Let’s subtitle this post: The many perks of being married to a homebrewer. (Remember my post about Guinness and spent grain cinnamon rolls?)
Joe started brewing a couple of years ago, inspired by our brother-in-law, Andy. Aside from one instance when I came home from an adult tap dancing lesson to see smoke billowing from the kitchen, it’s been an excellent adventure that’s turned me into a bit of a beer snob. Homebrewing is a hobby that gradually becomes a way of life.
In went a great retro keg fridge for the garage this past spring. Nothing chases an afternoon of yard work better than a lemon basil beer.
We’ve started to make brewpubs a must-stop element of any trip (even our honeymoon in Austria), and recently talked beers with the brewmaster at Old Man River in McGregor, Iowa over a late lunch at the bar. (The brewery crafts Backpocket beers, which are awesome and extra fun because of the great graphic design on the labels. We learned they’ll be opening a Backpocket Brewery in Iowa City soon!)
And then last night, the guys overdid themselves by developing and cooking a four course beer dinner for me and Ellen and Caroline, who paired everything with juice. (It was a supersweet surprise, complete with the wearing of aprons and a printed out menu.)
They found the framework of the dinner on CraftBeer.com, but came up with the specific beer pairings and tweaked the recipes themselves. (They even went to random meatlocker warehouses in search of lamb! They ended up getting it at Gateway Market, though.) The idea is that we’d sample the different microbrews with dinner, then help select the next beer type they’d try making. And I’d have to stay out of the kitchen all day, reading and going on walks with the dog instead of emptying the dishwasher? SOLD!
Here’s what they made for us. It was all delicious, and the photos I took with flash couldn’t do it all justice, so I won’t even post most of them.
- First Course: Linguine Carbonara Paired with a Belgian-style Dark Abbey Ale (they paired it with a New Belgium Abbey Belgian Style Ale)
- Second Course: Indian-spiced Crab Cakes Paired with an India Pale Ale (paired with Red Hook Long Hammer IPA)
- Third Course: Roast Rack of Lamb Paired with a Brown Ale or Porter (paired with Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar)
- Fourth Course: Imperial Stout Float (paired with Belles Special Double Cream Stout — topped with some awesome organic spiced chocolate shavings.)
And to think that four years ago today, I wooed Joe by inviting him to my apartment for dinner. I made a bruschetta chicken bake off of the back of a Stove Top Stuffing box and we took the black lab I was dog-sitting for a post-meal walk around the neighborhood! I was so nervous that night and I still remember what I wore. Last night it was great to relax by the fire and laugh and drink with my family. Being married to a homebrewer/guy like Joe has some pretty solid perks, I must say!