A Lesson in Pairing: Samuel Adams Beer Dinner at Del Frisco’s

 Ideally, our tastes evolve – our palates sharpen, our interests broaden – we embrace more. At WineDineWithUs, the focus from the start has been on wine and all that a “wine lifestyle” encompasses.  Good wine does entail good food. Gourmet, gourmand, connoisseur, wineau – whatever designation we chose, taste is always foremost. And as our tastes evolves, we’ve lately found ourselves developing an appreciation – perhaps even a passion – for that most ancient of libations – beer. Recently we attended a beer and dessert pairing with our colleague and beer maven Kristen Sykes of BABES (Boston Area Beer Enthusiasts). We followed that up with a rollicking visit  to the Hyper Local Brew Fest.  And now – continuing our evolution – a beer dinner. We accepted the invitation from Mindy Valone of CM Communications to attend the Samuel Adams Beer Dinner at Del Frisco’s as media guests with excitement and anticipation. We were not disappointed.

To be pedantic for a moment, a dinner pairing food and beverage seeks to achieve a certain synergy whereby the resulting experience is greater than merely experiencing the individual components on their own. (Now that’s a mouthful!) In devising this pairing menu, Jill Farver of Boston Beer and Del Frisco’s executive chef Derek Barragan looked for both complimentary and contrasting flavors in the food and beer. The results were outstanding! Beginning with the passed hors d’oeuvres paired with the popular Sam Adams Summer Ale exotically spiced with Grains of Paradise and  concluding with the dessert – the Black Lager Ice Cream float – the match ups were spot on. The beers represented the range of the Sam Adams portfolio from the best-selling Boston Lager – a key player in the craft beer revolution 25 years ago – to the more intense brews of the Barrel Room Collection. A word about these Barrel Room brews. These beers – the American Kriek and the 13th Hour Stout – are brewed in huge barrels. Said barrels were originally constructed in Eastern Europe for producing spirits in Italy, then purchased by Boston Beer, broken down by Portuguese coopers, shipped to the US and reassembled at the brewery on Germania Street in Jamaica Plain. And it is with these barrels that the brew masters have some serious fun producing outstanding small batch beers. There is a secret ingredient involved though – Kosmic Mother Funk (or KMF) – a proprietary Belgian ale yeast which when added to the brew produces – through the wonder of “chaotic chemistry”  – the resulting  uniqueness of the Barrel Room beers.

I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite course.  Not only were the pairings well done but the individual dishes themselves were a study in both contrasting and complimentary elements. However, the dessert deserves special mention. I’ve encountered “adult” floats before – usually some combination of stout and ice cream –  and  shied away from them. However, when the float was placed in front of me, it was now or never. Why had I waited for so long? This is what root beer yearns to be – namely Black Lager, the Sam Adams rendition of a German schwartzbier. This was definitely a case of  “I’ll have another, please!”

An additional highlight for us was meeting Jennifer Glanville, head brewer at Sam Adams who brewed our favorite ale at the Hyper-Local Brewfest – the Oyster Stout. It was great to to be able to thank her in person for her good work!

Kudos to Jill Farver of Sam Adams, Chef Barragan and the entire staff of Del Frisco’s and of course Mindy Valone.


Smoked salmon, salted watermelon, lemon zest, baby arugula
Fried dough, mango sorbet, avocado, red chili sugar
Paired with Samuel Adams Summer Ale

First Course
Prime beef carpaccio, watercress, roquette, bing cherry, spiced pepitas
Paired withSamuel Adams American Kriek

Second Course
Duck confit, rosemary gnocchi, kalamati olives, pan jus, fried leeks
Paired with Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Third Course
Prime rib eye, braised napa cabbage, sweet garlic rosti, marjoram
Paired with Samuel Adams 13 Hour Stout

Black Lager vanilla ice cream float, shaved dark chocolate, candied pistachios
Paired with Samuel Adams Black Lager


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