Bread & Brew: Chefs, Brewers Put Beer in Every Bite

  Originally published in April 2016, view original article here.

First there was fusion, then farm-to-table, then beer and wine pairing dinners.

Now a movement called Brewed Food has come to Portland. And it has potential to take our understanding and enjoyment of beer to an even deeper level.

The whole idea is to pair chefs with brewers — which already is happening in Portland — to celebrate brewing as a culinary art.

Here’s where it gets crazy: The point is to cook with some of the same ingredients and techniques used to create the beers, rather than cooking with finished beers.

Imagine: Pork belly bulgogi with wild yeast kimchi and a fermented cherry sriracha, a dish that had seven fermented foods on one plate.

“We had been waiting until the beer was in the bottle and the glass. We need to get into the kitchen and understand the raw ingredients,” Jensen Cummings told the crowd of brewers and other pairing enthusiasts Tuesday, April 19, at the Portland Brewed Food dinner he organized at Simpatica Dining Hall.

“We want to take inspiration by craft beer and apply it to the core philosophy of cuisine.”

Cummings was the first Denver chef to become a certified cicerone (beer sommelier); there are a couple thousand nationwide, including at least 50 from Oregon.

In 2014, Cummings and his team founded Brewed Food, a concept they’re taking to cities nationwide. After Portland, they head to San Diego, Los Angeles and New York.

Cummings organized the six-beer, six-course collaboration dinner between two Portland operations that happen to be located two blocks away from each other: Biwa Izakaya and Base Camp Brewing.

He says he wanted to involve chefs who were pushing and already experimenting with fermentation.

For example, the ochazuke (a classic Japanese tea rice) used a dashi (stock) made from wort from the first run of the barley steeping process, rather than the traditional konbu (seaweed). The barley was used in place of rice. Pickles fermented with Base Camp’s Belgian Tripel completed the replenishing dish.

Until now, the relationship between beer and food has been overshadowed by the wine and food pairing culture.

If Brewed Food continues to take hold, oenophiles may just have to watch out.

Written by: Jennifer Anderson