beer dinner
Beer Reviews, Beer Tastings, Events, Specialty Brews

A DIY Beer Dinner – Part 1 – dining in, swearing in

“I mean, I’m a grown man, and I still cry at the end of Toy Story 3, no matter how many times I’ve seen it.  And it ended just right. Why would they make a fourth? I don’t know if I can emotionally make it through that.”

“The way they print the letter ‘D’ totally looks like a vagina. And then they printed it on pink paper. Come on.”

“He didn’t want that sippy cup, he wanted the other sippy cup that was downstairs in the kitchen, in dishwater… I”m like dude, drink your water. Go to sleep. We are not having a power struggle.”

“So we are in the middle of nowhere and the only place to eat is either Walmart or McDonald’s. We got her chicken nuggets. And she said it was the best thing she had ever eaten. Ever. Damn it.”

“So you made him trudge back across town, through the snow, with the bag of bagels and the receipt because they didn’t charge him the sales price?” “Absolutely. It was like $2 a bagel! He needed to learn an an important price tag lesson.”

“‘Cause, you know, it’ll go straight through your colon.”

These are the types of conversations you can expect to have when you get a group of parents and friends together around a kitchen table and ply them with craft beer. Three babysitters were managing eight kids under five years old corralled in two different houses and texting pictures of the chaos. We knew we were walking home and about to taste 7 amazing brews paired with gourmet courses, so this sentiment was completely appropriate:

“Since we don’t have our kids here, let’s make a pact to swear as much as possible.”

table set, plated and paired... with lots of water too

table set, plated and paired… with lots of water too


We love going out to eat in Harrisonburg, there are so many excellent choices! But when Thanh and John concocted a plan to have our own five course craft beer dinner in their home, we were all game and everyone sitter-ed up! I’ll let Thanh explain it in the email she sent:

Hello Beer Dinner Guests! So glad you can join us! 

 Here’s how it works:
  1. Each of you needs to pick a course.  You are responsible for perfectly pairing a delicious beer with that course and bringing a 6-pk (or equivalent) of that awesome beverage to share with everyone on Saturday. Let us know which course you’ve chosen so we don’t end up with 6 beers all paired with dessert. As we hear from each of you we’ll let the group know that the course has been claimed. 
  2. Be ready to tell everyone a little about the beer you chose on the night of the dinner.
  3. You’ll notice there are 7 of you and only 5 courses. Great news!  Whoever doesn’t get a course is still responsible for bringing a beverage for all of us to share throughout the night. (As if 5 beers weren’t enough.)
  4. Plan to spend 3ish hours eating, but hanging out could go longer.
  5. Meals like this are a little pricey so we are asking everyone to throw in $5 to help us offset the costs. 
  6. Have the time of your life, like you’ve never felt that way before.
Below is the menu with a list of the major ingredients. No one mentioned any food allergies or preferences, but there is still time to make adjustments. If you need a better listing of ingredients let us know.  
See you at 6pm on Saturday.
Thanh & John
We showed up Saturday … completely ready for steps A-F.

Course 1: Let’s start off with a little mischief…
Appetizer: Stuffed Mushrooms (mushrooms, beef, garlic, butter, onions, and a hint of cayenne.)
Beer Pairing: The Bruery Mischief – Belgian Style Ale Golden & Hoppy – from Orange County, California – ABV 8.5%
mushrooms and mischief

mushrooms and mischief

Tim and I staked our claim on the appetizer and dessert pairing for the evening. We picked both choices out at local favorite Midtowne Bottle Shop (which is where many of us picked up our beer selections). Tim selected Mischief to help stand up to the strong flavors of the savory beef and garlic of the mushroom.  And with the heightened ABV, it got us straight into the swearing and laughing as required by our sacred pact.

Course 2: In the mood for Thanksgiving…
Soup: Cream of Pumpkin Soup with cinnamon sugar toast croutons (pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, heavy cream)
Beer Pairing: Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan – nut brown ale brewed with roasted pecans – from Kiln, Mississippi – ABV 4.39%
pie flavors in soup and beer form!

pie flavors in soup and beer form!

A great pairing from Katie and her Tim. The pecan with the steaming pumpkin soup was spot on and very November appropriate. And those cinnamon sugar croutons… were amazing.

Course 3: beets and beer and beets and beer and beets and…
Salad: Beet and Avocado Salad (beets, avocado, tomato, red onion, spinach, feta and balsamic)
Beer Pairing: Anderson Valley Highway 128 Series: Blood Orange Goze – a Session Goze – Boonevile, California – ABV 4.20%
blood oranges and beets

blood oranges and beets


Salad can be an intimidating dish to pair with beer, but Josh and Martha made an excellent choice with a Gose (pronounced go-zuh), especially with this new session gose from Anderson Valley. The blood orange, sour tartness went great with the beets and avocados, juicy tomatoes and sharp onion and balsamic.  Almost as impressive as the pairing, was Josh’s BS story telling of the brew’s origins… I believe it involved the Spanish Inquisition.

Check back for “Part 2: indulging in eating in” to read about our next two delicious courses and four more guest chosen craft brews.

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