Earlier this evening, the Oregon Garden Resort hosted the fourth Annual Brewer's Tasting Dinner. I attended for the third time (compliments of festival organizers). Always held on the eve of the Oregon Garden Brewfest, it's a great way to kickoff the weekend's festivities.
This year's dinner featured six small-plate courses prepared by Oregon Garden Resort Chef Sam Caldwell and crew. As you might expect, each course was paired with a beer. Let's get started...
Humboldt Fog, aged Pecorino, chicken liver mousse crostini, and semolina crackers
paired with Apricot Gose — Ex Novo Brewing Company, Portland, OR
The tartness from the Gose paired nicely with the salt from the cheese. I didn't think I'd like the mousse, but I did.
Grilled peach with bleu cheese and warm pancetta vinaigrette on grilled zucchini
paired with DoubleCross with Cherries — Crux Fermentation Project, Bend, OR
A delicious combination of sweet and savory made this a unique treat. The tart cherry notes from the DoubleCross complemented the sweetness from the peach. The beer was nearly 10% ABV, but you'd never know it. It was smooth and a great sipper.
Smoked salmon salad with shaved fennel, snap peas, Savoy cabbage and citrus vinaigrette
paired with Indy Session IPA— Wild Ride Brewing, Redmond, OR
The beer had a wonderful tropical fruit aroma with herbal and grassy bitterness in the taste. I enjoyed the beer more with the salad than drinking it without food.
Basil ricotta gnocchi with herbed brown butter and parsley pesto
paired with Oregon Garden Lavender Saison— Buoy Beer Company, Astoria, OR
This beer was made with lavender grown at the Oregon Garden. I noticed very light lavender in the aroma. It wasn't overdone. The gnocchi was delicious! It was my favorite course of the evening, and I wish I had a big bowl of it.
Beer-braised short rib, herbed polenta, and collard greens
paired with Capella Porter— Ecliptic Brewing, Portland, OR
Strawberry, lemon, and orange cupcakes
paired with Lemon Strawberry Wit— Vagabond Brewing, Salem, OR
As you can see, this was an excellent dinner! Chef Caldwell and his team did a great job of working with the breweries to create each course. I'd venture to say this was the best Brewer's Tasting Dinner yet! They keep getting better every year.
Now that my stomach is full, I need to start developing my tasting plan for the main event, which opens at noon on Friday. You can see the full taplist here. For more details, including pricing, hours, and live music schedules, please visit the Oregon Garden Brewfest website.