I recently had the pleasure of attending a gluten-free beer and food pairing event at Wildfire Restaurant in McLean. Not only was this event a culinary treat, but it was also an opportunity to make new friends and lament over the difficulties of gluten-free traveling. Guest speaker, Eric Marrapodi from CNN, told us tales of his own travel mishaps while also providing tips learned along the way. The laid-back, friendly atmosphere, as well as the flowing drinks, allowed us all to swap a few more tales of our own.
There were four pairings, each with their own individual taste and flair. First, there were appetizers of fried oysters and prosciutto and date flatbreads paired with Bard’s beer. I have to say, the flatbreads were actually one of my favorite options from the night, along with the jumbo lump crab cakes. The crab cakes were made with Wildfire’s homemade gluten-free bread and served with a dijon mustard sauce and a Redbridge beer pairing. Since going gluten-free, I have found very few occasions where I can enjoy crab cakes, let alone ones that were as moist and tasty as these. My entire table gushed and devoured every bite.
The second course was a coffee crusted beef tenderloin with scalloped potatoes paired with Estrella Damm Daura beer. This was my favorite beer selection of the evening, although it was unanimously agreed by my table that the Angry Orchard cider and apple cinnamon bread pudding was the best pairing of the evening. Even my husband, who is not usually a cider fan, agreed the cider brought out the flavors of the bread pudding, while the pudding toned down the sweetness in the cider. It was definitely the perfect pairing to end a perfect evening. I departed that evening satisfied with a full belly and promising to count down in anticipation for Wildfire’s next gluten-free event.