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Todd Erickson Talks Beer, Hosts Ommegang Pairing Dinner at Haven

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While it is better known for inventive cocktails than craft beer, Haven South Beach is catering to lovers of brew with its upcoming beer pairing dinner.

Executive chef Todd Erickson will collaborate with Brewery Ommegang for the dinner on Tuesday, August 26, at 7 p.m. The affair will offer 30 guests the opportunity to taste chef Erickson's summery menu, paired with the brewery's Belgian style ales, all crafted in Cooperstown, New York (home of the Baseball Hall of Fame).

Chef Erickson said the idea for the dinner came about when Haven revamped their beer menu, adding Ommegang's Three Philosophers to the roster of craft brews. "With us being a gastrolounge, we thought, why not do a beer pairing. Ommegang is a great brewery, and it was a chance to do a summer pairing with all these braised summer dishes. I mean, who doesn't like beer?"

See also: Haven Introduces More Substantial Menu, Adjustable Seating (Photos)

The chef enjoyed exploring the various beers the brewery sent to him to design the menu, finding some with distinct chocolate notes and others that were hop-forward. "I went from light to dark in my tasting, but didn't necessarily do the pairings in that order. Some dishes contrast the notes in the beers, some compliment them."

After all the bottles were drained, Erickson decided on a menu that will include a summer peach salad with pecan-mint pesto and burnt honey vinaigrette; buttermilk fried chicken with Brussels coleslaw and sweet pickled melon; ale braised pork cheeks with stewed apricots and black garlic; and milk chocolate pot de creme with cardamom snickerdoodles.

In addition to pairing the dinner with several Ommegang beers like Three Philosophers, Abbey Ale, and Hop House, Haven's head mixologist Isaac Grillo will offer a welcome summer punch made with Leifman's Fruitesse. Erickson said the sparkling fruit beer, brewed by Brouwerij Liefmans, "really lends itself to mixology."

Erickson noted that when pairing beer (or wine) with dishes, "it depends on personal tastes. I don't like hard and fast rules. If you want to drink red wine, drink red wine."

After the spring revamp, Haven's space also lends itself to these kinds of events. "Our walls can transport you anywhere, and the new tables really work well for specialty dinners. Any time we can use our brain power and throw a really good party, we're in."

The dinner is $50 per person (exclusive of tax and tip) and includes beer pairings and welcome punch. To reserve your spot call 305-987-8885 or email events@havenlounge.com.

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