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Many venues — restaurants, bars, specialty grocery stores — can pull off a beer pairing dinner. Take some dishes, serve them alongside a beer, and boom! You’ve got yourself a beer dinner. But the care with which venues create the dishes, the lengths they go to find the perfect brew to pair with it, and the masterminding behind the execution determine the quality of the resulting beer dinner.

A recent visit to the barely three-month-old Whole Foods Post Oak Brewing Company’s inaugural beer dinner proves that they are firing on all cylinders, an excellent sign of things to come (they plan to host a beer dinner every month).

For this occasion, Whole Foods Market Executive Chef Josh Shobe and team produced hearty, well thought-out, delicious dishes. When paired with the brews made with passion, love and dedication at the in-house Whole Foods Brewery by Head Brewer Dave Ohmer and his team, the food was heightened by the fantastic beer and vice versa. From the appetizer to dessert, the pairings were palatable. It was, hands down, one of the most fantastic beer dinners I’ve ever experienced.

Below, check out this fine dinner’s menu and its highlights below, along with a calendar of upcoming Whole Foods – Post Oak beer dinners:

First course

Dish: Whipped goat cheese, herb, fennel baby arugula and carrot top pesto salad
Beer Pairing: Berry White Belgian Wit

This crisp, smooth golden wit was a beautiful pair for the bright, zippy flavors of the salad. Together, they made for a fantastic welcome course and set the tone for things to come: bold, exciting, unique.

Second Course

Dish: Bone marrow with cherry jam, frisee and toasted baguette
Beer Pairing: Unnamed Barley Wine

Not even cupid could make as good a match as this sweet-savory duo. Seriously, it is worthy of a spot in the beer and food pairing hall of fame. Luscious bone marrow was contrasted perfectly with a firm cherry jam and a barley wine with rich fig, dried apricot, cola and toffee notes. Decadence abounded.

Third Course

Dish: Sriracha tuna tartare on wonton chips
Beer Pairing: Get to the Root Amber Ale

Sips of this Amber Ale revealed ginger-forward spice that curiously transitioned into coconut and vanilla notes, like Tahitian fireworks exploding in your mouth. This was without a doubt, one of the most fun beers my tastebuds have experienced, precisely the reason why, for me, the brew was the star of this course.

Fourth Course

Dish: Tempura lobster bisque
Beer Pairing: Flat Out Stout

Chef Josh excelled at utilizing the straight-forward stout to spike his bisque into an exciting, full bodied creation made even more thrilling by a leek cameo and a generous tempura lobster garnish. The clean stout marked by a toasted chocolate character happily coasted harmoniously alongside the flavorful bisque.

Fifth Course

Dish: Wood fired lamb rack
Beer Pairing: Maori Queen IPA

Whole Food Brewing Company’s IPA found a match for its bold, citrusy and grassy personality in the rosemary-flavored lamb accompanied with a cheerful lemon, sour cream and potato salad. Interchanging bites and sips of this made it hard not to smile with my mouth full.

Sixth Course

Instant Karma Chai Porter Float…drops mic.

The talented team that put this beer series together has many more of these to come, and ‘m willing to bet on the fact that future dinners will be just as amazing as the kick-off one. Here’s a schedule of their upcoming events, along with the brewery they’ll be featuring each date:

March 5
Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company

April 2
Whole Foods Brewing Company

May 7
Southern Star Brewing Company 

Keep your eyes on their website for more details: http://brewing.wfm.com/

Cheers!

Carla Gomez

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