Alabama Beer Week is a 10-day event in when Alabama craft beers are celebrated across the state. The War Eagle Beer Dinner was held at the Hotel at Auburn University Saturday night.
Organizers of Alabama Beer Week contacted Rick Lyke, the founder of Pints for Prostates, to incorporate his organization within the week’s events.
According to Lyke, everyone working with Alabama Beer Week and this event really wants to raise awareness about prostate cancer and the appropriate measures to be taken in order to prevent it.
Just an hour before the dinner, Chef Leonardo Maurelli and his assistants hustled around the kitchen finishing the appetizers for the evening’s festivities.
Maurelli is the special events and cater chef at the Hotel at Auburn University.
Maurelli created the menu consisting of hors d’oeuvres for a reception and a five-course meal for those who attended the event. Each course was paired with a different craft beer.
The beer selection consisted of a Top Secret Kolsch Limited Edition brewed by the Black Forty Beer Company in Gadsden, Brother Joseph’s Belgian Dubbel brewed by Straight to Ale in Huntsville and others.
“I wrote the menu specifically to highlight the notes in each beer,” Maurelli said.
However, he did not actually cook any of the foods with the beers.
The Hotel at Auburn University, especially Maurelli, collaborated with the founder of Alabama Beer Week, Alexander Bustamante, to plan and execute this dinner.
Bustamante and Maurelli had previously worked together on AprilFest, another food and beer event also held at the hotel.
“Basically, Leonardo came to us, and he said ‘hey, I wanna do this.’ His food was fantastic. So basically, we knew he’d do a really good job with it,” Bustamante said. “And he was really excited to support Pints for Prostates and to work with beer and to work with brewers.”
Maurelli said he wanted Saturday’s event to bring back everything that people loved from AprilFest while incorporating some new aspects to the dinner as well.
Maurelli explained that the reception before the dinner was intended to be laid back, where everyone could mingle and get to know each other while eating great appetizers and drinking craft beer. Following the reception was the more formal part of the evening, the five-course meal.
“Beer is almost like comfort food, so the idea behind this is to make this not stuffy,
Maurelli said. “Treat it like it’s a wine dinner but make it for beer.”