Vail Cascade Resort starts craft beer program
Recognizing the popularity of the craft-beer movement, Vail Cascade Resort has added a year-round craft-beer program, including recommended beer and food pairings. Of special interest are the savory food, dessert and beer pairings, always available, and the rotating menu of craft beers on draft and in bottles, ranging from well-known selections to extremely hard to find and even one-of-a-kind brews. The team at Vail Cascade Resort recently joined forces with Laura Lodge, organizer of the Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines festival, to create the program. Lodge’s expertise and connections in the world of craft beer combine with a team of servers that are specially trained through in-house tastings and by visiting brewers and distributors, as well as chefs dedicated to the challenge of the food and beer pairings.Diners at Atwater on Gore Creek, the resort’s restaurant, will notice that next to each item on the menu, a craft-beer style is listed as a suggestion. A server can take the experience to a deeper level by guiding diners toward specific choices within the current craft-beer list to enhance the dish. Smaller pours of four or more selected beers will be available. The dessert menu also pairs suggested beer styles for each selection, and craft brew-dessert pairing evenings are already a hit. The most popular selections so far have been the flourless chocolate mousse cake matched with Ommegang Three Philosophers Belgian Quadrupel and a beer float which can be ordered off the menu with a customized beer pairing. Executive Chef Todd Bemis said getting a good pairing right is a process.”When we first put the items together for a crazy idea like a beer float, I didn’t like them at all,” he said. “The imperial stout we tried was quite bitter, and our homemade vanilla ice cream was quite sweet. The beer overpowered the ice cream without any balance. However, when we married the O’Dells Cutthroat Porter to the vanilla ice cream, it was a hit. The cool part is that I get to show our discovery to the public, and the fun part is that the public can show me what they’ve found out, too.”There are gluten-free items, including beer, on the menu.Vail Cascade also provides training sessions for Atwater servers, especially as new beer or food selections are introduced. Servers attend tasting/training sessions led by brewers, distributors and Julia Herz from the Brewers Association. Some servers will continue the training process to become Cicerone certified – similar to the sommelier designation in wine.Craft beer specialist Laura Lodge’s 12-year history as Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines co-creator and organizer means that she brings extensive connections within the industry and the latest and greatest brews and trends to the Vail Cascade. Some of her helpful hints have included a menu categorized with cheeky, yet appropriate categories: Starter, Advanced and Guru Factor, allowing even beer novices to easily navigate the menu. She will provide frequent seminars such as a cigar/beer sampling, and visits from craft brewers from around the world. For more informationvisit http://www.vailcascade.com or call 970-479-7014.
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