Dust Bowl Teams with Farm For Sensory Tasting Experience

Beer and food came together in a most fascinating way at Dust Bowl Brewing Co. After months of collaboration, the Northern California brewery teamed with SupHerb Farms to host chefs for a day of beer and food pairings along with behind the scenes tours of each manufacturing facility.

What made the event especially unique was keynote speaker, Dr. Hoby Wedler, a renowned pioneer in sensory tasting and co-founder of Senspoint Design. Blind since birth, Dr. Wedler teamed with brewmaster, Don Oliver, taproom chef, Abel Larios, and SupHerb Farms chef, Scott Adair to create four innovative pairings featuring ingredients from SupHerb Farms and signature beers from Dust Bowl Brewing Co.

Dr. Wedler led the guest chefs, who were all blindfolded, in a sensory tasting where they experienced the unique interaction of the different beer styles with the food pairings.

“Being cognizant of how the different flavor profiles impact the diner’s experience is essential in menu development,” shared Dr. Wedler. “When you take away the sense of sight, you can really hone in on flavor and texture. You have no preconceived notion of what the food or beer should taste like. My mission is to educate and develop a greater appreciation for the sensory experience of food and beverage.”

The beer pairing movement in the culinary world is being advocated not only by craft breweries, but by key industry influencers. At the California Craft Brewers Association Summit this past September, Julia Herz, Craft Beer Program Director for the Brewers Association, emphasized the need – and her personal mission – to change the perception of beer as related to food. She identifies the opportunity for beer pairing skills to help shift this narrative through classes, dinners and experiences much like the one with Dr. Wedler at Dust Bowl Brewing Co.

The American Culinary Federation (ACF) sanctioned event brought together a variety of chefs ranging from San Francisco’s famous Boudin bakery to Atria, the upscale senior living community. “I’ve gained a lot of information on the beer making process,” commented Gianpaulo Ruiz, Director of Culinary Services, Atria and ACF Chef of the Year. “Beer pairing is something we can surely add to our menu development. The sensory pairing by Hoby was outstanding. This event will enhance my approach on how to incorporate local craft beer for our residents.”

“It’s exciting to be a catalyst in the beer pairing movement. Beer is no longer a stand-alone beverage,” reflected Brett Tate, founder, Dust Bowl Brewing Co. “Chefs are learning to cook with it, they’re learning what foods go with what styles of beers. To be a catalyst in this movement is exciting. As a brewery, we’re learning every day how to be more innovative and creative in connecting consumers with our brand. It’s imperative to stay relevant.”

Taste and flavor have always been essential features of beer. Now, more than ever, these components are being assessed against a new, colorful canvas of food. The development of skills to analyze the subtle nuances of craft beer as related to culinary creations is sure to be an ongoing trend so long as the Julia Herz’s and Dr. Wedler’s of the industry have anything to say about it.


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