Event highlights growing number of local breweries and the popularity of crafted beers.
The first annual Beer vs. Wine dinner took place at Craft Beer Market last month in Calgary.
"It's all about food, family, friends, relaxing and enjoying the night out," says Caylee Kretschmer of the event.
Kretschmer, who is currently working towards her level four sommelier designation, was the wine expert for the evening.
The evening consisted of four courses, each to be paired with one beer and one wine. Guests were given ballots to vote for their favourite pairing for each course.
Kretschmer's opponent for the evening was Rob Swiderski, who is a world certified beer judge and resident beer expert at Craft Beer Market.
As more local breweries pop up in the Calgary area, it is becoming increasingly common to pair a nice dinner with beer as with wine, the more traditional choice for classy dinners.
Produced by Olivia Grecu
"The beer hall has become a big scene," says Kretschmer, "but now people are getting into wine in Calgary too."
"We wanted to educate the crowd on wine, beer, and just food in general," she adds.
When it came to picking refreshments for each course, Swiderski and Kretschmer had minimal prior information.
"We didn't know anything about the cooking or preparation. All we were given was a list of the basic ingredients," says Swiderski.
Swiderski says he found the dessert course, a "Faked" Alaska with soft pastry and rhubarb ice cream, particularly difficult to pair. He even had to look to beers outside of Craft's extensive selection to find the right one.
The Calgary restaurant boasts the largest selection of draught beers in Canada, many of them local, with over 100 taps in house.
"People might laugh because it's only 120 taps, but I did go outside our own four walls to find a beer that would match," he says of choosing Leifmans Cuvée Brut to go with the dessert course.
Kretschmer shared the sentiment, saying that desserts are often the hardest course to pair with.
"If the wine is sweet, that's sweet on sweet, and you want to make sure there's a balance there," she says.
By evening's end, wine came out on top overall, though guest Korin Steffson said she thought the beer, Leifmans Cuvée Brut, paired best with the difficult dessert course.
- By OLIVIA GRECU