Back in April, I was happy to find myself at Toronto’s Nota Bene Restaurant for a lunch built around two Goose Island beers. This was a pleasant situation both because the food was fantastic (my first experience with the Boudin Tart), but also because I appreciated the signal it sent: premium, carefully-designed beers are ready to be paired with food of the same caliber.
As someone who wrote a cookbook with craft beer as a central feature I always like to see my beverage of choice “movin’ on up” in the food world.
The “nickel tour” of Goose Island Brewery‘s history goes something like this: The brewery was established as a brewpub in 1988 back when craft breweries were still known as “microbreweries”. They did very well in Chicago and brewed some excellent, well-regarded, craft beer. In 2011, AB InBev (one of the world’s largest beer conglomerates) bought Goose Island. The purchase led some to worry that quality would slip and to classify it among the group known as “crafty” brewers. I didn’t have a chance to try the beer before the takeover, so can’t comment on any quality change, but the fact that Goose Island is in Ontario for the first time is almost definitely thanks to AB InBev. (They also own Labatt.)
The folks from Nota Bene and Labatt had a bit of a hiccup over the summer – not just in my opinion – when they collaborated on a seafood fest menu that announced Alexander Keith’s (not-)India pale ale as an ideal pairing for Maritime lobster. But, it seems that with autumn they are back on track. On November 12, they are holding a four-course dinner and tasting event that will be the first time that Chef David Lee has ever hosted a beer dinner at Nota Bene.
The slate of beer pairings has Pepe Nero and Pere Jacques joining Sofie and Matilda. As well, I’m told that Goose Island’s in-house cicerone, Suzanne Wolcott is bringing some of the brewery’s Bourbon County Stout for a rare tasting. This is one of those 100-point beers that regularly make it onto the “best beers in the world” genre of lists.
The Pepe Nero and Pere Jacques will both be available for private order the night of the event.
Luckily for you, gentle reader, I have been given a pair of tickets to share with the group as a prize. As I’m sure you’ve noticed by taking a cursory glance around the site, my first cookbook is hitting shelves in the next few weeks. To sweeten the pot just a little bit more, I’m also including an advance copy of the book as part of the prize that one winner will receive. The tickets are valued at approximately $250 for the pair and are only good for the one time event at Nota Bene on November 12, 2013. Naturally, this beer dinner (and therefore the contest, as well) is only open to those who are of legal drinking age.
If you’d like to hedge your bets – or are visiting this page after the contest has closed – you can order tickets by calling 416-365-5767. Between the delicious beer and Chef Lee’s lights-out food this looks like an unmissable event.