You may remember my post about a month ago when I attended Big Dog’s Brew School. This past Thursday was the tapping of our batch of War Dog Imperial IPA. As part of our graduation party, we were given diplomas, a class photo, and our own growler of War Dog. On top of that, Big Dog’s executive chef, Sergio Meza, prepared a three course meal meant to pair with War Dog IPA.
Mango-ginger stilton cheese and walnut quesadilla served with a jalapeño-onion-agave nectar and apple-fig salsa
This was the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. The stilton was unlike any I’ve had before. I’m typically not a fan of figs, but these were prepared very well. The jalapeño and onion added a great compliment to the rich sweetness.
Baked ham with War Dog Imperial IPA glaze served with Delmonico potatoes and grilled marinated asparagus
The ham was very sweet and juicy, and had the perfect texture. The potatoes were both crispy, and very cheesy. I’ve yet to have any asparagus that I didn’t enjoy, and these were no exception, they were very well seasoned.
Salted caramel cheesecake
Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts. Surprisingly, I’ve never had a caramel cheesecake. This was incredible. All of the above dishes were meant to pair specifically with the War Dog IPA. And I can attest that the dry, crisp, body of the beer made for a refreshing palate cleanser in between bites of the spicy quesadilla. It also complemented the sweet ham. However by the time dessert came, I opted to try a new beer. Chef Meza strongly urged me to eat the cheesecake with the IPA, which would have definitely been an excellent choice. The caramel on top would match the hint of caramel malts in the beer. The powerful, bitter bite from the hops would stand up to the rich, decadent cheesecake. However, I opted to try out the Black Lab Stout instead. This ended up also being a good pairing. This stout has some very strong coffee-like flavors present that contrasted well with the sweetness from the dessert. The beer was poured on nitro, giving it a creamy texture that matched the creamy cheesecake.
All in all, Brew School was an awesome experience. As previously mentioned, head brewer Dave Otto is extremely courteous and informative. Both our lunch on the first day, and today’s meal, were extremely delicious. And, of course, the beer was amazing. I highly recommend that any of you that love great beer and awesome food sign up for the next Brew School!
*Special thanks to Chef Sergio Meza and the kitchen staff for letting me take the above photos in the kitchen