On Tuesday, Fly Boys Private Chefs and Catering hosted their second pairing dinner at Peaks N Pines Brewing Co., focused around September’s festive Oktoberfest. A four course Bavarian-themed meal joined four beers, resulting in an informative, scrumptious peek into what’s going down right now in Munich. Brewmaster Paul Vieira gave some background on each beer, offering malt and hop profiles, passing around cups with the featured greens for our smelling pleasure. Meanwhile, chef Rob Provost paid homage to his travels abroad during his Air Force career, taking typical German dishes and giving them a refreshing, modern twist.
We began our tasting experience with the Blizzard Pils, a Czech pilsner with German hops paired with a potato leek soup with French baguette croutons and a dollop of garlic-chive compound butter.
We made it official when the Oktoberfest lager arrived next, with a lovely amber color and great clarity made with Munich malts and Hallertau hops. It accompanied a German sausage and cheese platter with a pickled salad of spring mix, cucumbers, beets and gherkins. A white sausage, known as weisswurst, and a pleasing beer-and-cheddar bratwurst were coupled with thick slices of Gruyere and Emmental cheese nex to whole grain and spicy mustard.
Rolling right into the hearty side of Bavarian cuisine, Fly Boys offered up a generous portion of weinerschnitzel, topped with a mushroom demi-glace, sautéed red cabbage and perfectly cooked spaetzl with bacon, gruyere cheese and mushrooms. It was similar to jaegerschnitzel, but the glaze opted for a lighter sauce than the usual hunter. Peaks N Pines specially brewed a Dunkelweiss for the main course, this one made with German yeast, Munich grain, Vienna malt and a secret ingredient: chocolate.
Dessert offered a lighter interpretation of traditional apple strudel: A fluffy, apple spice cake glowing with all the flavors of — cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. It joined a scoop of homemade vanilla bean ice cream paired with a surprisingly mellow watermelon wheat brewed with Centennial hops.
Fly Boys specializes in intimate private dinners, and Vieira says he appreciates that “the pairing component elevates the product,” allowing beer drinkers and foodies alike to better understand the heightened enjoyment of sipping and spooning together. Vieira has been home brewing “since Jimmy Carter was in office,” and opened Peaks N Pines with his wife Theresa in November of 2015. Paul says his home-brewing errors led him to honor two rules of his craft: One, control fermentation temperature within one degree and, two, oxygenate the wart for yeast to be fully effective. “Quality is essential,” says Paul, “from grains to glass.”
Fly Boys has been hosting private events in-home and at local breweries since shortly after they started in January 2015. That was six months after Provost and his right-hand man Paul Stanley graduated from the Colorado Culinary Academy in Denver. Provost and Stanley met the first day of class, both coming from the Air Force and using the G.I. bill to do cooking school.
Fly Boys consists of numerous veterans from all branches. Provost prides himself on helping other vets transition from the military to a civilian occupation and had a new addition, Loretta Dean or “Deuce” assisting with the Oktoberfest feast. The business name was coined by a classmate who nicknamed Stanley and Provost “fly boys” because of their Air Force affiliation.
Fly Boys’ strives to use “high quality ingredients and show their creativity through presentation and plating, while exhibiting great beer and wine pairings in small gatherings,” Provost says. “We love plating and cooking for a live audience.”
Coming up, Peaks N Pines has more specialty beers debuting, including a brunette chocolate macadamia nut arriving in early October. (I’m praying for an appearance on nitro …) To celebrate its first anniversary on November 19, Peaks N Pines will be pouring their black cherry barley wine, aged in Stranahan’s bourbon barrels and weighing in at 11 percent ABV. That’ll get the party started. For an earlier taste of the coveted birthday beer, Fly Boys will include it in their next pairing dinner on Tuesday, November 15 as a part of the anniversary celebrations.
[Images: Dionne Roberts]