When Coloradans elected former beer man John Hickenlooper to the state's top post last November, they had no idea they'd be letting the entire craft-brewing industry into the Governors' Mansion as well.
But that's what happened last night when the residence played host to Pints & Bites, a gourmet food-and-beer pairing event sponsored by the Colorado Brewers Guild, which represents craft brewers, and Durango's Steamworks Brewing Company.
The recent politics around beer may have left Hickenlooper with a sour taste in his mouth, but he showed up at the party anyway, and his appearance made many of the brewers in attendance happy -- especially those fighting legislation like the bill filed today by Republican state representative Larry Liston that would allow grocery and convenience stores to sell full-strength beer.
But the night wasn't about politics (for the most part). It was about beer and food, and while the bearded, long-haired and T-shirted denizens of the brewing industry looked out of place among the chandeliers and antique furniture, they made themselves at home in the mansion, pouring beer into goblets while chefs from a number of local restaurants served food that paired well with each brew.
Oysters with Thai green curry played off One Hit Wonder from Oskar Blues, while a stunning carrot cake complemented 50/50 from Steamworks. The pairing champion of the evening, however, had to be the smoky combination of Left Hand Brewing's new TNT Weizen Dopplebock and Euclid Hall's sausage and mustard.
This wasn't the first Pints and Bites; last year Governor Bill Ritter hosted a similar event -- also sponsored by the Brewers Guild. But unlike last year's event, which was held in the carriage house, this year's took place in the mansion itself -- so perhaps the brewers really do have the keys to the house when it comes to the governor.
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Then again, since Hick doesn't actually live in the mansion, he didn't have to clean up the beery mess this morning.
If only beery politics were as easy to mop up.