Monday, March 25, 2013

Nashville Craft Beer Week - Wild Cow Beer Dinner

I often say, "I love food, I'm just trying not to love it as much as I used to." But as a true foodie at heart, I still love going out to eat to my favorite restaurants, and trying new ones.

When I found out March 18-24 was Craft Beer Week in Nashville, I knew I wanted to find at least one event to participate in. When Betsy invited me to a "Beer Dinner" at Wild Cow - the local vegetarian and vegan restaurant in Nashville - last Tuesday night, I immediately accepted and waited in anticipation for weeks - I was pumped to experience 5 courses each with their own beer pairing. I've frequently dined at Wild Cow for quick and healthy meals. While I'm not vegan or even vegetarian, I there are specialties I enjoy from the Wild Cow menu - including their chickpea salad (which I have tried to recreate at home) and "Prince Fielder" sandwich.

Craft beer and a 5 course vegan menu? Yes Please!

The featured brewery was Green Flash out of San Diego, CA. They had Bounty Bev, a local beer distributor, there discussing each beer selection in between each course.

Beer: Green Flash 'Hop Head Red'
Soup: Curried potato and turnip soup

I'm not a huge fan of IPAs, but this was a nice accompaniment to a spicy curry soup. This one had a nice malty start with a hoppy finish. Also, I realized this night that I enjoy a "hoppy" brewed beer in small doses (like our 6 oz pours).

Beer: Green Flash 'Palate Wrecker'
Salad: Mixed local greens with pistachios, dried peaches, dried mangoes, & caramelized red onions

 A high alcohol-by-volume beer coming in at 9.5%, this was another brew I didn't know if I would like because of it's "West Coast-inspired IPA" component. It complemented the salad nicely, which was semi-sweet with the dried fruit and caramelized onions.

Beer: Green Flash 'West Coast IPA'
Appetizer: Collard Green Wraps with cabbage, kohlrabi & green curry hummus

This was my favorite food - the collard wraps were so fresh and delicious. There was a  bit of a spice to the hummus, and the citrus flavors in this beer were perfect to cool down the spiciness.

Beer: Green Flash 'Rayon Vert'
Entree: Stuffed Acorn Squash with roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, pumpkin seeds, cranberries and orange zest.

This was my least favorite course. The Rayon Vert was anticipated to be my favorite beer, since it was read to be more balanced than the previous 3 ultra hoppy selections, but I don't know if it was just that I was ready for dessert and that Double Stout or what - I just wasn't feeling it.

The acorn squash dish was entirely too sweet for my tastes. As an entree, I was ready for something savory, especially after the sweetness in the salad and the upcoming dessert - I didn't really need more dried fruit in my life. The creme fraiche was the best part of this dish!

Beer: Green Flash 'Double Stout'
Dessert: Chocolate Stout Cake with Ganache Drape Beet Glaze & Smoked Paprika

Another one of my favorite courses, but who doesn't love dessert?! The cake was a bit dry for my tastes, but the beet glaze and chocolate ganache more than made up for it. I have dreams about that beet glaze (I. Love. Beets.) The portion was huge and could have easily fed 2 people. However, I ate the whole dang thing because the thought of leaving it on my plate was too sad!

The beer was overshadowed by the decadent cake, but I love a good stout so it ended the meal on a high note.

Overall, the dinner was really good. I left feeling full and satisfied, but since the dinner was packed with veggies and good-for-you grains, like quinoa, I certainly didn't feel "blah" from eating the meal. It was a perfect night spending time with friends.