Brewery Ommegang at the Food & Wine Classic, Aspen, CO. June 14-19, 2011

5,000 guests and 276 exhibitors converged on Aspen for the 29th Food and Wine Classic. Beautiful tents were lofted into the air against a backdrop of gorgeous mountains, still laced with snow.
Over 171 wineries were represented, as well as 51 food, restaurant, and culinary purveyors, 23 spirits brands, and 6 beer brands. The beer brands were Ommegang, Anchor, Guinness, Stella, Hoegaarden, and Leffe.

Some of the more well known chefs in attendance included Teddy Folkman, Granville Moore’s Gastropub, Wash. DC., Jose Andres, James Beard Award winning chef and head of ThinkFoodGroup in DC; Daniel Boulud of Daniel, Café Boulud and DBBG Café; Mario Batalli of Babbo, Eataly Andrew Zimmern host of Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods; Tom Colicchio of Gotham, Craft and Colicchio and Sons; Thomas Keller of French Laundry, Bouchon, Ad Hoc, and Per Se; Danny Meyer of Union Square Café, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, and The Modern; and Jonathon Waxman of Chez Panisse and Barbuto.

Ommegang and Chef Teddy Folkman of Granville Moore’s Gastropub in Washington DC paired Ommegang ales with Italian Amarena cherries soaked in kirsch and griddled Bread Cheese from Carr Valley, Wisconsin.(Below: Teddy Folkman)

Over three days and five sessions we served several thousand Food and Wine patrons and knocked their socks off. The most common comments we heard was, “our friends told us we just had to come try your pairings”. And, “wow that’s an amazing combination. (Below: customers trying out the pairing)

The Abbey ale and the cherries sang, while the cheese was salty and luscious and griddled to a perfect golden brown. The booziness of the ale cut through the fat and salt of the cheese while the sweet malt and spices of the Abbey accentuated the flavor of the cherries. A second sip allowed for the carbonation of the dubbel to cleanse the palette leaving the consumer wanting more.

Marnie Old, sommelier, writer, and wine and beer comparer par excellence, did a comparative tasting at Pittman County Steak House, with Abbey ale and a good red. It must have worked because the beverage manager is now putting Abbey on the beer list. (Marnie, below)

Kim Anderson, our regional distributor rep for Empire Distributing was a huge presence, talking to consumers at the F&W events, serving the beer and food pairing, and taking us around town for other events, including an Ommegang flight and charcuterie pairing evening at BB’s Kitchen in downtown Aspen on Saturday night. (Below, Kim at right.)

We also spent some time hobnobbing with the chefs putting on the Grand Cochon “Ten Chefs, Ten Pigs, One Crown” cook-off on Sunday at the historic Jerome Hotel in downtown Aspen. Santa Rosa’s Zazu took the prize for chefs Duskie Estes and John Stewart. The winners won the crown and golden pig pictured below, with their pork bun constructed with bits of head, heart, and neck. A fried trotter looked more like fried green tomatoes, but revealed the tender meat upon cracking the golden crust. Is that a bit of Belgian waffle in the left of the frame?

Brewery Ommegang and Rising DC Chef Teddy Folkman Spread the Gospel of Great Beer and Great Food.

Brewery Ommegang introduces Great Beer Deserves Great FoodTM campaign.

COOPERSTOWN, NY – Brewery Ommegang announces Great Beer Deserves Great Food, a fine beer and food pairing program that encompasses a wide range of culinary initiatives, including a sponsorship with leading food publication Saveur, on-going support of culinary education programs, a beer and food ‘road-show’ of beer dinners, town hall-style gatherings and educational symposia, and deployment of a roving chef ambassador to serve as the voice of the effort.

Great Beer Deserves Great Food is built around an intensive collaboration with up-and-coming Washington D.C. Chef Teddy Folkman. Folkman is a TV and radio culinary personality, executive chef/co-owner of Granville Moore’s Gastropub, and a local foodie hero in D.C. Folkman will be a roving Ommegang Ambassador – delivering the message that Great Beer Deserves Great Food. He’ll appear at food and beverage showcases around the US and consult with Ommegang on retailer and consumer-focused programs.

Already underway: Ommegang’s sponsorship of an informal chefs’ club. Ommegang and Folkman are gathering leading chefs to trade knowledge about great beers and dishes, and to cook up new recipes to bring beer and food closer together. Folkman hosted the inaugural meeting of the D.C. chapter on March 13, at Granville Moore’s, with a range of fine beers paired with his culinary creations. A dozen leading D.C. chefs and restaurateurs joined in the first chefs’ club, which will move among a group of D.C. restaurants, with new themes, dishes and beers at each meeting.

The recently announced partnership with Saveur includes sponsoring the publication’s June 27 Summer BBQ event in New York City. Last year’s event, which included exclusive beer-pouring and pairing with leading NYC chefs, was named one of New York City’s hottest guest lists by New York Magazine. Additionally, Ommegang will sponsor a video series dedicated to finding the best American BBQ as well as a dedicated section on beer and food pairings on-line.

Phil Leinhart, Ommegang brewmaster, believes Belgian-style beers such as Ommegang brews are naturals for Great Beer Deserves Great Food. Leinhart says, “Historically, Belgian brewers brewed their beers with food in mind. Belgians drink beer at every meal – yes, sometimes even at breakfast – and pairing is important; how will a beer complement a particular dish? At Ommegang we’ve employed this philosophy since our first brew back in 1997. Today we offer over ten beers from lower ABV white beers to saisons to strong ales – yet every beer is well-balanced and created to complement quality fare.”

Folkman echoes Leinhart. “Food fanatics are getting savvier about what stands next to their plate – more and more are recognizing that in many ways beer is a better fit than wine. As for restaurateurs, I see rapid change where beer lists are catching up to wine and spirit in variety, complexity and price. But rapid is relative and beer still isn’t as top-of-mind as it needs to be for chefs, owners and managers – my partnership with Ommegang is all about changing that.”

The next major showcase for Great Beer Deserves Great Food is ‘Taste of the Nation NYC’. The event takes place on Monday, May 23rd in NYC and will feature Ommegang beers and food pairings from Chef Teddy Folkman, in the service of fighting childhood hunger. Following that event will be ‘Savor,’ June 3-4, in Washington D.C. This annual showcase sponsored by the Brewer’s Association is renowned for featuring superb food alongside the country’s best craft beers in a setting like no other – the National Building Museum. 2,500 guests are expected for the main event, while Salons throughout the two days bring groups of 50-100 people together for more intimate presentations. Ommegang will host a salon titled “Beer and Just Desserts” featuring Three Philosophers Quadruple Ale, Hennepin Saison Ale and Rare Vos Amber Ale. Ommegang will also sponsor dinners and gatherings at local venues through the week leading up to and around Savor.