Blog written by Allyson Rolph, Earth Rider Lead Brewer
I really wish I had a picture of Frank’s response upon walking into the National Building Museum. The 70-foot tall, eight-foot diameter Corinthian columns draw your eyes up to the clerestory windows. Earth Rider’s Director of Brewing, Frank Kaszuba, put his hand on his head, leaned back as he looked up, and sighed “WOW.” It was mind blowing. The building is amazing inside and out. The art-major part of me loved the architectural details including the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian Columns in the Great Hall and the 1200-foot long terra cotta frieze around the entire outside of the building.
Our beers were well received with many positive comments about bringing a lager. In a hall full of sours, wood aged, IPAs, and experimental beers, our Helles stood out as clean, well made, and refreshing.
I was pleasantly surprised by the food paired with our beers. Precious Material (Munich Helles) was paired with chile relleno, asadero, and pine nuts. I followed the directions, “let the bite sit for a second, then use the beer to push the heat of the pepper to the roof of the mouth and the crisp carbonation to the bottom.” What an incredible palate pleaser! The light malt sweetness of Precious Material worked perfectly with the spice in the Chile Relleno.
Superior Pale Ale (American Pale Ale) was paired with chicken roulade, fennel, and tarragon. The soft notes from the fennel and tarragon played off the Citra and Denali hops, bringing the bite to a clean finish. Incredible.
As a brewer I have poured at a lot of festivals and events but this was something special. The Brewers Association has put together the total package with every detail covered impeccably. The Chefs made amazing pairings, the support staff were excellent and organized, and the attendees were truly interested in the beer and the pairings. Several people I talked to said this was their big annual beer event that they look forward to every year and many even travel to Washington DC just to attend. And why not? This is an opportunity to taste offerings from breweries from all over the country that you may not find otherwise. Even independent breweries that distribute nationally brought rare and specialty beers.
My favorite pairing? Crooked Stave’s Origins (Wood-Aged Sour) paired with compressed melon and cucumber panzanella. The description was spot on: “Intense melon flavors combine with sour notes from the beer to refresh and awaken the palate.” The salad was bright and refreshing and worked super well with the beer’s tartness and oak.
If you are a fan of beer and palate-pleasing fare, SAVOR is well worth the trip to Washington, DC.