Yazoo’s Cooking with Beer with Chef Kraig Hansen

We still have a lot to tell you about our brewery visits from vacation and Kendall’s got some posts in the works, but I wanted to tell you about this week’s awesome Cooking with Beer at the Yazoo brewery. This Tuesday evening Kendall and I stopped by Yazoo for a special beer and food event they’re doing every couple months. Neil & Katie from Yazoo were our gracious hosts and helped everyone have a fun, laid-back time. Neil started the night telling us we were there for three reasons: good beer, good food and good conversation with old and new friends. We shared a table with Alex, who I met at the Nashville Girls’ Pint Out kickoff, and her friend Adam.

The food was prepared using local ingredients and Yazoo beer by Chef Kraig Hansen. Kraig has 25 years of experience and honed his craft in Seattle. He focuses on using local ingredients in all his creations. He’s working on a show called Local Produce Live that will focus on local food from Nashville’s farms and the farm-to-table movement. For the night, he whipped up some yummy food for the event with a local beer and food theme.¬†We started the night with a “deconstructed caprese salad.” So delicious! It was a crostini topped with local tomatoes and basil with balsamic and whole milk mozzarella. It was paired with Yazoo’s rich Onward Stout and the rich flavors of the food and beer worked so great together.

We moved on to the entrees that were served with a side of roast veggies. Of course it was all locally grown, good stuff like zucchini, yellow squash, sweet potato, turnip and rutabaga. Kendall’s not a big veggie fan but even he liked it! The first entree was a “Cowboy Chicken Breast” that I paired with Yazoo’s Pale Ale, while Kendall got a Gerst. Both worked well with the smoky chicken. The chicken breast was hickory grilled and prepared with Chef Kraig’s “cowboy-smoke rub” of smoked local spices and coffee. Yum. Even better, the sauce was a cheese blend mixed with Yazoo’s Sue. Yes, Sue. So smokey. So tasty.

Next, the chef brought out a roasted pork tenderloin that was marinated in Yazoo’s hefeweizen, oranges and limes and glazed with orange marmalade and more hefeweizen. There were a couple ways to go with the beer selection. Some people chose a Yazoo’s Pale Ale just so they weren’t overwhelmed by citrus. Chef Kraig said paring it with a hefe would be “a citrus party in your mouth.” Both Kendall and I went rogue got the Rye Saison. Its spicy, fruity complexity worked great with the pork.

The food was delicious but the dessert was the best part! Chef Kraig made an espresso panna cotta made with vanilla bean and espresso infused local cream. The suggested pairing was the Sly Rye Porter and the espresso creaminess with the roasted caramel and chocolate flavors of the porter was a perfect match.

Neil was right, it was a night of good food, beer and people. We had a great evening and can’t wait to do it again. There’s probably going to be another later this fall. Keep an eye on the Yazoo’s Facebook page or Twitter for info. You don’t want to miss it!