Saturday, February 09, 2008

DC beer guy makes national news

Greg Engert, beer manager at Rustico Restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia received mention in yesterday's USA Today.

"First we needed a good product," says Greg Engert of Rustico, a beer-centric restaurant in Alexandria, Va. "Then enough people started banging the drum that there is good beer out there."

That drumbeat is being fueled in part by the millennial generation, that wave of consumers in their 20s and early 30s whose wide-open curiosity toward the culinary world already is fueling record wine sales and the cocktail renaissance.<...>

To court these consumers, a new generation of chefs is demonstrating that beer is not just for drinking.

Rustico chef Frank Morales uses beer as a foam, bouillon or jelly in more than half his dishes. And for all of Morales' dishes, Engert offers pairings from a list of nearly 300 bottled and 50 draught selections.

Also quoted is Lucy Saunders, with whom I and Clipper City Brewing are cooperating on two beer dinners in early March:
"Younger chefs are more open to consider beer as worthy of respect in the kitchen," says Lucy Saunders, who has written The Best of American Beer and Food: Pairing & Cooking With Craft Beer and runs the website

----> details on the Tuscarora Mill dinner here
----> details on The Royal Mile Pub dinner here

Jim Koch, of Boston Beer Company, sums it up in good fashion:

Koch, however, isn't arguing that beer should replace wine -- only that it should not be overlooked.

"The idea that wine is the exclusive beverage to be served with good food is very outdated," he says. "If you limit yourself to the wine list, you'll miss out on a lot."

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