Brooklyn Brewmaster’s Dinner
We’re fortunate to be able to get beer from Brooklyn Brewery here because it’s not widely available south of us in Washington (although what they do have more than makes up for it). It also means that Garrett Oliver has an excuse to visit Vancouver and be able to expense the trip by hosting a brewmaster’s dinner and tastings.
It’s important that Oliver does come to evangelize craft beer and food pairing because B.C. is only starting to get an appreciation for both; the more people (high profile or otherwise), the better. Some in Vancouver are starting to listen, but for a so-called cosmopolitan city, I find it rather disappointing how slow the pace is. At the very least, every brewpub should be featuring a paired beer with each of their food items. Using their own beer in their food should be a standard procedure, wherever it makes sense. Beer with dessert? If the appropriate styles are brewed, absolutely! If not, I would have bottles available to offer it.
We have the potential for so much more. Just look at what food pairing has done for wine. If there’s a way to differentiate craft beer from industrial suds, it’s in that direction. It also appeals more to women who are not engaged by sexist macrobrew marketing. To ignore or alienate roughly half the population in your marketing is sheer stupidity. I assure you, women do like beer, even most of the ones that say they don’t. It’s just a matter of finding the ones they like. Who cares if it’s not a macho beer, it’s still beer!
The Brooklyn Brewmaster’s Dinner was hosted at The Granville Room. At first I was a little leery about this choice. It’s on the Granville entertainment strip which is geared to young partiers who are not known for their discriminating beer taste, if what’s typically on offer in these places is any indication. My suspicions were even further piqued when the bartender was serving the aperitif beer in the bottle! That’s fine when you are talking about a characterless lager purposely made to offend as few as possible. For a full-flavoured beer, however, that’s like eating a fine meal with your nose plugged. You lose a lot of the experience, don’t you? Smell plays a large role in taste, so it’s important to drink from a vessel with a wide enough opening to fully take in the aroma. Those who understood this asked for a glass. Those who didn’t, were conspicuous by the bottle they were drinking from. The point, though, is that this shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Time to go to Beer School.
Aside from a stumble using Sichuan peppercorns to encrust ahi tuna in the second pairing (they numb the palate), the dinner was a great success. Oliver was both informative and entertaining; the food was top quality; and we had the good fortune of sampling Brooklyn Local 2, which is not currently available in BC. Personally, I like it better than the Local 1.
As the diners vacated The Granville Room for after-dinner drinks at the Alibi Room, the twenty-somethings were already lining up outside. And while I doubt they would see any benefit from Garrett Oliver’s previous appearance, I’ve still reconsidered my previous hesitation about The Granville Room. In fact, this is exactly the sort of place that needs to have beer events like this. There’s no point in preaching to the choir. It is the “great unwashed” that need to be reached, employees especially. If even a small ray of light can be beamed into their minds, it sows the seed of curiosity that has the potential to germinate into something much greater. This is why there’s a need for a “constant gardener.”