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The third course paired a delicate seafood stew with a nice appley, peppery golden ale whose name recalls a sweet moment during New Belgium founder Jeff Lebesch's first bike ride through Belgium. "A flower, sir?" Also recalled is Lebesch's misspelling of the quote in his journal. Gotta love this brewery.
Next up, a Wild Ale, a loosely-defined style that appeared in the U.S. a few years ago. Simply, wild ales are fermented using naturally-occurring yeasts, little bugs that most brewers struggle to keep out of their beer. Many classic Belgian brewers enjoy this ancient way of brewing, though, so it's unsurprising that we'd see some examples of it in America sooner or later. The Fall Wild Ale has a gang of flavors going on, from cloves and molasses to bright sweet fruits and barnyard funk. It was paired with cranberry duck and sweet potato puree, the whole cranberries providing a bracingly tart pop with each forkful.
The meal ended with a bright red cherry ale, made by blending cherry lambic from Belgium with a strong golden lager from New Belgium. Light-bodied and crisp, it was a sweet little partner to an excellent dessert of chocolate truffle ice cream on a white chocolate waffle (!) topped with cherry sabayon.
Jim Voss shines at his beer dinners. He knows his stuff, isn't afraid to experiment but believes in the classics, too. He also knows how to give you just enough food and beer to leave you completely satisfied, instead of deep in a food coma or wishing you'd reserved a designated driver. Can't wait for next year -- the tenth annual promises to be unforgettable.
Matt Thenhaus is a Saint Louis bartender who believes there is a time and place for every beer. He blogs about beer every Wednesday.