A Night Out With Anheuser-Busch and Blackbird
By Rachelle Bowden in Food on Sep 25, 2006 4:41PM
Chicagoist was recently invited to "Entertaining for the Holidays with Specialty Beers" sponsored by Anheuser-Busch and hosted by Blackbird. Now, before you make any jokes about how this event must have been pairing pork rinds and Coors Light and Busch beer with chicken wings, let us just ask that you take us seriously. This was classy!
The dinner was similar to how you'd go to a fancy restaurant and get wines paired with the courses. Chef Paul Kahan prepared a special menu to complement Anheuser-Busch's fall and winter beers. The really cool thing is that Anheuser-Busch had two of their brewmasters, George Reisch and Florian Kuplent, at the event, and with each course they told us about the beer, how it was made, how to pour it, what kind of glassware to serve it in, and how to properly drink the beer (hint: no chugging!). Both were very nice, personable and approachable -- talking to everyone, enjoying the beer they made, and answering any questions we may have had about beer. Also, Chef Kahan came out during our dessert to talk about the food that was prepared and to answer any questions we had. Below is a list of the courses with the beer pairings:
|Cocktail Reception||Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale|
|Country Pâté with Orange Mostarda||Michelob Porter|
|Roasted Tomato Crostini with Arugula and Parmigiano-Reggiano
Johanna Crab Salad served on a Yukon Gold Potato Chip
|Stone Mill Pale Ale|
|'Salt n' Vinegar' Walleyed Pike with Green Zebras, Local Cucumbers, Smoked Paprika Remoulade, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil||Michelob Bavarian-Style Wheat|
|Grilled Organic Veal Tenderloin and Veal Sausage with Creamed Swiss Chard, Buckwheat Crêpe, New Crop Fingerlings, and Dill||Budweiser BrewMasters' Private Reserve|
|Chocolate Pot du Creme with Sweet Cream Milk Shake and Cocoa Meringue Cookies||Michelob Celebrate Chocolate|
|Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale
Michelob Celebrate Vanilla Oak
All the food was really great. We loved both the pike and the veal to death! Chef Kahan told us that to make the fish "salt n' vinegar" style they used salt n' vinegar chips. Awesome. We've got to try that one at home. As far as the beers, the Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale got us in the mood for crisp autumn air with its cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove spices. It was lighter than Harpoon and Sam Adams fall spice ales, and we learned it's brewed with real pumpkin. We found the Michelob Bavarian-Style Wheat to be really refreshing with notes of cloves and even a slight banana taste. It's no secret that Chicagoist has the sweetest sweet tooth in all of Chicago, so after we ate our chocolate dessert and drank our chocolate beer (which both smelled and tasted like chocolate) we were ready to die and go to heaven. Or hell. Whichever the case. We asked Chef Kahan, but the dessert we got at the event is not available on Blackbird's regular menu, which is a crying shame because it was orgasmic.
Overall, we were thrilled with the great food and beer. We learned a ton about beer and how to drink it and when and in what kind of glass. We were also really impressed at the quality of beer served, because like we said earlier, when you think Anheuser-Busch you don't always think "premium." Below is a list of the beers we had and when they will be available. Check for them to show up at local bars, restaurants and anywhere else you buy beer.
|Beer||Available||Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale||Now - Early November|
|Michelob Porter||Sept. 25 - end of the year|
|Michelob Bavarian-Style Wheat||Sept. 25 - end of the year|
|Budweiser BrewMasters' Private Reserve||Oct. 23 - end of the year|
|Michelob Celebrate Chocolate||Oct. 23 - end of the year|
|Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale||Early Nov. - Early Feb.|
|Michelob Celebrate Vanilla Oak||Oct. 23 - end of the year|