It has been quite some time since a beer pairing dinner landed in Lake Nona. Beer pairings are a rising trend in the foodie world. It isn’t surprising that there is overlap in the craft beer and foodie scenes. The flavor profiles of craft beers lend themselves to creating unique pairings with food. Orlando foodies recently had the treat of a special collaboration between Canvas and Orlando Brewing.
By their nature, these dinners are a collaborative affair. James Cartee, AGM at Canvas, helped bring this beer dinner to life. Maija Russel with Orlando Brewing brought many beers for the Canvas staff to sample. The chef tasted each beer, made notes, and started planning a menu. Even some Nona Brew Crew members volunteered to taste beers and select which ones made the cut. It was a difficult job, but someone had to do it.
After James greeted the guests and welcomed them to the event, we sat down as executive chef Bryan Thoman walked us through the evenings menu. Orlando Brewing president John Cheek and operations manager James Elmer gave guests the stories behind each beer as the courses came out.
Chef Bryan has been known to homebrew and is a big fan of beer pairing dinners: “That’s where we get to have our fun.”
According to John, “Beer is the reason for everything good in the world.” After attending this dinner, I can’t disagree.
Beer pairing dinners are a special sort of event. They are always a unique collaboration of personalities and flavors. Chefs get a chance to experiment with flavors and dishes that are exciting but might never make it to a standard menu. For a foodie and craft beer enthusiast, they are a perfect intersection of those two worlds.
We dined together over the water as the sun went down, forming a beautiful and intimate setting. From the first course to the last, this dinner was filled with amazing dishes and drinks. Hearing the stories and inspiration behind each beer and dish was delightful and lent a memorable impression.
The courses were:
- Kolsch + Hamachi Crudo with blood orange, avocado, baby beets, frisee, and chili threads.
- Irish Red + Salted caramel glazed pork belly and octopus, bok choy.
- Scottish Ale + Smoked duck breast, king trumpet mushrooms, charred summer squash, black garlic puree.
- Grapefruit Ale + Rhubarb sorbet, lemon-olive oil powder.
- Hopgasmic IPA + Freshwater prawns and scallop, blistered shishito, orange habanero gastrique.
- Blackwater Porter + Deconstructed Black Forest cake.
Several Laureate Park residents enjoyed the event and weighed in on the experience:
After this experience, I’m through with wine dinners; beer dinners are where it’s at!
One of the best things about the Canvas dinner with Orlando Brewing is how well the food and beers paired. Every course was perfectly matched to the beer and its flavor.
This was the best beer pairing I’ve ever attended! The intimate setting added to an experience in a way that everyone could interact with the chefs and brewers to understand how all these flavors worked perfectly together.
Be sure to keep on the lookout for more pairings like this coming to the Nonahood.
Bonus Video: Watch executive chef Bryan Thoman and sous chef Joe Ulto plate up 75 dishes of food in 25 seconds! Special thanks to Amber for the video.