Beer Town: Nuit Belge pairs Belgian beer and Atlanta food

A dessert and dark Belgian beer pairing at the 2016 Nuit Belge tasting at in Atlanta. CONTRIBUTED BY: Nuit Belge.

A dessert and dark Belgian beer pairing at the 2016 Nuit Belge tasting at in Atlanta. CONTRIBUTED BY: Nuit Belge.

In its second year in Atlanta, Nuit Belge brings together an impressive array of Belgian and Belgian-style beers paired with dishes from some of the area’s top chefs and restaurants for a tasting on Saturday evening at the Foundry at Puritan Mill.

Among the intriguing combinations on the Nuit Belge Atlanta menu for 2017:

5&10 is pairing Orval Trappist Ale with lamb neck fritters, smoked cinnamon and pickled cherries.

Double Zero has Three Taverns Inceptus paired with Southern Aged Georgia Gold grilled cheese, smoked Heritage Farms pork shoulder and peaches.

Local Three matches Gulden Draak Quad up with salted caramel banana bread with clove and orange.

Nine Mile Station pairs Rodenbach Alexander with chicken liver mousse, caper berries, pickled jalapeno and fine herbs.

Beer lover Matt Leff launched the inaugural Nuit Belge tasting in Nashville in 2015, as a way to help promote the Belgian-style ales being released by Tennessee’s Blackberry Farm Brewery.

But in 2016, the event grew into its current, more expansive format, traveling on a four-city tour with stops in Atlanta, New Orleans, Nashville and Charleston, S.C. The 2017 edition includes the same cities, with a different lineup of beers and local restaurants at each stop.

“We have four Atlanta restaurants returning this year, including Double Zero, Empire State South, King + Duke and Local Three,” Leff said during a recent preview.

“New Atlanta restaurants this year include 5&10, Better Half, Brush Sushi Izakaya, Local Republic, Nine Mile Station and Porch Light Latin Kitchen. But the big ticket is Staplehouse. We’re obviously really excited to have them involved. And they will be doing a pairing with Creature Comforts Curious 8, which is pretty exciting, too.”

Other highlights this year include the return of the raw bar with Alabama’s Murder Point Oysters. There’s the debut of the Whole Foods cheese bar, a new selection of confections from Nashville’s Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Co., and new glassware from SAHM to sip with and take home.

For those inclined to want even more, and pay extra for it, this year’s VIP ticket includes an early session limited to 40 guests, with limited edition Blackberry Farm beers paired with dishes from Alabama’s Fisher’s at Orange Beach Marina restaurant.

“The artisans from Blackberry Farm Brewery will be doing the presentations, and Fisher’s chef is Bill Briand, who spent years working in New Orleans with Emeril Lagasse and Donald Link,” Leff said.

“We have three special beers that are only available in VIP, including a collaboration beer we brewed with Blackberry Farm back in December, called the Siamese Saison, with Thai basil, galangal root, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass. They’re pairing a tuna poke with a rice cracker and micro mustard greens with that. It should be delicious.”

EVENT PREVIEW

Nuit Belge, 7-10 p.m. Feb. 25. $99-$149, includes entry, tasting glass, festival program and unlimited food and beverage samples. The Foundry at Puritan Mill, 916 Joseph E. Lowery Blvd. N.W., Atlanta. nuitbelge.com/atlanta. Note: Beer Town readers can use the discount code “ajc10” for $10 off ticket price.

Read more about the 2016 Nuit Belge tasting, plus find recipes and pairings from Chris Hall of Local Three and Josh Hopkins of Empire State South here.

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