As a result of this transcendent tasting moment at the GABF, this event hosted by Dust Bowl Brewing Co. hit us right in the feel spot and became an immediate entry into everone’s
favorite most tolerated running segment: The Craft Beer Marketing Idea of the Week. After months of collaboration, the northern California brewery teamed with SupHerb Farms, a nearby supplier of fresh tasting IQF ingredient solutions for foodservice operators and food manufacturers, to host chefs for a day of beer and food pairings along with behind-the-scenes tours of each manufacturing facility.
Taste and flavor have always been essential features of beer, but now more than ever these components are being assessed against a new, colorful canvas of food. What made the event especially unique was keynote speaker, Dr. Hoby Wedler, a renowned pioneer in sensory tasting and co-founder of Senspoint Design. Blind since birth, Wedler teamed with brewmaster Don Oliver, taproom chef Abel Larios and SupHerb Farms chef Scott Adair to create four innovative pairings featuring ingredients from SupHerb Farms and signature beers from Dust Bowl Brewing Co. Wedler led the guest chefs, who were all blindfolded, in a sensory tasting where they experienced the unique interaction of the different beer styles with the food pairings.
“Being cognizant of how the different flavor profiles impact the diner’s experience is essential in menu development,” shared Dr. Wedler. “When you take away the sense of sight, you can really hone in on flavor and texture. You have no preconceived notion of what the food or beer should taste like. My mission is to educate and develop a greater appreciation for the sensory experience of food and beverage.”
The American Culinary Federation (ACF) sanctioned event brought together a variety of chefs ranging from San Francisco’s famous Boudin bakery to Atria, the upscale senior living community.
“I’ve gained a lot of information on the beer making process,” commented Gianpaulo Ruiz, director of culinary services at Atria and ACF Chef of the Year. “Beer pairing is something we can surely add to our menu development. The sensory pairing by Hoby was outstanding. This event will enhance my approach on how to incorporate local craft beer for our residents.”
The beer pairing movement in the culinary world is being advocated not only by craft breweries, but by key industry influencers. At the California Craft Brewers Association Summit this past September, Julia Herz, craft beer program director for the Brewers Association, emphasized the need — and her personal mission — to change the perception of beer as related to food. She identifies the opportunity for beer pairing skills to help shift this narrative through classes, dinners and experiences much like the one with Dr. Wedler at Dust Bowl Brewing Co.
“It’s exciting to be a catalyst in the beer pairing movement. Beer is no longer a stand-alone beverage,” said Brett Tate, founder, Dust Bowl Brewing Co. “Chefs are learning to cook with it, they’re learning what foods go with what styles of beers. To be a catalyst in this movement is exciting. As a brewery, we’re learning every day how to be more innovative and creative in connecting consumers with our brand. It’s imperative to stay relevant.”