26 April 2019

A natural love affair...

American Craft Beers and Fine French Cuisine: A Natural Love Affair

by Barbara Pasquet James

 Once again, this year’s Planète Biére’s pairing event of fine French cuisine with American craft beers - and in the company of some of Paris’ pickiest palates - was off the charts.

On the eve of Planète Bière I found myself feasting the night away with assembled guests at a five-course sit-down extravaganza aptly dubbed, Un Dîner des Épicurieux - a dinner of the epicurious… - created by Victor LeClerc, chef at Paris’ La Fine Mousse restaurant, and Adam Dulye of the Brewers Association, chef and internationally recognized expert on beer and food pairings. Each dish had been meticulously paired with a beer that would enhance its unique qualities.

Our meal began with a delicate brew from Wormtown Brewery, Massachusetts, called Mass Hole Lager. Chosen for its notes of light corn, cracked grains and grassy floral hops, it was paired with a cauliflower velouté amuse-bouche laced with coriander oil. The beer’s crisp yet light character cleansed the palate with each taste, making it a perfect accompaniment.

Next up, a perfectly poached egg atop a carrot purée lightly flavored with ginger-like galanga, julienned mange-tout green beans and, for crunch, toasted pumpkin seeds, was paired with Sierra Nevada Brut IPA from Chico, California. The beer’s champagne quality and deftly balanced bitterness with a pop of citrus made it a sublime choice for this entrée.

Our main course, fresh steamed hake atop a heavenly avocado mousse infused with flavors of citrus and coriander with just the right flourish of coconut and green mango slivers, met its match in Lucy Session Sour from Indeed Brewing Co. of Minneapolis. Named after the brewer’s daughter (said to be “sour, sassy and unpredictable”), the beer’s exotic character boasted hints of passion fruit, orange peel and lemon grass, making this one my personal favorite of the evening.

Then the cheese course arrived - shaved aged mimolette from the north of France - and with it, Belgian style Roadhouse brew, Avarice & Greed, chosen for its malty sweetness and big, fruity, pear-like finish, another fitting harmony as we excitedly braced ourselves for the dessert to come.

Despite my not having what some call a “sweet tooth,” desserts in France, always inventive and with far less sugar than their Anglo-Saxon counterparts, have become a part of the meal I look forward to, and this one did not disappoint. An unctuous dark chocolate cream was beautifully paired with Denver Beer Co.’s rustic Graham Cracker Porter, its complementary notes of vanilla, smoked cedar, and mulling spices adding an extra layer of flavor to an already unbelievably flavorful dessert.

The verdict? “Ça marche!”


A word about La Fine Mousse:

This is a casual restaurant and bar dedicated to craft beer, worth discovering. On one side of the street is its bar with 20 craft taps, a large bottle list, and, importantly, couches. On the other is the restaurant. There are events, workshops and a convivial atmosphere guaranteed.

Special thanks.

La Fine Mousse

6 Avenue Jean Aicard

75011 Paris

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