Do you love beer and food but sometimes aren’t sure which ones to pair together? Have no fear! The Pinstripes in Overland Park hosts “beer dinners” that allow you to taste different selections of beer, while paired with a delightful dish curated by the Pinstripes kitchen. I like to think I know what food and drinks I enjoy, but this dinner pairing opened my eyes to flavors that are now on my favorite list. We had four appetizing courses paired with beer from Crane Brewing Company, a local brewery in Raytown, Missouri.
To begin the four-course meal, attendees were able to snack on dolma and homemade hummus. For those of you who don’t know what Dolma is, it is stuffed grape leaves. We ate the Dolma with homemade hummus presented in giant peppers. The hummus was absolutely delicious. I am hard to please when it comes to hummus but I found myself going back for seconds (and thirds). To accompany this opening course, Crane Brewing provided a sour beer. Crane Brewing is known for their sour beers and, I will be honest, I am not a sour beer fan. However, the Guava Weiss made by Crane Brewing was fantastic. The first sip was surprisingly sour but once you realize you are, indeed, drinking a sour, the flavor resonates and is crisp and refreshing.
After we had our fill of the hummus, Dolma and Guava Weiss, we were on to round 2. A Mediterranean Salad consisting of thin, long cucumber slices, sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese was paired with a Crane Brewing’s Farmhouse IPA. Cucumbers are, sadly, not my favorite thing to eat so I had a few bites of the salad and moved onto the IPA. I will admit, the salad was tasteful and refreshing to eat and everyone at my table wanted seconds! The IPA was also delicious. What I loved about this beer pairing dinner was that the chef of Pinstripes was a part of the evening so we were able to hear details about the food, how it was prepared and how he got the idea to pair this dish with that beer. Knowing where your food and beer comes from makes it that much easier to enjoy.
Course 3 is what I considered the main course. It included a Crete Honey Braised lamb shank (wow) and a Beet Weiss. The lamb shank was phenomenal. I’m not typically one to eat lamb, but this lamb dish was outstanding. It came with fingerling potatoes, small tomatoes and eggplant, which brought out the flavor and accompanied the shank well. To drink with this course was the Beet Weiss. Now, at first look and smell, this beer doesn’t look like a beer. It is the bright color of beets and smelled almost similar to beets. That being said, the Beet Weiss was my favorite out of the four beers during the dinner. It was fresh, sour and tasty. Michael Crane, the mastermind of Crane Brewing, is known for earthy beers that pair well with food. In this selection, he paired a sour German Wheat beer with the unlikely vegetable (beets) and created this masterpiece.
Last, but certainly not least in my book, was course four. For our last, sweet course, we had the pleasure of enjoying Konafa. Konafa is a noodle-like pastry, dessert. It is also soaked in sweet syrup and paired with a pistachio gelato (yes it is as good as it sounds). The chef at Pinstripes blew me away with this dessert and had me wanting four more. It was tasty! To pair alongside this dessert was Crane Brewing’s Omar English Porter. If you are a dark beer fan, this beer is for you. It was tasty but a bit too strong for my palette. The Omar is named after the Crane’s cat who passed away. As they describe the beer, “the fruity esters compliments the notes of bitter chocolate, licorice and a hint of caramel sweetness!” Basically, the Omar English Porter is dessert in a cup. My table couldn’t drink enough of it!
As you can tell, I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the Pinstripes Beer Dinner. I tried new foods and beer flavors that I hadn’t thought to try before. Also, sitting at a table with new friends while trying new foods was a highlight of my evening. The chef staff at Pinstripes and Michael Crane knew exactly what they were doing when creating the combinations of the evening. I encourage you to attend the next beer dinner and see what new, delicious treats you can get into! I have also heard they have a wine dinner in February… keep your calendars on the lookout 😉