Last week in Denver, Barley’s Angels hosted an event at Former Future Brewing with Chef/Cicerone Jensen Cummings of Brewed Food. This was a very strange but interesting beer and food pairing event that I’ve ever attended.
Former Future Brewing co-founder Sarah Howat was there to give us a tour and was the spokesperson for the brewery. They brew on a 4 barrel system where yeast is a defining ingredient in their beers. Sarah mentioned that " we tend to use more varieties of yeast then any other ingredient, allowing each beer to stand out on it's own." Sarah also talked about their sour ale brewing, Black Project, where they kinda have an open fermentation with two large cooking kettles. Black Project never uses lab yeast in the fermentation process but collect what's floating in the air. Jensen Cummings is the founder of this pop-up group, Brewed Food. They push the boundaries of cooking with beer but they take it to another level, instead of cooking with beer they use the ingredients or techniques in brewing; hops, yeast, malt or fermentation in their dishes. I was confused at this point until he talked about the sauces on our plates that were going to be paired with beer.
|Deborah Cameron, Sarah Howat, and|
|Sarah and Jensen explaining the pairings.|
|Fermentation kettles for the sour ales.|
First course was a plate of 3 sauces or marinades, I understand they can be either. The red sauce was a fermented sriracha and blueberry sauce that was paired with Lage Landen, a Belgian tripel with a 9.0% ABV. This pairing went well, the beer cut the heat from the sauce.
The second sauce was sweet with the flavors of a teriyaki marinade but it only had 2 tbsp of soya sauce in the whole batch, so it was a wort reduction from Former Future's and it had a molasses thickness and flavor. The third wasn’t a sauce but a powder substance which turned out to be a hop cured egg yolk. Yeah, this was one of the weirdest thing I have ever tasted. Cured with salt, sugar, spent grain that was aged for 5 months and it turns into a Parmesan cheese with funkiness. This was paired with Bonne Ace IPA with Citra hops. to me the beer gave the egg more egg flavor. Weird, I know.
The next pairing was a vegetarian dish with a Korean BBQ influence. Bugolgi style squash with baechu kimchi, soured mango and pueblo chilie bbq. All of the vegetables were fermented so there wasn’t a pickled taste but I was really hungry and this dish didn’t satisfy me very much but all the other women really enjoyed this pairing. The beers for this dish were in contrast of each other, one was the Gadabout Lager which had herbal notes and the Pabulum, a Grisette which is a low alcohol Farmhouse ale. I liked both beers and thought they both worked well with the fermented vegetables.
All in all it was an interesting night and I am impressed with Former Future Brewing that I will go there again. If in the neighborhood, check them out Jan 29 and 30, it’s their 2 year anniversary party.