Ruhstaller and Blackbird Kitchen Partner for a Hops and Dreams Beer Pairing Dinner

Tonight, on Wednesday, September 24, Ruhstaller and Blackbird Kitchen+Beer Gallery will team up for a charity dinner of 4 courses that will be paired with 4 special beer releases. Proceeds from the $40 a head dinner will benefit Motivating the Teen Spirit. The dinner starts at 7pm and tickets are available now through Eventbrite.

With so many food events happening in Sacramento this month, I often wonder how chefs come up with unique menus for each meal. I caught up with Blackbird executive chef, Carina Lampkin, to learn a bit about the process.




Naturally enough, the inspiration for a beer pair dinner starts with the hops.  She opened a fresh jar the cascade hops and the aroma was slightly bitter and earthy. Almost like your first, nervous taste of beer. These will be the same hops used in the new beer from Ruhstaller that will be released tonight at the dinner, so it’s important to find a way to incorporate them into a dish. After a sniff and a quick taste of the flower, the ideas started flowing.

“It reminds me of drinking beers down by the river”, Lampkin remembered.

“What did I want to eat after drinking beers? I wanted Taco Tree since I’m from Auburn.”

And that began the notepad sketches and continued verbal brainstorming.

“The way I’m going to incorporate them into this dish is by telling a story.”


“I like the ideas of a river inspired, crayfish, or shrimp dish. Cooking it slowly in olive oil, sous vide, over a lot of hours to pull out the bitterness, but to infuse that hops, that green, that spice.”


Another new beer that will be featured at the dinner is the Ruhstaller Cudera, which was made in partnership with Cudera USA and is brewed with the must of the cabernet sauvignon grape. The result is an easier drinking (low IBU), grape forward beer that comes in at 9.6% ABV.


Since the grape must gives the beer a lighter flavor, the drink will be used for a non-traditional, “wine and cheese” course for the VIP guests during the 6PM “Happy Hour” and silent auction on the night of a dinner.

To find out what else Chef Lampkin has in store, you’ll have to head to the dinner at Blackbird tonight. I did hear whispers of a Black IPA infused short rib…


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