At a recent Wynkoop Brewery beer dinner I had one of the coolest and tastiest soups. The meal was centered around Stone Brewery beers from Escondido, CA, and Stone co-founder Greg Koch was the entertainment. He’s a really funny, honest and REAL guy. Kind of a craft beer celebrity of sorts. And his beers are just as awesome.
Our pairings began with Pear & Brie Soup. It was neither overly-creamy nor chunky. Toasted almonds floating in the star anise crème fraiche brought a smokey crunch to the smoothness of the bisque. I’m not very fond of brie and actually expected there to be crumbles of cheese bobbing in the soup. Luckily, the pear and brie are melted , blended and stirred to become a bisque. With only six ingredients and fairly easy prep, this could definitely become a mainstay for holiday dinners or a dish to one-up my foodie friends.
Pear & Brie Soup
From Wynkoop Brewery Denver, CO
- 2 large Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, sliced
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 8 oz. brie cheese, rind cut off, diced
- Pinch nutmeg
- Pinch ground clove
- Handful sliced almonds (flat, not slivered)
Combine sliced pears and chicken broth in 2-quart pan. Bring to a simmer and cook until pears are soft (approximately 10-15 minutes). Transfer broth and pears to blender and puree until totally smooth. Return mixture to pan over medium heat, add nutmeg and clove. Add brie a little at a time constantly stirring. The soup should be creamy and smooth. In separate pan, add almonds. No need for oil or butter. Toast almonds by moving around every 20 seconds or so, until light brown. When serving soup, top with almonds.
For this unlikely bisque, Stone paired its Cali-Belgique IPA. This hazy, caramel-colored brew has tropical fruit notes that complemented the soup great. Doesn’t hurt (or maybe it will the next day) that it’s seven percent alcohol.
“We’re not trying to sell anything to you in the world of craft beer, we’re trying to please you,” Greg said.
The beer’s definitely something I recommend to friends just getting their palates whet with craft beer. I’ll absolutely pick some up this summer.
Follow the goings-on at Wynkoop by checking out their new website: www.wynkoop.com/happenings.
Cheers (from Dane, Greg and me)!