This article was originally written in March 2007 for the now-defunct food and drink website Gremolata. It was re-published here in September 2011, but back-dated to appear in the blog archives close to its original publication date.
According to Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garrett Oliver, beer is better than wine.
OK, perhaps that’s both simplifying and exaggerating his stance a bit. I don’t know if he’s ever used the words “better than” to describe the relationship between the two beverages. But much of what Oliver has said and done in the past decade or so has made it quite clear that he feels that beer has gotten the short end of the stick for far too long, and that it is just as deserving as wine is to be paired with food of every sort. In fact, he’s been quoted as saying that beer has a much wider range of styles and flavours than wine does, and he attempted to prove it in The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food, his 2003 book that has quickly become a bible to beer-friendly chefs the world over.
(I should also make it clear that Oliver is by no means an anti-wine zealot. On the contrary, he actually has great respect for the grape. He has been on several wine tasting panels, including one for the New York Times, and has travelled extensively in some of the world’s best wine regions. He just loves beer more.)
To mark the recent arrival of his brewery’s flagship Brooklyn Lager to LCBO shelves, Oliver came to town at the end of February for a sold-out six-course dinner at beerbistro. Together with Chef Brian Morin, he created a series of pairings that proved his beer-meets-food theories and showcased the diversity and quality of the Brooklyn Brewing line-up. And the pair also played around with the idea of “American” food to create some fun and unique dishes.