“I’m your man,” was Adam Avery’s response when executive chef and partner Mark Monette mentioned wanting to add a higher-end beer selection at his venue, the Flagstaff House Restaurant in Boulder, Colo.
Owned by the Monette family since 1971, the Flagstaff House has an extensive and awe-inspiring wine collection, with more than 20,000 bottles and 3,000 selections. But introducing a premium beer selection to guests required some help, and Avery, beer enthusiast and president of Avery Brewing Co., was indeed just the man for the job. They grew the list to 30 selections, comprised of eight local brews, 15 imports and seven domestics, and the selection is constantly growing.
To highlight some of the new beers, Avery and Monette devised a beer dinner using Monette’s food and Avery’s brews. To engage the sophisticated guests at the April event, each course offered two beers instead of just one, thereby presenting two very different brews that both complemented a single dish and enlighten patrons as to why both worked well.
“Each course, I had a bigger beer and a smaller beer, both with the same alcohol content,” Avery says. “For example, for the first course, we paired the White Rascal, which has notes of orange peel and coriander, and our India Pale Ale, which is big on hops, with fish. Both have a spice and some floral aspects as well, but the IPA is bitter whereas White Rascal has no bitterness.”
These beers were set against Monette’s Tuna Ahi, which is patted thin, with a piece of toasted homemade bread with fois gras, a drizzle of olive oil and Hawaiian black sea salt on top.
Ninety guests purchased the $68 tickets for the first event. Originally, the plan had been to seat 40 to 50 people, but the number grew quickly. The popularity of the event caused them to make plans for a second beer dinner, says Mike Krise, the dining room manager who organized the dinner. “The demand for another event came as soon as we had filled the reservations for the dinner. We even had a wait list running for it,” he explains.
For the next dinner, set to take place in late summer or early fall, Monette and Avery are considering limiting numbers to about 40 people per dinner to ensure the intimate appeal of the dinners, even if it means dividing interested guests into two separate evenings.