- I decided to kick off All Over Beer seven blocks from my home in San Francisco. Social Kitchen & Brewery opened its doors earlier this year in the fog shrouded Inner Sunset neighborhood. Brewmaster Rich Higgins is plying his trade for the brewpub and just started hosting a series of beer dinners and food pairing nights where people can learn about beer and discover different food purveyors. La Fromagère and Der Braumeister, an evening of artisan cheese and beer, occurred on July 29. Cheesemaker Jessica Sennett, from Monteillet Fromagerie, smuggled her cheese down from Dayton, WA for the event. Five different pairings of goat and sheep milk cheese were laid out buffet style with 4-ounce samples of beer for a meager $20. The lineup included:
- Smoked paprika La Fleur du Midi paired with Lazy Hazy Hefeweizen.
- Soft-ripened La Reine Blanche paired with a Belgian-style Rapscallion.
- Herb and olive marinated Provencal paired with a German-style Old Time Alt.
- A grape leaf infused Larzac paired with L’Enfant Terrible.
- Camembert-style Cardabelle paired with Social Kolsch.
Sennett and Higgins offered their perspective on the marriage of beer and cheese and discussed the role yeast plays in the production of both products. Afterwards attendees were encouraged to polish off the spread, the hosts fielded questions, and Higgins gave a tour of the brewery with a brief rundown of the process.
Overall, the evening was friendly and informative. My favorite pairing was the La Fleur du Midi with the Lazy Hazy Hefeweizen. The underlying tone of lemon in the beer fused nicely with the smoky cheese. Since the evening was about exploring possibilities I quickly strayed from the defined groupings. Social Kitchen’s beer is not designed to overwhelm the senses (you won’t find any Imperial IPA’s) so it was easy to mix and match and not offend your taste buds.
Higgins will continue to partner with a large variety of food vendors for future events. Chocolate, charcuterie, and even yogurt could make an appearance.