On Friday, October 12th, Anheuser-Busch hosted a beer pairing dinner that ended up being one of the best nights of my life. I had been looking forward to this event for a couple months – my boyfriend suggested the event as a fun date-night with something we both enjoy: beer. Little did I know, he had a lot more in store.
Anheuser-Busch, Saint Louis, hosts monthly beer pairing dinners. Each one is hosted by a different Brew Master who oversees the night. We found these dinners while scrolling through the local food and drink events listed, in our area, on Facebook. Even though this information is widely available, it did not seem like something many people were aware of. My boyfriend enjoys beer just as much as I do, so he is always scrolling through these events. When he suggested this, I was very excited; seeing as we have not attended a beer dinner in over two years.
The food was delicious and the beer was amazing. It was a four course meal all paired with some of Anheuser-Busch’s most popular products. The first course was succulent shrimp, sautéed in white wine sauce with garlic and butter, tossed with crispy bread crumbs and was paired with Goose Island Sofie – a Belgian Saison. This was hands down, my favorite course. I am obsessed with shrimp, so it was pretty much a given that this would be my preferred part, but it was even better than expected. The sauce was what made it – had I not been in public, I may(read as: absolutely, 100%, without a doubt would) have held the bowl up to my mouth and drank the remaining sauce, at the end of the course. It was to die for – the butter and garlic flavors shined bright and brought the whole dish together so nicely. However, the Goose Island Sofie worked to perfectly balance out the butter so it was not toooverpowering. I’ll be honest – I used to hate Sofie; but it’s been a couple years since I have given it a try and I definitely came around to it that night. Would that beer be my first choice? No, probably not. But, I wouldn’t turn it down if offered.
The second course was probably my least favorite, there was nothing wrong with it, I can just be a bit of a picky eater and it consisted of several items that I typically avoid. This was the salad course, it had chopped romaine topped with black olives, red onion, pepperoncini, salami, shredded mozzarella, and a sweet Italian vinaigrette. The salad was paired with Kona Big Wave – a Golden Ale. This light bodied beer was supposed to help cleanse the palette without overpowering the flavor. The beer definitely helped me wash the course down – but I’d be lying if I said I ate much of it. I’m not a fan of black olives and pepperoncini (and sometimes even struggle with red onion). Had these been flavors I usually enjoy, I’m sure I would have liked this course. But for me, course two was strictly about the beer.
Dinner was delicious! It was paired with the classic – Budweiser, and consisted of a bone-in, Budweiser cornbread stuffed pork chop marinated in Budweiser, with mashed potatoes & gravy, and parmesan green beans. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I had never eaten a bone-in pork chop before that night! I never realized it made much of a difference, but oh boy it did! There was so much more flavor than pork chops I’ve had in the past and it primarily stemmed from the inclusion of the bone. And I could not complain about the beer pairing at all…Budweiser is, hands down, my favorite non-craft beer.
By dessert, there was quite a bit of commotion going on with one of the other guests, so I was a bit too distracted to fully appreciate this tasty treat. The fourth course was an apple crisp with Stella Cidre infused baked apples, caramel, cinnamon, and brown sugar topped with a crisp streusel crust. Before I liked beer, I drank a lot of cider (Angry Orchard, to be specific), but since I started enjoying the hoppier things in life, I’ve never been able to appreciate something as sweet as a cider. I was happily surprised by how much I liked the Stella Cidre…it was definitely still sweet, but not quiteas much as other ciders I’ve tried – and I think the pairing really helped bring out the positives in the beverage as well. Dessert definitely gave course one a run for its money, but shrimp will always trump sweets, in my eyes.
Overall, it was a fantastic evening. I enjoyed the experience, the food, and the beer, but one thing really stole the show for the whole night…my boyfriend proposed to me! He had been communicating with the woman in charge of events for months and coordinated an amazing surprise proposal before the evening got started – Clydesdale, photographer, and etched glassware all included. It was a night I will never forget and I constantly find myself wishing I could go back and relive it. I have always loved Anheuser-Busch, but they went above and beyond to help my, now-fiancé, pull this amazing thing off and my dedication to this company grew even more.