On Saturday, I spent a good chunk of time at the Culinary Institute of America at their Brew U Beer and Food Festival and I was in a bit of a brain fog all day Sunday but it was worth it…
I’ve been to the CIA for a day workshop but this was the first time I went to an event like this.
Warning: this is a photo heavy post because OMG I consumed so many things, so I put a bunch of photos in little galleries for your perusal. Otherwise you’d be scrolling for days.
We arrived early because we always do so we spent a bit of time wandering around the campus. This was an impressive sight, for sure. Hi Chef!
The campus is impressive and I’d not been behind the main building before. The Egg (the student commons) is right next to the Hudson River and behind the building they have a small teaching garden. I’m awfully proud of myself because I was able to identify all but two of the things growing in it.
One of the really nice things is that they offered a discounted ticket for a designated driver which was great because LB doesn’t drink (like.. at all) but she still had an amazing time sampling the food and she also had a bottle of Hop Soda which was really nice! (I tried a sip) .
But I’m jumping ahead. When we arrived, we were given a program and a tiny glass that we would be using to get our beer samples from different Breweries. Even the DD got one because there were things like the aforementioned soda, but also cranberry lime water, cucumber water, two types of non-alcoholic cider and of course, and a water fountain (one of them fancy taps .. not a fountain like in elementary school).
I was really excited about the demonstration on how to use spent grains. Those are the grains that are left over after you basically extract most of the carbohydrates out to make your wort for beer brewing. I learned some interesting things about how to make flour from the grains, but also that you can’t substitute it for equal parts of regular flour because spent grain flour sucks up moisture like crazy. Also, when you add wet spent grains, you get some really nifty textures. Chef Shannon gave us samples (and recipes) for spent grain English Muffins and spent grain and flaxseed pizza dough.
Scroll through for pictures.
Of course, now I have it in my head to get a Kitchenaid Mill Attachment which I do not need… but want desperately now.. for no good reason. I know Ida over at The Enabling Cook has milled flour. I need to ask her more about her experience with it.
Now! On to the beer! I didn’t get to sample all of them because I would have been on the FLOOR. but I did try quite a few.
Here is the list of NY Vendors that were there. I had a beer from Chatham Brewey, Crossroads, Keegan Ales, and Rip Van Winkle. I know.. that’s all. I’m a lightweight. But I also sampled three from the CIA Brewery (more on that later.)
I probably ate more food than drank beer but I’m pretty ok with that. Also, I had my first oyster ever and then I had another because it was AMAZING. I’m love oysters now… at least cooked ones. I will eventually get up the nerve for a raw oyster. I’ve eaten snails so, really what is the big deal? (the potential for snotty texture is the big deal.. ::shudder::)
Our favorite thing though was the beer and cheese pairing seminar. It was presented by Professor John Fischer who wrote Cheese Identification, Classification and Utilization and I’m just enough of a curd nerd to buy it. (by the time I hit “publish” on this post, it will probably be on it’s way to me)
Prof. Fischer was super entertaining and was obviously incredibly knowledgeable and had the best phrase of the day. He said “Brewing is Yeast Husbandry”. He also introduced us to three of the beers coming out of the CIA Brewery which have the BEST names… The Mise en Place Wit that was paired with a Kunik from Nettle Meadow, the Octoberfest that he paired with I think it was Grand Cru Surchoix (my damn camera did not take pics of the slides like it was supposed to!) and the Cleaver IPA which was AMAZING with my favorite cheddar, the Cabot Clothbound (which you can get at The Cheese Traveler for sure. I’m also 99% sure you can get the Kunik there as well).
It was really interesting to see how the bitterness of the IPA and the sharpness of the cheddar mellowed each other out. And the Mise en Place Wit was just so delicious with that soft cheese that I wanted to beat up my fellow seminar go-ers for their portions. I could have taken them… they had way more beer than I did.
We had such a great time, I would totally do this again next year. We also bought a Brew U Tshirt and a beer stein… and our swag bags from being VIP ticket holders also had beer steins in them so now we have three steins in the house. I guess one will go on my desk at work. Why not?
If you get a chance to go next year, I highly recommend it. It’s not only educational and fun but the food is amazing and we enjoyed checking out what was probably the fanciest and nicest student commons I’ve ever seen.