Friday, April 8, 2016

Food Meets Beer At Cru, Fort Myers

Congrats to Fort Myers Brewing Company for winning Best Larger Brewer in Florida and five medals at the Best Florida Beer Championship Brewers Ball in Tampa last month (March.)

When the brewery teamed up with one of my favorite Fort Myers (Florida) restaurants, Cru, to put on another amazing beer dinner, this wine lover just had to go.

Some in attendance argued that beer is even more complex than wine, therefore better with food. While I'm not convinced, Chef/Owner Bob Boye certainly made the discussion a valid one with pairings that complimented flavors and transformed textures

I was tickled that the cocktail hour featured the refreshing Gateway Gold served in Champagne flutes. Passed appetizers included hickory smoked salmon, sweet and salty blue crab wontons with truffle honey, and a decadent miniature ice cream cone filled with maitake mushrooms cornets and goat cheese--wow.

Mango IPA/Diver Scallop
Our first course was a seared diver scallop with macerated mango in an herb emulsion. It really brought out the fruit flavors in the Mango IPA. This beer has the base grains for Fort Myers Brewing's High Five, then fresh, local mangos are added.

Next was a crisp, fatty and meaty piece of pork belly, marinated and cooked for 24 hours before it reached out happy plates along with with grilled peaches and a savory graham cracker. The Half Fast IPA was fresh and aromatic, hops forward with citrus and pine. It cut through the fat nicely.

Pork Belly

The third course was the one that knocked my socks off; duck confit, duck & foie glace and the most flavorful, delightful king trumpet mushrooms from Oregon. The Red Tape Amber Ale was malty, perfect with the rich meat. It mellowed with the earthy dish to form an absolutely seamless pairing where nothing overpowered the other. A sip, a bite, it was one you did not want to end.

Eating the lamb loin in the fourth course was like having a fine New York strip. The meat was perfectly cooked and served over braised collard greens with a hint of bacon and spice. The Incognito IPA, a black IPA, was hoppy with roasted malt and that roast really came through for a nice partnership with the meat.

Churrasco style tri tip
The final meat course, a churrasco style tri tip, came with Cru's new steak sauce and the  OYA Double IPA. OYA stands for On Your Ass so you can make the appropriate assumption here. It' s citrus hop that had flavors of grapefruit and went surprisingly well with the tender steak and bacon braised Yukon potato.


The Toasted Coconut Porter almost took on an effervescent feel with the sinful dessert; smoked fruit with coconut Pot de Creme. A seasonal beer, this one tasted of coffee grounds and vanilla. It was another great transformation with the food which had everyone at my table literally licking the bowl.

If you think beer dinners are going to be too filling, too much of anything, you should book a table at the next one hosted by Cru. The staff and chef's really know how to do it right.

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