Friday, September 12, 2008

Try This Pairing: Saison & Pheasant/Wild Mushroom Lasagna

Patty and I were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary last night at one of the best (and, our favorite) restaurant in the Philadelphia region. I cast a very big net when I say region, because the Birchrunville Store Cafe is just that excellent. From the city to the sticks to the shore, that's a very easy argument to make. If you find your way there (yes, it really is out in the middle of nowhere...and we kinda like it that way), I think you'll have a difficult time disagreeing. We've been there many times for dinner and still feel like we can't get there often enough. Okay, enough of a plug for the restaurant. Afterall, they don't have a license to sell beer, or any alcohol for that matter. If this was more of a food-centric site, I'd be writing a lot more about Birchrunville. Then again, more of you would start taking up the very limited and precious table reservations and we can't be having any of that! (If you want to know more about the restaurant, check out their website or drop me an e-mail if you'd prefer....just don't drop me) But, we gather here to discuss beer and often the subject turns to food and beer pairings. When two things go so well together, I am obligated to bring it to your attention. I've gone on and on in the past about my favorite style of beer, saison. The incredibly versatile food-pairing-worthiness of saison plays a large role in my appreciation for the style. Last night, when a pheasant (just barely perceptible) and wild mushroom and truffle (much more noticeable) lasagna was on the appetizer menu, how excited do you think I was to have the De Proef Saison along with me as our opening bottle? Called Saison Imperiale, it's from their Brewmaster Reserve line. This beer is so nicely layered with strong saison-type flavors (a bit spicy, a touch floral, 8.5% ABV) running in the forefront with a real nice solid layer of funk running behind the scenes. But not so far behind that you need to search for's there, striking just the right balance, in my opinion. And balance? With the ever-so-slight gamey-ness of the pheasant and the more intense earthiness of the mushrooms and truffles...WOW! I almost ruined our anniversary dinner by talking too much about it. Problem is, Patty's palate is starting to develop a liking for the sours and the funkies. Sharing is great and all, but now I have to buy twice as much as I'd normally drink ;-) Wait, there's more! Oh wait, that's what he said. Who's he? William Brand's latest posting contained this nugget: "a Saison aged in Pinot barrels."

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