Derek and I had the pleasure of going to the Bell’s Beer Dinner at Food Dance Cafe this week. It was a 5 course meal with a beer pairing for each course. Food Dance is one of our favorite restaurants so we knew it would be good and we weren’t disappointed.
Bell’s Brewery started in Kalamazoo and now it is distributed all over the country. We learned a little more about the brewery at the start of the dinner. I was excited to hear that Bell’s is making all sorts of strides to become a more sustainable business. They are big into composting, only using non-GMO ingredients, saving water, and becoming more energy efficient. This was music to my ears as I am a total sucker for companies that are doing their part to save the Earth!
Anyways, on to the food and beer!
1st drink: I didn’t catch the name of this cocktail but it was a concoction of whiskey, cointreau, lime, and Sparkleberry beer (I love that name!). It was a really interesting flavor. The lime was very prominent and the Sparkleberry added a nice effervescence. I couldn’t even detect the whiskey. There were also some raspberries in the bottom – those were my favorite part of the drink!
1st course: Cheesy Poof paired with Kalamazoo IPA
This was tasty! Think of a sophisicated bar cheese on a perfectly toasted rye toast. The cheese was a delicious combo of whipping cream, cheddar, and the IPA. I could taste a little of the beer in the cheese and drinking the beer after taking a bite made it taste even better.
2nd course: Corn Maize – Michigan sweet corn prepared 3 different ways paired with Bell’s Amber
This was my favorite course! Everyone at our table loved all three dishes.
-Corn Fondue – similar taste to a creamy corn chowder
-Chili Corn Creme Brulee – the perfect combo of sweet, spicy, creamy, salty, crunchy
-Corn Pancake – a slightly crunchy on the outside soft on the inside pancake with sweet corn bites sprinkled throughout
The Amber was Bell’s first beer first brewed in 1985. It was described as the perfect food beer because of its carmel notes. I could defintely picture drinking this beer with tacos, grilled chicken, pizza, or pretty much any food. It had a really nice and versatile flavor.
3rd course: Whole Roasted Carlson Lamb with Fresh Green Curry, Apricots, and Basmati Rice paired with Oarsmen.
I’m not a big fan of lamb. I did try a new bites but I just couldn’t get on board. The apricots, curry, and rice were great – the rice was a little crunchy and had good texture. Derek on the other hand thought that the lamb was excellent.
Oarsmen is a really light, tart session beer. I learned a session beer is one that you can consume a lot of…I think my days of consuming a lot of beer are over as by this time I was already feeling a bit tipsy. I liked the flavor of Oarsmen though – it almost reminded me of a lemonade.
4th course: Raunchy Burger – Grass-fed Beef, Bacon Jam, Brie, and Argula paired with Black Note
I loved the burger toppings – what’s not to love with bacon and brie?
I didn’t think I would like Black Note as it was described as a stout aged in bourbon barrels. I’m typically not a fan of dark beers. But I was pleasantly surprised – after taking a bite of burger, the beer almost tasted like chocolate as a lot of the bitterness was erased by the saltiness of the burger.
Black Note is a very heavy thick beer. I only could finish about half of the serving.
5th course: So Sparkly – Sparkleberry, Saffron, and Honey Ice Cream
A beer float! An interesting idea but I think I would have preferred the ice cream separate (and more of it!). It melted pretty quickly so it turned more into a creamy drink. I didn’t get much of a saffron flavor.
I thought this was a really fun experience! I never gave beer pairings much of a thought besides drinking Corona with Mexican food but the beers really enhanced the dishes served. The pictures really don’t do the food justice – everything looked much more appetizing in real life.
I also enjoyed the community atmosphere of the dinner. It was fun to meet new people who shared our love of food.
We left feeling very full but the indulgence was worth the experience. We took a walk when we got home which is always a great way to combat that ‘stuffed’ feeling.