Last month, Haven gastro-lounge hosted its first beer-pairing dinner with Ommegang. Chef Todd Erickson was so satisfied with the turnout and the thought of pairing his food with a great craft beer that he's decided to keep the series going, turning it up a notch with 22-ounce craft bomber bottles, thus American Bombers Beer Dinner.
This Wednesday, Haven will be pairing up with beer columnist and Miami Herald food editor Evan Benn to bring beer snobs a four-course dinner that will make the end of summer a tad bit little cooler.
Since the opening of Haven, Erickson has always had it on his mind to pair with food with alcohol, but the thought of having people hunched over for a meal didn't really lend itself to the concept. With their new hydraulic tables, guests can now comfortably enjoy dinner and drinks. What that means for you ... more pairing dinners in the future that aren't limited to just beer. "We can have fun with wine, whiskey and other spirits. Do all the things we've always wanted to do," says Erickson.
As far as Wednesday night goes, Benn's choice to go with bomber bottles is an intricate one. "I picked bombers for several reasons," says Benn. "Not only are they communal and meant to be shared and discussed but breweries tend to release really cool beers in large format bottles. Stuff that's different than their every day six pack." In other words, be prepared to geek out over beer and perhaps get into a brewed discussion.
Erickson tasted the beers with Benn and did a bit of research on the tasting notes to develop a progression that goes from lightest to darkest, as it would with wine from white to red. "It was my first time tasting these more obscure beers in a larger bomber bottle format. The labels Evan's picked are very eye-catching."
Erickson's menu includes a shichime spiced tuna tartare with buckwheat lavosh, quail egg, and jalapeño masago. "I picked stuff that would go great with Todd's cuisine. The Asian influences in his food will be a match with the Morimoto beer made with roasted soba," says Benn. Erickson thought this Napoleon style dish would be fun because it's a play on the beer and the fact that it's brewed with soba noddles. "Rather than taking it 100 percent literally I thought it would be fun to make something from buckwheat flour."
If you think truffle and beer, or caviar for that matter, don't go together -- think again. This beer pair dinner is all about the unexpected. "I'm eager to show how well beer can pair with fancy food," says Benn. Such will be the case with the cali-belgique IPA by Stone Brewing, which will go with a pan seared butterfish with black-truffle gruyere roasted cauliflower and caviar buerre blanc. "Sometimes people associate beer with low brow food like pizza and tacos, which is fine and great, but Todd really went upscale with his pairings."
Third course consists of an ale braised pork cheek with barley risotto and a mint pear slaw. It will pair with anniversary ale Twenty-One by Avery Brewing. And lastly, Erickson and Benn have heated things up for the nightcap. A Yeti chocolate oak aged imperial stout that's brewed with cocoa nibs will match Erickson's café con leche flan with warm Mexican cocoa spiced doughnuts. "Holy crap is it a strong beer," says Erickson. "It's a sipping beer, at least for me, but it lends itself to a really sinful dessert."
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Dinner is limited to 30 seats and costs $60 per person (excluding tax and gratuity).
"From start to finish, it's going to be really delicious meal," says Erickson.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha