Fort Collins Brewery teaches class on how to pair beer with meals

012413-Beer2_DLYou are over 21 and you’ve just finished making a delicious dinner, but you don’t know what kind of beer goes well with that Kraft macaroni and cheese. Do you indulge with the milk stout or go with the traditional, can’t-go-wrong wheat rye?

This is a good time to be introduced to beer pairings. Beer pairings are exactly what they sound like; they are to teach people which beer will go best with the meal or the food that you are eating.

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As luck would have it, you will have the opportunity to do just that tonight at Fort Collins Brewery (FCB) in conjunction with Gravity 1020, the small restaurant that lives nestled within the FCB building.

“Beer isn’t just alcohol, it’s a precise combination of hops, water, grains, and yeast,” wrote Tina Peters in an email to the Collegian. Peters is the General Manager of Gravity 1020 and one of the folks who will be guiding you on your beer expedition.

Peters went on to say that beer pairings depend on what mood you are in. You could contrast flavors — for example some spicy cajun shrimp paired with grits and a malty, biscuity amber lager like the 1900 — or you can compliment flavors — pair a chocolate brownie with the creamy, smooth sweetness of the Vanilla Porter.

“The right combination of ingredients can create a masterpiece of flavors and aromas that will bring joy to beer lovers everywhere,” Peters said.

Some of the pairings that stand out to her are caramelized apples and blue cheese crostini with Kidd Lager, a wild mushroom and butternut squash ravioli with Rocky Mountain IPA, and some wild berry tiramisu with Double Chocolate Stout.

Brewing University: Beer Sensory Education 101 is a four-course beer pairing dinner. You will also get to take a tour of the brewery to taste every step of the beer-making course.

Doug Smith, operations manager and one of the master brewers for FCB will be one of the leaders for the brewery tour.

First you will taste all the ingredients put together, then the wort, the fermented hops, the conditioned hops, and finally the carbonated beer — what you are used to drinking from the tap.

“We want to show people the different quality control steps in the beer-making process,” Smith, who has been an FCB brewer for over five years, said.

“Our goal is to train our customers,” he said.

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They are also going to give you information to bring home so that you can tell all your friends and relatives what really makes beer magical.

“We spread our love for craft beer and food by hosting events like this, hoping some of that love will rub off to home cooks and brewers alike,” Peters said. “Anytime we can share some knowledge with guests to increase their beer experience we appreciate that opportunity.”

Prepare your stomach before you go; chances are you will be tasting flavors you never have before.