Sonoma in the Heights did a great job with hosting their first beer dinner featuring beer from Independence Brewing on Wednesday night. It was an intimate gathering on their rooftop patio and although it was open to the elements, the large fireplace kept the area warm and the rain managed to stay away until the dinner was over.
Bootlegger Brown was served to guests upon arrival before serving the first course of red snapper ceviche paired with White Rabbit. The zesty citrus flavors of the Belgian Wit were light enough to compliment the delicate flavors of the fish without overpowering it.
The second course was a cheddar cheese soup with caramelized onions and Andouille sausage served with a pesto crostini. Austin Amber was paired with it and quite frankly, I think the best pairing of the evening. The caramel malts added to the richness of the soup and enhanced the caramelized onions.
Slightly sweet malt flavors go well with meaty pork dishes and hoppy bitterness often amplifies saltiness, so Stash IPA was the perfect beer to pair with their pork loin wrapped in applewood smoked bacon. A hoppy bitter finish also helps to clear the palate when eating dishes with fat such as bacon and creamy sauces. The pork loin is actually a regular item on their menu and I highly recommend it.
After the large portions that we had already received, I was glad to see that the final course was not a heavy and sweet dessert. Instead, the Convict Hill Stout was served with small portions of cheeses and chocolates. Chocolates are a natural pairing with a big oatmeal stout like this one, but I had never tried it with cheeses. The Barely Buzzed is an espresso hand-rubbed cheese that was absolutely delicious and went well with the roasted malt flavors.
Thanks to Sonoma for hosting and looking forward to going back there and trying some of there other regular offerings.