Perfect Pairings: Hennepin Chicken Chili

In the spirit of the Great Beer Deserves Great Food movement, we’ll be dishing up Perfect Pairing recipes for all to enjoy. First up, a recipe from Whole Foods Market in Chicago’s South Loop region.

Hennepin Chicken Chili


  • 2 boneless, skinless, chicken thighs
  • 1 12-oz bottle of Ommegang Hennepin Farmhouse Ale
  • 1 lg. yellow onion large – diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 1.5 cup chicken broth
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano
  • 1.5 tsp Louisiana hot sauce
  • 1 cup dry white beans
  • 1 bag frozen corn
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in a pan.
  2. While heating olive oil in a pan, brown chicken chicken breasts.
  3. Remove browned chicken breasts and use same pan to caramelize onions and garlic.
  4. Deglaze pan with Hennepin, bringing to a boil until reduced by 1/4.
  5. Add all ingredients into a slow cooker, and cook until beans are soft for about 3-4 hours on low.
  6. Add Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes.  Serve.

The Man Behind the Recipe: Stephen, Prepared Food Dept Associate Team Leader at Whole Foods Market South Loop.

Stephen has worked in various bar/kitchens in Kansas City learning Midwestern comfort food.  This type of cooking quickly became his passion.  He is constantly on the hunt for new recipes with roots to the Midwest.  The Midwestern style chicken chili recipe he chose came via a friend  from Minneapolis; saying that adding Hennepin to the recipe gives it a depth that light beers cannot match.  

For more Perfect Pairing ideas, check Whole Foods Market – South Loop out here:  Website | Facebook | Twitter

The Cheese Mongress

Sophie Taylor, better known as The Cheese Mongress is just about as passionate about cheese as we are about beer. Her love for cheese can only be matched with her love of pairing it. Below is her testomonial on cheese, beer, what goes with what, and what doesn’t.

There is nothing more tasty and refined than the bold & timid notes of a cold beer. However, these nuances can only be enhanced by the dubious art of pairings. With thousands of cheeses and newly emerging beer brews, astounding headway has been made in the pairing department.

As the @CheeseMongress I naturally think of cheese first, and then the accompaniment. The evolution of these nuances doesn’t matter as long as the result is an incorrigible feasting of flavors. One wants to align notes in both beer and cheese. For example, if the beer has nutty dark lager-y notes, one can pair with like-minded cheeses (aged Gouda, nutty runny cheeses, or anything with crunchy sodium crystals. If you have a strong stinky cheese or a blue, pair with timid or spicy ale. The idea is not to get two flavors that combat. One should open the door for the other, and bring out each other’s hidden qualities. Here are some examples.

Chimay Blue with a fresh chevre or goat Brie; this will bring out more caramel-y notes in both.

Brewery Ommegang Rare Vos with a 3-4 year aged Gouda or Beemster Vlaskaas; this will bring out the salty nutty flavors in both.

La Chouffe Golden Ale with either an aged cheddar or blue like Point Reyes or a bold Bayley Hazen.

Old Rasputin with Sheep’s Brie; this will bring out the fresh side of the cheese and deep notes of the beer.

New Belgium Trippel with a washed rind cheese like Taleggio, Winnimere, or Gorgonzola Dolce; these pairings balance each other out with the stinky nutty wash rind and the crisp coriander notes of the Trippel.

Dogfish Head Raison D’etre with 1 year aged Manchego & Quince paste; this combination is savory and sweet bringing out the eccentric raisin notes in the beer and the salty clean taste of the Spanish Manchego.

Stone IPA Indian Pale Ale with Piave Vecchio or Trugole; these two cheeses are sharp and nutty and will compliment the fresh crisp IPA’s character. The Trugole is a semi-soft melt in your mouth cheese, while the Piave Vecchio is aged for a year and closer to Parmigianino.

You may pair any with almonds or walnuts, hot crusty bread, crackers, and don’t forget honey with the blue!

As the @CheeseMongress I have been lucky enough to taste chunk after chunk of delicious cheese. I just launched my once a month tasting box that only serves to further the exploration of cheese. Check out my new tasting box of cheese and pairings delivered monthly to your door at http://member.ly/what-a-hunk-cheese-tasting-box.Each month’s box includes a note sheet with a story about the cheese and each pairing. This sheet will also suggest beer and wine selections and enlighten you with cheese terminology. Club members receive a monthly ration of a half-pound of fromage with three life-size pairings.

Erv’s Mug Beer Dinner

Come to Erv’s Mug in Oak Creek, WI for a brilliant variety of delectable food paired with beer from Brewery Ommegang, Duvel, Maredsous, and Brasserie d’Achouffe.

Beginning with a first course featuring an Artisan Cheese Board and Home Roasted Almonds with grilled, seasoned French bread, paired with Maredsous 8 Brune. This malty, aromatic brew will quickly become one of your favorites.

Next you’ll move on to a Classic Caesar on Chopped Romaine salad with home made croutons. Paired flawlessly with Duvel Single, a light-bodied beer which provides a flavorful, refreshing and hugely enjoyable experience.

For the main course you’ll experience a very unique Chipotle Cocoa Rubbed Flat Iron Steak and Whiskey Bacon Gravy with Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes paired with a Houblon Chouffe ; this unique balance between a very strong IPA and  very special Belgian Tripel makes for a beautiful, spicy brew.

For desert you’ll indulge in a Roasted Pineapple with Saison Gelee’ and Pretzel Streusel served A la’ Mode with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.  Served with Ommegang Hennepin. This hoppy, farmhouse style ale has a great aroma, medium body, and clean dry finish. You’ll love the majestic golden hue of the beer next to the vibrant colors of your dessert plate.


Make your reservations today by calling (414) 762-5010. Dinner is $30 and being held on March 6th, 2012 from 5-8 pm, 130 West Ryan Road  Oak Creek, WI 53154.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Meridian Pint

Valentine’s Day Prix-Fixe at Meridian Pint
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 5pm-10pm
3400 11th Street Washington DC, 20010
Reservations e-mail: LastCall@meridianpint.com

Getting bored with flowers, over-sized stuffed bears and boxes of heart-shaped chocolates? Don’t let yourself fall victim to the humdrum of a typical Valentine’s Day. Come to Meridian Pint where they’ll be serving three courses, all served with Ommegang Beers, now that’s something to fall in love with. Instead of going to your usual date spot to get your usual meal with your usual wine, try something different: 9 delectable pairings of spirited beer and savory food.

The night will begin with an out-of-this world appetizer of Roasted Tomato Soup with Mussels and a delightfully refreshing BPA, followed by a Blood Orange, Roasted Beef, and Fennel Salad with Goat Cheese and Almonds, with Ommegang Witte. Next, let your taste buds explode with the brilliant flavors of Ommegang Gnomegang, Grilled White and Green Asparagus, a House-Cured Duck Prosciutto and Quince Puree. And that folks, is only the first course.

The second course will begin with an tantalizing Poached Rockfish with Baby-Artichoke Saffron Nage, served with a delightful Rare Vos. Next you’ll experience the robust taste of the Carpetbag Steak Roast Filet stuffed with Oysters, a side of Fingerling Potates, Morels, and a wonderful Abbey Ale. Once you’ve completed that explosion of taste, get ready for the aftershock. A Black Bean Terrine with Roasted Pepper and Corn Relish, Watercress and Avocado Coulis, all the while sipping on Ommegang Seduction.

A Valentine’s Day without sweets would be like a day without water, so this is when the much-anticipated 3rd Course makes it’s entrance. We begin with a Triple Meyer Lemon Chiffon Cake with Pistachios, served with a darkly delicious Ommegang Adoration. Then a Chocolate Strawberry Truffle with Ommegang Aphrodite, and cap off the feast with Mango Sticky Rice with Dried Cherry Coulis and a personal favorite of many, Ommegang Three Philosophers.

Why not turn Valentine’s Day into something more than greeting cards, melted candy and overpriced bouquets of already-dying roses? Everyone involved gets great food and an awesome atmosphere, and you get 9 different types of beer scattered perfectly throughout the evening. Make your date happy, but more importantly yourself, by celebrating an average holiday in a way above average way; all the while showing your support for the Great Beer Deserves Great Food movement.

Interview with Todd Bemis of Atwater on Gore Creek

Chef Todd Bemis

Executive Chef Todd Bemis
Atwater on Gore Creek,
Located in Vail Cascade Resort & Spa,
1300 Westhaven Drive Vail, Colorado 81657

Brief Bio: Born in Edmond, Oklahoma and having spent his childhood in North Texas, Todd grew a passion for cooking at an early age. His first experience with food was working in an ice cream store cooking hamburgers and hotdogs at the age of 16. Todd’s formal culinary training was with American Culinary Federation Apprenticeship at the Anatole Hotel near Downtown Dallas. Todd’s apprenticeship involved formal training within the 12 different outlets at the Anatole, including time spent in the pastry kitchen and with the garde-manger. At the end of his apprenticeship, Todd cooked for several different chefs as business required. He started working at the Bristol Hotel Company’s flagship hotel in 1987 as a Sous Chef. During his 16 year tenure at Bristol Hotels, Todd held the following positions: Sous Chef, Executive Chef, Food and Beverage Director, Director of Convention Services, Rooms Director, and General Manager. As GM, Todd was responsible for renovating and repositioning five properties, all with heavy food and beverage operations in Jackson MS, Atlanta GA and Omaha NE. Todd completed the American Hotel Motel Association’s Certified Hotel Administration program in 1996. He was awarded as “Hometown Hero” by the Jackson MS Chamber of Commerce and inducted into the Chamber’s Leadership Jackson program. Todd moved back to Texas in 2000 and started working as District Manager and Corporate Executive Chef for Alonti Café and Catering managing eight stores. In 2005, Todd moved to Hot Springs, Virginia to join The Homestead culinary team where he worked as the Banquet Chef and Executive Sous Chef. In 2011, Todd moved to Vail, Colorado to head up the culinary team as the Executive Chef at Vail Cascade Resort & Spa, a Destination Hotels & Resorts’ property.

Why is the pairing of food & beer important to you?: Beer is available and more appealing to a greater number of our guests. Our average diner would not ever consider purchasing one of the world’s best wines, but definitely would consider purchasing one of the world’s best beers. I can visualize a Rolls Royce or Ferrari owner drinking a great beer at the same bar or in the same restaurant as the person who repairs or maintains that vehicle. The specifics of pairing go much further though. Beer brewers provide a greater variety and latitude than wines in general making the pairing of food and beer more dynamic and interesting.

What got you started on pairing food & beer? When I became involved in the Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival, an annual event hosted at Vail Cascade Resort.

Who are the chefs you admire?: The regular everyday chef. The guys on TV are great, but the ones I admire are the culinarians that are in the trenches and operating successful establishments on a day to day basis.

What are some of your favorite pairings?: Three Philosophers and our Chocolate Mousse Cake Dessert. Brek Brewery’s Summer Cab Ride with PEI Mussels

Favorite style / beer to pair with?: Ambers and IPA’s

Favorite all time beer?: Too many to decide.

Thoughts on the future of food & beer in fine dining?: I believe that we are on the edge of a real explosion. The micro / craft brewing industry is coming to the forefront of the restaurant industry. There have always been specialty restaurants that maintain a significant stock of varieties from around the world but now, main stream restaurants are starting to carry more varieties. I believe that it is going to become commonplace for good restaurants to carry a variety of craft beers.
As Vail’s first restaurant to explore the fine art of uniting craft beer with creative cuisine, Atwater on Gore Creek extends the brewing tradition to an interactive menu of savory food, dessert and beer pairings. Small plate offerings and entrées are revamped seasonally, showcasing artisan ingredients, impromptu duos and the diversity of flavors craft brewers bring to the table.

Favorite restaurant in a city not your own?: The original Sunny Bryans Barbecue in Dallas TX

It’s great to see a resort that “get’s it”, why have a world class wine and scotch menu to pair with your meals and drop the ball when it comes to beer? We highly recommend eating at this dining destination or stop out for the Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywine festival. Look into getting tickets to next years festival which starts on Jan 10, 2013. Click here for more information.