Brewery Smackdown Crowd Favors the Hometown Team

Crux and Silver Moon defeated Fremont and Georgetown in third annual event

By McKenna Brown

Tetherow’s third annual Brewery Smackdown, on January 27th, pitted two of Bend’s favorite breweries — Silver Moon Brewing and Crux Fermentation Project – against Seattle’s Fremont Brewing and Georgetown Brewing.

The breweries teamed up in a beer pairing competition, working together to choose the most appropriate beer to go with each of the five courses. Diners were given a sample of each beer and asked to vote on their favorite pairing, but they didn’t know which brewery supplied which beer – red and green ribbons around the bottom of the glasses were the only identifier.

It was hailed as a clash of beer titans, but the Bend crowd turned it into a landslide victory for the hometown team: the duo of Silver Moon and Crux won every single round.

The night started with a “warm-up” beer from Deschutes Brewery, the winner of last year’s Brewery Smackdown. Guests got to try Deschutes’ new Pacific Wonderland Lager, only the second lager the brewery has ever bottled.

Master of Ceremonies Sean Mercer, looking dapper in a suit and bowtie, dashed around the Tetherow Pavilion getting people settled at their tables.

The competition was fierce from the beginning, when the teams paired two vastly different beers with the first course of NY carpaccio crostini: Silver Moon offered up its Snake Bite Porter, while Fremont shared its very light saison. The final score was close, but Silver Moon went up 1-0 with a vote of 40-37.

The second course was a scallop bellini with orange-tarragon gastrique. Silver Moon leaned into the citrus and paired it with their Mango Daze IPA, while Georgetown Brewing offered their Bodhizafa IPA – and yes, it’s named after Patrick Swayze’s character in “Point Break.” Once again it went Bend’s way 40-37.

The third course stumped both brewery teams. Representatives from both teams said the dish of shaved fennel, citrus chevre, candied pepitas and caper berries was really tough to pair with beer, but they gave their best effort. Crux put forth its popular Gimme Mo IPA and Georgetown paired it with its Roger’s Pilsner. The crowd had a clear favorite on this one, and the addition of two more voters during this round gave the Bend team an overall win with a score of 51-28.

But just because the night had already been won didn’t mean the courses would end. Oh no! The kitchen staff was just getting started. The fourth course was the main of the evening, featuring a beef short rib with blueberry-fig demi, baked purple potato with caramelized beets, yogurt and prosciutto. The smell of the meat perfumed the room and seemed to put everyone in a great room, although admittedly at this point they’d already sampled seven beers.

For the fourth course, Silver Moon and Crux debuted their beer collaboration: Par Fore! Four-Hop Cascadian Dark Ale. It was brewed especially for the event and will be available for a limited time at The Row and at Crux and Silver Moon. The Seattle team brought Fremont’s Lush IPA. This round was closer, but the crowd still preferred the Bend pairing 46-31.

The fifth and final round was a boozy berry and lavender shortbread with poppy fennel whip. Crux brought out its Better Off Red Flanders Red Ale to pair, and Fremont pulled out all the stops, pouring its Rusty Nail Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. The beer was so thick and strong that most diners couldn’t drink more than a couple ounces, and liquid clung to the sides of the glasses even after it was poured out. Even the representatives from Crux were complimentary, calling it a damn good beer.

But in the end, nothing could sway the hometown crowd. Crux pulled out of the fifth and final round, completing the sweep for the Bend team. Mercer, looking apologetic, thanked the Seattle team for their participation and good sportsmanship, and the crowd gave them a rousing round of applause.