BrüFrou 2016 Recap: A Vegetarian Perspective

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Copper Kettle Brewing Company + The Rosedale Tavern: Mexican Chocolate Stout paired with Spicy Chocolate Cake

Last Saturday was the 3rd annual BrüFrou craft beer & culinary pairing event at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. I look forward to this event every spring, and I have attended each year since its inception.

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Little Machine Beer + Table 6: Alternating Currant tart black currant ale paired with Popcorn with kimchi butter

As a vegetarian, I’m often (usually) unable to participate in beer dinners, as it’s rare that meatless courses are offered (other than dessert and possibly an appetizer). And even though some chefs are happy to acommodate such requests, I don’t like to make extra work for them, so I normally politely decline and skip the event.

While BrüFrou isn’t a “beer dinner,” it does involve hours of unique beer and food pairings. At this year’s event, attendees got the chance to try 50 different beer and food pairings. With such a large number of pairings available, I knew I would surely be able to find some that were vegetarian-friendly.

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Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery + Glazed & Confused: Ubermountain Barleywine paired with Breaking Banana Bread: banana bread “cake style” donut with a salted caramel glaze and mini Ghiradelli chocolate chips

While participants had access to 50 pairings, I don’t know of anyone who could possibly conquer them all. There is only so much room in the human stomach to fill in a 5-hour (or less) period. So while there were just 6 vegetarian pairings (fewer than in years past), with access to 6 bites and 50 beers–I still left the festival full and slightly tipsy.

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Ratio Beerworks + Cart-Driver: Handwritten Belgian Abbey White paired with Ramps & Ricotta Tart

I made sure to try all of the vegetarian options, and every one was great! (see photos to view the deliciouness). Though after circling around numerous times, I was unable to locate one of them; so in all I tried 5 pairings. Note: I did find myself going back to a couple of the pairings a second time.

I was, of course, able to sample all the beers, though I’m quite certain I didn’t even get halfway through them (and that’s still around 25 beers!)

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Trinity Brewing Co + Zeal: One Ear classic Belgian saison paired with Vegetable Curry: coconut milk, curry spices, sprouted lentils & micro basil cauliflower rice

This year I had two favorite pairings: It was a tie between Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery + Glazed & Confused: Ubermountain Barleywine paired with Breaking Banana Bread: banana bread “cake style” donut with a salted caramel glaze and mini Ghiradelli chocolate chips, and Copper Kettle Brewing Company + The Rosedale Tavern: Mexican Chocolate Stout paired with Spicy Chocolate Cake.

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Black Shirt Brewing’s Branden Miller pouring a Dry-Hopped Mango Sour

In years past there was an afternoon and an evening session of BrüFrou. But this year they changed it up and offered tiered ticketing with varying prices for a 2-, 3-, 4-, or 5-hour option. Considering vegetarians are limited in what they can eat, a 2- or 3-hour session should be ample time to consume all of the meatless pairings, plus try several additional beers.

The 2-hour tickets sold out quickly, so vegetarians: be prepared for next year’s event and buy early (provided the ticketing structure remains the same). And for those who eat everything: go with the full 5-hour session. You’re going to need all of that time to make it to as many pairings as you can possibly handle.

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I am continually impressed with BrüFrou and all of the amazing, creative dishes and beers that local restaurants and breweries bring to the event. If you haven’t been, I strongly suggest checking it out next year!

Here are the winning pairings from this year’s event:

UMAMI:
Call to Arms Brewing Company + Hops & Pie
Tennyson Standard Denver Kolsch paired with Bahn Mi Taco with braised pork shoulder, pork rillette & miso vegetables
SALT:
Verboten Brewing + Harman’s Eat & Drink
Cucumber Gose paired with Salmon Pastrami with dill cream cheese mousse, avocado, brewers rye crisp, pickled mustard seed & cilantro
SWEET:
WeldWerks Brewing Company + First Draft Taproom & Kitchen
Juicy Bits New England IPA paired with Spicy Citrus Tuna Poke with candied grapefruit, orange & lemons along with sambal on a puffed rice cracker
SPICE:
High Hops Brewery + NorthCounty
Habanero Honey Red Ale brewed with habaneros & honey paired with Pork Green Chile thickened with masa & loaded with roasted hatch green chilies served with warmed tortilla chips

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