Friday, April 29th, 2016

Hop Valley beer dinner at The Swiss recap

Ron Swarner


Wednesday, April 27, The Swiss Restaurant and Pub in downtown Tacoma hosted Hop Valley Brewing Co. out of Eugene Oregon for a beer-pairing dinner with Chef Jacob Thacker running the kitchen and Hop Valley sales executive Rob Brunsman waxing craft beer and tossing trivia questions.

As Brunsman searched for someone to assemble his bow tie “Brick House” and Super Freak” swirled about The Swiss’ middle event room as patrons wandered in from the bar area, many with prefunk beers. Swiss Assistant Manager Patrick Welcheck welcomed the room — including a strong contingent from the Eleven Eleven bar — introducing Brunsman and his German purple velvet vest. The attentive Swiss servers placed a Hop Valley Neon Prince Session IPA while Brunsman gave a history of the brewery and the welcome beer, named after the colorful clothing worn by Hop Valley’s sales director and partner Walter Macbeth. Sun bouncing off the adjacent building lit up the Neon Prince and its three-hop varieties blend balanced with malt caramel.

The first course was a beautiful spring lettuce salad with snow peas, grape tomatoes and a three-foot long cucumber ring (might be off with the measurement). The dish was complex in flavor and textures, pairing well with the brewery’s malty and sweet Red.

Next, we enjoyed a delicious roasted vegetable ragout and herb yogurt sauce over handmade peppered chickpea crisps, paired with Hop Valley’s number one selling beer in Washington state, Citrus Mistress IPA, which has some lightly sweet apricot and tangerine, with a hint of grapefruit.

A stand out dish had to be the slow roasted wild boar in mole sauce folded like a taco in Chinese steamed buns. Chef Jacob had us at savory wild boar in mole sauce, but the addition of pillowy buns created a playful dish that worked well with the pleasant roasty notes of the pairing Vanilla Infused Porter.

Finally we ended with a pressed ricotta cheese atop an oatmeal wafer with a white balsamic cardamom and honey glaze showered with toasted nuts. The refreshing Light Me Up Lager offset the milky, dairy flavor of the dessert.

If that wasn’t enough, Hop Valley’s Black Nova Imperial Stout arrived, sparking cross-room visitations.

The addition of Brunsman’s trivia game added spark to the evening, and loud roars from the Eleven Eleven table. Another fun beer-pairing dinner hosted by The Swiss.