Matthew Leff, a beer geek and event planner based in Nashville, Tennessee wanted to create a high-end, food-focused beer event. His company Rhizome Productions organized Nuit Belge in Nashville last year, and this year, events are scheduled in Nashville, Atlanta, Charleston, South Carolina and New Orleans.
The concept is simple: Take Belgian and Belgian-style beers, assign each one to a participating restaurant and have the chefs create a dish to go with that beer.
"It's really important to us to bring the food aspect into a high-end beer event," Leff says.
New Orleans' Nuit Belge is at 7:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Feb. 26 at Generations Hall (310 Andrew Higgins Drive, 504-581-4367; www.generationshall.com). There also is a preceding VIP tasting event featuring beer and food pairings from Blackberry Farm and its brewery in eastern Tennessee. Only 50 VIP party tickets are available. Polly Watts, owner of The Avenue Pub, helped select beers for the event.
The restaurants and beer pairings include: Shaya and Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek, Boucherie and Drie Fonteinen Oude Geuze, Root and Au Baron Cuvee des Jonquilles, Cochon Butcher and Blaugies Darbyste, NOLA and De la Senne Taras Boulba and Gautreau's with two of the few American beers featured, NOLA Brewing's Piety and Sauvage.
The New Orleans event inlcudes 14 restaurants, a raw seafood bar, a chocolate bar and a cheese station by St. James Cheese Company with Jester King Brewery's Black Metal and Ambree, which are not distributed in New Orleans.
For information and tickets, visit www.nuitbelge.com/new-orleans. General admission tickets cost $99; use the code "nora" to receive a $10 discount.