Diners will be able to partake in an exclusive Bell’s Brewery Beer Dinner on Thursday, July 26, with proceeds benefiting the New Mexico Autism Society.
“(Bell’s) kind of threw it out to contribute to a charity of our choice, even though they’re not local,” said Jeff Trent, O’ Niell’s Heights chef and general manager. “We’ve been a big supporter of them since they launched (here in September) so they wanted to give back to Albuquerque, so we picked the New Mexico Autism Society. I don’t think it gets the attention it deserves, so it was kind of an easy pick.”
The pairing dinner begins with the welcome beer, Two Hearted, an American-style India pale ale. Two Hearted has some bitterness and is not an overly pungent IPA. It is made with 100 percent Centennial hops and contains notes of citrus and pine, according to Silas Sims, lead brewery representative for Bell’s Brewery in New Mexico and West Texas. Next up, Bell’s Third Coast will be paired with Maryland-style crabcakes served with an Old Bay aioli. Third Coast has a rich caramel malt base with a heavy hop bitterness.
“(Old Bay is) a seasoning that is just super-popular with people from Maryland,” Trent said. “They throw it on everything from seafood to chicken to salads. Since there are a lot East Coasters, for some reason, over here in the Heights, we decided to give them a taste of home.”
A mixed green salad featuring gouda cheese, walnuts and bacon maple vinaigrette will be complemented by Bell’s Amber. The Amber has a lot of caramel and toasty notes with a nice herbal and citrusy hop aroma, according to Sims. It is a good, balanced beer that will pair well with the smokiness of the gouda and the sweetness of the maple vinaigrette.
The next course is a French soup called Billi Bi that will be served with Bell’s L’apple du Vide Blackberry, which is a sour. The drinker will get ripe fruit notes, primarily blackberry and funky sour flavors, out of L’apple.
“This one is of French origin, but again, people in Maine and East Coast made it their own with adding mussels and other seafood, mainly mussels, which is what I will be using,” Trent said of the soup. “It became kind of this weird meld of like a French soup and like a fruit de mer just with Nantucket flavorings.”
Bell’s The Oracle will accompany a colorful and flavorful dish of sous vide yellowfin tuna served with chilled fire-roasted artichokes, green tea soba noodles and a wasabi fish roe.
“The Oracle is a one-time-a-year release,” Sims said. “It is a West Coast style, more New Mexico IPA, more bitter and heavy hop-handed. It is resinous and has citrus aromas and an aggressive bitterness.”
The dinner ends on a sweet note with Bell’s specialty 30th anniversary Cherry Stout Reserve. It will be paired with a chocolate caramel mousse and a cherry cream tartlet duo.