Interview with Chef Dimitrios Menagias of The City Beer Hall

Chef Dimitrio Menagias  
The City Beer Hall
42 Howard Street
Albany, NY 12207

Brief Bio: My parents owned a diner so I was born and bread in the restaurant business. Always wanting to expand my knowledge I left the family business at 16 yrs old, lied about my age and started valet parking at a 4 star restaurant to get my foot in the door.  Eventually making it into the kitchen and later working in the front of house, I developed a better sense of what the consumer ultimately wanted.  Once the opportunity arose to move to New York City I jumped on it and ran a private club where I was allowed to be as creative as possible while having visiting chef’s from around New York step in and cook with me.  Alas, I returned home to Albany and opened the Wine ‘n’ Diner.  I wanted to fill what I saw as a missing niche at the time: combining fine dining technique with a casual, hip approach.  I’ve always had a demanding palate for things new and fresh and usually strive to achieve a flavor without following a specific recipe.  Putting fun into the food I’m cooking is extremely important to me.  I’ve always felt that fine dining can be for the masses as well as for the gastronomes and it’s been my goal to achieve that balance.  Fine food doesn’t have to be pretentious – it should be fun and delectable.  We hold the Wild Game Night beer dinners monthly at The City Beer Hall, and it has been a great vessel for me to challenge myself by pairing and contrasting the food around unique, craft beers.

Why is the pairing of food & beer important to you?  For the love of beer of course!  But seriously, it has brought me a lot of joy to see beer achieve such respect in the United States.  And for any chef pairing comes naturally, although unlike wine beer has larger obstacles.  Challenges are good.

What got you started on pairing food & beer?  I have incorporated beer into different recipes where it didn’t belong for a while.  But most of my experience with pairing has come in this last year at The City Beer Hall with the different events that we’ve held.

Who are the chefs you admire? Wylie Dufresne because he’s a mad scientist.  Daniel Boulud for his classic approach.  Eric Ripert for combing classic and rustic styles.  Anthony Bourdain for cutting through all the pretentious BS.

What are some of your favorite pairings?  Flemish Rabbit Pie paired with Wandering Star Saison. Alligator cakes with Wild Boar Bacon and Hoisin Aioli paired with Brooks Brown Ale from Crossroads Brewing.

Favorite style / beer to pair with?  Farmhouse Saisons and wheat beers are fun because of their rustic, food-friendly flavors, but I like the challenge in pairing hoppier beers as well.

Favorite all time beer?  Tripel Karmeliet

Feature dish in which you pair beer with food or use beer in preparing the dish?  Troegenator Double Bock braised Elk stew with winter root vegetables.

Thoughts on the future of food & beer in fine dining?  The sky’s the limit.  For me the future looks like pretzel encrusted wild boar schnitzel over Spatzel, paired with Art of Darkness.

Favorite restaurant in a city not your own?  Spotted Pig NYC

Be sure to join us at City Beer Hall on April 18th for Wild Game Night which will feature 4 courses of Wild Game paired with Ommegang: Aphrodite, BPA, Seduction and Art of Darkness. Check back to see the menu. 

Click here to purchase tickets or call 518-449-BEER (2337)

Ommegang HopChef Competition – Washington, DC


Ommegang HopChef Competition
Saturday, April 28, 2012. 1-4 pm
The Atlas Theater, 1333 H Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002

Join us for our first-ever Ommegang HopChef Competition, with innovative DC-area chefs imaginatively preparing and pairing dishes with fine Ommegang ales. Each chef creates two dishes showcasing their skills in bringing Great Beer and Great Food to exuberant life.


Who will win the bragging rights? And the chance to compete for the HopChef crown at our yearly Belgium Comes to Cooperstown festival at the brewery? Join us and see. And taste. And drink.

Tickets are $75 and can be purchased at

For more information on the Chefs and where you can try their food, please visit the following websites.
Nicholas Stefanelli of Bibiana : Will Artley of Pizzeria Orso : Mike Bonk of Sonoma
Jamie Leeds of Hank’s Oyster Bar : Jeff Eng of Clyde’s of Tower Oaks
Bradley Walker of Boundary Road : Mark Marracco of Magnolias at the Mill

Note: chefs subject to change

The dishes will be created using Chef Teddy Folkman’s 5 beer pairing techniques:

  1. Simple pairing – This is the direct interaction between food and beer from taking a bite of the food and a sip of the beer.
  2. Incorporation – This is the utilization of beer in the cooking process. Incorporation can be a challenging task and requires some trial and error to see where the dish benefits from the addition of the beer.
  3. Mimicking – One of the most difficult pairings, mimic pairings are the act of matching the flavor profile of a dish with the flavor profile of a beer. It is difficult because not only do you have to understand the flavor profiles of the individual ingredients of the dish, but also the beer such as the type of hops, malt and yeast being used.
  4. Story Telling – Beer, like food, has a great history behind it. Not just how it was made, but why.
  5. Experimental – This type of pairing is the most fun by far. It is finding a way to make the beer the main star of a dish. The experimental aspect of the pairing is more of an end result of trying one of the above.

Enter “hops” as the promo code to receive a $20 discount on tickets.

Chef Ric Orlando brings his “Hell Dinner” to Ommegang

Brewery Ommegang announces our third Great Beer Deserves Great Food beer dinner on Friday, April 13th.

Our guest chef is Ric Orlando, two time winner on the hit Food Network TV show, “Chopped.” Chef Ric will prepare a devilish, delectable “Hell Dinner,” in honor of Friday the 13th; each course becomes progressively spicier and takes your palate on a magically sinful and delicious journey.

The dinner begins with a cocktail hour where guests taste our Ommegang beers, followed by a seated six-course menu paired with Ommegang and Duvel beers. Chef Ric and our brewmaster Phil Leinhart will both speak about the pairings. Chef Ric is well known in the Albany area for his culinary genius as chef at New World Bistro Bar as well as in Saugerties for New World Home Cooking. Ric also competed at the “Mussel Tussle” at last years Belgium Comes to Cooperstown festival.

The menu will surely provide a tantalizing experience of spicy food, paired with a refreshing bottle of your favorite, or perhaps soon-to-be favorite, bottle of Ommegang’s finest. The evening will begin with an Amuse Bouche of “Piri Piri:” Chicken Livers with Berkshire Bleu and celery salad paired with Ommegang BPA. Followed by an unbeatable appetizer of Pork Belly Jigae with chewy rice cakes and kim chee paired with Ommegang Hennepin.

Next, Chef Ric will prepare a salad unlike anything you’ve ever tasted, Tie Dye Pie-Pizzetta with “Purple Haze” habanero sauce and four cheeses paired with Rare Vos. Followed by a unique fish-dish of “Espresso-Habanero” Glazed Escargot, Tortelloni and Edamame, prepared to perfection paired with Ommegang Abbey. Following the fish, diners will indulge in Lamb Shank Tagine with Ghost Chile Harissa from Hell will be paired with Ommegang Art of Darkness.

Dessert will provide a dining experience you’ll celebrate with a Chocolate and Chile Taster: Mocha Chipotle Glazed Chocolate Cupcake, and White Chocolate Dipped Serrano Chile and Mole Truffle Pot du Chocolate paired with Ommegang Three Philosophers.

If your mouth is watering as much as ours is, be sure to call Brewery Ommegang at 607-286-4090 to reserve your seats now, before they’re all filled.

Brewery Ommegang
656 County Highway 33
Cooperstown, NY 13326

North Square Beer Dinner

North Square in the West Village is having a fantastic four-course beer dinner, with special guest AJ Eckstein of Brewery Ommegang and Duvel USA.

 The evening will begin with an appetizer of Chef Yoel Cruz’s selection of artisan cheeses, paired with Duvel Single, and Ommegang Belgian Pale Ale.

For the first course, allow your taste buds to expand and explore with a Grilled Octopus Salad and Liefman’s Cuvée Brut. Next, indulge in a Seared Foie Gras Crostini with chorizo, goat cheese, tomato salad and garlic bread paired flawlessly with Ommegang Hennepin.

For the main course Chef Yoel Cruz will create unbelievable Buffalo Sliders with zucchini fries, tomato aïolo and jalapeño orange apricot chutney, alongside Maredsous Brune Abbey Dubbel.

For dessert, Pastry Chef John Cheng will take you out of this world with a Spice Cake and Roasted Pear, along side beer swirl ice cream, hazelnut caramel, and cabrales sauce; all paired with Ommegang’s decadent Three Philosophers Quadrupel Ale.  We’ll finish the evening with Liefman’s Goudenband to round the evening off perfectly.

So come to North Square, located at 103 Waverly Place at MacDougal Street for this unbelievable dinner on April 3rd. Tickets are very limited and are priced at $65 per person. Make reservations now by calling Northsquare to ensure your spot at this intimate dinner.

Limited Release Ommegang Beer Dinner at Aroma Thyme Bistro

Aroma Thyme Bistro in Ellenville, NY is having a five-course limited release Ommegang Beer Dinner on March 16th at 7 pm. Chef Marcus Guiliano is always doing amazing things when it comes to pairing beer and food and this dinner is not to be missed.

The evening will begin with a warm brie, spiced pear compote paired brilliantly with Ommegang Aphrodite. Next indulge in lobster and saffron raviolis paired with Ommegang Triple Perfection. Next sip on Ommegang Zuur while warming up with a delicious wild chanterlle soup.

For the main course enjoy braised French four spiced chicken paired perfectly with the deliciously malty Ommegang Adoration. Finally polish off the evening with Ommegang Seduction on the side of a tasty helping of chocolate and strawberries. 

Not only will you be enjoying some of the best food and beer pairing around, you’ll also be supporting a great cause. Aroma Thyme Bistro is a certified green restaurant, and makes a point to cook healthy foods that make a difference not only to individual’s health, but to the overall health of the environment.

Make sure to make your reservation soon, tickets are $49 per person, and you can RSVP to 845-647-3000 to ensure a place at the table!

Aroma Thyme Bistro
165 Canal Street
Ellenville, NY  12428