This past weekend, the Big Dogs brew crew had the privilege to join some elite company in both the beer and culinary world, as they & other world-class breweries showcased amazing ales among some discerning palates. Vegas Uncorked serves as one of the nation’s premier “foodie” outings, with a legion of celebrity chefs (Michael Mina, Todd English, Julian Serrano, John Georges Vongerichten, Joel Robuchon…) dishing up an influx of old world and uber-hip culinary creations at a variety of different events. In addition, many of the world’s most accomplished mixologists and sommeliers do their part in providing the proper beverage to ensure all tastebuds are satiated.
As the craft beer world has exploded, so too has the willingness of the influential within cuisine to shrug off wine as the one-and-only food-pairing option; and pay respect to the flavorful versatility of handcrafted beer. With Vegas UnCork’ds inclusion of Bon Appetit Magazine’s Beer Garden by Chef Hubert Keller, Big Dog’s was honored to receive the opportunity to showcase the quality that local breweries can provide!
Chef Hubert Keller, a celebrity chef (God) within the foodie world and renown restaurateur, wanted to create his take on an Alsacian picnic- with hearty breads, rich, enticing cheeses, and fruits to warm-up the tastebuds; followed by unbelievable roasted, stuffed suckling pig and melt-in-your-mouth scallops. Staples such as mild sauerkraut, kielbasa, and horseradish mashed potatoes were an outstanding accompaniment.
With the event taking place at Mandalay Bay, Chef Keller had an amazing partner in developing the proper beer lineup for his picnic via Sarah Johnson, the resort’s Food and Beverage guru and Nevada’s only female Certified Cicerone. After inviting world-class breweries such as Firestone Walker (Paso Robles, CA), Brasserie Unibroue (Quebec,Canada), and Estrella (Barcelona, Spain); Ms. Johnson was insistent that a picnic/farmto-table event have a local beer presence, so Big Dog’s Brewing happily obliged with two of our more sought after brews to show our appreciation for such an honor!
Big Dog’s just had to bring War Dog Imperial IPA- an iconic, revered brew among local Las Vegas hopheads; comprised of loads of Citra, Simcoe, and Amarillo hops! This served well from a culinary standpoint, as this supposed beast of an Imperial IPA is actually quite bright, light-bodied, balanced, and fruit-forward (grapefruit, mango) compared to other enamel-ripping, overly-hopped IPAs. War Dog served well to awaken the senses to hop-glory, without causing palate-overload.
In an effort to really make a lasting mark for the local Las Vegas brewing scene, Big Dog’s also brought our Maker’s Mark Bourbon barrel-aged Sled Dog Imperial Stout, served on nitrogen/Guinness gas. This was the hit of the night (in our humble opinion…) as the rich vanilla and whisky flavors from the 7-month barreling process were kept in check by the velvety, creamy mouthfeel created by the base-beer (Sled Dog Imperial Stout) and the Guinness gas. It paired incredibly well with many of uber-rich cheeses, and of course to complement decadent chocolate flavors from many of the desserts. Chef Hubert Keller, admittedly more of a wine guy, did in fact stop back for a taste more than once!
It was an absolute honor to participate in such a heralded event, a true pleasure to have locals recognize Big Dog’s from around town, and a real treat to have tourists compliment a local Las Vegas brewery and ask, Where can we buy your beer!?.
Special thanks to Sarah Johnson of Mandalay Bay, and Southern Wine & Spirits for giving a mom & pop microbrewery an opportunity to showcase what Las Vegas can craft for the big stage!