Saravá: Where Brazilian flair meets Buckeye brews

Caipirinhas may be the national cocktail of Brazil but restaurateur Sergio Abramof, owner of the Brazilian-themed restaurants Saravá at Shaker Square and Sergio’s in University Circle, likes to let his employees follow their potable passions.

So when Saravá Manager Jon Khanna came up with the idea for a five-course Ohio beer pairing dinner last spring, it was game on.

At Saravá’s Tour of Ohio Beer Dinner, Khanna featured samples from Ohio’s 3 Cs: Cleveland’s Great Lakes Brewing Company and Cellar Rats Brewery (located at Debonné Vineyards in Madison); Columbus Brewing Company and Cincinnati’s Rivertown Brewing Company.

The almost sold-out crowd enjoyed an unusual take on Irish Beer and Cheddar soup made with Lake Erie Creamery’s tomme cheese (rhymes with “home”; a rustic, washed rind goat cheese) and Great Lakes Conway’s Irish Ale. The second course upped the ante with mussels cooked in Rivertown’s Hop Bomber Pale Ale and paired with the same. That was mere prelude to one of Saravá’s signature meat dishes, braised beef brisket with Columbus Brewing’s IPA, “one of the best IPAs around” in Khanna’s estimation.

The penultimate course presented a Lake Erie Creamery cheese board featuring a variety of goat cheeses from mild chèvre to tomme, a fairly pungent cheese with earthy, nutty flavors. Who knew goats could produce such diversity? This reporter’s new beer and cheese pairing pick is tomme with Great Lakes’ Doppelrock – a local interpretation of a doppelbock with robust maltiness and caramel flavors.

The Black Rat float made with ice cream and a touch of Kahlua swimming in Cellar Rats’ Black Rat Imperial Stout – a milk stout (uses lactose during fermentation) made in the imperial style – was perhaps gilding the lily. But it certainly sweetened the end of this bodacious Buckeye beer-pairing evening.

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