Chef Eli Odell of Highland Tap Talks about Suggested Pairings

Eli Odell is the Executive Chef at Highland Tap and Burger now for almost five years, he’s a native new Englander who planted himself in Colorado in 1998. He’s well rounded in the culinary scene here in Colorado, including working under Matt Selby at Vespa Dipping Grill making all the awesome sauces!

What was your first “aha” moment with food and beer pairings?

Discovering the first basic food types that pair well and contrast with super strong hoppy Colorado beers. Spicy complex curries or rich fatty cheeses for example.

Why food and beer for you?

It’s a booming industry here in Colorado and I want to be a part of it for a number of reasons. But I’d have to say, themost important reason is because of the people. It’s truly a special thing when you can come into work every day and have this much fun.

What is “next” for food and beer?

Chefs that approach the brewers for ingredients that they use to make beer then incorporating them in their food. Menus where these ingredients are in print along with suggested pairings to help educate not just the restaurant staff, but each and every guest that walks through the door as well.

What Brewer is creating something that works well with your food?

I have recently been able to get spent grain, hops and even yeast from Epic and New Belgium breweries.