Saturday, March 2, 2013

AleFeast Dayton 2013

Earlier today, my wife and I attended the fifth annual AleFeast Dayton.  The event is held in the Dayton Masonic Center, which is located next to the Dayton Art Institute.  It features over 60 different craft beers, paired with foods from a large number of eateries in the Dayton area. 

Attendance at the AleFeast is limited to 800 people, and it appears that they hit that limit this year.  Attendees receive a commemorative glass with the AleFeast logo on it, an event guide, and tickets to sample up to 20 different craft beers.  (Tickets are not needed to sample the food items.)

The aim of the event is to both raise money for charity and to demonstrate how certain beers and foods pair together.

This year's food selections included a beef stew made with St. Bernardus Abt 12 Belgian Ale, carved top round of beef, Thai red curry with chicken, beans and rice, Asian bay scallops, salmon braised in sweet chili sesame, Mexican Style Oregon Bay Shrimp Cocktail, Vegan chili, cheese steak subs, Greek vegetarian subs, and much more.  For dessert, you could pick up chocolates from Friesinger's Chocolates, stout floats from Ritter's Frozen Custard of Kettering, or lemon curd and blueberry crepes.  And all that's just a portion of the food available at the event.

Of the food, my overall favorite had to be The Pub at The Greene's Shepherd's Pie.  Its texture, flavor, and balance of meat to potatoes was perfect.  According to the menu on their web site, it includes beef, lamb, Bordelaise, peas, carrots, and chive whipped potatoes topped with mozzarella cheese and parmesan bread crumbs.  It was absolutely delicious.  After I got home, I was pleased to learn that The Pub has a location at Polaris which also serves the dish.  I'm looking forward to visiting it soon.

That wasn't the only good thing I had to eat at AleFeast, though.  Also worthy of note were:
  • Foremost Seafood's Asian Bay Scallops – These were placed in pyllo cups with some wasabi sauce, vegetables, and other sauces.  The spiciness of the horseradish was an excellent match for the scallops.  (Foremost's table is featured in the photo at the right.)
  • Friesinger's Chocolates brought in a confection similar to a turtle candy that just melted in your mouth.  The milk chocolate was creamy, smooth, and rich.  It was offset by the chewy caramel and nuts.  It was delicious.
  • Jay's Seafood Restaurant brought in their Mexican Style Oregon Bay Shrimp Cocktail.  It was delicious and had just the right amount of spice.
  • The South Park Tavern's Cheese Steak Sub was good also, and they offered it in generous portions.
  • Dayton Nut Company's roasted cashews and pecans were great also.
Considering that this is a beer site, you're probably wondering what beer was there.  I won't list all of it, but enough to give you a picture of what you might have tried had you attended the event:
  • Goose Island's Christmas Ale, Pepe Nero, Matilda, Sofie, and Lolita
  • Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter
  • Old Dominion Oak Barrel Stout
  • Hoppin' Frog BORIS the Crusher, and Goose Juice
  • Avery Joe's Pils
  • St. Bernardus Abt 12
  • Kona Koko Brown
  • North Coast Old Stock
  • Victory Golden Monkey
  • Chimay Trappist Red, and Trappist White
  • New Holland Monkey King Saison
  • Widmer SXNW, KGB Russian Imperial Stout, and Columbia Common
  • Dayton Beer Company Milk Stout
For the full list of food and beer, see the AleFeast web site (at least until they take the page down).
Tickets cost $50 in advance, or $55 at the door.  A portion of the proceeds for the event benefits The Suicide Prevention Center and the Dayton Area Rugby Club.

In addition to the food and beer, live music was played by musician Nick Mitchell, who also played at the Columbus AleFest a few weeks ago.  Mitchell does a good job selecting music that works with the event and doesn't detract from it.

For the first hour, the venue wasn't very crowded and the entire selection of beer and food items remained available.  During the last hour of the event, many of the beers had run out, and some food items were no longer available.  Noise during the last couple of hours (and heat from the crowds) also picked up quite a bit.  In spite of this, it was still a fun event. 

We had a great time at AleFeast Dayton and look forward to attending again next year.  If you can make the trip from Columbus to Dayton next March, I definitely recommend it.

The next event being run by the same group is AleFest Dayton, scheduled for August 24, 2013.  They'll also take part in Dayton Beer Week, which takes place August 17-24.

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