A posting about the Mohegan Sun Winefest in this space might seem at first to be out of place, but there will be plenty of beer at this weekend's festival at the popular Connecticut casino.
I was turned on to the festival's beer offerings several weeks ago when Smuttynose executive brewer David Yarrington came to Boston to talk about the beer he brewed specifically for the festival's 10th anniversary. After sampling the beer with some fantastic food pairings, I can say this is a festival worth checking out.
Yarrington brewed ParadoX, an aromatic, session IPA, with experimental hop 02120. He travels to Washington state yearly to hand-select his hops, and he chose this one because of it's lemony qualities. With Citra hops being all the rage, brewers are constantly looking for something similar, and experimental hop 02120 -- called the lemon drop hop -- comes pretty close.
"I really wanted to brew a hop forward beer," Yarrington said as I stuffed my face. "But I wanted it to be balanced."
The beer is a spectacular example of what a low-alcohol (5.3 percent ABV) IPA can be, and it's part of a cannon, along with beers from Vermont's Hill Farmstead, the Alchemist, and Lawson's Finest Liquids, that I'm getting used to referring to as East Coast IPAs. It might be worth going to the festival just for this.
The beer will be available at the Saturday night dine-around, during a seminar given by Yarrington at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, and at the grand tasting sessions on Saturday and Sunday. For the dine-around, chefs Todd Winer of Met Restaurant Group and and William Kovel of Catalyst have come up with food pairings:
-- Lobster flan with lobster salad and lobster vinaigrette
-- Wainno oysters with Thai chili vinaigrette, minced mint, cilantro & fish sauce
-- Chicken liver mousse on pickled onion crostini
-- Uni custard tartlets
-- Fried oyster and pork belly Panini with creole cole slaw
-- Marinated octopus & kazu salad
-- Pork terrine with Clementine mustarda
ParadoX, brewed with Valley Malt from Hadley, Ma., will be available in limited supply in early February. The festival will feature beers from Brooklyn Brewery, Dogfish Head, Founders, Goose Island, Smuttynose, Longtrail, Otter Creek, Sierra Nevada, and more.