As a newcomer to St. Louis, I have been eager to immerse myself in the St. Louis Craft Beer scene. After exploring the incredible breweries and beer options that this city has to offer– St. Louis, you have yet to disappoint me.
I was definitely blown away by the awesomeness that was St. Louis Craft Beer Week. Other than the obvious glory of celebrating local beer, it was also impressive to see the local bars, restaurants and breweries unite as a community. The result was a badass week that beer nerd dreams are made of. The week was a celebration of our legendary beer culture and of course, one of our city’s oldest and most beloved trades – crafting beer.
My favorite event of the 2016 St Louis Craft Week was the Carbonated Culinary School at Rooster on Grand. Baileys’ Executive Sous Chef, AJ Benga, demonstrated cooking techniques and recipes resulting in what was essentially an educational, behind-the-scenes beer dinner. Four Hands Beer was integrated into each item on the plate. This delicious beer-drenched dish featured a Dakine-marinated pork loin, oven-roasted potatoes smothered in an Apricot Session (Exclusive to Bailey’s Restaurants) compound butter and Brussels sprouts dressed in the Cast Iron Oatmeal Brown, if my memory serves me correctly (which it may not because we were drinking a lot of beer after all). Chef Benga, if you’re reading this, feel free to set the record straight.
This intimate event sold out with a little over 15 attendees, which allowed for great interaction between Chef Benga and the guests. Each element of the dish was demonstrated step-by-step, detailing cooking fundamentals including how to properly chop an onion, garlic and bell pepper. (Side note: Chef Benga chops a bell pepper with a boss-like swiftness that any normal human is 98% incapable of reenacting.) He also discussed how Bailey’s Restaurants source meat locally as he explained the proper way to clean and prepare a pork loin. The cooking class served as perfect foreplay for the delectable food porn that was soon ours to drunkenly devour. Yes, I just likened a beer dinner to sex.
The class featured dinner, a glass of each of the beers featured in the recipes, and a souvenir gift: recipe cards, a can of Four Hands Lime Contact High, a can of Dakine and a Four Hands tulip glass (quite a steal for $30). Chef Benga expressed an interest to continue with similar events in the future, so keep your eyes peeled for the next Rooster Culinary School!
Needless to say, I’m definitely looking forward to STLCBW 2017 and hope to attend way more events than I was able to this year. What was your favorite event? Share your STLCBW thoughts and feelings with us below!