Ithaca Beer Dinner at Gordon’s

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Hi, 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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