Del Frisco's recently hosted a Samuel Adams beer dinner, where four courses prepared by Chef Derek Barragan were expertly paired with the local brewery's favorite beers. Both the chef and the brewmaster teamed up to lead a lively discussion of the pairings and spoke to how the seasonal ingredients in the dishes served to enhance the beers.The evening began with Sam Adams Summer Ale and multiple passed hors d’oeuvres; Smoked Salmon with salted watermelon, lemon zest and baby arugula was lovely but the Fried dough bite with mango sorbet, avocado and red chili sugar was exceptional. The "fried dough" was actually a crunchy tortilla and I appreciated how the chilly sorbets refreshing qualities matched that of the bright, crisp, lemony notes of Sam Summer. And with a dollop of creamy avocado, I could have popped an entire plate full of those.
For the first course, a new to me barrel aged brew with intense black cherry flavors and toasted oak notes, American Kriek, highlighted the Prime Beef Carpaccio. The rich and tart flavors of the beer complimented the lighter qualities of the salad with thinly sliced beef, watercress, roquette, spiced pepitas and the ingredient de resistance, fresh bing cherries.
Next up, the Duck Confit with rosemary gnocchi, kalamata olives and crispy fried leeks in pan jus was hearty and comforting, yet the flavor pairings were bold and unexpected. It proved to be my favorite course, matched well by the classic, full flavored Sam Adams Boston Lager. With its balanced and not overly complex qualities, I thought it was a perfect fit for all the strong components coming at you in the gnocchi.
The main course presented us with a Prime Ribeye that came over a bed of braised napa cabbage and sweet garlic rosti. It was topped off with marjoram, the fresh herb lending delicate pine and citrus flavors. The overall smokiness of the ribeye with sweet counterparts made for a unique pairing with the mysterious and complex Thirteenth Hour Stout - named because the 13th hour is often referred to as the witching hour. It combines roasted chocolate and coffee flavors typical of a stout with an oak aged Belgian ale, where black pepper and vanilla notes come through with a hint of acidity. To be honest, I think the beer helped me to appreciate and enjoy the dish, a ribeye isn't something I'd normally order.
A Black Lager Vanilla Ice Cream Float with shaved dark chocolate and candied pistachios was perfect after a filling meal, which was paired with a robust and smooth Black Lager on it's own.
This distinguished steak house is as much about having fun as they are serious about the food, and the same goes for our hosts from Sam Adams with respect to the beer. Everyone involved played their part in making this event memorable and I can't thank them enough.
I attended this dinner as media, all food and beverage were complimentary.