I was recently approached by Dan Higgins, a friend and excellent local chef, to host a beer pairing dinner. I figured it was a great opportunity to put into practice all of the beer pairing studying I did for the Certified Cicerone® exam. Plus, it’s hard to say no to someone who says, “how about I come to your house and make a six course dinner and you pair beers with it.”
Before I start, I have to apologize in advance for the hunger and thirst that this article will cause you. It was probably one of, if not THE, best meals I’ve ever eaten. Hopefully it will help you plan the best meal of your life too.
It seems that every day I hear about a new renovation project down in Over the Rhine or a new brewery popping up somewhere. This new plan is all of that plus a tap room, multiple concert spaces (192-seat live theater space and a 300-person music venue) AND there is enough space for a restaurant.
I had heard about the ambitious project to renovate and rebuild the historic “Metal Blast” building, AKA the old Jackson Brewery, a few weeks back. Then, last week I got an email from Scott Hand, one of the brains behind this new project, to see if I might be interested in learning more and spreading the word. Due to my extreme curiosity I agreed to meet Scott at the building and snap a few photos.
Early this week I was lucky to be invited to a free blogger preview dinner at the Red Roost Tavern, the new farm-to-table restaurant at the Downtown Hyatt. With little information about the dinner I was surprised and excited to see that every meal was paired with a local beer!
I had never been to the Hyatt until this dinner, but have heard that over the past year it has made a pretty astonishing turn around. Overall, the restaurant is very welcoming and doesn’t feel too much like your typical hotel restaurant. The bar is the centerpiece of the space with an interesting mix of modern linear decor mixed with rustic reclaimed wood. There are 6 – 8 local beers on tap (including Sam Adams, which you may or may not know is brewed mainly in Cincinnati’s OTR neighborhood just steps from Findlay Market) and a smattering of the usual suspects like Bud Light and Guinness. They have a pretty good selection of beers, craft and otherwise, in bottle as well.
Since I’ve been studying up for cicerone certification, I took the opportunity to assess the quality of the beer and food pairings at the dinner.