WIAW 50: Beer Pairing Dinner with Upslope & Blackbelly Catering

It’s only fitting that my 50th consecutive What I ate Wednesday post chronicles the best meal I’ve eaten in recent memory.

Or… ever.

Last month, while Greg and I were in Oregon I happened to be reading through my Twitter feed (something I rarely do) in our hotel room after a long day of traveling, hiking and beer drinking. I noticed a (re)Tweet from my favorite Top Chef contestant ever, Hosea Rosenberg:

Screen Shot 2013-07-22 at 6.07.45 PM

I clicked on the link and read all about this incredible sounding event. Chef Hosea’s catering company, Blackbelly Catering, was teaming up with one of my favorite local breweries for a farm to table dinner. Coincidentally, it also was planned to occur the night before mine and Greg’s second wedding anniversary. I knew we had to go. Luckily it wasn’t hard to convince Greg – he’s also a big Hosea fan (and an even bigger fan of Upslope’s beer).

I’ve been a big Top Chef fan since the first season and (like I said above), Chef Hosea has always been my favorite! Greg and I even planned a trip to Jax Fish House in Boulder (where he was formerly the chef at) during our first visit to Colorado in 2009, just so we could taste his food. Unfortunately, he happened to be at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen that week. Just our luck!

Last week I finally got to try Hosea’s food- and met the man himself!

chef hosea

I’ll admit it. I had a slight crush on him when he was on Top Chef…

Here’s how the evening started: The dinner was held at Upslope Brewing Company’s second location.

upslope door

Greg and I had only been to the new location once. We discovered the first location randomly on a trip to Boulder back in 2010 and fell in love with their beer!

As we went inside, we were led into a special room with seating for about 30 people. We were so excited to find out what was in store for us!

martins

The night began with a few beers and some hors d’oeuvres. Judging from the first few bites- I knew we were in for a really incredible meal!

appetizers

You see that bite on the bottom right? That’s a beet burger (a little different than my own version). It was a roasted beet with goat cheese and basil on a cornbread and sesame “bun.” Oh yes.

The most creative hors d’oeuvre was one that I failed to get picture of, but I’ll tell you about it anyway: a red grape covered in truffle shavings and crushed pistachios. Whoa.

After having a little time to much on appetizers and mingle with our table mates, we were all taken on a tour of the facility. We started in the taproom, because the staff at Upslope wanted to make sure that no one was empty handed for the tour. They took such good care of us the whole night (and couldn’t have been friendlier!)!

upslope taproom

The head brewer, Alex, took us around the brewing facility and explained how everything worked. We saw where the beer is brewed and canned (and you should already know that I’m a big fan of canned beer!).

tour

While we were on the tour, Chef Hosea and the Blackbelly catering team were hard at work prepping our meal.

dinner prep

When the tour was over we went back to the dining area and got ready for the main event!

menu

After everyone was served, Chef Hosea came out to introduce the first course. He told us about the ingredients, why he chose them and where they were from (and he did so for each course). It’s so wonderful to hear a chef talk about the food you’re about to eat!

chef

The first course:

gazpacho

Smooth Tomato Gazpacho with watermelon, mint and crab | Upslope Session Pale Ale

I’ve had a lot of tasty variations of gazpacho this year- but this is probably my favorite! I love the addition of watermelon. Once again I thought I need to make this!! The beer was light and slightly sweet – perfect for crab!

The Second Course:

pork belly

Blackbelly Farm Pork Belly with andouille scrapple and cherry gastrique | Upslope Brown Ale

Holy crap. I’m fairly certain that this is the most delicious plate of food I’ve ever had in my life. I am still dreaming about it! You really can’t go wrong with pork belly. And the funny thing is- I usually think scrapple is disgusting. My mom would always buy the gray-ish block of RAPA Scrapple when I was growing up (is that just a Maryland/Delaware thing?) and it just grossed me out. But this scrapple… it had me at hello. It just all worked. The Brown Ale also happens to be my favorite beer that Upslope cans and it was soooo good with the cherries!

The third course:

skirt steak

Grass-fed Colorado Skirt Steak with summer squash & potato fricassee and garden herb puree | Upslope India Pale Ale

The beef was tender and perfectly cooked- but my favorite thing was the “random garden vegetables” (as Chef Hosea called them) and puree underneath. So much flavor! Being the IPA girl that I am, I can’t complain about the pairing. 😉

The fourth course:

chocolate cake

Chocolate Stout Cake with sea salt caramel gelato and fresh berries | Altbier Sticke & Foreign Stout

I’ll be real with you- I’m not a fan of chocolate cake. Maybe I should clarify: I’m not a fan of traditional chocolate cake. THIS cake however… I could eat it every single day and not have a care in the world (except for passing out in a sugar coma). I had to hold myself back from licking my plate clean (and if I had one more beer- I probably would’ve!). This dessert was so good that it was paired with two different beers (of which I took turns taking sips of- one right after the other).

I was so sad when this meal was over, but there was also no way that I could’ve fit another bite of food in my belly! The whole event was $80 per person. Between all of the beer, food and one-on-one attention, it was definitely worth every single penny (and much more!). And get this – we were each given “goodie bags” from Liquor Mart in Boulder that contained a paper that we can use to get a discount on Upslope beer that we buy there for the next three months. AND- we apparently picked up the “lucky” bag, because in one of ours was a complimentary membership to Liquor Mart’s Beer Club (which includes one six-pack of craft beer per week for the next three months!). I’d say that we definitely got our money’s worth from that dinner.

Upslope beer is currently only available for retail in Colorado (although I think I heard that it may be available soon in Texas also), so if you live or visit here, be sure to pick some up! I also think that I heard that Chef Hosea may be doing more of these beer pairing dinners in the future, but I can’t promise that it’s 100% true. (If it is- I’ll definitely be attending again!)

This was such a memorable, delicious, incredible, FUN meal and I can’t think of a better way to ring in our two-year anniversary. Did I mention that we got up at 5:00 the next morning and hiked a 14er?!

Be sure to head over to Jenn’s page to check out the WIAW party!

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