Miami might have the big name chefs and the cocktails, but Broward and Palm Beach Counties have the beer.
What we lack in celebrities and mixology, we make up for in the craft brew scene -- and we have some damned good chefs anyway.
To celebrate one of Florida's leading breweries, d.b.a./ Cafe hosted an anniversary dinner for Cigar City last night. Guests were treated to five creative courses paired with the brewery's line of Five Beers for Five Years.
In honor of its five year birthday, the Tampa-based brewery released a series of Five Beers for Five Years, each of which was designed by different departments in the brewery.
"Cigar City has never been able to brew an anniversary beer," says Cigar City rep Phil Palmisano. "This year, we finally found the space. Each of the departments took on a beer; the head brewer had nothing to do with it."
The meal started with a Tangerine Weisse paired with a creamy brie fondu, apple cider chutney, sabayon poached apricots, crispy prosciutto crostini, and citrus watercress salad (pictured above). Brewed by the tasting room staff with over 1,000 tangerines, the crisp weisse was a bold counterbalance to the sweet and savory salad.
Next up was the Margarita Gose. Produced by the packaging team, the traditional German-style brew incorporated the zest of exactly 1,001 key limes and a hint of salt for a citrus-filled sour beer. It was matched with pina colada baby bay scallop ceviche with chili lime salted yuca chips and honey citrus pickled fresno chilis. Scented with Kraken rum and coconut milk, the ceviche incorporated tropical flavors to compliment the beer.
The third course included Zealand Double IPA from the cellar team. Made from New Zealand hops, the 9 percent A.B.V. brew has stronger melon notes and less of the bold citrus flavors found in most IPAs. It perfectly counterbalanced the rich chili braised pork butt croquettes with jalapeno and tomato salsa over greens topped with tzatziki dressing.
Chianti braised veal cheeks with brown butter, honey-coriander heirloom carrots, and seasonal greens completed the savory dishes. So tender you didn't need a knife, the full-flavored veal cheeks were accentuated by the American barley wine. Composed by the brewing team, with all English hops, it's slightly sweet with heavy malt and mild hops.
Dinner was finished off with the reps and admin department's imperial cream porter. The creamy, chocolately brew highlighted the honey-pancetta gelato with candied house bacon and a smoked peach and beet compote.
Although this is the only Five Beers for Five Years dinner at d.b.a., the eatery plans to focus on hosting more special events in the near future.
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Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.