There’s been a paradigm shift regarding what we pair with elevated cuisine, and how we pair it. Luckily for us, these pairings now often include craft beer.
Because there are more ingredients to play with in beer than wine, there’s more room for flavor and experimentation. The marriage of craft beer and food is a symbiotic relationship—and a new craft-beer and food reality show that covers this relationship may soon be on the air.
Bru Appetit, a show which is currently in development, takes viewers on a journey through the entire dining experience in an Iron Chef meets No Reservations meets Brew Dogs sort of reality show.
Each episode begins with an introduction to a city or town and soon moves to a local brewery. Host Jason Horn meets with chefs and brewmasters, and together, they collect local ingredients. The Bru Appetit team engages in wild-game hunting, deep-sea fishing, foraging and even falconry to source these craft ingredients. Yeah, falconry.
They return to the brewpub or kitchen with a chef’s challenge, during which Horn and the chosen local chef create regional cuisine based on the ingredients gathered earlier. After the culinary “throwdown,” the cuisine is paired with local craft beer, with the help of the aforementioned chef and brewmaster. One of the ingredients in each dish must be beer from the episode’s brewery or brewpub.
Carlo Overhulser is the founder, producer and creator, with 15 years of experience in major recording studios and television. He’s also an avid homebrewer, and founded The Beer Channel.
Horn—the host, award-winning chef and guide—has a background in the culinary arts and is also a homebrewer and mixologist.
The two met through Facebook last November, when Carlo watched a pilot that Jason had made. Carlo was impressed with Horn’s drive and ambition. They merged their talents and passions into a show in which they truly believe.
Horn and Overhulser filmed two different pilots—to show networks what they could do in 30- and 60-minute formats—in Birmingham, Ala., and Atlanta. Their first trip, in April, brought Horn and crew to Back Forty Beer Co. in Gadsden, Ala., where they met brewmaster Tim Blevins. Their Truck Stop Honey Brown Ale is brewed with Alabama wildflower honey, roasted malts and Apollo and Willamette hops.
Horn joined Alabama Hog Control to source local meat. In Prattville, Ala., he did as the locals do: He hunted for hogs. He also visited Cold Creek Honey in Hokes Bluff and got covered in approximately 10,000 bees.
Horn took some sound advice from the beekeeper: “If you respect them and don’t swat at ’em or try to act a fool, they won’t mess with ya.” He told me, while laughing, that he kept saying to himself: “Suck it up, and just do it.”
They then moved onto the chef’s challenge with Charles Ryan Nichols at The J. Clyde in Birmingham’s Southside district. For the meal, they hauled in hog and honey.
Horn seared a 2-inch-thick wild boar chop and topped it with a mixture of roasted garlic and sweet-onion preserves, which was cooked in Truck Stop Honey Brown Ale and Cold Creek’s wildflower honey. Nichols, on the other hand, soaked cutlets of the pork overnight in buttermilk and Truck Stop Honey Brown Ale. The following morning, he pounded and pan-fried the cutlets before finishing them in Creole-style gravy. Alongside was a biscuit coated in a reduction of Cold Creek honey.
In the second episode, the crew visited Atlanta’s SweetWater Brewing Co. and chatted with brand ambassador Zak Schroerlucke. The informative and action-packed episode also features Red Brick Brewing, the oldest brewery in Georgia. The crew visited Decimal Place Farm, an award winning, 18-acre dairy-goat farm located in Conley, Ga. Here, the goats’ milk produces soft chèvre, feta and tuma cheeses.
Horn discovered exactly how being a falconer can come in handy when capturing some tasty game pigeon. Decatur’s Brick Store Pub also got some Bru Appetit praise; it’s one of the highest-rated pubs in America, according to Beer Advocate.
The chef’s competition at the 5 Seasons Brewing Westside in Atlanta included the captured pigeon and the amazing aforementioned cheese. 5 Seasons chef Dave Larkworthy was the competitor; he’s famous for having a thriving relationship with farmers and using quality local ingredients.
Each episode offers a culinary and craft-beer adventure that inspires viewers to know more about local restaurants, breweries, brewpub and farms.
“It’s like the host is talking to you. … It’s everybody’s show,” Overhulser said. “You’re a part of this. It’s really regional and local.”
The duo is negotiating with the Food Network, Bravo, the Esquire Network and Spike TV; the two says there is definite interest.
So when should craft-beer drinkers and foodies expect to see Bru Appetit on the air? They hope for a premiere in the fall, if all goes well.
Who knows? Maybe they’ll come to the Coachella Valley to taste what our sunny desert valley has to offer. After all, Palm Springs is known for great chefs. The farms in the valley are numerous, offering delicious dates, flavorful bell peppers and an abundant supply of citrus fruits. And our three local breweries are making waves; for example, Coachella Valley Brewing Co. brews farm-to-table beers on a H.E.B.S. (high efficiency brewing system), one of only nine in operation on the planet.
Keep a lookout for Bru Appetit. Cheers!