Ithaca Beer Dinner at Gordon’s

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

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I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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One of the best parts about my gig with Gordon’s is that I am allowed to attend any of the classes at their Wine & Culinary Center. Gordon’s has some pretty awesome events, but last night’s Ithaca Beer dinner is probably the best that I have attended. (Well, besides the VinoVoyage, of course! 😉 )

Last night, Eric VanZile of the Ithaca Beer Company presented 5 beers, which were paired with 5 courses, prepared by Chef Dave Becker of Sweet Basil in Needham.

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As soon as I saw the menu for the evening, I was psyched! Everything sounded so delicious!

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Eric VanZile of Ithaca Beer was our host for the evening. He told us all about the company and throughly discussed each beer as we tasted it. Ithaca Beer is a small company with just 13 full-time employees and their beer is currently sold in 7 states.

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The first beer that we tasted was the Cascazilla.

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The Cascazilla is a hoppy, red ale with a big, bold, and citrusy IPA flavor. Generally, I’m not a fan of IPAs, but I liked this one. It was IPA-esque, but not quite a true IPA.

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Paired with the Cascazilla was a piece of Bruschetta with Mushrooms, Figs, and Gorgonzola. The strong gorgonzola flavor really brought out the citrus notes in the beer. It was very nice.

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Then, we tried Ithaca’s #1 selling beer: Apricot Wheat. The Apricot Wheat was definitely something special.

Ok, let me start off by saying that I usually like fruity beers; I don’t love them. When I drink beer, I like it to taste like beer, not fruity soda, ya know? So, when I first smelled the Apricot Wheat, I immediately thought that I wasn’t going to like it. It has a seriously aggressive apricot smell. But, once I tasted it, I totally changed my opinion. It was light and refreshing with a good beer balance. The Apricot Wheat first hits you with apricot flavor, but then all you taste is beer. It was easily my favorite of the evening.

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The Apricot Wheat was paired with White Bean Soup with Calvados glazed Scallops.

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The White Bean Soup was made with pureed apricots, carrots, onions, celery, apple brandy, and sage. It was hearty, slightly sweet, and a wonderful match for the Apricot Wheat.

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The glazed scallop was perfect.

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Up next was Ithaca’s Flower Power.

Flower Power is an Indian Pale Ale with tons of body and tropical notes of pineapple and grapefruit. It’s dry-hopped five times throughout the brewing and fermentation process, so it had a seriously strong hop flavor. Of course, Mal loved this beer. He even bought a 6-pack of it on the way out of Gordon’s.

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Mmmmm… beer! :mrgreen:

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The Flower Power was paired with Spring Greens with an Avocado Dumpling and Pineapple Salsa.

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The Avocado Dumpling was outstanding! In fact, I liked it so much, I asked Chef Becker if it was on the menu at Sweet Basil… and it is! Mal and I already have plans to there for dinner soon. (Sweet Basil is also BYOB! 😉 )

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The Avocado Dumpling was made with a wonton skin, filled with a mushy mix of avocado, Manouri cheese, ginger, and lime, and sauteed. I loved it!

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We tasted the final two beers together: Ithaca 12 and White Gold.

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The Ithaca 12 is a Monastery-style Quadrupel Ale that is brewed with French malts and German hops then fermented with a blend of Trappist yeast strains. It just sounds like a special anniversary brew, doesn’t it? 😉 The Ithaca 12 had a wonderful balance of fruity and spicy flavors– it actually sort of smelled like a Tootsie Roll to me! It was really rich, but dry at the same time.

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The White Gold is a rustic pale ale with fruity and herbal flavors. It had a pineapple sweetness and a slightly sour twinge to it. I also really liked this beer.

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These two beers were paired with Roasted Chicken Tossed with Homemade Sage Noodles, Stewed Tomatoes, and Glazed Onions and Sliced Gruyere with Port Poached Plums and Candied Pecans.

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As you probably know, I’m not a big fan of chicken, so I didn’t think I’d really like this dish. But, I tried it anyway and surprisingly LOVED it. The chicken was so tender and the homemade pasta was fresh and chewy. I ended up eating the whole portion.

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The final course was quite delicious as well. The combination of Gruyere (my favorite cheese!) with plums and candied pecans was fantastic. I downed this course too!

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I left feeling pretty stuffed, but every bite was worth it. I loved the entire meal. The beer pairing complimented the various courses so well. It was a fun night!

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28 Comments

  1. Ithaca makes some good beer! I tried it for the first time at a tasting in Providence that I stumbled upon when I lived there.

    Sweet Basil looks really good! I may have to head there sooner rather than later!

  2. We got to sample Ithaca beers at Buffalo Brewfest a few years ago. They have some great beers. I wish we would have had this delicious food to go with it too.

  3. Wow that food looks awesome. I’ve been to a wine and food pairing, but never beer and food. I’d probably like it better actually so I need to get on that!

  4. All your pictures are gorgeous, but I didn’t make it past “Avocado Dumpling” the first time around. I am in love with avocados this year, and well, that sounds heavenly!

  5. How fun! I never think about pairing beer with my meals, I really only think of pairing food with wine. I definitely should consider it more often outside of Coronas with lime go with fish tacos. Thanks for sharing your beer dinner experience! It looks like it was awesome!

  6. You must have done something- I checked a bunch of times and haven’t been able to read this post all the way through! Thanks:)

  7. They used to have the Apricot Wheat on tap at the Druid (Inman Square) and I absolutely loved it. The last time I was there they didn’t have it — hopefully it’ll make its way back one of these days… YUM.

  8. This sounds like a great night! Hope you had lots and lots of fun… The beers sound interesting too!

    Have a great night! 😀

    Wei-Wei

  9. so i always wonder, do you just not get invited to these events if you’re a vegetarian/vegan? because i never see any vegan friendly dishes served. thanks!

  10. this post is awesome. I was hoping you’d get to try the apricot ale! I love that beer, it’s on tap at Sunset Bar & Grill! I also loooove that pic of you tasting the beer. All the food looks so incredible and unique. You are so lucky to attend these events!!!

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