DIY Beer Pairing dinner

Hello! For anyone visiting my blog for the first time from Meals and Moves, thanks for stopping by- I hope you stay a while! For everyone else, please check out my guest post on Janetha’s blog- I was honored to write it for her, as her blogs is one of my absolute favorites (and one of the first blogs I ever started reading)!

Anyway- the beer dinner…

Two years ago, my friends James & Jenny and Zack & Michelle had the idea to do a wine pairing dinner. Them, along with Greg and I each made a dish to be paired with a specific bottle of wine. We had such a good time that night that we planned on doing a beer pairing dinner next. Well, over two years later, it finally happened.

We decided that each couple would prepare two small plates, each to be paired with a different beer, for a six-course meal. We went over to Zack & Michelle’s, who have a really cute house downtown, and James and Jenny arrived soon after with their dog, Abner (who I adore and wanted to cuddle with all night).

Come on, look at him…

Okay, back the humans in attendance. The couples:

Jenny and James (and Abner):

Zack and Michelle:

Michelle and James are siblings. Can ya tell? 😉

Me and Greg:

Before I get to the food, I have to point out the awesome spice rack that Michelle made out of two cookie sheets (the spices stay on with magnets!):

and here’s the cat that was not very amused by Abner.

Enough messing around. Here’s the food and beer. (Mind the photos- they’re not very good, I was trying to shoot as quickly as I could so that I could dig in!)

Course #1 (Me & Greg): Arugula, blood orange & avocado salad with a blood orange vinaigrette (1 blood orange, 2 T olive oil, salt and pepper thrown into the Vitamix) w/ Same Adams Alpine Spring ale.

(I chose the beer first because when I had in a few weeks ago for the first time, I loved it. It’s got a very nice citrus flavor- not overpowering though.)

Course #2 (Jenny & James): Mushroom + thyme soup and beer bread w/ Victory Storm King Stout

The hardest thing at this point for everyone was not filling up on that amazing bread. We had to keep reminding ourselves that we still had 4 courses to go!

Course #3 (Me & Greg): Amanda’s Vegan Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie w/Sierra Nevada Porter

When I made this recipe for the first time last weekend, I knew that I wanted to share it at this dinner. I was originally thinking that I would pair it with a Stout, but upon consulting our local beer expert at Frederick Wine House, I bought the porter instead. It was slightly smoky and perfect with this dish. And I was right about this recipe- it was a big hit!

Course #4 (Zack & Michelle): Mac + Cheese w/Evolution Exile ESB (Michelle’s favorite beer in the world)

I have to admit- I’m not much of a mac + cheese fan, but I could eat this dish every day. Again, we all had to pace ourselves with this one because it was so good, but so filling, and there’s was still a way to go.

Course #5 (Zack & Michelle): Braised short ribs w/vegetables in a red wine reduction w/Goose Island IPA

I’ve only had short ribs once or twice in my life, and I don’t want to play favorites, but this may have been my favorite course of the night. And the beer was great too- very different from a traditional IPA.

Course #6 (Jenny & James): Apple shortbread-cake with Jameson whiskey + lemon sauce + sour cream w/Heavy Seas Barley Wine

I had also made another round of Christin’s chickpea cookies (and added peanut butter chips, chocolate chips and pretzels to these!), which were also added to the plate. They were a big hit- and Jenny’s dessert was outstanding. Oh man, that sauce… I would pour it over anything and everything.

After dinner, Jenny and James gave Michelle a belated birthday gift that Jenny said “will change your life.”

I was so jealous (and reminded Greg that my birthday is a week away…)!

This was such a fun night, and I can’t wait to get together with all of them again. We were all amazed that none of us picked the same style of beer since we didn’t discuss what we were making/pairing beforehand!


I paced myself with the beer last night (but still drank more than I normally would), and am feeling quite tired today. We didn’t get home until after 11 (can you imagine?!) and I didn’t fall asleep until midnight.

This morning began bright and early with back to back spin + Bodypump (I taught spin class and did solo Bodypump to practice the latest release), and I felt good while I was working out. Now? Not so much. Kinda dead.

I had this nice bowl to comfort me when I got home:

Banana oatmeal with peanuts, peanut butter that I made yesterday and peanut butter chips. Sense a theme?

And, today is Superbowl Sunday. We’re having another couple over for a vegan potluck (a tradition that we established last year), so it’s another day full of food and beer. Well, I don’t know how interested I am in the beer- but I definitely eat some good food. Since so many bloggers were posting great Superbowl recipes last week, I picked a bunch to choose from and will have fun trying them out… after an nap.

Have you ever been to a beer pairing dinner? Do you have fun plans for the game tonight?


12 Comments on “DIY Beer Pairing dinner”

  1. Mmmm, good choice on the porter! I still need to try tempeh – I might make your recipe this week.

  2. Hello! I found your blog from Janetha’s blog and loved your guest post! I could relate to it so much! I’ve added you to my reader and can’t wait to read more! 🙂

  3. That spice rack is insane!! I don’t think I’ve ever drunk a porter.

  4. Glad the dinner worked out so well. Thanks for posting your recipes here! I’m definitely going to be trying them. What’s next for us? A tequila dinner? I doubt it…we better stick to wine and beer.

    • Lauren says:

      The dinner was great! We need to figure out a way to start earlier so we can stretch it out longer… maybe a beer pairing late lunch next time. 😉
      Um, if you really suggested tequila, I’d be in. That’s my liquor of choice- and everything could be Mexican-themed. Hahaha 🙂

  5. Sweet!! I’m so glad the cookies were a hit! Pretzels are such an amazing addition! 🙂

  6. I’m gonna say something and you are gonna hate me….I hate wine and beer…I just CAN’T with the taste!!! Anyways, Greg and Glenn have the same northface pullover…color and everything…

  7. […] reminded me a bit of the salad that I made for our beer pairing dinner. It was really good- but I wasn’t crazy about the cashews with the salad (avocado would have […]

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