|Cambridge Brewing Company|
|Written by Michelle Collins|
Locally-grown pumpkins, barley and wild rosemary – all ingredients that make a good beer.
Last week, I attended the “Drink Local Craft Beer” dinner at Cambridge Common. Four courses were paired with four Cambridge Brewing Company beers (in addition to a “Welcome Brew” that was served at the beginning of the evening). There was plenty of imbibing, eating and indulging – and a lot of talk about local beer.
Cambridge Brewing Company (CBC)’s tag line says it all: “Fresh beer. Local food.” Open since 1989, CBC takes pride in brewing seasonal, delicious beers made with the freshest, as-local-as-possible ingredients. With over 30 pumpkin brews currently on tap at their restaurant, it’s clear the brewery has a passion and dedication for seasonal food being grown nearby.
Our meal last Wednesday evening started with the Welcome Brew of CBC Wilson (pictured above), a pumpkin porter aged in Eagle Rare Bourbon barrels (6.6% abv). The beer is named after Wilson Farm in Lexington – where the pumpkins came from. This beer was a great way to start off the meal – it was rich without being overly heavy, and full of fresh pumpkin flavor, with hints of caramel and chocolate.
Our soup course was Butternut Squash, which was paired with Cambridge Amber Ale (4.8% abv). Their Amber Ale is served quite a few places around the Boston area, and I almost always order it when it’s on tap. It’s slightly hoppy and packed with a light caramel flavor.
The appetizer course was originally a Prosciutto Bruschetta, which I ordered sans prosciutto. The untraditional bruschetta was grilled ciabatta smeared with herbed cheese and garnished with mustard greens and a balsamic reduction.
The beer it was paired with was CBC Le Saisonniere (4% abv, pictured left), which is a Grisette-style seasonal brew. This beer was refreshing and crisp, with a great subtle citrus flavor. It was a fantastic break from the two previous slightly heavier beers.
Our dinner choices for the evening were Pan Seared Red Snapper, Rolled Flank Steak and Pumpkin Ravioli. Being a vegetarian (and a lover of all things pumpkin), I went with the ravioli, which was paired with CBC Pumpkin Tripel (9% abv, pictured right). The ravioli was next to perfect – plump pillows filled with a creamy pumpkin center, that wasn’t overly sweet.
The beer was very unique – its flavor a result of being aged in Sauvignon Blanc barrels, while still possessing an obvious taste of pumpkin.
Finally, dessert was a slice of homemade pumpkin pie topped with CBC Great Pumpkin ice cream, paired with their Great Pumpkin Ale (4.4% abv, pictured below). Each batch of this beer is brewed with over 150 pounds of locally grown organic sugar pumpkins from the Farm School in Athol and Wilson Farm.
It’s also brewed with malted barley grown right here in Massachusetts. The pairing of the beer with the pie was incredibly sinful and familiar. There’s no reason to mess with a traditional pumpkin pie, and Cambridge Common kept the recipe simple and delicious.
Five beers and four courses can be a dangerous combination, but because CBC’s brews are made with real, natural ingredients, the beers weren’t overly filling or intoxicating. It was a fabulous meal, and the brewmasters from CBC that were on hand explained each brew, the background of CBC and proved their love of local food and craft beer.
For more information on CBC and their beers, visit their website at www.cambrew.com.