A week and a half ago, Jon was able to secure complementary tickets for Tetherow Resort‘s third annual Brewery Smackdown. What is this smackdown? It’s where chefs plan a menu and four breweries from two cities team up to see who best pairs their beers with the food. This year Bend’s Silver Moon Brewing and Crux Fermentation Project teamed up to compete against Portland’s Ancestry Brewing and Ecliptic Brewing.
I’ve seen previous events on Facebook and thought the idea was intriguing and we were able to line up a rare free night to attend. When we arrived at Tetherow, we were greeted by the hostess and offered a beer called Tipsy Canary by Silver Moon while people found their tables and milled around while awaiting the main event.
We were called to be seated and then welcomed to the event! The MC explained what the evening would be and that we should choose our beer selections to be judged on how well they have paired up with a five course meal prepared by Tetherow’s chef. Each glass of beer came out with a red and a white ribbon, but with no other indicators as to which beer it was; by the end of the course, you voted for “red” or “white.” No one knew which beer was which or from what city, all blind tasting!
Our table had beer aficionados attempting to pick out the beers based upon having tasted them before. Or by deducing the beer based on guessed style; or even looking up online what the brewery has to offer and getting one stuck in your head (Jon) that isn’t right (Jon).
We sipped each beer as it was put in front of us and then sipped with the meal. Several times, I overheard “this is the better beer overall, but this pairs better.” I believe we all then overlooked personal preference (as we were supposed to) and chose those beers that paired with each course. (Jon’s note: Often however beer and food pairing does come down to personal preference; there are no wrong answers in this regard.) Most of the time, our picks did match up to who won that particular round.
“Oregon War” Wonton Soup, paired with Silver Moon Snake Bite Porter and Ancestry Pale Whale
Winner: Ancestry Pale Whale
I asked for a vegetarian soup and it did change the taste of the beer pairing. I was going back and forth between the porter and pale and once I got a sip of Jon’s non-veg dish, I knew which one to choose. This one was hard, having an “alternate” dish to figure out which paired best with that one vs a regular menu item.
Chicken Cacciatore “Hunters Chicken,” paired with Crux Play Wave Pale Ale and Ancestry Irish Red
Winner: Ancestry Irish Red
Loved the chicken and Irish Red pairing. It reminded me of pairing Italian food with red wine and that’s how I ended up choosing in this round.
Pickled Grape Tartare, paired with Ecliptic Carina Peach Sour and Crux Better Off Red
Winner: Crux Better Off Red
A favorite of the table of the dish and beers. I found the grape tartare brought out the peach flavors of Ecliptic’s sour, but both were a good compliment and a tough round to choose.
Kurobuta Pork Shank, paired with Ecliptic Capella Porter and Silver Moon Skara Brae Scottish Ale
Winner: Silver Moon Skara Brae
An amazing main dish that I thought the Porter paired well with the Pork, bringing some coffee flavors to mind. Again very hard to choose because both paired well.
Fifth course, which started with a tie at that point
Cardamom Cordial Tartlet, paired with Silver Moon Boysen the Wood and Ecliptic Orange Giant Barleywine
Winner: Silver Moon Boysen the Wood
No question….Boysen the Wood hands down. I have tried all versions (bottle and draft) and that’s a fantastic beer and it paired amazingly well with dessert.
Overall, the Bend teaming of Silver Moon Brewing and Crux Fermentation Project won the third annual smackdown. Fun event, if you get a chance at the next event coming up in April, make sure you get tickets as it will sell out!
All the photos from the event: