When Thirsty Monk moved into the Uptown area in March, it brought more than just “Belgian-rooted modern ales” to the Mile High City: The Asheville, North Carolina-based brewery also launched a Food Flights program, offering a curated selection of snacks to go with your choice of beer.
Certified beer-and-food-pairing professionals matched six beer styles—light, medium, dark, sour/fruity, hoppy, and Belgian—with a cheese, a grain, a preserve, and a protein. The vegetarian Belgian flight, for example, arrives on a wooden board holding four ramekins filled with smoked gouda, curried chickpeas, cranberry-walnut relish, and sesame wheat squares. Medium beers are coupled with Emmenthaler cheese, mini meatballs, habañero-fig jam, and rye crisps. The food flights are all $8.
“We’ve always been beer-first, and the food really supports that,” says Barry Bialik, Thirsty Monk CEO. “Each item is meant to enhance the beer experience. And it’s very social. It’s a very interactive food experience.”
The preserves and the crackers are made in-house. All of the proteins are supplied by neighboring restaurants, such as Humboldt Farm Fish Wine, Patxi’s Pizza, Jack’s Uptown Grille, and Olive & Finch.
Denver’s was the first Thirsty Monk to offer food flights, but the snacks have already been added to the Asheville locations’ menus and will be available at the Portland, Oregon, eatery soon. (Besides the picnic-style eats, the only other edible item on the Denver menu is a pint of applewood-smoked bacon for $6.) The Uptown venue, which is now the brewery’s main production facility, with head brewer Brian Grace at the helm, is also unique in that it serves only Thirsty Monk beer.
As for the best way to enjoy a food flight? Bialik suggests a flight and flight—one board filled with beer tasters, the other filled with a selection of treats that complement them. Sounds like an equation for a perfect happy hour.