Zaytinya Hosts DC Brau Beer Pairing Dinner

José Andrés’ D.C. restaurant celebrated local craft beer and innovative cuisine

José Andrés’ D.C. Restaurant Zaytinya hosted a craft beer pairing dinner highlighting cuisine from the eatery and brews for local purveyor DC Brau.

The main arrived family style and to the delight of the table — diners enjoyed a heaping mound of spit-roasted lamb shoulder with a smooth mash of La Ratte potatoes and wild mushrooms served on the side. The meat was mouthwateringly tender. Crispy, smoky end-pieces complemented creamy-smooth, fattier chunks. The lamb was minimally seasoned with DC Brau’s Exaltation Holiday Ale, which had a wonderful mix of cherry, cocoa, cinnamon, and black rye malt flavors. In what was a very intelligent pairing, these spices brought out that unique metallic essence of the lamb rather than overpowering it.

And for dessert: chocolate baklava with Ikarian honey ice cream, paired with a snifter of Penn Quarter Porter. The harmony here was immediately clear. The beer, somewhere between a porter and a stout in body, featured notes of cocoa as well as toasted nuts, both of which were also prominent in the baklava. The light, floral sweetness of the honey ice cream balanced out the deep, dark flavors of both the baklava and the beer.

While visiting the brewery for a tour (typically held between 12 to 4 p.m. on most Saturdays) is a great way to learn about the production processes associated with the myriad of signature beers produced by DC Brau, the beer pairing event at Zaytinya brought to the forefront the unique flavor profile of each brew by matching these to dishes with similar flavor profiles. The night was a success, full of good food, good beer and equally good cheer. Here’s to hoping the collaboration will continue. And judging from its drinks menu, it looks like it will.

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Lili Kocsis is a self-proclaimed gastronome. She graduated from Harvard University in 2011 with a BA in linguistics. She dedicates her spare time to purposeful travel, food photography, and writing about regional cuisine under the penname MyAmusedBouche.