A dinner made for craft beer lovers
5-course beer dinner to benefit Williamstown Youth Center
WILLIAMSTOWN — What's better than pretzels and cheese paired with a glass of "Mass Whole" lager?
How about a "beer dinner," benefiting the Williamstown Youth Center, that pairs five of Wormtown Brewery's beers with dishes specially crafted by Kevin DeMarco, executive chef of The Barn Kitchen and Bar?
The brewery, according to managing partner David Fields, who was on hand for a Wormtown "tap takeover" at The Barn on Jan. 29, has a history of hosting charitable events in its distribution areas.
"It's ingrained in Wormtown's DNA," he said, noting the brewery reached out to The Barn and Williams Inn after its flagship beer, "Be Hoppy," an India pale ale, surpassed all the other offerings in popularity on The Barn's beer menu. "At the end of the day, we're all about local. Whether we're talking about our ingredients or our brand, our team has always had the energy and passion to support the community through our charitable work and this is an extension of that."
Most recently, Wormtown, along with two other Central Massachusetts brewers, Greater Good Imperial Brewing Co. and Wachusett Brewing Co., brewed and released "Worcester's Bravest," with 100 percent of the proceeds from the sales going to the Menard Children's Fund, benefiting the family of Worcester Fire Lt. Jason Menard, who was killed in November fighting a four-alarm fire. The beer previously had been brewed by Wormtown and Wachusett in 2018 to benefit the Ava Roy fund after the death of Worcester firefighter Christopher Roy.
Those attending the Jan. 29 Wormtown tap takeover — an event where the only beers on tap are by the sponsoring brewery — were treated to a sneak peek of menu items that will be served during the Wormtown Brewery Beer Dinner — Korean barbecue chicken and pickled vegetables served on a steamed bun, mini pulled-pork sliders with cabbage slaw and house-made pretzels served with a cheese fondue made with the Mass Whole lager. Also available were beer cocktails made with Wormtown's "Blizzard of '78," an English-style brown ale and "Buddha's Juice," a double India pale ale.
"These items are reminiscent of what will be served at the dinner," DeMarco said during the takeover. "Each of the four main courses will have multiple offerings."
In order to create the menu, DeMarco said he spent time working with grains that Wormtown uses to brew the beers that will be featured during the dinner, which include the lager, "Mass Whole," IPAs, "Don't Worry" and "Be Hoppy," an Irish-style red ale, "Irish Red," and a Russian imperial stout named "Spies Like Us."
"Normally, you just taste the beers and figure out a menu," he said. "I wanted to make the beers and the food work together."
The dinner will begin with "Mass Whole" paired with a cheddar cheese fondue made with the lager, crudite, loaves, pretzels and lavash. Next, "Don't Worry" will be paired with a Maryland-style crab cake slider, pulled pork and biscuits and the Korean barbecue chicken. Next up: smoked bacon, pulled barbecue chicken with scallions and crispy shallots paired with "Irish Red." "Be Hoppy," will be served with a clam boil and rotisserie chick, shellfish with Creole broth, and rotisserie barbecue chicken with buttered potatoes and corn. To finish, "Spies Like Us," will be served with chocolate layer cake and coffee gelato.
"A big contribution to the craft beer evolution has been led by chefs," said Fields, who is certain that beer brings out more flavor in food than wine.
"I recently went to a wine vs. beer dinner," he said. "The food was paired with both a wine and a beer. At the end of the last course, I got everyone to vote for either beer or wine. It was a dead tie. Then, dessert was served. Beer topped wine after that."
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