This Club Hops!
At the Nor’East Beer Garden event in September, the theme was a harvest beer dinner. The restaurant’s head chef, Zia Auch, and co-owner, Vida Hamnquist, prepared a menu of local foods—many from the restaurant’s own garden—pairing each course with a craft beer. The lineup featured chicken Ballantine with cranberry and celery root, paired with a sour Tart of Darkness beer from the Bruery in California; and Provincetown bluefish with foraged mushrooms, served with a pint of Dogfish Head Brewery’s Midas Touch.
The chefs’ goal was to offer beer selections that would bring out distinctive flavor profiles in each dish. “I wanted to show people that it works,” Hamnquist says, “that beer can go with food better than wine. It was nice to show that to people.”
Hyannis resident Jen Villa has attended most of the club’s events so far. And, she’s enjoyed them. “The beer dinner in Provincetown was the first time I experienced beer properly paired with food,” she says, “and I was blown away at the differences in how the beer brings out the flavors of the food, and vice versa.”
“I was worried that the people going might be hard core into beer,” Villa adds, “but it’s more than that. It’s a fun, social thing, and people are also getting educated about beer. It is really cool because it’s a fabulous gathering of like-minded people, and it brings together complete strangers that you have a common bond with.”
Beth Marcus, business manager at Cape Cod Beer, says craft beers on the Cape have been gaining in popularity in recent years. “When we came out with our first seasonal beer, a porter, we were challenged to get people to put it on tap,” Beth says. “We got: ‘dark beers? Who drinks dark beers?’”
When she moved to the Cape in 1998, Beth says local bars offered more conventional brews from their taps. “That’s definitely changed,” she says. “It’s taken time, persistence, consumer demand, and education. But I think it’s here to stay. We are finding that the craft beer drinker wants something new all the time. When we release a new beer people always ask us, ‘what’s next?’”
Upcoming Cape Cod Girls’ Pint Out events are scheduled at the British Beer Company in Hyannis, Pain D’Avignon in Hyannis, and the BBC in Falmouth; a field trip to a local brewery is also in the works. For more information, visit girlspintout.com, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ashleigh Bennett is a freelance writer for Cape Cod LIFE Publications.
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