With only three weeks remaining until the eighth annual Bend BrewFest, the number of participants is growing even faster than the number of craft brewers making their marks in Central Oregon.
Scheduled August 18-20 at the Les Schwab Amphitheater, the festival will feature the sudsy pride of 42 separate breweries, including Central Oregon’s own Deschutes, 10 Barrel, Bend Brewing, Bend Brew Werks, Boneyard, Cascade Lakes, Good Life, McMenamins, Silver Moon and Three Creeks.
Now, I love a good beer. In my travels, I have had occasion to sample the craftsmanship of many brewers from many countries. And I have learned that beers can be paired with food with every bit as much success as a good wine.
Event promoters have asked me to suggest some beer-and-wine pairings for the food vendors at the BrewFest. These are my thoughts:
* Eel River Brewing’s Avatar Jaspine IPA with green curry from Spork. Everyone is making a good India Pale Ale these days, but what better to match with Asian-style curry than an avatar? In Hindi, an avatar is a deity who has descended to earth. I’m sure it’s absolutely god-like.
* Steelhead Brewing’s Raging Red Rhino Ale with a slice of pie from The Pizza Cart. It’s no secret that beer pairs well with pizza, especially — in my experience — a good amber lager. And a rampaging rhinoceros appeals to my sense of the dramatic.
* Gilgamesh Mint Kolsch with a blackened salmon wrap from Parilla Grill. Brewed with fresh Willamette Valley mintleaves, this light summer ale may be a fine complement to Parilla’s world wraps. I could also be drawn to Gilgamesh Mamba, a sweet-and-spicy, hop-free brew that features black tea and tangerine zest.
* Caldera Vienna Lager with a bratwurst from King Weenie. A malty, Austrian-style beer, Vienna lager would seem to be a good match for a German-style sausage.
* Seven Brides Weezin-ator Doppelbach with barbecued meats from Cameron’s Smokeshack. This is a strong, toasty beer with a lingering sweetness in the finish that no doubt stands up well to the smoky flavors of barbecue.
* Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale, by Lagunitas Brewing, with Soupçon & Sancho Street Food. I am always pleasantly surprised by the soups and other little sumpin’ sumpin’s prepared by chefs Steven Draheim and Joel Cordes. The brewer’s description of this ale sounds equally eclectic: “sneaky smooth with a touch of wheatly-esque-ish-ness.”
* Jabberwocky strong ale from Walkabout Brewing with a gyro and baklava from Demetri’s Greek Cusina. I could explain that this rich, creamy, British-style pub ale matches well with Hellenic flavors, when in fact … it’s all Greek to me!
* Fire Mountain Steam-Fired Stout with toasted hazelnuts from Nut Love. I considered an oatmeal stout, but this particular brew makes me think of chocolate-covered nuts.
* Lompoc Sour Cherry Wheat with Cuppa Yo yogurt. If I can’t get a cherry yogurt, I may fall back on Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat.
* Maui Brewing’s Bikini Blond with whatever Kent Koolers dispenses. Don’tcha know, a blonde in a bikini goes with absolutely anything!