and various food crafters I think perfectly embodies the Portland spirit in the food and drink community.

What would have been your vote for best beer and food pairing based on this Snackdown 2016 Recap?

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