Veggies + Beer [WIAW]

by Sarah on August 15, 2012 · 16 comments

I received a text from Lauren some time in July, that read along the lines of:

::Hi! I’m having a small vegetarian beer pairing dinner on August 11th, and I wanted to invite you, but I’m pretty sure you said you had something going on that night. ::

Well, I mean, only my birthday.

And why not celebrate your birthday with bloggers, veggies, and beer?

If I knew how to pin things, these beer bottle vases would totally be pinned.

 Five courses. Six beers. One special birthday cupcake.

For once, Jenn (and the rest of your lovely guests at my personal What I Ate Wednesday beer-thday party), I’m going to try and let the pictures do most of the talking.*

*Especially because I don’t know anything about beer.First course? “Summertime Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese” (provided by me and Alex)—only called that because I figured a somewhat fancy dinner concept needed a somewhat fancy dish title.It paired wonderfully with the Bison Brew Honey Basil Ale that she and I had found on our day trip to Staunton a few weeks ago…which was shocking, since after I made the Italian Gazpacho I didn’t actually taste it until we had it at the party. :)

Even if my gazpacho had been inedible, I’m pretty sure our course would have been given resounding applause, since the cheese straws Alex made from smitten kitchen (although subbing in some whole wheat flour) were one of the most popular treats of the night.

Second course? Second appetizer.

This one–Bruschetta Gorgonzola and Apples [from Cooking Light]–was made by Adrienne and Al to pair with Hoegaarden.I nibbled just a wee bit on the cheese–wanting to protect my vegan with benefits, lactose-averse stomach and all--but I could tell even from a nibble that it was incredible.

Stinky cheese is good cheese.

Next up was Brittany‘s Vegetable Tian with Allagash Curieux. As soon as I spotted this dish, I knew I wanted ‘in,’ and it definitely did not disappoint. Obviously I was so excited to eat this casserole full of zucchin, eggplant, onions, and sweet potatoes, that I was unable to take a picture of my portion. But I am now going to have to make my own tian–or, as we all learned, ‘layered, baked vegetable dish’–soon.

[Read Brittany’s recap of the night here.]

Lauren and Kyle’s friend Bob brought a home brew–“Dirty Southside” IPA–to pair with a mouthwateringly delicious Quinoa Tabbouleh. He used this recipe from Epicurious, but substituted cilantro for parsley and added some seasoned rice vinegar in for the citrus. Both Brittany and I were raving and taking seconds. :)You’d think nothing could top what had come before, but I might argue that the last two dishes of the night were some of the best. Lauren and Kyle had picked out Cigar City Brewing’s Maduro Brown Ale for the entree pairing, and Lauren had made an incredible feast of  Black Bean, Zucchini, and Sweet Pepper Enchiladas.In her recap of the evening, she gives credit to Daily Garnish’s Homemade Enchilada Sauce for making the dish as delicious as it was, and yes, it is so good I pretty much would eat it with a spoon, but I say any hostess who takes the time to make a special vegan set of enchiladas for me has a heart that must have worked its way into the food somehow.* :)

*I’m not sure I successfully conquered my attempt at being somewhat cheesy and hugely grateful at the same time. But I tried.Not done yet! Shannon was in charge of dessert, and she used Hardywood’s Virginia Blackberry to make Blackberry Jam Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream.I was a bit cautious around the buttercream, but I could tell from my nibble that these were incredible. And I KNOW Isaac was quite happy to eat the rest of mine. [He even asked if Shannon might consider making his and Brittany’s wedding cake.]

And, as I mentioned before, Lauren was the epitome of a fantastic hostess. She even surprised me with a special vegan birthday cupcake so I would have a candle to blow out on my birthday. [And not get sick from eating buttercream….]It truly was one of those nights when the food was good, the company even better, and you feel so happy about the whole situation that you spend a majority of the drive back to Charlottesville commenting to your passenger about just how much fun it was.

“Pumpkin (Ale) + Plant (Based)” Pairing in October, anyone?

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table August 15, 2012 at 12:20 am

I want to come in October!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I say Lauren’s post and nearly died of envy. Those cheese straws have been in my bookmarks forever.

Birthday perfection. :)

Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes August 15, 2012 at 2:00 am

Veggies and beer sound like a fab combination. Everything looks yummy as always!

Kristen @ notsodomesticated August 15, 2012 at 7:15 am

Fun!! And those cupcakes look amazing! I’d be happy to take them off your hands! 😉

Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli August 15, 2012 at 7:33 am

Oh my gosh, I am so incredibly green with envy right now that I look like I belong on my blog header!! Everything looks absolutely amazing! I LOVE tasting new beers…and wine…and food…and having good company to go along with it? Well that’s just [dairy-free] icing on the [vegan] cupcake isn’t it! 😉

And now I MUST go check on all these delicious looking recipes!!! Pinterest awaits!! Lol

Cari August 15, 2012 at 9:22 am

this sounds like so much fun! and what a great way to spend a birthday :). I had no idea Bison made a honey basil beer (although i’ve had a chocolate one of theirs before :) )– gotta try that sometime! An october version of this would be super fun :) (all the fall-ish foods!).

Laurie @ Love, Laugh, Laurie August 15, 2012 at 10:01 am

Food and beer pairing?!? This is like my dream come true, I’m so jealous!

Shannon August 15, 2012 at 10:28 am

I was seriously impressed with the progression of the meal. It is like we are professional beer pair-ers.

Kati Mora, MS, RD, Kellogg's FiberPlus(R) Wellness Advocate August 15, 2012 at 12:30 pm

The vegan cupcake is so cute!! And I love the fiber-licious berries on top. They really add something, don’t you think?

MassachusEATS August 15, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Holy awesomeness! That is such a fun idea 😀

Becks at Crunchy Can Feel Good August 15, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I love beer tastings! We do them at work every Friday and it’s an awesome time to catch up with my co-workers and talk about new stock. Most of us are or were chefs and foodies so thinking up pairings is probably my favourite thing to do when tasting. And your beers sound delicious! We can’t get a lot of American craft beer into Canada because of our liquor laws. I’m so jealous.

Lexi @ You, Me, & A World to See August 15, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Those cheese straws sound fab and look even better :) Second appetizers ftw!

lindsay August 15, 2012 at 3:59 pm

damn you gluten, i want all this. Beer, bruschetta, ahhh!

Lauren @ vegology August 15, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Thanks so much for joining us and writing such a sweet post. Glad you had a fun birthday. :)

Melissa @ Treats With a Twist August 15, 2012 at 8:38 pm

OMG Aug 11th is MY birthday! I’m so excited I found your blog and that we have a lovely coincidence in common!

Sarah August 15, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Birthday twin! Amazing. :)

Heather @ Better With Veggies August 16, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Um…wow! Love beer pairing dinners and even better that it was vegetarian. Now make it vegan and I would have been asking where my invite was (yes, I realize I live very far away now). :) What a great way to celebrate your birthday!!

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