Paired, a craft beer & food event at the Great American Beer Festival, was one of the most impressive pairings I have ever attended. This year, 21 chefs teamed up with 21 craft brewers to create 42 different food and beer pairings. And the results were stunning.
Paired was held in a separate pavilion just off of the festival hall. One of the bonuses about Paired (aside from everything you see here!) is that it featured special craft beer releases: beers that are not available in the festival hall. The standout beer at Paired for me personally was Confession from Bruery Terreux, a variation of its oak-aged sour blonde ale, blended and fermented with Riesling grapes from Fess Parker Winery.
As a vegetarian I wasn’t able to indulge in all of the pairings, though there were a number of them that were meatless (which I always appreciate very much). I got to taste as many beers as I wanted, but I missed some of the bites that went with them. So the photos here represent all of the vegetarian pairings I sampled at Paired.
I ended up with two overall favorite pairings this year: Tenaya Creek Brewery (Las Vegas, NV) + Jordan Wallace & Chris Donato of Pizzeria Locale (Boulder, CO): Old Jackalope Barleywine + Budino: Butterscotch pudding, milk chocolate ganache, caramel & whipped cream. And Alaskan Brewing Co. (Juneau, AK) + Kyle Mendenhall of Arcana (Boulder, CO): Alaskan Cran-Spruce + Carrot cake with spruce cream, orange & maple caramel.
Paired is an awesome addition to the Great American Beer Festival. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys learning about beer and food pairings, how chefs and brewers decide what works and what doesn’t, or simply to those who like to try new and delicious bites with their beer.
If you’ve never been to Paried at GABF, I urge you to consider it for next year. It’s definitely worth it!