Fermented feast

AleFeast 2016, Masonic Temple, Dayton, OH. Feb. 6, 2016 © 2016 Photograph by Skip Peterson

AleFeast 2016, Masonic Temple, Dayton, OH.
Feb. 6, 2016
© 2016 Photograph by Skip Peterson

AleFeast returns to Dayton’s Masonic Temple

By Jim Witmer

Photo: Over 30 brewers showcase beer with food purveyors at the Masonic Temple for AleFeast Feb. 4 photo: Skip Peterson

Pairing beer and food can be an exercise of endless possibilities, and one of the best examples under one roof is the annual event brought to us by AleFeast Dayton.

This year’s gastronomy extravaganza takes place Saturday, Feb. 4, and, as always, will be presented in the stately Masonic Center sitting atop Grafton Hill overlooking downtown Dayton.

Showcasing how craft beer and food can transform each other by either contrasting or balancing flavors, local food purveyors will team up with over 30 breweries to celebrate flavor combinations for those who are experienced or just beginning to develop their palates.

Each participant gets 20 tickets, a glass, and a sampling reference guide. The event has gone hi-tech this year, with a downloadable app from Google Play or the Apple App Store to assist in menu selections. According to Amanda Pond, who owns the festival with Jennifer Dean of Mudlick Tap House, “It’s your trusty guide that won’t let you down!”

This year’s cuisine will be provided by local retailers Amber Rose, Brixx Ice Company, Brock Masterson’s, Cold Water Café, Dorothy Lane Market, Double D’s BBQ in Lebanon, El Meson, Esther Price Candies, Fifth Street BrewPub, Mudlick Tap House, and the Wandering Griffin. Dessert and coffee will be provided by Madisono’s Gelato and Twisted River Coffee Roasters, LLC.

The origins of the over 75 beers selected for tasting will run the gamut of Dayton’s local independents to well-known national and international breweries. For those who still prefer wine, a red and white will also be available at each tasting table. As the local brewery scene grows, so does this event.

“The biggest change with the event over the years has been due to the local craft beer boom,” Pond says. “Now that we have some incredible local breweries, we’re able to work with them and give them a presence at the event along with our local food purveyors to make the event very Dayton-oriented.”

It’s often said that beer is a food itself, with its inherent depth of flavors, aromas, colors, and textures. There probably isn’t fare that can’t be paired with a beer. The vast selection of beer styles—along with the ever-growing creative flavor combinations brewers are constantly releasing—greatly contribute to the creativity in the culinary world, as well.

If you attend AleFeast, think about the chosen pairings and why they work well together. While there are no hard-and-fast rules for choosing the right combinations, there are some loose guidelines that might seem obvious:

Delicate foods pair well with delicate beers, and the inverse is true, too.

Since beer is grain-based, think of the bready flavors it complements. The fact that the grains (malts) are roasted prior to brewing is similar to many cooking methods. The degree to which the malts are roasted contributes many flavor variables from a light toast to a deep roast with chocolate, coffee, and smoky notes.

Then there are the flavors and aromas of hop varieties that can provide character in a beer, ranging from earthy to herbal to tropical citrus fruits, to spruce and pine. Hop bitterness can be bracing or subtle and sometimes steal the show in India pale ales.

But it’s the yeast that will pull all the components together and define the beer into either an ale or lager. Yeast provides that soft, crisp, spicy, fruity, clove, or pepper descriptor.

One of the pairings to rule them all is beer and cheese. By choosing Belgian beers for any food pairing, one cannot go wrong; but with cheese, it’s a home run. A malt-forward beer, such as a brown ale, will complement the nuttiness of cheddar. Pungent cheese and IPAs or stouts pair nicely. The carbonation of beer helps to cut through cream and salt and adds liveliness to your palate. Take the feast’s Table Number One as an example of what will be available.

Dorothy Lane Market presents an international assortment of cheeses, from curds to chèvre, for the following selection of brews:

Goose Island Lolita 

A rose-colored Belgian-style pale ale fermented with wild yeast and aged on raspberries in wine barrels. Inhale aromas of fresh raspberries, bright jammy fruit flavors, and the crisp, refreshing body of a Belgian framboise. (ABV 9.0% IBU 32)

Sierra Nevada Golden IPA 

Floral and grassy with a pronounced resinous pine and grapefruit aroma, which pays homage to the mighty Cascade and wonderful world of hop flavor it inspired. (ABV 5.9% 50 IBU)

Lucky Star Ojos Locos (Draft) 

Light cantina-style lager that goes great with a twist of lime. (ABV 5.2 % IBU 8)

Lock 27 Citra Hopped Sunfish (Draft) 

A Citra hopped version of their House Pale Ale, this beer is lighter in body while still maintaining hop flavors and aromas. (5.2% ABV, 40 IBU 5.5 SRM.)

Great Lakes Black Out Stout 

Pitch-dark and rich, kindled with black malt and roasted barley, and illuminated by flickers of bitter hops. (ABV 9%, IBU 50)

Unibroue La Fin Du Monde 

This triple-style golden ale recreates the style of beer originally developed in the Middle Ages by Trappist monks for special occasions, and as such, it was the first of its kind to be brewed in North America. (ABV 9%, IBU 19)

At the sweeter end of the spectrum, if you’ve never had beer for dessert, there are endless possibilities to explore. Take Table Number 15:

A selection of Madisono’s Gelato, including caramel and sea salt, Madagascar vanilla, and double dark chocolate flavors greets this selection of beers:

113 Breckenridge Vanilla Porter 

An ale with all the chocolate and roasted nut flavor of a classic porter—a vanilla kiss in a rich, dark sea. (ABV 5.47% IBU 16)

Sierra Nevada Narwhal 

Featuring an incredible depth of malt flavor and rich with notes of espresso, baker’s cocoa, roasted grain, and a light hint of smoke, Narwhal is a massive malt-forward monster. Aggressive but refined with a velvety smooth body and decadent finish. (ABV 10.2% IBU 60)

Southern Tier Crème Brulee 

Caramelized sugar, vanilla, custard, nicely sweet and balanced, rich, and milky. (ABV 10%)

Warped Wing 10 Ton (draft) 

Creamy, with hints of coffee, chocolate, and vanilla—and a faintly nutty finish. (ABV 7% IBU 30)

Warped Wing Pirogue Belgian Black Tripel 

A nose of coffee and baker’s chocolate with a touch of fruity and spicy yeast aroma, sweet flavors of brown sugar and fig that dissipate into a slightly vinous note contributed by the coffee’s slightly drying roastiness, slight notes of dark stone fruit, and Belgian-style Tripel finish credited to the Abbey strain of yeast. (ABV 9% IBU 24)

This year’s event sponsors are Heidelberg Distributing, Mitosis, Dayton Most Metro, Cavalier Distributing, Allied Wine, and Dayton City Paper.

A portion of the event proceeds will benefit the Pink Ribbon Girls (PRG) and the Dayton Area Rugby Club. Take a moment to visit the PRG booth to have a pink beer tasting and find out more about the services they provide to patients and families.

After two sell-out years and still growing in popularity, Pond and Dean advise anyone interested to purchase tickets now, while they are still available.

Dayton AleFeast takes place Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Masonic Temple, 525 W. Riverview Ave. in Dayton. The event runs from 4–7 p.m. Tickets are available at Arrow Wine, Belmont Party Supply, Dorothy Lane Market, Fifth Street Brewpub, Mudlick Taphouse, Warped Wing, or online at AleFest.com. Presale tickets are $50; $60 at the door. Attendance is limited to 600.  For the full beer and food lineup or more information, please visit AleFest.com.

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Reach DCP beer writer Jim Witmer at JimWitmer@DaytonCityPaper.com

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