OTC and Wynwood Brewing Company First of Many Beer-Pairing Dinners (Photos)
At OTC, Brickell's go-to spot for casual fare with upscale flavors, beer is an important part of the menu.
All photos by Carla Torres
This past weekend, Michael Sullivan welcomed diners to a beer-pairing dinner that may be the first of many. Wynwood Brewing Company's locally brewed crafts were matched with dishes that have never been offered before, cooked up specifically for the event at $65 per person.
Wynwood Brewing's son-and-pop duo Luis C. and Luis G. Brignoni welcomed us to the family. Their wives as well as brewmaster Nik Mebane and his girlfriend Val were also in attendance. As we waited for the food, we sipped on something to take the edge off -- a Pop's Porter, which is poppa Luis' favorite brew. Hints of coffee helped cleanse and open up the palate for the meal to come.
To kick things off, Anaya cooked up some Okinawan sweet potatoes croquettes with rendered pork belly and fontina cheese. The potatoes hail from the southern most Japanese Island of Okinawa. "I first fell in love with these potatoes when I went to Hawaii," said Anaya.
Who wouldn't fall in love with these vibrant purple potatoes? Nobody at the table even realized just how beautiful they were till we snapped a shot and the flash went off, at which point we were all in awe. The potatoes were served alongside a perfectly fluff goat cheese foam and pineapple jam. Altogether, it was a celebration of texture and flavor. Pairing with the bready and sweet tasting La Rubia blonde ale, it was a wonderful marriage.
La Rubia is WBC's biggest seller, which makes sense since it was specifically brewed for our sweltering climate. To honor it properly, Anaya dedicated the first two appetizers to this beer. We continued with a shrimp toast, which Anaya came across while traveling through Asia. Putting a local spin on it using Florida shrimp and sandwiching it with a light Spam espuma and Swiss chard sprouts created a perfectly light bite to pair with La Rubia. "La Rubia and seafood are meant for each other," says Luis G. "The beer's crispness makes it an obvious and excellent pairing with the shrimp, but the inventive use of spam takes it to another level." It was actually the first time his wife Sandra tried Spam in her entire life. She is now a believer.
The dinner wasn't just fun and games -- we learned a few things about properly tasting beer, too. Brewmaster Nik Mebane taught us that to get the most profound taste from a brew, you should push your tongue up to the roof of your mouth and let it act like a film, seeping out through the sides. We tried this and it actually added a whole new element to beer drinking.