Monday, August 10, 2015

Pairing Wine And Beer

This time last week I was preparing to go to my first beer/wine combo dinner. I've been to hundreds of wine dinners and a handful of beer dinners, but never one that embraced both; apparently no one else at this event had either.

When I took my seat at the funky 7th Avenue Social in Naples, the gentleman next to me was conflicted, not knowing which flight he would choose, the beer or the wine. You should have seen his relief when I assured him the restaurant would never be so cruel as to make him choose, he would get BOTH.....wink, wink......because I know people.

We got a glass of wine and one of beer with each course. Not only did the beverages pair seamlessly with each dish, they also complimented each other, proving that like dogs and cats, beer and wine can sometimes get along too.

I really wasn't sold on the idea until I took a sip of Fort Myers Brewing Company's signature, Gateway Gold, a blond ale,  followed by a taste of the award winning Balletto Pinot Gris. Both were fresh and light with lots of, this is gonna work. When paired with the ceviche tacos (poblano crema and pico de gallo) the food and wine geek in me got giddy with excitement!

The diver sea scallops (pictured below with Fresno, saffron creme anglaise, micro greens, poached quail egg and lardons) were served with a small production Ehlers Estate Sauvignon Blanc and a high Five IPA. Another beautiful combination that had diners licking plates and draining glasses.

Then came the house smoked duck rillete with drunken fig jam, served in a glass jar that seemed to be bottomless. The hops in the Red Tape American Amber came from Willamette Valley, Oregon; same place as the grapes found in the silky Coleen Clemons Pinot Noir.

4th course was a petit filet with blue crab, béarnaise, glance de viande, pencil asparagus and twice baked fingerling potatoes. What a savory dish, served with two toasty, complex beverages: the Tamiami Tan brown ale and the Baer Callisto blend of cabernet sauvignon, syrah and petit verdot grapes. The groans of delight were getting louder with each course.

Then came the grand finale, put a fork in me! A PB&J empanada was plated with salted caramel ice cream and served with a Peanut Butter Porter and Delaforce Ruby Port from Portugal.

This dinner was an amazing three pronged punch of pleasure. It's rare in these types of dining events that every course hits the mark....this one did.

Bravo to Heather Smith from Opici Wines and Fred Malone from Fort Myers Brewing Company for working together, sharing tasting notes and picking the perfect wine and beer match ups. The triangle was then completed by 7th Avenue Social's amazing chef, David Lani, who created dishes full of flavor and texture to compliment the beverage combination.

When is the next one?


  1. I am stuffed just reading about it!!! YUM!!! That really does sound amazing!!!~

  2. Hi Gina,
    As a special events coordinator, I am always asked about good places to dance locally. Have you any suggestions?