18 May 2006

Revising Beer's Image

Garret Oliver is the brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery, and the author of The Brewmaster's Table, a book that sets out to prove that beer is just as highbrow as wine. He believes that ever since the Norman Conquest of 1066, everything French became exalted and everything Anglo-Saxon became lowbrow. He has become beer's ambassador of good taste.

Oliver hosted a "Thanksgiving in April" at the Craft Brewers Conference in Seattle, where he paired various beers with turkey and the traditional trimmings.

Oliver writes that beer is a better match for cheese than wine could ever be. Beer is made from grasses, cows eat grasses and produce cheese. "Have you ever seen a cow in a vineyard?" He argues that cheese coats the palate, blunting the taste of wine. But beer's carbonation refreshes and resets the palate, and its nutty and carmelized flavors meld well with cheese.

Oliver has matched Belgian pale ale with roasted chicken. "A good Belgian pale ale can turn a simple roasted chicken from an ordinary meal into a culinary event," he writes. "Herbs are the key. Some sage, thyme, or rosemary on the skin, under the skin, or in the stuffing will link up with the herbal flavors in the beer and really light up the meal."

For au gratin potatoes he recommends Doppelbock, dunkel, or Oktoberfest marzen; for tiramisu he suggests sweet fruit beer, cream stout, or Baltic porter; and for wild boar Oliver suggests strong Scotch ale.

Oliver hopes to make people realize that beer is more than just something to drink while watching a ball game, but is, in fact haute cuisine.

posted by hiikeeba at 07:12


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know ever since I won a copy of Garrett Oliver's book at the raffle at the AHA membership rally at the Brooklyn Brewery last month, I've become a Garrett Oliver fan. Even his beers taste different to me after reading his book. I've got it in my notes to touch on some of the points Oliver raises, which you so nicely summarize above. I only wish that I had bought his book and read it long ago rather than waiting for it to fall into my lap.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Ben, aka BadBen said...

Garrett is Grreat.

10:29 AM  

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