Last night’s monthly Tuesday Night Tasting at downtown Chandler’s SanTan Brewing Company was a special occasion for several reasons.
First, the microbrewery’s 12th TNT capped a year that saw the event steadily grow from 30-some attendees for the first one last January to a near-standing-room-only crowd of 75 for the year’s finale.
Second, brewmaster/owner Anthony Canecchia (pictured above addressing the crowd) unveiled a couple of ales specially brewed for the event, which featured six winter beers and five food courses for $25.
And finally, the TNT was the final one for Brant Gasparek, who’s served as SanTan’s executive chef since it opened in 2007.
Left: The reception beer was the debut of SanTan’s first cask-conditioned beer: its Sun Devil Ale. The brewery plans to tap a new cask-conditioned beer (one from its everyday beer list or a specialty ale) every week.
Right: The first course was a salad of organic baby spinach, white chocolate chips, toasted almonds and raspberries with a Merlot vinaigrette. It was paired with Sam Adams Winter Lager.
Left: The second course was a pair of Medjool dates stuffed with chorizo, wrapped with applewood bacon and accompanied by a red pepper cream sauce. The beer pairing was Odell Brewing’s Isolation Ale.
Right: The third course was Colorado buffalo chili and green chili corn bread with cilantro sour cream. The meat was simmered in a smoked version of SanTan’s porter, which was the beer pairing.
Left: The fourth course was braised short rib with butternut squash ribbons and sweet potato puree. It was paired with SanTan’s current seasonal ale called Winter Warmer.
Right: Dessert was a huge piece of coffee cake made with crushed Werther’s Original butterscotch candies and a specially brewed coffee stout that also was served as the beer.
At the end of the evening, Gasparek (left) and sous chef Dustin Brafford got a huge round of applause. Gasparek, who’s moving to Seattle, will work his final day at SanTan on Friday.