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Ommegang Beer Dinner at Fishnet: A Pairing Recap

On Wednesday, January 21st, I had the pleasure of attending Fishnet’s first beer dinner of 2015. Playing host to Ommegang’s Brad Lawrason, Fishnet chef/owner Ferhat Yaclin paired five courses with some delicious standbys from upstate New York Staste’s Belgian-style specialists, along with a few harder to find selections.

I was particularly excited to head to this dinner as you don’t often see seafood-focused pairing dinners, which is a bit of a downer since beer and seafood can have the kind of relationship where they finish one another’s sentences and leave loving-but-tasteful notes in unexpected places. It’s really sickeningly adorable sometimes. Sickeningly.

Plus, it was great to see a beer dinner that didn’t break the bank. At $45 per person (excluding tax and tip), this dinner was a great way to sample some interesting pairings at a reasonable price (though, full disclosure, I was an invited guest and so didn't pay that reasonable sum).

Anywho, to the pairings!

Course 1: Potato waffles with thyme paired with Ommegang Fleur de Houblon

First course @eat_fishnet: Potato waffles with thyme paired with @ommegangDC Fleur de Houblon #dcbrews pic.twitter.com/b2q3i0zNZV

— dcbeer (@dcbeer) January 22, 2015

I was a little surprised to see this beer on the menu since it’s Ommegang’s summer seasonal. Though hop-focused beers don’t tend to hold up so well over time, this one still had plenty of life to it. The higher carbonation, herbal hop notes, and light body played nicely with the fried potato waffles. The hops provided a solid echo of the fresh thyme, while the beer’s dryness kept the chips feeling light. Hops and fried food, folks. They work. (Just don’t make a beer batter with a hoppy beer. That’s a bad idea. Don’t do that.

Course 2: Shrimp ceviche paired with Ommegang Hennepin

Second course @eat_fishnet: Shrimp ceviche paired with @ommegangDC Hennepin #dcbrews pic.twitter.com/9Y4tes3kwu

— dcbeer (@dcbeer) January 22, 2015

A few years ago, I traveled New Jersey quite a bit for work. Lucky for me, the hotel that I was staying at stocked Hennepin at their (otherwise not very impressive) bar. As such, this beer holds a special place in my heart – with good reason. As Ommegang’s house yeast ferments fairly clean, the brewers add spices (grains of paradise, coriander, orange peel, ginger) for depth of flavor and to substitute for those yeast-driven notes that so-well define saison as a style. At first, I was worried that his hefty beer (at 7.7%, pretty boozy for a saison) would overpower the bright flavors of shrimp ceviche. I was mistaken. Though high in ABV, Hennepin is surprisingly delicate on the palate, with the spices giving the beer a lightness of flavor you wouldn’t expect. This ended up being my favorite pairing of the night.

Course 3: Root vegetable soup paired with Ommegang Rare Vos

Third course @eat_fishnet: Root veg soup paired with @ommegangDC Rare Vos #dcbrews pic.twitter.com/N7Qd5ECsbg

— dcbeer (@dcbeer) January 22, 2015

Rare Vos, Ommegang’s amber ale, is a great pairing beer. Despite displaying solid caramel malt character, it is still fairly light and fruity on the palate. It’s accompanying medium dry finish allows for it to stand up to some heartier foods. As such, it really shined with the soul-satisfying root vegetable soup.

Course 4: Local porgy and eggplant-garlic mash paired with Ommegang Valar Morghulis

Fourth course @eat_fishnet: Local porgy and garlic paired with @ommegangDC Valar Morghulis #nerdgasm #dcbrews pic.twitter.com/ivRBfxGxG8

— dcbeer (@dcbeer) January 22, 2015

I’m a big Game of Thrones fan, so I was excited to try this beer. Yes – I recognize it’s all part of a big HBO marketing push, but I don’t care. It says Valar Morghulis on the bottle and that makes me happy. Valar Morghulis is a solid take on a Belgian dubbel. Brewed without spices – just malt, candi sugar, hops and yeast – the predominate flavor of this beer is malt sweet, with the usual notes of dark fruit and a touch of molasses. It finishes a little sweeter than I would like, but would definitely satisfy any dubbel fans out there. I was a little skeptical of this pairing going into it. After trying it, it was better than I thought, but certainly not my favorite of the night. The dubbel wasn’t particularly accommodating to the (quite tasty) garlic eggplant mash, though it did play nicely with the crispy skin of the fish.

Course 5: Tiramisu paired with Ommegang Adoration

Fifth course @eat_fishnet: Tiramisu paired with @ommegangDC Adoration #dcbrews pic.twitter.com/nzpVHL4PKF

— dcbeer (@dcbeer) January 22, 2015

Tiramisu is delicious. Even bad tiramisu is delicious, so the fact that this was good tiramisu was just gravy…er…tiramisu. A rich and decadent dessert deserves an equally rich and decadent beer. At first glance, Adoration (Ommegang’s 10% spiced winter warmer) seems to fit the bill. Moderately hopped and fairly aggressively spiced (coriander, orange peel, mace cardomom, grains of paradise), Adoration showcases a predominantly sweet malt body with limited roast notes. That last part is the kicker, though. Though the maltiness of the beer was a solid accompaniment to the tiramisu, I found myself longing for roast in place of spice to complement the flavors of the tiramisu. Still, the pairing was an excellent finish to a delicious meal.

Keep an eye on Fishnet’s website and twitter for more info on upcoming events. Of course, be sure to follow Ommegang as well for the latest news.

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