Got Beer? Shock and Awe on my Palate

Beer dinners are always a culinary treat, as well as a showcase of some fine beverages. Believe it or not, despite being in the beer industry for almost a full decade, I get to so few beer dinners. I remember fondly my very first beer dinner how during a key point in the brewery rep’s presentation, I had a tickle in my throat pop up just as I was taking a sip of beer, and the result was a poorly timed near-spit-take.

I’m happy to say I haven’t embarrassed myself quite that badly since then, and have enjoyed many wonderful chances to taste a wide array of food and beer put on by masters of their respective crafts.

Most recently, I was invited to a beer dinner for Evil Genius Brewing at Red Stripe in East Greenwich. Normally I wouldn’t go into too great detail, but I have to say I was thoroughly impressed by the entire meal. I didn’t know my palate could experience shock and awe.

As a rank amateur when it comes to food, I’ve been able to pull off some fun signature dishes at home. My wife is addicted to the Food Network, so I’m always hearing things like “Oh, the textures are amazing,” and “the spice really counterpoints the sweetness.” In the world of beer, I thought I’d tasted just about everything that was possible with the plethora of possibilities that malt, hops and yeast can produce. So I thought I was at least fairly knowledgeable about things like beer and food.

I now know that I truly know nothing.

Having dinner with co-founder of Evil Genius, Luke Bowen, was certainly a treat, and of course, the beer was interesting, delicious and finely crafted. I was in my element, and fully comfortable.

Then came the food. That incredible food! I’ve never eaten food like that before.

I thoroughly lack the vocabulary to describe what I experienced. The flavors that my palate experienced were unlike anything I’ve ever had before. It’s par for the course to complement beer with food, and vice versa, but the chefs at Red Stripe have truly outdone themselves. Luke was as speechless as I.

I’ve dined in some of the best restaurants in RI, and no one has created a dish like that for me before. The mahi mahi ceviche was particularly amazing, and by the time the beer braised beef brisket came around, I had experienced a greater array of flavors than my life had prepared me for.

I write for a living, and I lack the ability to properly describe what I tasted. It’s vexing! But suffice to say it was everything a beer dinner should be, and I’m glad I actually don’t go to very many of them, or I’d never be able to eat normal food again.

The bar has certainly been raised, and I’m eager to see how this experience can be topped in the future. Red Stripe has thrown down the gauntlet, ladies and gentlemen. Who will step up and meet this challenge?

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