This year was the 4th annual BruFrou Craft Beer and Food Pairing Event. Breweries brought their best summer beer to pair with tasty bites. We ate and drank in the Tivoli Quad in downtown Denver while soaking up some sun rays. Right as we arrived, one of the bands was already rocking out and making for an enjoyable atmosphere. Several bands played throughout the festival and there were also lawn games set up for people to entertain themselves in between eating and drinking.
We started out with the Dry Hopped Saison from Baere Brewing. It was a delicious start to the festival. I loved the hoppy notes from the huell melon hops and the beer was nice and crisp. This saison was paired with sausage that had been cooked in the beer and then served with mustard from Roaming Bill Brasserie.
Another tasty beer was the Key Lime Pie Berliner Weisse from Weldwerks Brewing. It literally tasted like key lime pie! The beer was very enjoyable and it was paired with a fish taco from First Draft. The taco contained beer poached yellowtail with candied ginger slaw, fresno chili salsa, and pork belly creme fraiche.
Though all the beers were paired nicely with bites, these were some of my favorite beers at the festival. My favorite pairings are listed next!
FAVORITE CRAFT BEERS
- Key Lime Pie Berliner Weisse by Weldwerks
- Dry Hopped Saison by Baere Brewing
- BAMF Gose by Loveland Aleworks
- Coffee IPA by Fate Brewing
- Locals Stash Reserve Series by Crazy Mountain
- Helles Lager by Wibby
One of the pairings that I would not have picked myself was pairing an IPA with chocolate. The Hercules Double IPA from Great Divide and the Cacao Spread from DAR Chocolates made a surprisingly delicious combination. The cacao spread was on the sweeter side with pomegranate molasses, which I think helped to balance some of the bitterness in Hercules.
Though a hot July day for a beer festival, some breweries still brought some aged beer selections. Banded Oak brought a Barrel Fermented Bock, which turned out to not be too heavy. I often find bock beers to be somewhat boring or too sweet but I enjoyed this version. The bock was used to brine the duck which was served with Taleggio cheese and Smoked Cherries atop bread that utilized the spent grain from brewing the bock. Yum!
Fate Brewing brought a very delicious pairing. They had a Pinot Noir Gose paired with Smoked Pork Belly with MouCo ColoRouge Cheese and Peach Chutney on a Wheat Cracker. It sounds delicious and indeed it was! The salt from the pork belly and cheese, and sweetness from the chutney made for an excellent pairing with the gose.
Another fun and unique pairing was Mainline Ale House and High Hops. Mainline made a Vanilla Beets Risotto that was combined with goat cheese and pancetta and then rolled in pistachio bread crumbs with balsamic. That bite alone was very different and delicious and then it was matched with the Pinkalicious Gose with Raspberries and Lemon Verbena from High Hops. The combination of flavors was superb!
There were a lot of delicious pairings but these were a few of my favorites from BruFrou 2017.
FAVORITE CRAFT BEER AND FOOD PAIRINGS
- Cacao Spread on a Banana and Hercules Double IPA
- Beets Risotto Ball and the Pinkalicious Gose
- Beer Brined Duck and the Barrel Fermented Bock
- Smoked Pork Belly and Pinot Noir Gose
We really enjoyed ourselves at BruFrou 2017 but there has been some changes since I first went in 2015. The biggest change is the location. It was previously at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum and has now moved to the Tivoli Quad on the downtown Denver campus. Previous location was pretty cool but the move downtown makes it more easily accessible. We were able to just ride our bikes 🙂
The format of the ticketing also changed. You can either get unlimited/VIP tickets or a general admission ticket that limits you to 8 pairings but you have the option of buying more. The unlimited option is always the best but it’s fairly pricey. I assume they did the switch to make more options for festival goers and make an affordable option. The only thing that makes it more difficult with this set up, is you can’t just freely sip on a beer as you wait to digest the last pairing if you choose a limited option. The changes make sense but it would be great for them to provide some beer only stations that don’t count to the limited pairings. Since the venue is outdoors in the summer, it makes it more likely that people want to sip on a beer in between pairings!