Julia Herz from the Brewers Association, “the James Beard Foundation for beer,” presented eight brewers as part of a powerhouse meal on The Tasting Kitchen mezzanine. Buzz from the three-deep downstairs bar wafted upstairs to the book-lined room, and glasses and plates began to pile up for invited media types like me. Chef Adam Dulye from Monk’s Kettle and Abbot’s Cellar, who consults for the Brewers Association, worked with host chef Casey Lane to present a five-course tasting menu that highlighted the predominant flavor in each beer.
My favorite beer of the night was No-Li Brewhouse Crystal Bitter ESB, which Spokane based brewery co-owner John Bryant presented. The name of the brewery, co-owned by Mark Irvin, is short for Northern Lights, and each beer incorporates key ingredients from the region, including hops, malt, water and barley. Bryant touted the “freshest ingredients at our fingertips,” and that was apparent in their Crystal Bitter ESB, a crisp, aromatic, hoppy ale that complemented the ravioli and took gold at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival.