Mirabelle beer dinner love at first bite | VailDaily.com

Mirabelle beer dinner love at first bite

Daily File Photo/Preston Utley

BEAVER CREEK – Beer makes you happy, and love makes you happy.

Therefore, beer is love.

“If you had beer and food on a blind date, it would be instant love,” said Mike Kelley, Anheuser-Busch’s high-end product manager for this region.

To test that hypothesis, Kelley and renowned chef Daniel Joly invited a group of local restaurateurs to Joly’s restaurant, Mirabelle, for a beer pairing dinner Wednesday night.

Joly has spent the last several offseasons traveling the world on behalf of Anheuser-Busch, teaching the willing about cooking with beer and which beer pairs well with which food.

“It’s a great way to help spread the word about the Vail Valley and the fine dining here, about Beaver Creek and about Mirabelle’s,” Joly said, sipping a Leffe.

Remember this about food and beer pairings:

“Food is the superstar. Beer is the backup singer,” Kelley said.

In other words, Gladys Knight is the food and the Pips are the beer.

On this night, his beer and food pairings fit better than anything this side of true love. We thought we’d reached Nirvana when Joly brought out Hoegaarden sorbet. The man made beer ice cream.

One of the desserts was a chocolate beer beignet. It made your insides happy.

Then, as if on cue, Joly strode into the dining room to explain how he and his crew had prepared that course with the beer we were drinking.

He used beer marinade, beer reduction sauces and paired it all with the beer we were drinking: Hoegaarden, Stella Artois, Leffe, and other beers we forgot to write down but were magical.

You begin to understand why Anheuser-Busch sends Joly all over the globe teaching people about pairing food with beer.

Between courses, Kelley gave a hops-inspired history lesson.

Early civilizations grew and domesticated grain to brew beer. OK, they made bread too, but beer was the primary goal.

There was a time when potable water was hard to come by, so people drank beer because they could trust it, Kelley said.

Beer is one of the constants across all civilizations – “A malt beverage that sustains life and civilizations,” Kelley said.

The ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians brewed it.

In North America, the Mayans brewed it.

The ancient Chinese brewed beer 5,000 years ago, Kelley said.

“If you’re drinking beer, you’re advancing civilizations,” Kelley said, and everyone in the room agreed.

Hoegaarden is named after the town where it’s been brewed since 1445. If something works, you stick with it. Stella Artois dates back to 1366. Leffe goes back 900 years.

“Beer makes you happy, and beer tasting dinners make everyone happy,” he said, raising a glass.

And don’t get locked into one beer, Kelley said, and pay no heed to snobs who tell you what you should like. Drink whatever suits what you’re doing that day.

“Take away the pretension and you might be surprised what you’ll enjoy,” Kelley said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

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