Eat Drink Birmingham 2015: Recap

 

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“Wine is wonderful. But let’s be honest – it can’t do everything. Real beer can do everything. Beer has bitterness to slice through fat, carbonation to refresh the palate, carmelized flavors to match those in your food, and sweetness to quench the fire of chilies.” – Garrett Oliver, Brewmaster, Photo Credit: Janece Maze

Last month, I attended Eat Drink Birmingham at Rosewood Hall in Homewood’s SoHo Square on March 12. According to the event’s website, Eat Drink Birmingham is a beer and food pairing experience created by the Alabama Brewers Guild and the Birmingham Originals. The afternoon proved to be a fun and fantastic sampling journey for foodies and brew enthusiasts of all levels. The event was a unique pairing between various Alabama’s craft breweries and many of Birmingham’s best independent restaurants. In a nutshell, Eat Drink Birmingham was a hybrid mix of a traditional beer festival and food fest that featured souvenir sampling glasses, unlimited samples for each attendee, and music from the Steel City Jug Slammers.

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St. Stephens Stout: An Alabama Collaboration aka the prize gem of Eat Drink Birmingham, Photo Credit: Janece Maze

The event allowed attendees to check out the rich culinary flavor of the city by way of expertly curated dish and beer pairings from Alabama breweries and local restaurants. The afternoon was full of many great pairings of craft beers and dishes. I attempted to check out each of them. Honestly, I only sampled about one-third of the event’s menu pairings but enjoyed each sip and bite. The festival was also the first stop of the new limited edition St. Stephens Stout. The St. Stephens Stout is the creation of an Alabama collaboration between of all of the state’s breweries and the Alabama Brewers Guild. I am a huge fan of stouts and it is a phenomenal beer. I was lucky enough to receive a bottle to take home after receiving  the gift from a representative of the Alabama Breweries Guild after chatting about the festival. The crowd of taste-makers were also entertained by the sounds of the Birmingham’s own Steel City Jug Slammers. Make sure you check out this stellar band’s music via their website or on Facebook.

(Ratings of the Craft Beer and Local Dish Pairings)

Bellini’s Filet Fricasse and Fairhope Brewing Co (Take the) Causeway IPA

  • The Filet Fricassse and Fairhope Brewing (Take the) Causeway IPA was oh so good! The filet was tender, juicy, and full of so much flavor. In addition, it was served with savory roasted potatoes and corn. The IPA was delicious although I’m honestly not a fan of this particular type of beer. I am more of a porter and stout kind of gal. The pairing was OK but I felt like the filet would have benefited from another type beer that did not overpower its rich flavor. The IPA was good but the strong complex hoppiness of it felt more like a palate cleanser than a complement to enhance the dish. Overall,  both were great alone and just OK together.
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Bellini’s Filet Fricasse and Fairhope Brewing Co (Take the) Causeway IPA, and a second helping of Silvertron Cafe’s White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Raspberry Coulis, Photo Credit: Janece Maze

Jackson’s White Chicken Chili with Cheaha Brewing Co. Old Reliable Ale 

  • The slightly spicy white bean chili was served with fresh cilantro and paired well with the Old Reliable Ale. The yummy chili was full of spicy notes from jalapeno peppers and cumin seasoning. It is definitely comfort food for a cold day and will leave you satisfied. I was more of a fan of the Old Reliable Ale that is a unique blend of an amber ale and a pale ale.  The ale initially strikes your palate as hoppy but finishes with the smooth subtle flavor of a good standard ale. According to the beer server this is a common California beer blend and I agree that it works well.

Ted’s Restaurant Souvlakia with Greek Slaw with Black Warrior Brewing Co. Black Warrior Blond 

  • The Ted’s Souvlakia and Black Warrior Brewing American Blonde was quite a pair. The subtle sour notes, rich lemon and oregano Greek marinated meat, and juicy flavor of the pork was enhanced by the refreshing and slightly sweet blonde beer in a way that complemented and highlighted both.
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Ted’s Restaurant Souvlakia with Greek Slaw with Black Warrior Brewing Co. Black Warrior Blond, Photo Credit: Janece Maze

The Silvertron Cafe White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Raspberry Coulis with Avondale Brewing Co. Spring Street Saison 

  • I could seriously eat this all day but I am certain it would be a bad idea for my waistline. The white chocolate bread pudding with raspberry coulis was divine. I’m still craving another taste of this sweet pudding along with the refreshing taste of the crisp Spring Street Saison. This was my favorite pairing of Eat Drink Birmingham – hands down!

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Homewood Gourmet Crawfish Tasso with Straight to Ale Monkeynaut IPA, Photo Credit: Janece Maze

Nabeel’s Greek Penne with Vegetables with Back Forty Beer Co. Naked Pig Pale Ale 

  • The Greek penne with vegetables was a tasty bowl of veggies, cheese, and a light sauce that balanced well with the acidic, hoppy, and malty goodness of Naked Pig Pale Ale.

The J. Clyde Fatso Pudding with Good People Brewing Co. El Gordo Imperial Stout 

  • The Fatso pudding and El Gordo paired well.  The nice smokey taste of the stout was full of fruity notes and balanced well with the rich chocolate, honey laced, and slightly nutty flavor of the pudding. I plan to revisit the pair the next time I visit The J. Clyde.
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The J. Clyde Fatso Pudding with Good People Brewing Co. El Gordo Imperial Stout, Photo Credit: Janece Maze

 Festival Verdict: 

  • Eat Drink Birmingham is an outstanding event that features some of the best bites in Birmingham, craft beer in Alabama, and entertainment for its attendees. It is a great way to explore local restaurants and beer for anyone with a passion for food and drink. I had a great time mingling, eating, drinking, chatting, learning more about local restaurants and breweries, and listening to the sounds of the Steel City Jug Slammers. The only suggestion I have is to find a larger space for the event (in the event of rain) so that guests are not constantly bumping shoulders with one another. Other than that, I am looking forward to checking out Eat Drink Birmingham next year and you should too!

Photo Credit: Janece Maze

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Until the Next Post,

Janece

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