FreshCraft Does it Again – Winter Beer Pairing Dinner

This was our second seasonal beer pairing dinner at FreshCraft and going in, our expectations were high after an awesome Autumn Beer Pairing Dinner a few months ago. They truly do a spectacular job pairing their beer with these dishes, including a good mix of classic pairings and ones that test your palate. You’re sure to drool as you scroll through our highlights, so make sure to reserve a spot in the upcoming Spring Beer Pairing Dinner once it’s announced (yes, we’ll let you know when the date is set).

Course 1:

Meet & cheese board with handmade duck, pheasant, and quail pate, bresaola, Danish bleu and Wensleydale cheeses, cabernet reduction.

Paired with Russian River Consecration, Sour Dark Ale aged in Cabernet Sauvignon Barrels with Currants.

Dinner started out strong with the first course, a great variety of meats and cheeses.  The saltiness of both the meats and cheeses cut through the sour of the Consecration, while the Cabernet reduction intensified the Cabernet notes in the beer.

Course 2:

Deconstructed holiday ham soup – their take on the classic holiday ham with pineapple and cherry.

Paired with Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin, Bourbon Barrel Aged Oatmeal Stout.

This was a very unexpected pairing for us. The bourbon and the pineapple played surprisingly well off each other. Even if this wasn’t the only keg of Velvet Merkin in the state of Colorado (which it was), this would have been my favorite beer of the evening. We also learned what a merkin was that night… and that kind of knowledge cannot be unlearned.

Course 3:

Napoleon of Tri pepper pork belly, braised bison oxtail, filet mignon tartare, and brewer’s grain crackers.

Paired with Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Jack & Ken’s Ale, Black Barley Wine

This was a shoe-in for my favorite dish of the evening, because who hasn’t wanted to eat three animals on the same plate?  The barley wine made this course even more decadent by enhancing the richness of the fat in the meat and bringing out the cracked black pepper.  The brewer’s grain crackers were an excellent touch, offering a nice mix of sweet and salty.


Celery leaf salad paired with cucumber water.  It’s a palate cleanser, not much else to say.

Course 4:

Carrot cake tower filled with blood orange pudding, topped with ganache and candied hazlenuts.

Paired with 2008 Left Hand Snow Bound, Winter Warmer Ale.

The combination of seasonal spices in the carrot cake and Snow Bound made for a more obvious pairing than some, but the blood orange filling made for a nice twist. To make this offering even more impressive, we were told that this was the last keg of 2008 Snow Bound left anywhere, a beer that is now retired.


Beet crisps paired with Odell Mountain Standard Double Black IPA.

The saltiness of the beet crisps was enough to cut the bitterness of the Mountain Standard to the point that my wife, who is not partial to IPA’s, was able to drink the whole thing.

Here are the rest of my shots of this beautiful dinner:

About Sean Buchan

Sean is a Physical Therapist and Photographer living in (and loving) Denver, Colorado. He enjoys shooting just about anything but his true passion is capturing the craft beer culture here in Denver. If you enjoy his photographs check out Beertographer.