Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Millennium beer dinner – Vegan food with American Belgian beers

By William Brand
Saturday, June 28th, 2008 at 2:56 pm in Uncategorized.

Millennium, a very fancy vegetarian restaurant at 80 Geary St. in San Francisco with a staff interested in good beer .held a beer dinner last week and Steve and Gail of attended. Steve files this report.

Don’t think vegetarian cuisine and beer go together? Check out this menu and read Steve and Gail’s report., by the way, is a guide to reaching great beer bars by mass transit. Going to a pub tonight? Check out beerbybart.

The Menu:

Belgian Beer Dinner
Tuesday June 24, 2008, 6pm-9:30 (ish), $70/person; 5-course prix fixe

Russian River Little White Lie
Trumpet Mushroom Ceviche,
coconut milk chiles, aromatics, little gem lettuce

Lost Abbey Red Barn Farmhouse Ale
Cornmeal Crusted Squash Blossoms,
herbed tofu “cheese,” roasted corn salad, saffron scented squash coulis
New Mexican chile emulsion

Russian River Beautification
Apricot and caramelized onion flatbread
purselane salad, cashew ranch dressing
witte beer battered Blue Lake green beens, basil aioli

Russian River Supplication
Butter Ball Potato Stoemp Cake
seared porcini mushrooms, wilted Bloomsdale spinach, smoked dried cherries
Supplication reduction

Russian River/Avery Collaboration
Beer Braised Morel and Exotic Mushrooms
collaboration broth, grilled broccoli rabe, gigaante beans,

Avery Samuels Scotch Ale
Summer Cherry Napoleon
bourbon glazed cherries, coconut vanilla bean ice cream,
toasted coconut tuile, black pepper-marionberry coulis

My note: Coulis is a French sauce which can be sweet or savory, depending on what it is meant to accompany…The word is French for “strained liquid,” and it is derived from colare, the Latin word for “strain.” Many fans of French cuisine are familiar with coulis, since it is added to a wide range of dishes from roasts to dessert cakes. The sauce is also used in fusion cuisine and fine dining establishments, especially by cooks who have been classically trained

Bill: Here’s a little summary of our night at the Millennium beer dinner. We enjoyed it greatly and enjoyed the company of Bruce Paton, (the Beer Chef), Jessica Jones, of The Thirsty Hopster, Christmas, from Russian River, Nicole from the Trappist and several other folks in attendance. There was one long table and we were at one end so we didn’t get to interact with many other of the 40 or so attendees.

Vinnie Cilurzo was unable to be able to make it down for the sold-out event, due to commitments at the new RR brewhouse. Christmas, his associate from Russian River, attended in his stead and articulately and passionately described RR’s beers and told some of the stories behind their creations.

Millenium Executive Chef, Eric Tucker described his pairing strategies for the beer line-up. Jessica Jones of the Thirsty Hopster, who helped organize the dinner, provided some lively commentary on the beer and food pairings.

(The food was vegan, complex and delicious. Gail’s favorite pairing was the rich pinot wine-barrel and sour-cherry brewed Russian River Supplication with a big rich puff of potato “stoemp cake” (I have no idea – talk about being out of my culinary confort zone but loving it). This potato scoop was topped with delicious seared porcini mushroom, spinach, smoked died cherries and a Supplication reduction. Great echos of the beer flavor.!

Note to Steve and everyone. Stoemp is a Flemish word for a Belgian dish. Wikipedia says: The stoemp is a popular dish (in Belgium), rural simple and in general well appreciated. It is based on mashed potatoes and one or more other vegetable like onions, carrots, leeks, spinach, green peas or cabbage, seasoned with thyme and laurel…

Vegetarians and omnivores alike looking for a delicious dinner with interesting beer might look to Millenium on a non-beer-event night, too. The regular beer list there looks impressive!

Though we certainly didn’t take extensive notes on the pairings, several items of interest to me were:

According to Exec Chef Eric Tucker, goat cheese would work well with the Cornmeal Crusted Squash Blossom (2nd course)

RR calls their Beatification a “Sonambic” (Sonoma/Lambic). This pairing with the Apricot and Carmelized Onion Flatbead (3rd Course) was designed to mirror and contrast. It did so.

The Collaboration, Russian River’s latest blend, is 55% RR and 45% Avery was chosen to pair with the Beer Braised Morel and Exotic Mushrooms to allow the bitter greens to mirror the hops.

The dessert pairing was a challenge for me. The dessert itself was terrific. The beer, Avery’s Samuels Scotch Ale, had an aroma that was incredibly strong and not particularly pleasant to me. I couldn’t identify it. People around the table began to proffer guesses that fell mostly to Bourbon or Scotch. I agreed with what would later be revealed to me to be a misplaced identity.. I could not drink it.

This morning Bruce Paton called to Adam Avery to ask him what was up with this beer. Adam told him that it was a combination of raw oak and toasted oak. No booze involved. Bruce is guessing the toasted oak gave it that whiskey flavor.

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  • veggiegirl

    A friend pointed me to this post after hearing my rave review of this event. We are Millenium junkies and wine people with a beer fanatic co-worker. So we were at that meal too. We had an equally great but utterly different experience.

    Those very sour beers were too much for us, no matter how we tried. On the other hand, that last Avery one did taste like bourbon or scotch to us, but in a delightful complex vanilla way that was perfect as dessert. Goes to show you never can tell!

    Thank you for writing this event up. Vegetarian fine dining has become an ongoing revelation for me, and this first introduction to “fine beer” has opened my eyes yet again. I passionately support vegetarian cuisine, and I was pleased to see Chef Eric Tucker’s guests at this dinner included other chefs. (I had no idea there was anyone else who’d done anything with fine food and “fine beer.” Perhaps I shodl not put quotes arond that. There is clearly a whole other beer world going on!)

    Again, thank you for the insights.

  • William Brand

    Thanks for the comment Veggiegirl… yeah sour beers are an acquired taste. Sometimes I really like them, but usually only in small dozes. I have a bottle of the last beer Avery Samuels, but haven’t tried it. The trick for me is balance. I’ll try it soon and will probably write a column about it.

    The dinner sounded excellent. No way do you need meat to make a great meal. b