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Fantasy Beer Dinner #6: Rick Sellers

Rick SellersFor more about what this is part of look here.

Rick Sellers started Pacific Brew News in 2005 (website, blog and podcast) and this year his articles started showing up in print. He recently signed on as Beer Director for DRAFT Magazine.

In case you forgot, the questions are: If you could invite four people dead or alive to a beer dinner who would they be? What four beers would you serve?

Four People, Four Beers

Martin Luther: I doubt my manners would be appropriate for the man, but I have so much respect for a man who was willing to stand up and voice a word of dissent in a time where that wasn’t allowed. I see him as one of the great rebels of history, even though I am certain his persona was humble.

Beer: Could you imagine sitting with Martin Luther (and his interpreter) over a traditional doppelbock? I’d love to find out. The style was reportedly developed in his lifetime and I can’t imagine a more appropriate drink even if he didn’t actually get to enjoy this, I still like the idea.

Anthony Bourdain: I don’t have a lot of celebrity heroes, but this guy simply fascinates me. I love his brash approach to the finer things in life, and from what you see of him (the side he lets us see) he is a true hedonist, a lover of pleasure and I can’t help but think an evening with him would include great food and liberal drinking.

Beer: I’d sit his ass down at Russian River and spend as many minutes and beers as needed to convince him his views on beer are skewed and out of line with his passionate pursuit of better food. He seems to like the area, but when it comes to beer he seems to think crap beer is just fine.

Fred Eckhardt: I’ve had one long talk with the man, and another brief conversation ­ what can I say, I love his stories. Beyond the beer, I love hearing him talk about the travels of his youth, including the days of WWII. Yeah, I’d love to hear a first-hand account in the evolution of the American Craft Beer scene, and who better to walk me through that than the great Fred?

Beer: Hair of the Dog’s Fred? But of course! Legend has it that Fred was named after the beer, but I was able to clarify this with Alan (owner and brewer at HotDog) and he says no, it was actually the beer that was named after the man. I’ll have to let Snopes know.

Douglas Coupland or Christopher Moore: I know, cheating! Both of these men wrote books that brought a passion for reading that hasn’t faded away, and even inspired me to write on my own. They both have quirky styles and a warped world view I appreciate ­I only hope they’re as quirky in person as they are in their works.

Beer: 2004 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, a beer that’s great for encouraging slow, casual drinking and long conversations. Besides, I think Moore may have some great and interesting tales to spin about the elusive creature of the woods.

Fantasy Beer Dinner #5: Lisa Morrison

Lisa MorrisonFor more about what this is part of look here.

Lisa Morrison (a.k.a the Beer Goddess) is the Oregon Correspondent for Celebrator Beer News and a frequent contributor to several other publications. She was honored with a Brewers Association Journalism Award in 2004. She also teaches SudSisters, a beer appreciation class for women in and around Portland.

In case you forgot, the questions are: If you could invite four people dead or alive to a beer dinner who would they be? What four beers would you serve?

My maternal grandmother, Norma, because she liked kicking back with a beer or two, and she was a foodie before there even was a name for it. I think she’d get a kick out of a beer dinner.

Michael Jackson, because we still had much to learn from him. And because I was not yet ready to say goodbye.

Musician/poet/activist Bruce Cockburn. I’ve admired his musicianship and writing since I was a teen. I don’t think he’s much on beer, but I bet we could convert him throughout the course of the dinner. Bonus points if he brought his guitar along.

My husband, Mark Campbell, because I can’t imagine doing anything this cool and not have him there to share it with me. I think he and Granny would’ve gotten along like gangbusters.

The beers

Duchesse du Bourgogne – one of my all-time favorite beers. I think Granny would appreciate how nicely it pairs with everything from steak to cheesecake.

Hair of the Dog Fred, a Portland-brewed favorite. If I had five seats, I’d have invited Fred Eckhardt, but I will serve the eponymous beer instead.

Laurelwood Deranger Imperial Red Ale, another hometown choice. I stalked this down for The Beer Hunter when I offered to get him a beer and he requested “something hoppy and American.” He loved. So do I.

Great Divide Oak-Aged Yeti Imperial Stout, in honor of our Samoyed puppy named Yeti. She’s not oak-aged, but she does sometimes think she’s royalty.

Fantasy Beer Dinner #4: Andrew Mason

Andrew Mason

For more about what this series is part of look here.

Andrew Mason assists Matt Van Wyk with brewing at Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery in Illinois, the 2006 GABF Small Brewpub of the Year. He also makes the Flossmoor blog one of the most interesting maintained by a brewery.

In case you forgot, the questions are: If you could invite four people dead or alive to a beer dinner who would they be? What four beers would you serve?

1) Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716)
-paraphrased from Wikipedia-
A truly fascinating character from the Enlightenment. It would be nearly impossible to explain everything that he accomplished in his lifetime in this exercise, but here are a few. Discovered Calculus independently of Newton, was a Natural Philosopher, Discovered the Binary System, which is the basis for almost all of modern day computing, and was a contributor to Philosophy and the Technology of his day.
I got interested in him from Neil Stephenson’s Baroque Trilogy where Leibniz plays a major role interacting with his fictionalized characters from that time. If his fictionalized personality was anything at all like his real one he would be a blast to share a few beers with.

2) Martin Luther (1483-1546)
Another dead German but another one that I hold in high regard. I’m Lutheran, born and raised, and although we don’t worship Martin Luther, we do learn a lot about his life along the way. I’ve always thought the very human part of his life was very interesting apart from Reforming the Christian church, founding Protestantism, translating the Bible into the common language of the people, and writing extensively. He had a fiery personality and appreciated worldly things in addition to heavenly.

3) Mike Royko (1932-1997)
One of the quintessential Chicago figures of the last century. Royko was and history may show, the best columnist Chicago has ever seen or will see. Here are a few excerpts from Mike Royko, One More Time: The Best of Mike Royko published by University of Chicago Press. Royko wrote about the everyman and always played it straight. From Slate magazine, Jacob Weisberg says,

“Reading [his works] in the new posthumous selection, One More Time: The Best of Mike Royko, I found myself wondering: Why doesn’t anyone write a newspaper column this good anymore? Royko wasn’t quite a Twain, or a Mencken, but his writing was distinctive and memorable and in its time the closest thing to lasting literature in a daily paper. Royko could make you laugh and make you think, stir outrage at a heartless bureaucrat, or bring a tear to the eye when he flashed a glimpse of the heart hidden beneath his hard shell.

Royko would be great to have a beer with. In fact, if this was the ultimate fantasy beer dinner it would be at one of Royko’s old haunts, the original Billy Goat Tavern under Michigan Avenue. You know it even if you haven’t been there. Cheezborger Cheezborger Cheezborger.

4) David Bowie
The only living member of the dinner apart from myself. Does Bowie really need an explanation?

The beers

One would definitely be a Bamberger style rauch beer. I’m deliberately not picking a specific one because nearly any beer from Bamberg is perfect. I love rauch beers. Some of my favorite beer memories are walking around in Bamberg after a morning tour of the Weyermann Malt House, eating lunch, drinking beers, and discovering the city with my family.

The next would be a Kreuzberg Kloster beer from the area of Germany known as the Rhön. One of my first real German beers was their Dunkel, drunk out of a cold ceramic stein. But we weren’t able to drink the beer until we first climbed up the huge hill that the monastery sits upon, walked along the whole tour of the stations of the cross, looked at the enormous crosses on top of the hill (kreuz = cross burg = hill or small mountain) and walked back down the hill to the monastery where the beer is. And it was great beer.

A sour belgian-style ale
Something drinkable, but still assertively sour, acidic, and tart. Could be authentically Belgian or it could be an American interpretation.

Ol’ Woody
And I realize I don’t necessarily make the best beers in the world, but I sure as hell love drinking what I make. Ol’ Woody is a 100% Amarillo IPA that we make that is barrel aged in a used bourbon barrel and then dry hopped once it is pulled out. You have to serve at least one of your own beers at a fantasy beer dinner.

And although you didn’t specifically ask, and I already mentioned the Billy Goat, we would definitely be eating bbq. I have a passion for bbq that has drawn me all over the US seeking it out. There would be a mix of Texas brisket, North Carolina pulled pork, Memphis ribs, and some Kansas City sauce to go with it.

Fantasy Beer Dinner #3: Sean Paxton

Sean PaxtonFor more about what this is part of look here.

Sean Paxton, the Homebrew Chef, was a professional chef for years and has been a homebrewer since 1993. The meals he prepares annually for Northern California Homebrew Festival are legendary, and he writes a regular food column for Beer Advocate magazine.

In case you forgot, the questions are: If you could invite four people dead or alive to a beer dinner who would they be? What four beers would you serve?

So many people to chose from, yet the more I think about it, the easier the guest list is.

Father Dominique, Abbaye Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy. What we taste today in Rochefort’s 8 and 10, might not be how those two beers started back at the turn of the century without his help. Father Dominique’s improvements to the production and quality of the brewing techniques, ultimately changed the course of the monastery future. To discuss with him what and how the beers were made before and what changes were implemented would make for a pretty incredible evening. Can he bring some samples to share at the table?

Charles Greene. One of the two brothers who brought us the Greene & Greene style of architecture. I see many similarities in highly skilled trade and decorative art using wood, to a brewer designing a great beer for the palate and brewing it. His take on food and beer would add a nice mix to the table.

Matt Bryndilson. Besides being a great brewer (at Firestone Walker), he is also a total foodie at heart. With his crazy blend of last years 10 and soon to be released 11, Matt’s experience in blending beers, aging in oak and hop knowledge, could spark an interesting discussion on the future of brewing. I would also love his take on the meal and beers that were served over dinner. And besides, he’s still alive.

And Michael Jackson. I only met him once and never got a chance to cook for him. That would have been cool, to cook for such an amazing inspiration. That menu would take a long time to create. But, oh the conversation that would come out of it.

The first course would start with a glass of De Dolle Stille Nacht Reserve 2000 aged in Boudreaux Barrels for 18 months. The flavors of toffee, apricots, cherries, grapes, cinnamon and touches of spices that you can almost identify, but meld into another flavor dancing on your tongue. I’d pair this with a selection of Trappist cheeses: Chimay Grand Reserve, Orval and Westmalle Tripel Crème, garnishing the plate with fresh figs, dried apricots, toasted hazelnuts, cinnamon infused honey and a rustic sourdough.

Second beer would be De Struise French Oak Aged Pannepot. When I first tasted this elixir, I thought “Sex in a Glass.” Urbain and his crazy/wild team of brewers created a brew that is perfect with food, or to sit by a fire and smoke a nice cigar. To pair with this treat, I would have to have to do a Seared Duck Breast, cooked a juicy medium rare, on a Bed of Pureed Celery Root, with a sauce reduced from New Glarus Cherry, duck stock and thyme from the garden.

I would have to serve my almost done Saucerful of Secrets to my four guests. With a crazy and complex grain bill, different sugars and a radical fermentation, it would be an honor to pour this for a third course. I would pair a Fig Wood Smoke Rack of Lamb, served with a Fig Coriander Demi and Black Truffle Mash Potatoes topped with Seared Foie Gras to play off the dark fruit flavors in the beer.

And my last beer would be Hair of the Dog Dave. Created by triple freezing Adam, aging it in Bourbon Barrels for 6 months, flavors beyond most ideas of what beer is, wash over the tongue. The fact that It’s over 28% abv and over 10 years old now sure helps . . . I did a Beeramisu for Fred Eckhardt’s 80th with Alan, using this beer and pairing with it. The intense malt flavors pair nicely with the nutty mascarpone and a sprinkle of 120L crystal malt. A nice way to end the evening.

Fantasy Beer Dinner #2: Steve Hales

Steven D. HalesFor more about what this is part of look here.

Steven D. Hales is Professor of Philosophy at Bloomsburg State University, but more relevant here is that he edited Beer & Philosophy. He also contributed a wonderful essay in which he introduces us to the idea that quality is the density of pleasure.

In case you forgot, the questions are: If you could invite four people dead or alive to a beer dinner who would they be? What four beers would you serve?

Here’s my list, of folks that were great raconteurs who liked to drink, and would be a hoot at dinner:

Benjamin Franklin
Winston Churchill
Ernest Hemingway

If I added a fifth it would be Scottish philosopher David Hume.

Here’s what I’d serve. And I imagine the beers going with specific foods, too.

1. Franziskaner Weissbier. Served with a salad.
2. Saison Dupont. With a broth vegetable soup.
3. Ommegang Abbey Ale. Served with a roast lamb.
4. Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. With a dense chocolate
torte dessert.

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