Sip and Savor
On May 14th, Bambara turned their attention to beer pairings for the first time as part of their seasonal educational series held in the Vault Bar. In honor of American Craft Beer Week – Kevin Crompton (Epic Brewing Company’s brewmaster) was on hand to talk about the Epic beer pairings selected by chef Nathan Powers, for a trio of delicious dishes. I was lucky enough to attend and sample both of their stellar efforts.
The concept behind the infrequent sip and savor event is a fun one. Forget those long, drawn out wine dinners, evenings that meander for hours and cost an arm and a leg. Instead, enjoy a quick, insightful after work pairing setup. On this particular evening three courses and three pairings were a downright bargain at $20 in total. The menu ran as follows (click pictures for larger images):
* Wild California King Salmon Tartare, Coriander Creme Fraiche, Orange peel paired with Epic Wit Beer
* Roasted Duck, Raspberry BBQ, Corn Puree, Fresh Raspberries paired with Epic Brainless on Raspberries
* Oregon Smokehouse Blue, Turkish Dates, Marcona Almonds paired with Epic Smoked and Oaked
I am certain I wasn’t the only one in attendance who learned something new on the evening. I was especially fascinated to hear more from brewer Kevin Crompton. Before the evening I won’t lie that I’ve been skeptical in the past over some of their item’s high pricing. After getting to understand the mentality and ethos of the company (identical margins on every beer, with the end price reflecting the ingredients used), not to mention the brewing process, I’m a convert.
The delicately balanced Brainless On Raspberries was a perfect example of their craft, not the least bit cloying as the name might first lead you to believe; deceptively easy drinking considering the nigh on 10% ABV and a slam dunk pairing with oh so sweet roasted duck breast from Bambara. The Raspberry puree used to flavor this Belgian ale, making up 2/3 of the ingredient cost alone.
Of course, it goes without saying that the appreciation of Epic’s brews was made all the easier by Bambara’s excellent cuisine. The three dishes from chef Nathan Powers all hit the mark – reminding me again, I need to make Bambara a more regular stop on my dining adventures.
SLC Bites 3: Bitters and bites
The third SLC Bites event took place on May 5th at The Leonardo. Aptly named Bitters and Bites, the focus of the event was six handcrafted cocktails – put together by half a dozen of Salt Lake’s finest mixologists. Mixologist/restaurant/cocktails were as follows:
Already Dead: Aged Jamaican Rum, 151 Rum, Green Chartreuse, Don’s Mix 2, Pineapple, Lime, Mint, Tiki Bitters
Dutch Bicycle: Genever, Green Chartreuse, Chamomile, Meyer Lemon
Parral: Vida Tequila Anejo, Punt e Mes, Aperol, Orange Blossom Water, Boker’s Bitter
Gin Soda: Gin, Aperol Demerra, Lime, Vanilla
Pickles-n-Pimm’s: Hendrick’s Gin, Pimm’s No.1 Liquor, Dill Simple Syrup, Lemon Juice
Kentucky Roselle: Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Hibiscus-Infused Simple Syrup, Fresh Lemon, Angostura Bitters, Sparkling Water
The $40 entrance fee allowed access to the two hour event atop the Leonardo, four of the six drinks and nibbles from Naked Fish, Pop Art Popcorn, Creminelli Fine Meats, Beehive Cheese, Eva Boulangerie and The Leonardo Cafe. The star of the show was most definitely the cocktails, and despite a relatively slow start to proceedings the event was packed to the rafters by the end. Surveying the crowd, in full party mode, I’ve no doubt many an onlooker to Salt Lake City, but would be stunned by the crowd mix, turnout and vibe. Can’t get a drink in SLC huh!?
My favorite drink of the evening was Copper Onion’s Pickles-n-Pimm’s jade green concoction, a rather radical departure taste wise from many other drinks. The crowd favorite went to Matt Pfohl of Pallet, whose showmanship drew long crowds to his table all night long.
Stay tuned for the next SLC Bites event this fall. Pictures in order: Leonardo artwork, host Vanessa Chang and DJ Jesse Walker, event just starting, offerings from Scott Gardner and Naked Fish, Copper Onion table and Clint Hollingsworth mixing up the drinks.
Disclosure: The organizers of each event invited me to attend as their guest.
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC and The Utah Review; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake. I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for more than a decade. I’m largely fueled by a critical obsession with rice, alliteration and the use of too many big words I don’t understand. What they’re saying about me: “Not inaccurate”, “I thought he was older”, “I don’t share his feelings”.
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