It’s a rare honor to be invited to a private beer dinner with the folks at Odell Brewing. But sure enough, my Friday plans included just that.
A good friend from home has temporarily stopped her American travels as an adventure guide and was heading over the front range for some quality catch-up time after a long seven months apart. She craves Odell Brewing brews and per our friend ritual, I was prepared to do a taproom visit. Or two. So I shot my good friend Amanda Johnson-King, Marketing and Branding Manager at Odell Brewing, a message to meet up for a brewski. Much to my surprise she returned with an invite to Corkie Odell’s (Doug, the owner’s sister, and in kind a co-owner herself) house for a dinner paired with beer. Twist my arm, Amanda.
I shouldn’t have been nervous, but I was. I mean, it wasn’t like I had an amazing amount of respect for the folks at Odell’s or anything… I was also afraid of my supreme awkwardness to come out over a brew or two, yelling loudly, “OH MY GOODNESS, I LOVE YOUR BEARD. AND YOUR BEER.” I did what I knew how to do: bribe them with beer. So, I packed up a hidden stash of Founders, Bells, and Hoppin’ Frog brews, tucked them away, and headed up to the Fort.
We did a quick jaunt to the Town Pump for a delicious pint and then ventured over to the meandering neighborhood of Mrs. Odell. With a 6-pack tucked under my arm, I was warmly welcomed into the beautiful, warm house that Corkie and Mike built. I quickly took notes of my dream kitchen and accepted the pint of 5 Barrel poured from their 2-tap system.
Amanda, her husband Ryan (the man behind the Hiveranno name), the Bogart brothers, and my friend and I snagged a seat at the “kids’ tables.” And went bug-eyed upon seeing the menu:
- Hors d’oeuvre/Ordurve: Seared scallop with an orange mango butter sauce paired with Hiveranno
- Appetizer: Honey glazed golden delicious apple bruschetta with warm MouCo Camambert paired with Myrcenary
- Entree: Fresh Colorado rack of lamb on a bed of wild rice with a Cutthroat Porter demi glace and shiitake mushrooms. Served with fresh vegetable medley and paired with Bourbon Barrel Stout
- Intermezzo: Easy Street amuse bouche
- Dessert: Gold medal winning Sheep Ricotta cheesecake with a hazelnut crust and a pomegranate, raspberry tart sauce paired with gold medal winning Friek.
The first course opened up beautifully with the seared scallop. It was also my first time having Hiveranno since they reworked the bottle carbonation. The hop flavor with the wild yeast picked up the tropical citrus in the mango butter sauce. The texture of the scallop played extremely well with the mouthfeel of the beer. All of this happened in my mouth while being entertained by Ryan King and the story of a Hiveranno. A Hiveranno is “an experienced mountain man/One who had lived many years in Indian country” [source]. And the requirements to be considered one with a Hiveranno Degree are strenuous. You can read through the entire requirement list here, but point 14 (Must be able to converse using Plains Indians hand talk) and point 19 (Must spend three days and two nights totally alone under primitive conditions and aux aliments du pays–”off the nourishment of the land”) speak to the ruggedness. So yeah, back to the beer. Great pairing, great conversation, and fantastic beverage.
I love cheese. I’m cursed/blessed to love cheese and the context in which it’s paired. So it was no wonder that I was tickled to see MouCo’s Camembert listed as the second course. The honey glazed apple with the Camembert paired with Myrcenary was well done. The creamy and nutty cheese played well to the hop profile, and the Double IPA helped to cut the gooey-factor of the cheese. Add in the fact that MouCo is from Fort Collins, and I was a happy girl. Taking a breath, I tried to catch up with the rest and finished my Hiveranno and Myrcenary. I knew what awaited me for the next course.
Lamb, lamb, lamb. Yesss. And I’m a stout girl, particularly when it’s a Bourbon Barrel Stout. Once the plate was dropped in front of me, I had to wipe my mouth and catch my slight dribble. I snapped a photo and dug into the beautifully-plated Fresh Colorado rack of lamb perched on its bed of wild rice. And the first flavors that hit were the demi glace with shiitake mushrooms. I sipped my Bourbon Barrel Stout, picking up the smooth chocolate and vanilla with the porter glace. My eyes rolled back. My toes curled. This pairing was incredible.
At this point, I was about ready to pop. And I think the chef knew it because his intermezzo was the perfect pause. It cleaned my tongue from the viscous mouthfeel of the Bourbon Barrel Stout and helped reset my palate. I never thought Easy Street in frozen form could do that this well.
On to the encore. We all were allowed to freak out with a little Friek. This GABF Gold Award Winner brought home another win with the sheep ricotta cheesecake. Now, I’m not typically a fan of cheesecake. I find it overrated and too rich for my tastes. But the ricotta, with the hazelnut, and a fucking amazing beer made this dessert more than tolerable. The pomegranate and raspberry sauce was an obvious take, trying to directly highlight the Friek’s flavor profile. I sent up my white flag, leaned back in my chair, and willed my stomach to digest.
Dinner finished and mingling ensued. We cracked open Bell’s Expedition, Founder’s Backwoods Bastard and Breakfast Stout, Deschutes Hop in the Dark CDA, and some Hoppin’ Frog D.O.R.I.S. The beer geeks were in heaven. It was the perfect way to welcome home a good friend. I was finally able to spend more than a rushing minute with Amanda. And I was basking in the wonderfulness of Odell Brewing Company. More than once I had to pinch myself to make sure it wasn’t a dream. Egads, I love this industry.
Ryan Tostenson, of Odell Brewing and also works at Lucile’s, did this meal on his own just because he loves to cook. Ryan, you killed it. Thanks to Choice City Butcher and Deli, Mouco Cheese Company, Fruition dairy and creamery, and of course Odell Brewing Company!
Update: For those that would like recipes to the above food porn amazingness, Ryan has shared it on Odell Brewing’s blog. Check here for more details!