We all know that there’s a natural pairing between beer and food, but did you know that our Head Brewer, Matt McCall has deep culinary roots? It only makes sense that his passion for food would foray into a career in brewing. Here’s Matt’s take on how he transformed his culinary expertise into a life of making great beer.
Rooted in Culinary Arts
I entered the restaurant business at the young age of 15, as a dishwasher at a country club in Pennsylvania, where I grew up. I spent a solid year washing dishes and watching the executive chef work his magic. I got up the nerve to ask him if I would be able to help him and learn from him. He obliged and taught me everything from basic knife skills to how to make sauces, soups, etc. I eventually worked my way up to an unofficial role of assistant chef which ultimately led to me enrolling in the culinary program at the local college. This particular school has one of the best programs for Culinary Arts in the area, as it models its curricula directly from of the Culinary Institute of America’s (one of the best culinary schools in the world). While attending classes, I worked for one of the most prestigious hotels in PA, and really refined my skills in the kitchen there, alongside some of the best chefs in the area. Upon graduation, I moved onto a top-rated restaurant in the Lehigh Valley, where I worked for the better part of three years. In total, I spent just over 10 years in the restaurant industry, but always knew I wanted to find a way to combine my love of beer and culinary passion.
Food & Beer
Leaving the restaurant industry was hard, and I was concerned I wouldn’t have an outlet for my culinary creativity anymore. That’s where brewing comes in. Many of the flavors, smells and chemical reactions that happen in cooking also exist in brewing beer. For example, many of the malted grains we use are named after food – caramel malt, chocolate malt, smoked malt, biscuit malt, coffee malt. Food and beverage have gone hand-in-hand, almost as long as people have existed on this planet. There’s something extremely primal and nostalgic about gathering around a table and enjoying good food, beer and conversation.
Dinner at the Brewery
Our beer dinner program was built around the premise of creating an experience around food and beer and how they play off each other. For each dinner we host, I work closely with the chef to make sure that we’re able to provide the best pairings possible. There’s a rich history in both food and beer and we see our events as a great chance to bring in local food, and bring that education component to life. It may be a simple as playing to specific flavors and styles of a certain part of the world, or it could be based on a technique. Each dinner is a completely new and different experience that gives guests a chance to engage and learn about what they’re enjoying.
Our beer dinners are a phenomenal way to explore different sides of beer world, while enjoying amazing food that has been specifically catered (pun always intended) to highlight the beer it’s being paired with. Anybody who attends the dinners can expect to receive an amazing meal, many delicious beers and most importantly – an piece of new knowledge they’ll be able to take home with them.
Upcoming Food & Beer Events
Whether you’re being guided through each bite and pairing by Matt, or a local chef at a beer dinner, or digging into the local foods beings served up at an event and enjoying conversation with our crew, here are some fantastic opportunities coming up this spring to enjoy good food, beer and community!
April 28: Cinnamon Toast Brunch
Our new Cinnamon Toast Kölsch was meant to be enjoyed at 11am so we’re celebrating the can release with a brunch. Join us for a full cereal bar, chicken and waffles, berry french toast and more brunch goodness! Tickets Here
May 20: Spring Beer Dinner
Save the date for our next beer dinner with local Chef Kate O’Donnell! More details and tickets coming soon.
May 26: Memorial Day Cookout
We’re kicking off the unofficial start of summer on the boardwalk with a classic cookout. The ultimate summer pairing!
All Summer Long
Visiting us in the beer garden? You’re more than welcome to bring in outside food. In fact, there’s a great little hot dog place called Nathan’s Famous just down the street if you’re looking for a classic Coney Island pairing.