Last weekend I attended the Dogfish Heada Tribute to Pork Dinner” at the brewpub in Rehoboth Beach. Since Dogfish Head happens to be one of my favorite microbreweries I had really high expectations for this event. I would like to report that they blew me away.

The food and beer parings were perfect, I couldn’t believe how much the food changed the flavor of the beer and vice versa. I always knew an IPA went great with a Bacon Cheeseburger but who knew an Imperial Stout could take a Bacon Chocolate Cheesecake to the next level?

In this post I will cover each course and share with you as much as I can about the flavors. Since this was a food and beer event I am not sure how accurate my palate was near the end, but that’s all part of the fun.

Course One:
Charcuterie Platter
Charcuterie Platter – (Left to Right) Gentile Salami, Soppressata, and Picante Chorizo
Beer pairings – (Left to Right) Shelter Pale Ale, Grau Dunkel Weissenberg, and 90 Minute IPA

My Notes: Beer and Meat parings were right on. You were asked to try each meat with the beer paired with it first, then experiment with your own meat and beer pairings. When I did this I found that the ones they picked were the best. The Grau Dunkel Weissenberg was the closest thing to a bacon beer at the dinner since it had a nice smokey flavor. The 90 Min IPA is a beer I drink almost every weekend so I could tell how much it was changed by the pairing. The Shelter Pale had a bright and clean taste which was taken up a notch by the Gentile Salami.

Course Two:
Arugula and Spinach Salad with Smoked Chorizo, Queso Fresco, Toffee Pecans and a Mango Dressing
Beer: 60 Minute IPA

My Notes: Being a big fan of Chorizo and Spinach I was excited to try this salad. The flavors were great and I liked the mix of sweet and savory. Surprisingly, the toffee pecans were a real star of this dish, adding a delightfully crunchy, sugary flavor. The 60 Min IPA tasted different than the 60 Min I have had before. I couldn’t tell if it was because of what I was eating or because each batch is a little different. I thought the beer had a caramel flavor that I never tasted before.

Course Three:
Dates Filled with Goat Cheese and Wrapped in Basil and Prosciutto
Beer: Indian Brown Ale

My Notes: This beer and food pairing made me feel like I was eating and drinking a dessert. The sweet and salty taste of the wrapped dates was great and the goat cheese added a nice smooth, creamy texture inside. When you bit into it, it was like eating chocolate truffle. The Indian Brown Ale was complimentary and the pairing did change the flavor but I can’t decipher how from my notes. All the beers started effecting my penmanship!

Course Four:
Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Raison Reduction and Cheddar Bacon Grits
Beer: Raison D’Etre and Life and Limb

My Notes: The bacon used in this dish was Mountain Products Smokehouse Garlic Bacon. The bacon grits were perfect and the pork loin was succulent wrapped in the garlic bacon. When they placed the dish in front of me the first thought that crossed my mind was “Wow”. This dish was pure comfort food. The beer was good but it was not one of my favorites so I cant judge the pairing.

Course Five:
Chocolate Bacon Cheesecake
Beer: World Wide Stout

My Notes: The bacon used for the Bacon Chocolate Cheesecake was Mountain Products Smokehouse Maple Cinnamon Bacon. Not only was the cakes garnished with a piece of it dipped in chocolate, but it was also used in the cake and crust. This was a rich cheesecake and I think the crust was the best part. I would call it a graham cracker bacon crust. The beer pairing was perfect. The strong alcohol flavor of the World Wide Stout balanced the sweetness of the cheesecake and added to it’s complexity.

The Elvis Shooter – House Infused Bacon Vodka, Peanut Butter Vodka, and Banana Liqueur

My Notes: This is one of the few bacon drinks that I would pay money for. All the flavors mix together to give you what tastes like the King of Rock and Roll’s favorite snack. It was a great lead-in for the dessert.

At the event I met a lot of great people but sadly I only got my picture taken with two. I blame the Elvis Shooter. The first photo is with Sam Calagione, the founder of Dogfish Head. I was not expecting to see him there so it was a nice surprise. I also got a photo of Matt, the chef and one of the great minds behind all the great food we had.

A few other people I would like to give a shout out to are Jason the GM and his family (they have ties to Pittsburgh) and Matt P. the Asst. Manager (the other great mind that came up with the event).

The event was a great success and I was honored to be a part of it. I can’t wait to do it all again next year. Maybe next year I can try to get them to make a Maple ESB for the event. I will have to talk to John and see if he could give Sam the recipe.

Photos taken by Beth aka iheartcells

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