By Mark Lindner
For the Oregon Beer Growler
Approximately 66 people gathered for Three Creeks Brewing’s third Brewers Dinner, held as part of Central Oregon Beer Week. Our hosts for the evening were head chef Mark Perry and brewer Chris Hudson. Many in the crowd were regulars at these functions, while my wife and I have attended an excellent beer and dessert pairing in the past at the Sisters-based brewpub.
The evening consisted of four courses of beer and food pairings, each introduced by both chef Mark and brewer Chris. The appetizer paired Stonefly Rye session ale with sauteed garlic prawns and mushroom ravioli in a sun-dried tomato vinaigrette topped with fresh grated Asiago cheese. The translucent, orange-tinted beer had a light aroma of stone fruit with a hint of lemon, while the color paired visually with the carrots in the dish. The well-balanced session ale (4.6 percent ABV, 28 IBUs) shows lemon mid-palate with a light rye spiciness in the finish. It would be a great beer to relax outside with a six-pack or one to grab on your way to more active endeavors, such as a hike. The prawns and mushroom ravioli were well-executed on their own with the sweetness from the roasted garlic, tomatoes and vinaigrette balanced by the acidity of the same ingredients and the saltiness of the Asiago. Paired with Stonefly, the prawns brought out an almost Belgian candi sugar taste; the mushroom ravioli took away the rye in the finish, but increased the mouthfeel and awoke the honey malt. Both effects went well with the tang of the shrimp and the earthiness of the ravioli, respectively.
The salad course mated CreekSide Alt Bier with grilled squash and smoked tomato spinach salad topped with toasted pine nuts and balsamic reduction. CreekSide Alt Bier was a collaboration with Burnside Brewing Company for the Craft Brewers Conference (6.0 percent ABV, 18 IBUs). Its grain bill consists of German malts with the addition of cherry wood-smoked malt. It pours a clear, coppery-amber with a nose of light cherry and the clean, crisp scent of German ale yeast. Clean and well-balanced, the light smoke — more of a feeling than a taste — comes through with just a hint of cherry. The smokiness was matched nicely, and indeed topped, by the smoked tomatoes. The almost imperceptible sweetness of the grilled squash brought out the sweetness in the beer, while the caramel flavors from the roasted vegetables melded wonderfully with the caramel notes in the beer.
Stampede Ale, the spring release in the Desperado Series, was paired with beer-brined rack of lamb with mint pesto, cranberry and gorgonzola mac and cheese, and almond broccolini for the entree. Stampede is a Northwest-style strong ale (9.1 percent ABV, 70 IBUs) with the malty biscuity aroma of Maris Otter. It pours a translucent dark amber and seems a sort of dark barley wine in aroma, looks and taste. The three-hour boil creates a solid body tasting of dark brown sugar, dark stone fruits and hints of dark chocolate. The lamb, which was marinated in Stonefly Rye for a couple of days, toned down the bitterness in the beer some, which I appreciated, while the beer was strong enough to stand up to the fat of the lamb. The mint in the pesto pulled out some of the caramel notes in the lamb and the beer helping to make it a great pairing. The mac and cheese highlighted the chocolate and also toned down the beer’s bitterness. Again, the beer was strong enough to scrub the cheese’s fat right from the mouth. This whole plate and beer were my favorite pairing of the evening.
Our last course of the evening brought us Top Hat Belgian Trippel and fresh raspberry tiramisu. Brewer Chris was understandably proudest of this beer as the recipe was his creation. At 9.3 percent ABV and 8 IBUs, the aroma was very fruity. Clear dark yellow, tinged orange, it was a solid tripel with a semi-sweet finish. Paired with the dessert, they both shone with the sweetness of each mirrored in the other. The raspberry flavor was prolonged and possibly even slightly amplified by the beer. This was a nice cap for the evening and was so close to being my favorite pairing.
Three Creeks Brewing will be having another brewers dinner in October. I know we will be watching for ticket availability, as it will sell out quickly.
Beer-Brined Rack of Lamb With Mint Pesto
Paired With Three Creeks Brewing Stampede Ale
By Chef Mark Perry
For lamb beer marinade:
2 cups Stonefly Rye Session Ale
1 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1/4 cup mint
*Place 5 whole lamb racks in large shallow pan. Pour marinade over lamb.
*Cover and refrigerate for 1 day.
*Turn racks over and marinate for 1 more day.
*Drain marinade and pat racks dry.
*Place on barbecue. Cook approximately 20 minutes to internal temperature of 120 F (medium rare).
*Or pan sear racks and bake in oven at 350 F for 25 minutes to an internal temperature of 120 F.
Fresh Raspberry Tiramisu
Paired With Three Creeks Brewing Top Hat Belgian Trippel
By Chef Mark Perry
For the jam:
1/4 cup raspberry jam
5 tablespoons Knotty Blonde Ale
For the tiramisu:
1 pound mascarpone cheese
3 tablespoons Knotty Blonde Ale
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
4 baskets fresh raspberries
*Mix raspberry jam and Knotty Blonde Ale. Reserve.
*Whip cream and sugar until stiff.
*Fold cream into mascarpone and add Knotty Blonde Ale.
*Place half of the ladyfingers in 13-by-9 inch pan.
*Coat with jam mixture.
*Cover lady fingers with half of mascarpone mixture.
*Place half of the raspberries over mascarpone. Repeat another layer.
Three Creeks Brewing
[a] 721 S. Desperado Court, Sisters
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