Hop Heaven - AHopEclipseNow! Beer Dinner at the Dogfish Head Brewpub

We like the simple things in life (in no particular order) - sunshine, the beach, palm trees, family, friends, live music, good food, beer and those glorious hops. We're definitely hopheads - we’ve yet to meet a beer that was too hoppy for us! So when we got to attend Dogfish Head's AHopEclipseNow! Beer Dinner a month ago, we were in hop heaven!

Before we headed upstairs for the dinner, Sam invited everyone outside for a little show. And that's when we got a chance to see little hop mobile in action! We weren’t quick enough to grab a video (it may have been the pre-dinner brew we decided to have!), so you have to check out Sam and his buddy Ken Marino is this hysterical video to see how cool this car really is!

Now, back to the dinner! How can things go wrong when the first beer you're welcomed with is this year's release (with new, awesome bottle art!) of Aprihop? It was a gorgeous night down at the beach, and this beer was perfection for such a warmer wintery night. The Dogfish Head crew paired Aprihop with the Welcome Chartcuterie Platter of Serrano Ham, Soppresatta, Lardo & Apricots, Beemster XO, Cabot Clothbound Cheddar and Buttermilk Blue. In addition to all of those goodies, on the tables were sharing plates of Esplette Popcorn, Smoked Marcona Almonds and Mixed Nuts. We loved that this was how the night was starting out!

After the Welcome Reception was over, we got to hear from Sam, who welcomed us to what was going to be a very cool night, giving us the lowdown on what to expect, before turning it over to the Chef, who walked us through what we were going to be indulging in, making us even more hungry than we already were!

Things were a bit different with this beer dinner, and in a very fun way. We've done several beer dinners at the Dogfish Head Brewpub over the years and most of them have followed the traditional beer dinner format - several amazing courses paired with several amazing brews. But AHopEclipseNow! switched that up - attendees decided what beers they thought paired best with each small plate within each course. Everyone was given smaller pours of 6 different beers:

· 60 Minute
· Constellation Funk
· 75 Minute on Cask
· Indian Brown Ale
· Burton Baton
· 120 Minute

And now, the fun began. The beers came pretty quickly which rocked so we could kick off the pairings and start tackling our ideas of what paired best together. Plus, for each of the "danger caps" we could request another smaller pour of a few beers, and with the redcap, we got a full pour of the beer of our choice. Fun stuff, right?

Okay, now moving back onto the dinner. It was broken down into three courses, 1st Course, 2nd Course and Desserts. Check it out...

1st Course:

• Korean BBQ Wings & Kimchee – we loved how this paired with 60 Minute and Constellation Funk. The subtle heat of the wings was so good with both of the brews. The Asians flavors really pulled together with the 60 Minute.
• Braised Bacon & Black Truffle Egg Salad – the smokiness of the bacon went well with Indian Brown; and the nuttiness of the black truffle rocked and rolled with the Burton Baton.
• Crab Salad and Watermelon with Chili Threads – this salad was delicate and amazing, so we wanted to go with a beer that wouldn’t overpower the flavors. Our favorite beer with this course was the Constellation Funk. Want to make a similar salad? Check out this Dogfish Dish recipe!

2nd Course:• DFH Spicy Espresso Sausage and Chili Mustard – the spiciness from the sausage and the chili mustard complimented all of the beers, in our opinion, which was kind of fun.
• Lamb Chops and Parmesan Frites – the 120 was the clear winner with this course, but we also like how the lamb and parmesan frites paired with the 75 Minute and Indian Brown
• Venison Stew – Indian Brown was one of our favorite pairings for this course. It really seemed to pull out the flavors of the stew. 75 Minute was another brew that we thought worked well with this part of the 2nd course.

(yes, that is supposed to be plural)
• Ancho and Belgian Chocolate Truffles – here’s another course that we loved pretty much every brew we had throughout the evening. The spicy flavor from the ancho was a great compliment to the rich Belgian chocolate. Oh how we love chocolate and beer!
• Chocolate and Bacon Cheesecake – although we may love chocolate and bacon even more! We’ve had this cheesecake with World Wide Stout, pairing it with Indian Brown, Burton, 75 Minute and 120 Minute were pretty much out of this world too!
• Carrot and Orange Cookies – for some reason we didn’t expect the 120 to pair so well with these cookies, but they did! This was another dessert treat that we also liked with Indian Brown, Constellation Funk and Burton Baton!

All night long we had such a good time basically playing with our food, trying to figure out what we thought paired best with what foods. We’re thinking we might have to try a little something like this at home with friends!

Feel like you missed out on the Brewpub Beer Dinners? You’re in luck – there’s one more for the season next Sunday, April 27th with a Small Batch Beer Dinner theme! It’s way too easy to get tickets too – all you have to do is click here!

And now we're off to daydream about hops, hops, and more hops! Cheers!