The line up
I moved back to Portland for grad school and to hopefully live here forever. Portland, along with the entire state of Oregon with all its special perks, is an endearing and exciting place to live thus inspiring me to put together an Oregonian Brew and Bites pairing dinner. I created this menu using a wide range of Oregon beers, pairing them with locally grown foods and incorporating the beer into the food whenever possible. This dinner was held at my residence in Portland on a Saturday evening and my guests were all Portland State MBA classmates. Since I was going on the local theme, I invited a range of interesting classmates: a sustainability expert, a fermenter (home brewer and baker), an arts and crafts whiz/foodie, and two classmates from abroad (Kazakhstan and Ecuador) who had no idea there was such a thing as "Oregonian food."
We started off with a homemade lavender ricotta and blueberries on a herb baby greens mix with fruity olive oil. Lavender goes great with bright lemony flavors so I paired this dish with probably Oregon's most famous beer, Widmer Hefeweizen out of Widmer Brewery in Portland.
I used lavender from Sundance Lavender Farm in Salem, my #1 source for culinary lavender. Blueberries are also local to Oregon and go fabulously with lavender so I put them together on a bed of an herb salad mix, topped with fruity olive oil.
For the second course, I made a Greek yogurt beer bread using Rogue Brewery (Newport, OR) Hazelnut Brown Nectar and whole wheat flour. Hazelnuts grow everywhere in Oregon so it was a necessity to incorporate them into its very own pairing and not just as a salad topper. I used whole wheat flour as opposed to white flour to bring out the nutty flavor and further enhance the hazelnut aroma of the beer. I made two types of butter for slathering: a roasted hazelnut with Oregon sea salt butter and a chili and Yakima River smoked sea salt butter. Portland is known as the "City of the Roses" so I made these into rose rolls instead of a loaf.
Greek yogurt beer bread with hazelnut and malty aromas, topped with chili Yakima River smoked sea salt.
Course #3 was a Mushroom and LSD soup. It sounds totally psychedelic, but only in taste - not in the mind altering way. I SOL-ed Squealed Out Loud early Saturday mushroom shopping at New Seasons Market seeing "Wild Hedgehogs."
There were only 3 boxes left.
I quickly grabbed one along with some Oregon criminis to make this soup: very, very intense because the only liquid added to it is beer. The LSD or Lompoc Strong Draft from Lompoc Brewery in Portland has a dark color with roasted, smoky notes to it. This soup was definitely not for the faint of heart - a true beer and mushroom lover's soup.
For the fourth course, I prepared a beer braised locally made bratwurst using MacTarnahan's (Portland) Sling Shot Pale Ale. Oregonians love to celebrate their seasonal beers, and now that the winter brews are basically tapped out, the new spring beers are popping up everywhere. I selected Sling Shot Pale Ale, not only because it's a seasonal bring brew with a lively hopped flavor, but also because it's "mischievously good," just like sausage it.
Oregon has strong German and Northern European roots, so sausage and beer is kind of obligatory - not to mention delicious.
For the final course, I made mocha beer floats. Portland is a die hard coffee community so I wanted to include some caffeine into the tasting. I made salty chocolate ice cream using 70% dark chocolate and Oregon salt that my classmate, Jamie, made collecting salt from the tide pools and baking it in the oven. I poured Oakshire Brewing (Eugene, OR) Overcast Espresso Stout over the salty chocolate ice cream to form a mocha float.
Overcast Espresso Stout is rich and smooth and paired well with the chocolate ice cream.
The meal lasted about three hours and we finished by watching clips from the new series, Portlandia.
(from left going around table to right) Jamie from LA, Batur from Khatzakstan, Colin from Washington, Heather from Gladstone, Diego from Ecuador, Camille from Boston and Matt from Portland.