When I was invited last month to join a small, intimate group of craft food and beer lovers for a world-class, five course beer dinner at Duke’s Chowder House on Alki, I was rather taken aback. Having only frequented Seattle’s picturesque Alki restaurants on a handful of occasions prior, I hadn’t envisioned Duke’s as a bastion of craft beer offerings. Yet, to my surprise and delight, I learned that Duke’s is in fact amongst the growing number of restaurants in the Puget Sound that recognizes how essential beer is to craft cuisine. When dealing with gastronomy, one can never discount the power of a truly great beer and food pairing.
Last Thursday night, Duke’s hosted a stunning beer dinner with Lagunitas Brewing Company at their West Seattle location on Alki. The growing craft brewery from Petaluma, California, which distributes its award winning brews to 37 states, is known to create a variety of beers that are perfect for food pairings. The menu for Thursday’s event was carefully designed with a different beer complimenting every intricate taste and flavor incorporated in each course. Duke’s Executive Chef, Bill Ranniger, took us step-by-step through his journey of creating the dishes and reminded us of the fresh and organic ingredients Duke’s is proud to use in all of their culinary creations. Beer Czar, Mitch Klein, owner and head brewer at Lagunitas, was also present at the dinner to talk in detail with guests about each of the Lagunitas beers served and why each was picked for pairing with the particular dishes. Both the chef and brewer spoke with equal passion and devotion about their love for craft beer and food pairing, a marriage of sheer elegance.
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