If Toole Avenue and Route 66 intersected, it would likely be at Maynards Kitchen during Arizona Beer Week when these two storied roadways will virtually connect.
On February 23, Maynards will team up with Flagstaff’s Mother Road Brewing Company, which sits on the original 1926 alignment of Route 66, for a pairing dinner at Tucson’s iconic train depot.
“I have a deep love for the Old Pueblo, and that our beers are meant to be paired with great food means this dinner, in the heart of downtown Tucson, will be right on theme,” said Stephanie Henderson, craft consultant with Mother Road Brewing Company.
Chef Brian Smith agrees, with a multi-course menu that he built from beginning to end with beer in hand.
“My biggest inspiration for this menu was working with the kinds of flavors I enjoy when I’m drinking beer,” said Smith, executive chef/partner at Maynards Kitchen, 400 N. Toole Avenue.
The evening will begin with chef-driven deviled eggs and other snacks from Smith’s kitchen to prepare his guests for the adventure ahead.
“The first beer will be our Daily Driver, a lower-alcohol pale ale that delivers beautifully amped-up and juicy hops which challenges the assumption that flavor is sacrificed with an easy-drinking, session-style beer,” said Henderson.
Next up will be a sourdough pretzel with beer mustard and Teleggio cheese.
“What’s exciting about this course is that we’re matching the quintessential beer food with our Great Commotion, a German-style, sweet, and malty bock that was created in collaboration with women from more than 25 breweries across Arizona,” said Henderson. She believes the malty sweetness will balance the salt from the pretzel, the fat from the cheese, and the nuttiness from the mustard.
A warm cabbage salad will follow, with house-cured bacon, dates, pecans, and a French Mimolette cheese.
“We’re serving our Conserve & Protect Golden Ale with this one, a bready and biscuity beer with floral notes that will lift up and enhance the delicate flavors in this beautiful salad,” said Henderson.
Smith will then plate up a rump heart, a relatively unknown cut of beef that has absolutely no association with a cow’s cardiovascular system as its name may suggest.
“This cut is from the center section of the rump, with the flavor of a top sirloin and the tenderness of a filet,” said Smith. The steak will be served with sweet potatoes, black garlic, and Swiss chard.
“In Brian Smith we trust,” noted Henderson, who confessed having little knowledge about the cut.
“We’re going with our Tower Station IPA here, as the earthy sweetness from the potatoes should complement the piney notes from the hops,” she said. “It’s a malty beer, with some grapefruit, tangerine, and pineapple profiles that together make it big enough to stand up to the other robust flavors on the plate.”
A smoked chocolate tart will cap the evening, with a salty mushroom caramel, wild rice ice cream, and wild rice brittle.
Dessert will be paired with the Limited Visibility Hazy IPA, which Henderson predicts will be another “opposites attract situation.”
“The smoke and earth profiles in the dish should work nicely with the beer’s tropical, citrus, and stone fruit finish,” she said. “These fruity flavors will wrap around those smokey notes like a hug.”
Priced at $80 per person plus tax and gratuity, the Mother Road Beer Dinner at Maynards Kitchen will be on February 23 at 7:00 pm. Reservations can be made by calling 545-0577, or online at www.hotelcongress.com/family/maynards.
Get hip to my timely tip and plan to join me at this Arizona Beer Week