WaterCourse beer dinner was a decadent vegetarian delight
WaterCourse Foods, at 837 East 17th Avenue, joined the dozens of other restaurants participating in Denver Beer Fest and offered up a beer dinner last Friday -- four courses, six beers and one damn fine cup of coffee for just $35.
Here's a look at the spread:
First dish: Mongolian barbecued tempeh speared on a sugar-cane skewer. It came with a shiso leaf (a relative of the mint and basil family also known as perilla, and pictured on the plate) and a coarse-ground beer mustard, which enhanced the flavor of the slightly spicy tempeh; wrapping everything in the shiso made it taste delightfully fresh. This dish was paired with the Wynkoop Brewing Company's Tut's Royal Gold, and the honey tones nicely complemented the spice, going down cold and smooth. If you haven't tried the Tut's yet, get yourself a pint ASAP; this small-batch beer might be gone for good once the third batch has been sipped up.
(An aside: When diners were seated, they were asked if they were vegan and whether they wanted beer with the food pairings. Vegans would have had to skip the Tut's Royal Gold, though, since it contains honey -- and WaterCourse was very careful to follow its guests' dietary restrictions.)
The second course was a grilled watermelon caprese salad with house-made mozzarella and lime oil-and-herb foam, along with a napa cabbage slaw (the vegan version removed the cheese), served with Great Divide's Rumble Oak IPA. As good as the first course had been, this was even better: The grilling offset the watermelon's sweetness, resulting in blackened areas that retained the smoky flavor of the grill as well as a faint bitterness enhanced by the hops in the IPA. The mozzarella held together well, providing a neutral backdrop for the watermelon and lime oil-and-herb "foam." The napa cabbage was fresh, but there was nothing but the finely grated cabbage to this slaw; it made a lovely plate garnish, but only added texture to the dish.