Brüfrou, the food-and-beer extravaganza featuring pairings from Colorado breweries and chefs, kicks off its second annual festival at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space museum on Saturday with two sessions and a separate pre-event forum called TastyTålks, where local food and beverage experts will discuss current restaurant and beer trends. Last year's Brüfrou featured forty pairings — but this year will double that effort, with representation from a wide range of Denver's top restaurants, food trucks, pizzerias, sushi joints and even a butcher shop.
The restaurant and brewery pairings are listed on Brüfrou's website, but the actual dishes and beers are not mentioned. So we went to the source to get an idea of what to expect. Here's what five restaurants are bringing — and the beers you'll be able to taste along side each bite.
Panzano and Station 26 Brewing Co.
Executive chef Elise Wiggins of Panzano says she met Dustin Darker of Station 26 Brewing at the North Park Hill brewery to sample a few beers. "Dustin then came in to Panzano with several of his beers that we had selected," she explains. "I cooked several dishes and we sampled them together and decided on my lamb ragu with his experimental beer." No word yet on the flavor profile of that experimental beer, but Wiggins's bold Italian flavors should mean an equally bold beer.
Western Daughters Butcher Shoppe and Elevation Beer Co.
A butcher shop may seem like an odd choice for a food and beer festival, but Western Daughters does far more than offer steaks and chops — charcuterie and smoked meats are also part of the program. Owner and butcher Kate Kavanaugh will be discussing whole-animal butchery during the TastyTålks session, and the butcher shop's chef Brian Casey will be pairing a banh mi bite with Elevation's Apis IV quadrupel, one of the Poncha Springs brewery's potent Belgian-style offerings. "We do a lot of barbecue, but that would be an easy route to go," says Casey. "The quad has a ton of flavor that goes well with the iron flavors of liver." Casey's banh mi will combine pork liver pate and smoked pork tenderloin with marinated carrot and radish atop a cucumber disk.
Humboldt and Sanitas Brewing Co.
DJ Nagle, executive chef of Humboldt, was matched up with Boulder's Sanitas brewing. "They came down and we drank a couple of beers and I bounced some ideas off them," he explains. The result is Nagle's ginger pork meatball with what he says is "an almost kimchi-style slaw," which Nagle and the brewers at Sanitas felt was the perfect balance of flavors for the brewery's medium-bodied IPA, made with organic German and English malts.
Table Top and Fiction Beer Company
Since Tabletop and Fiction Beer Company opened within two months of each other last year and only a mile apart in Park Hill, this match makes perfect sense. Fiction owner and head brewer Ryan Kilpatrick invited the owners of the restaurant over to sample some beers, and they eventually decided on Waves & Ripples, a German-style gose beer (a beer traditionally brewed with salt) that he makes with lime sea salt, cardamom and coriander. "Table Top's chef came up with a scallop carpaccio with citrus dressing," he explains. "Our gose is bright, clean and crisp...it's an introductory sour beer with citrus notes."
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Biju's Little Curry Shop and Trve Brewing Company
"We will be doing a slice of sweet plantain griddled in coconut oil, topped with our ginger and garam masala braised beef, topped with some fresh greens and our very spicy Adacherri," says chef/owner Biju Thomas, whose fondness for piling brash flavors together at Biju's Little Curry Shop should mean there's plenty of room at the party for the slightly sour ale that Trve will be bringing.
Tickets for BrüFrou are still available for both the afternoon (1 to 4 p.m.) and evening (5 to 8 p.m.) TastyTålks runs from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. There's also a free BrüFaire outside the museum from noon to 7 p.m. featuring food and crafts from 25 local artisans.