It seems that every week there are more wonderful things happening in the Syracuse area food scene. Indeed, there's more cookin' in the 'Cuse than I can handle. I've always longed to have "field correspondents" who could help report on the various tastings, restaurants, and events that make Syracuse such a great place to be a foodie. I'm delighted to bring Marty Butts on board with this post on an Empire Brewery event. Marty is not only well known as the merchandise manager for the Syracuse Real Food Co-op but he's a locavore who's helping to bring about a sustainable food network for Central New York. Plus, the man can cook, as his Men Who Cook trophy attests. Welcome Marty!
When Jennifer recently asked me to write an entry for her blog, I felt as if I’d been asked to sit in with my favorite band. Excited, and a little intimidated, I pick up my pen to tell you of the Empire Brewing Company’s Beer & Whiskey Dinner, held June 2.
For $40, attendees were treated to 4 whiskeys and 4 beers, each expertly paired with 4 delicious dishes, each created specifically created for the evening’s festivities. Each course was introduced by Tim Butler, Empire’s Director of Brewing Operations, Jeffrey Lewis, Empire’s Head Chef, and a wonderful and knowledgeable woman who works for a spirits company, who’s name has since escaped me. 4 beers and 4 whiskeys can do that to a fella.
For our first course, we were treated to diver sea scallops in local lavender honey with a pressed couscous salad. I’ve never been a big fan of scallops in the past (the memories of rubbery, tough scallops never does seem to fade, does it?), but these were tender and rich. The dish was matched with one of Empire’s newer beers, the Aphrodisiac Ale (a personal favorite of mine), and Chivas Regal 18 year Blended Scotch Whiskey. The Aphro Ale is a complex and unique beer brewed using fresh ginger, local organic honey, and lavender. All of those flavors showed up in the couscous salad as well. With the Chivas echoing the honey flavors of the other items, I think this may have been my favorite pairing.