Choice City Butcher and Deli is a staple in the Fort Collins beer community. Their tap list, while not as large as others, is always full of phenomenal beers you can’t find anywhere else. Not to mention, the food is always outstanding. You have not lived until you have had a rattlesnake bratwurst, or smoked salmon eggs benedict from Choice City. On top of being a great place to enjoy a beer with dinner on any day, they also host beer pairing dinners. I was recently invited to attend a dinner they were holding with Great Divide Brewing out of Denver.
When I arrived at Choice City the night of the dinner I was greeted by a Great Divide employee and handed a Denver Pale Ale, our first course. Any dinner that starts with beer at the first course is my kind of dinner.
After mingling and sipping our DPA, we all took our seats and I ended up sitting with Sean and Steve of Black Bottle Brewery. I had meet these guys a few times before and spending time with them is always a hoot. We also sat with 2 guys, one from Denver, that were celebrating a birthday. While we were at a small table, most of the tables were long family style tables.
After Russ, the owner of Choice City, gave a speech about the dinner and also spoke a bit about the Connoisseur Tasting event he was hosting for the Colorado Brewers Fest, the first dish was served. Toast points topped with a slice of MouCo Camembert cheese and a smoked mushroom and bacon ragu were paired with the Rumble IPA. This oak aged IPA matched well with the smokiness of the mushrooms and bacon, and really brought out the wood flavors. The creamy cheese was a great balance.
Next, was a green salad topped with citrus fruit, “bloddy geisha” shrimp, and a toasted sesame dressing. This Asian inspired dish was matched with Samurai Rice Ale, a light crisp beer brewed with rice. The clean palate of the beer was a great base for the citrus and toasted sesame.
My favorite course was the pork cooked with a cinnamon spice rub and paired with root vegetables and spinach. It was the most tender and juicy pork I have ever had. The spiciness of the cinnamon was a great complement to the sweetness of the Wolfgang Doppelbock. With caramel and toffee notes in the beer, this savory dish had a sweet side.
A tall stem glass of Oak Aged Yeti Chocolate Stout arrived with a spiced chocolate cake with chipotle whipped topping. The spice was very sutble in the cake, but brought out the spiciness in the beer that I had never found before in this one.
By the time the last course came I was too full to finish it all. The other beer dinners I have been to usually provide 4-5 oz. taster pours of beer, while this dinner provided half or full pours of all. I have left pairing dinners hungry before, with such tiny portions, but not here. We definitely got our money worth with this one.
Choice City will be hosting a dinner with Epic Brewing Co. of Utah on July 10th, and many more in the future.