Recently. The Daily Meal was invited to attend BrüFrou (pronounced "broo-froo") a high-end craft beer and culinary pairing event. On April 19th, 40 different Colorado microbreweries turned out to showcase their work. Over 32 restaurants provided specially designed food pairings to accompany the beer.
With the burgeoning number of microbreweries and an ever-expanding food scene in Colorado, Denver is the perfect place for an event like BrüFrou. Though, Colorado is a stop for the American Beer Festival and home to a few smaller beer tasting events, previously there has been nothing the size and scope of BrüFrou. Offering 40 different pairings to taste, all in one place, the event was extremely ambitious.But the event was successful in meeting its goal: show off a ton great local beer.
Though this was the first year for BrüFrou, everything was extremely well organized. The event was well attended, with an approximately two thousand guest present. Yet, waits in line were short. There was plenty of room to mill around at the Wings Over The Rockies Air & Space Museum. It wasn't crowded. Thoughtful touches like glass beer steins for sampling and a handy menu/map explaining each pairing made the experience all the more enjoyable for guests.
The breweries brought their best for the event. There were wonderful examples of everything from floral amber ales to almost chewy extra dark stouts. A highlight was the American-Style India Pale Ale from Odell Brewing Co. This beer was so flavorful it would appeal even to non beer drinkers. An unexpected flavor was found in Yak & Yeti’s Chai Milk Stout. This beer is sweet, creamy, well spiced and is almost like drinking a chai latte.
Redstone Meadery attended the event. However, mead not technically a beer. It is actually a honeyed wine brewed with hops to act as a preservative. The Black Raspberry Nectar Mead from Redstone was one of the most unique tasting choices available.
Unfortunately, some of the restaurants present didn’t quite live up to their brewery counterparts. While all the food did taste good, a large number of the restaurants went for the most obvious pairings imaginable: pulled pork or tacos. Of all the pork at the event, Masterpiece Deli pulled it off best with a Prost Pilsner brined pork topped with sauerkraut and beer barbecue sauce.
(credit: Michelle Sandstrom)
Also, way too much of the food came on a crostini. One would expect more creativity considering some of Denver’s hottest restaurants attended the event. However, event organizer John Heins of Idea Trading Company, mentioned that next time there will be some sort of system in place to ensure that each pairing has a different dish with no repeats. This will likely force restaurants to think a little harder about creating more imaginative pairings next time.
However, many of the restaurants did pull of innovative pairings. West End Tap House brought Medjoul dates stuffed with chorizo and wrapped in bacon. These are are a rare find. These dates delivered so many tastes and texture sensations with their sweet and chewy dates, spicy chorizo, salty crisp bacon. It was a great example of ‘the perfect one bite’. Yak and Yeti was also a hit with authentic Indian dishes like sagg paneer, chicken tikki masala, and chicken makhmal. The chicken tikki masla was even marinated in a Himalayan IPA prior to cooking, incorporating one of the paired beers right into the dish.
A few restaurants also surprised guests by bringing something other then their signature dishes. Basta, known for their Neapolitan-style pizza brought campfire ice cream which really did have a smoky flavor from wood fire logs being soaked in the ice cream base. Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs brought a lamb shepards pie with British banger. This dish was a well done and completely unique dog.
Overall, BrüFrou was a roaring success and we want to see the event become an annual tradition. Fortunately, Heins told The Daily Meal, “At this point it’s the plan to return.” We can’t wait to see fresh pairings of high-quality beers and original dishes next year.