Boulder brewmaster and Vail chefs collaborate for Colorado beer dinner Saturday |

Boulder brewmaster and Vail chefs collaborate for Colorado beer dinner Saturday

David Zuckerman
Special to the Daily |

If you go ...

What: “Small Plates and Craft Beer Pairing Dinner” with Boulder Beer and Vail Cascade.

When: 6 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Atwater on Gore Creek, Vail Cascade Resort, Vail.

Cost: $35 per person.

More information: or 970-479-7014.

VAIL — When the culinary team at the Vail Cascade sits down together to create a craft beer pairing menu, the only consistent thread to the brainstorming is the background of the various chefs. Chef Jay Spickelmier often thinks in terms of Pacific Rim or Asian flavors but sometimes in terms of Bavarian styles due to his wife’s heritage. Chef Adam Smith comes from a French culinary background and pastry focus. It’s a similar story with the other chefs. The conversation is always lively, and when an idea resonates, the chefs team up to build on it quickly.

The Boulder Beer Brewmaster’s Weekend menu development brainstorming was no different, with ideas cropping up from all directions. The chefs tossed ideas back and forth, threw some out, discussed logistics and presentation, and ended up with a menu. The fact that Boulder Beer Company is featured over Oktoberfest weekend in Vail lends everything a slightly fall twist; having a hefeweizen and an imperial Oktoberfest on the menu brings that home, surely.

The lightest offering on the Small Plates & Craft Beer Pairing menu is the Boulder Beer Sweaty Betty Hefeweizen. Ideas started with Executive Chef Chris Bates’ Oysters Rockefeller, detoured to Jamaican spices and coconut, evolved to plantains with the addition of currants and the final menu item will be baked oysters with currants and a plantain crust.

Boulder Dragonhösen Imperial Oktoberfest is German through and through, with a rich, full-bodied, malty flavor. “Nutella” was the first thing out of Chef Jay Spickelmier’s mouth, and Nutella stayed in the conversation through a rapid barrage of ideas, including sauerkraut, sponge cake and foie gras. The result? A pretzel bread pudding with Nutella candied bacon and brandied plums.

Frog legs and mushrooms were on the brain before the tasting started, and when the team tasted Boulder Beer’s Hazed & Infused, cherries rolled in to complete the picture. Frog leg beignets with a chanterelle cherry duxelle will be served.

Support Local Journalism

The final Boulder Beer of the evening is also the Fireside bar’s featured brew for the weekend. It is a chocolate porter appropriately called “Shake.” Mint Milano cookies, cherries, poached pears, amaretto, almonds and fruit cake were all part of the discourse before Chef Adam Smith drew a picture of his vision. Once on paper, the “Drunken German Almond Pear Cake” was set as the finale for the Small Plates & Craft Beer Pairing event, taking place Saturday evening at Atwater on Gore Creek.

Boulder Beer Company is Colorado’s first microbrewery, established in 1979. For over 20 years, Brewmaster David Zuckerman has overseen the production of brews that have garnered more than 60 national and international medals in prestigious beer competitions since his arrival at Boulder Beer in 1990. Prior to that, he was a brewer at Bridgeport Brewing Company in Portland, Oregon.

Support Local Journalism