Home chefs with an array of local beer loyalties turned out Sunday afternoon at Fitzgerald's for Houston Beer Experiment, the Houston stop on a 16-city tour that culminates in a culinary championship December in Brooklyn.
Appropriately, Brooklyn Brewery served as the title sponsor and patrons sipped on a selection of draughts from the brewer to wash down 17 recipes that vied for the grand prize: a paid trip to Brooklyn to compete in the championship
Any recipe could compete, so long as beer was incorporated in some way and the food was prepared by home chefs.
Any recipe could compete, so long as beer was incorporated in some way and the food was prepared by home chefs. Unlike Saint Arnold's famous One Pot Showdown, desserts were eligible to compete alongside savory entries, and it was something sweeter that stole the show in my mind. The Brittle Breakers' chocolate stout ice cream and spicy peanut beer brittle was excellent, and won the Theo Award from founder Theo Peck.
Also of note was a beer cheese soup by the Beer Ninjas, made with local brews by Katy's No Label Brewing, and "charcuterie" by gal pal duo Gastro Chic, which included chocolate mousse pâté and chocolate "salami" with embedded pretzel bits.
Ultimately, top prize from judges Chris Shepherd, Jenny Wang, Ronnie Crocker and Adam Dorris went to Sybarite Pig, who served a spicy guava stew with pulled lamb cooked in Karbach's Weisse Versa and served over beer bread that incorporated a home-brewed Gingerbread Imperial Red beer.
Sybarite Pig also got some love from the audience ballots, coming in third place. But the grand prize, picked by audience voters, went to Magic Hops for its pork and grits. Houston native and University of Texas graduate Erin Krenek will head to Brooklyn Dec. 16 with her partner to compete in the championship. Krenek said she's glad to be repping her town.