Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 16, 1996 Craft Beer Dinner at the James Beard House

I am taking a trip down memory and culinary lane ~ this April 16, 1996 menu is from a craft beer dinner held at the James Beard House in NYC.  

In the spring of 1996, Rogue Ales was invited to participate in a beer dinner organized by Chef David Martin of the Friends Lake Inn (Adirondacks), that would be hosted at the James Beard House in NYC.  At the time I was the Mid-Atlantic / New England sales rep for Rogue Ales, and NYC was one of my favorite culinary hubs. For me, this was a big deal--a really big deal to bring beer from Oregon to James Beard's house--he was an Oregonian, and I was thrilled to be involved.  I knew about the James Beard Foundation, the annual James Beard Awards, and how prestigious being part of a dinner at his house was.   

I bought several tickets (and subsequently joined as a member of the JB Foundation for many years), and invited my parents, Roald and Shirrell Buhler, and cousin, Gawain deLeeuw, to join me. I also extended an invitation for Carol Stoudt of Stoudts Brewing Company to join us, and stay over at my parents house in Hopewell, NJ.  My husband was traveling, but my cousin was in divinity school only a few blocks away, he loves cooking, craft beer, and has an incredible palette. I also remember having a terrible sinus cold, and how mad I was that I could not really taste flavors and savor the dinner like I wanted to.  C'est la Vie.  I did keep the menu!  Anyone else remember Nor'Wester Raspberry Weizen?!  Rogue Smoke is an all time classic craft beer,  as are the many beers brewed today by  Stoudts,  Middle Ages, Gritty McDuff'sSierra Nevada, and Great Lakes Brewing!

 Fast foward to 2014.
Chef Martin is now running Turtle Island Cafe, in Willsboro, NY.  His menu includes many great beers, listed under headings that include The Regulars, Local, IPAs, Crafters, Belgians, and Euros!  I love Chefs that include wine on their beer list!

Sharon and Greg Taylor were Innkeepers at Friends Lake Inn in 1996.  Today they are the Innkeepers at The Fern Lodge in Chestertown, NY -- an amazing looking retreat and 70 acre oasis in the Adirondacks.

The 2014 James Beard Awards will be held on May 5th,  and two great craft brewers are amongst the finalists -- so craft beer has a 2 in 5 chance of winning in the  Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional category! 
  1. Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE
  2. Ron Cooper, Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, Ranchos de Taos, NM
  3. Garrett Oliver, Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, NY
  4. Harlen Wheatley, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY
  5. David Wondrich, spirits educator, Brooklyn, NY 
It is exciting to see how Chefs are embracing beer, almost two decades later, both as an ingredient to cook with  but also to pair with.  You've come a long way, baby!

The James Beard House has 3 webcams in the kitchen (stove, prep and kitchen) streaming live during the many dinners they host at 167 West 12th Street. While it is fun to watch, this reminds me of 4-16-1996, when I could see and hear, but not smell a thing!  

Prost, Salute, Bon Appetit and Allez Cuisine!