|Image credit: Deep Ellum Brewing Company, Urban Taco, The Taco Trail.|
What's the first thing that comes to mind when someone says tacos and beer? Mystery meat, crunchy shells and a Corona? As narrow minded as that sounds, given beer's reputation as a lowbrow libation, for some it's probably not that far from the truth. So, how to go about altering such perceptions? One way might be to call upon a taco blogger, a local craft brewery, and a popular uptown taquería to help put such notions to rest.
A Wednesday night affair called Tacos & Beer, the combined effort of Taco Trail, Deep Ellum Brewing Company (DEBC) and host Urban Taco, sought to do just that. The menu featured a five-course meal served alongside six Deep Ellum brews, one of which was created especially for the occasion.
Pairings offered a good mix of contrasting and complimentary flavors, though even in cases of extreme contrast there were still elements that helped to bring it all together. Take the coupling of the Double Brown Stout Barbacoa Taco with Dallas Blonde. At first glance, DEBC's Double Brown Stout would seem be the natural choice, but that might have proven to be a bit much. Instead, the bright and hoppy Dallas Blonde offset the richness of the barbacoa, with the cilantro and the beer's citrusy character providing an element of familiarity.
Among the best complimentary pairings were the Jalapeño Zucchini Salsa with the earthy, peppery Farmhouse Wit, and the evening's grand finale, which brought together a chocolate-covered churro doughnut and The Holy Mole Brew. This beer, which debuted at this event, was a version of the brewery's Double Brown Stout cask-conditioned with guajillo, ancho and mulato chili peppers, Nestlé Abuelita Mexican Chocolate and Mexican Coca-Cola. Deep Ellum owner John Reardon readily agreed it would have benefited from a little more carbonation, but it was still an enjoyable brew with a nice balance of sweet and spice, seemingly lighter in body than the original.
As for the rest of the menu, it's provided for your reading and viewing pleasure below. Inedible imagery provided by Urban Taco and Matt Dixon of Dallas Brew Scene.
Course 1: Chips and Salsa Beer Trio.
Jalapeño Zucchini Salsa paired with Farmhouse Wit
Mole Poblano Salsa paired with DEBC IPA
Roasted Peanut Habanero Salsa paired with Rye Pils
Course 2: Double Brown Stout Barbacoa Taco and a side of Queso Panela Asado, paired with Dallas Blonde.
Barbacoa braised for six hours in DEBC's Double Brown Stout, topped with cebolittas
and jalapeños asados (grilled green onions and peppers), cilantro and Salsa Roja.
Course 3: Pork Belly Chicharrón Taco and a side of Roasted Corn con Lima Crema, paired with Double Brown Stout.
Adobo marinated crunchy pork belly chicharrón (fried pork), topped with
micro cilantro, fire roasted onions and a cucumber avocado salsa.
Course 4: Chicken Tinga Taco and a side of Poblano Green Rice, paired with Farmhouse Wit.
Chipotle braised chicken with chorizo and potatoes, topped with lime crema and queso fresco.
Course 5: The Churnut, paired with The Hole Mole Brew.
A churro doughnut filled with homemade cajeta (a syrup of sweetened caramelized milk), topped
with chocolate abuelita (melted tables of Nestlé Abuelita Mexican Chocolate drink mix).