Colorado Springs' favorite annual tag team of food and brews is back with brand-new collaborations that are sure to delight foodies and beer enthusiasts. This year's Pints & Plates runs from May 15 to 20 and features 10 breweries showing off their savvy suds at the 11 downtown restaurants listed below. The diverse talents of our local chefs will also be on full display, offering creative plates for a wide variety of tastes and appetites.
Vienna lager paired with orecchiette pasta in a light cream sauce. Defined as possessing a "lighter malt character overall than Oktoberfest, yet still decidedly balanced toward malt," Red Leg's reddish-amber Vienna lager holds the aroma of German malt, sips easy and ends with a not-too-sweet, dry finish. Red Gravy's small orecchiette (Italian for "small ear") pasta and delicate sauce are enhanced by the bold flavors of Italian sausage, broccolini, roasted red peppers and balsamic onions.
Rye-PA paired with a Bingo Burger with applewood-smoked, thick-cut bacon, Springside cheese and Pueblo chili Jack cheese sauce on an Old School Bakery brioche. Built to complement the rich, powerful flavors of Bingo Burger's thick patty and salty bacon, the Rye-PA presents a moderate and bready malt body with just a hint of peppery rye and the traditional piney, resiny hop bittering associated with IPAs. "The spicy hop bittering will stand up to and meld with the slight heat of the pepper cheese sauce," says Steve Stowell, brewer and owner of Triple S.
Peaks N Pines imperial Irish red beer is made with English Pale malts, roasted barley and English hops to round out the beer base. Please contact MacKenzie's for details on their beer and meal pairing.
Pale ale with New Zealand hops and a choice of New Zealand green-lipped mussels made three ways. Two of New Zealand's most coveted exports — hops and green-lipped mussels — pair up for palate-pleasing goodness. Fieldhouse's pale ale offers the citrusy and refreshing zing of New Zealand's aromatic hops to quench your thirst between rounds of Quinn's mussels, which will be offered soaked in tomato sauce, broiled and topped with breadcrumbs and Parmesan, or topped with bleu cheese.
Burton Extra ale paired with crispy confit rabbit "wings." Red Leg's second pairing in this year's Pints & Plates holds the crisp, light and fruity flavors of apples and pears, biscuit-y malt and a pop of hoppy bitterness that finish clean on the tongue and cut through the heavy confit of the crispy rabbit wings. The wings are coated in chipotle barbecue sauce and served with pickled carrots, creamy Stilton fondue and celery hearts.
MeadowGrass Jam Session IPA paired with The Flying Buffalo sandwich. With an ABV of 4.5 percent and an IBU of 43, Pikes Peak Brewing's IPA allows for another round without tipping you out of the chair. Described as an American "hop forward" beer, its citrus aroma and taste finish with a bright bitterness. Wild Goose's accompaniment is a hearty chipotle chicken sandwich topped with bleu cheese and buffalo sauce on a grilled sourdough levain. "Our brand-new Flying Buffalo chicken sandwich plate creates the perfect 'hops and heat' combo when paired with a pint of Pikes Peak MeadowGrass IPA," says Russ Ware, owner of the Wild Goose.
Prickly pear gose paired with spicy coconut shrimp salad with a pear-shallot vinaigrette. German tradition meets the deserts of the U.S. in the prickly pear gose, a wheat-heavy beer style that's waited a thousand years to make its comeback.
Lemongrass and sage Belgian wit paired with a choice of steamed mussels or braised duck legs. Fossil's light and citrusy wit is brewed for easy drinking with an ABV of 4.8 percent, so most diners can enjoy a beer or two with their meal and not end up tanked. The citrus notes of the wit pair well with the ocean flavor of the mussels, which come in a Hefeweizen (another light favorite) butter sauce. The Ritz's other pairing, braised duck legs, are served with a parsnip lemongrass puree that reflects Fossil's lemongrass combination, as well as an arugula salad.
Cheyenne Cañon Piñon Nut Brown paired with grilled flat iron steak with ancho chili oxtail demi-glace, herb and goat cheese mashed potatoes, and sautéed French green beans. Bristol's hearty nut brown ale makes a flavorful partner to the rich and filling flavors of the flat iron steak and its oxtail demi-glace. Low on hops and high on roasted flavor, Bristol's ale has a smooth finish that will taste great before, during and after the meal.
Lucky Beotch pale ale paired with marinated hanger steak, Salsa Rojo, avocado purée and fingerling potatoes. Great Storm's pale ale is spiced with bitter orange peel, coriander and guajillo peppers. The powerful spices have been kept low-key to prevent them from dominating the brew, and the guajillo peppers are mild enough to only add a little bit of heat. Citrusy hops were used to enhance the orange peel and give it a hint of bitterness and highlight the peppers.
Rocky Mountain's Pumpernickel Lager will set the challenge for this meal pairing. Check with Judge Baldwin's to get more details on their made-to-match item.