Beer dinners are a dime a dozen these days, a trend that has been fully absorbed into the national dining consciousness by this point. How do we know this? Exhibit A: A 2014 article in the News-Press, which covers Fort Myers and other parts of southwestern Florida, which called the beer dinner "a new dining trend." It also described a course at a recent North Naples beer dinner that featured a beet and goat cheese salad paired with a Vienna lager, into which blueberries, strawberries, dragonberry rum and blueberry vodka had been inexplicably added. So yeah, the bloom is off the rose for the most part.
That said, when a beer dinner makes us sit up and take notice, you know it's different—and potentially very, very good. Such is the case with the upcoming Indian Comfort Food Beer Dinner at Beaver's, which is pairing the dishes with new beers from the young Brash Brewing Company.
This is an interesting enough collaboration in itself, teaming Beaver's talented pitmaster and head chef, Dusty Sagaser, with Ben Fullelove, owner of first-class craft beer bar Petrol Station and founder of the brewery that was once banned from the state of Texas (for being too awesome? Your call). But to really elaborate on all the reasons you should attend this dinner, we turn to another trend that still has some juice left in it: The listicle.
1. Champagne Wishes and Metal Dreams
The dinner opens with a champagne reception and ends with a Vulgar Display of Power, arguably the best beer in Brash's current portfolio: A Russian imperial stout that will be paired with Scotch-spiked chocolate pecan pie and a green curry toffee, the latter in keeping with the theme of the dinner. Along the way you'll also try four of Brash's IPAs, including its new EZ7 and the classic Pussy Wagon.
2. Have You Ever Had Indian Food with Barbecued Duck Confit?
Sagaser is about more than just smoking a brisket. For this collaboration, he's come up with a menu that pairs his Texas-with-a-twist style (this is a guy whose daily menu includes a Gulf Coast gyro and Texas shepherd's pie) with Indian staples like murgh makhani (butter chicken) and vindaloo. The first course kicks off with a spiced red lentil soup to which Sagaser has added barbecued duck confit, but it only gets cooler from there: If you think the shrimp vindaloo over huitlacoche grits is fun, wait until the lamb belly burnt ends hit the table.
3. Indian Food + Beer = Success
Few other cuisines pair as well with beer, especially the IPAs Brash is so fond of brewing. It's no coincidence, after all, that India is right there in the name of the hop-forward ales that both brighten and temper the fiery spices in Desi food. This is a no-brainer, unlike vodka-spiked Vienna lagers paired with beets and goat cheese.
4. Even Vegans Are Welcome
As befitting Beaver's commitment to inclusion, all of the courses can be made vegan on request. This may have been the standard at the Libertine in Dallas for a while, but it's rarer down here. And judging by Beaver's past vegan dinners, whatever Sagaser and his team come up with as vegan substitutions for shrimp vindaloo or butter chicken will be just as tasty.
5. Dusty and Ben Are Amazing
I'd pay $65 to hang out with these two titans of industry for a night. The five courses of food and pours of beer and glasses of champagne are just a bonus. Unlike some beer dinners I've attended, you are guaranteed to have a totally real time with two thoroughly unpretentious, genuinely interesting individuals—and you'll go home with a fantastically full belly to boot.