If you live anywhere in my area, especially if you are a fan of craft beer, you know of the Iechyd Da husband and wife team of Chip and Summer Lewis. They started the highly successful Iechyd Da (pronounced “Yacky Dah”) in 2011.
They took a building on the north end of Main Street in downtown Elkhart and transformed it into a seven-barrel brewery and restaurant. In the process, they have made a huge impact on the local and regional craft beer scene. Iechyd Da is located at 317 N. Main St., Elkhart (574-293-0506).
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Like most young entrepreneurs, they have worked hard to accomplish what they have achieved. Personally, I like supporting hometown folks like Chip and Summer whenever I can.
During a Wine Club partner event-planning session in January, the idea came up to host a friendly competition between craft beer and wine. Iechyd Da was the first the choice to represent the craft beer side of the event.
We haven’t figured out what the winner gets at the end of this little battle – maybe a traveling trophy or plaque – but the winner will sure have bragging rights.
What I do know is that the real winners of this competition are the event participants who get to taste some good wines, craft beers and food.
Each of the tasting dinner’s five courses, prepared and hosted by McCarthy’s, was paired with a beer sample and a wine sample. At the end of each course, guests marked ballots with their preferred pairing.
- Hand-wrapped bacon scallops served on sautéed spinach with sweet and sour sauce. Paired with the 2009 Eric Kent Sonoma Chardonnay and the Iechyd Da Ginger Blonde Shandy.
- Baked brie in puff pastry with luxardo cherry sauce. Paired with the 2009 Eric Kent Russian River Chardonnay and the Iechyd Da Big Pit Porter.
- Pan-fried blackened duck and plum sauce. Paired with the 2011 Eric Kent Barrel Climber Grenache and the Iechyd Da Walloon Belgian Dark Strong.
- Lamb meatballs served with creamy cilantro raita. Paired with the 2008 Eric Kent Bennett Valley Syrah and the Iechyd Da Murray the Hump Pale Ale
- Roasted pistachio cake. Paired with the 2010 Eric Kent Small Town Pinot Noir and the Iechyd Da Truth Serum Nut Brown Ale
This event was great fun. Summer, Chip, my daughter Elizabeth (she was sick and couldn’t attend this tasting) and I are looking forward to Round 2.
So, who won Round 1? Wine did — by a small margin.
There were 85 votes cast that counted (we tossed out the ties). The breakdown was:
- Beer, 37 votes, 44 percent
- Wine, 48 votes, 56 percent
Round 2 of this three-round competition is planned for 6:30 p.m. June 23 at Lucchese’s Italian Restaurant in Elkhart. Mark your calendars and make your reservations (574-522-4137) — you don’t want to miss this one.
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Until next week,