One of the best things about the Great American Beer Festival is all of the beer-centric dinners at local restaurants created to prep folks for the big weekend ahead. Last night, the all-vegetarian eatery WaterCourse Foods held just such a dinner; the amuse (pictured above) comprised a spicy local winter squash bisque with vegetable crudite and apple chutney, paired with Asher Brewing's Green Bullet IPA, which cut the spiciness of the bisque beautifully. Keep reading to see what else was on the menu: For the first full course, we received a fondue served with assorted vegetables, pretzels and red ale mustard; the vegan version (pictured above) was made with cashew cheese, and was so creamy and tangy that we didn't miss the cheese one bit (the non-vegan version used Gruyere and Scharfer Max cheeses to create the fondue). It was paired with Renegade Brewing's Hit Me American Red Ale. For the salad course, the kitchen served a crisp bibb salad with a celeriac and fennel gastrique, grilled figs, aged white balsamic and Avalanche Co. goat chevre (we got the cashew chevre instead). This was paired with Renegade Brewing's 5 O'Clock Blonde. We'll be dreaming about this main course for a long time to come: Deconstructed pot pies served with a Farmhouse beer biscuit and agave butter. This was paired with Strange Brewing's Farmhouse Ale. And for dessert: a peach crumble topped with salted butterscotch ice cream and peanut brittle; Renegade's Another Thrill Imperial Porter was the brew paired with this one, and it was intended to be poured over the dessert to make a peach-crumble-ice-cream-float. Yum. The lovely and talented Rachel Kesley put it all together -- and even had time to leave the kitchen to say hello.
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