West Virginia-made craft beer marked its debut appearance at the 2016 Cast Iron Cook-Off on February 6 and made quite a nice addition to the event. A panel of beer judges selected one of those beers as Best of Show.
The food-centric Cast Iron Cook-Off annually pits culinary teams, led by professional chefs, against each other to see which one can most impress a panel of culinary judges. Each dish in the competition must have a component prepared in a cast iron pot or skillet. Locally-sourced Appalachian ingredients are emphasized.
Cast Iron Cook-Off adds local beer and wine
While the Cast Iron Cook-Off is in its 11th year, the 2016 event was the first to specially feature a selection of local beverages. An event committee led by Steve Mullins added a group of local wines and beers to see how the beverages might fit into the overall event.
The beers and wines were offered for sale to those attending the cook-off on Saturday. By all accounts, the new feature was a very popular addition to the day.
First time beer judging at Cast Iron Cook-Off
The cook-off recruited a panel of experienced beer judges to taste the beers and select a Best of Show. The judging took the form of a blind-tasting, where the judges are not told the name or brewer of the beer. The judges sampled each beer and, first, rated them for overall quality and drinkability. Next, they discussed their strengths and weaknesses versus the beer-style category in which the beer fell.
Best of Show beer selected
While the judges were very impressed with all the beers, the Best of Show was awarded to Mountain Momma Pale Ale by Bridge Brew Works of Fayetteville, WV.
Judges found that beer especially “well-balanced” and admired its hop aromas and flavors.
With the success of this year’s beer feature, leaders of the cook-off said they would like to expand the feature next year. Craft beer seems to have found its place at the Cast Iron Cook-Off table.
The 2016 Winter Food Festival and Cast Iron Cook-Off included multiple cooking competitions, exhibits, and samplings over a two- day period. The weekend celebrates and preserves the culinary heritage of Appalachia.
Organized and conducted by the Collaborative for the 21st Century Appalachia, the event annually draws a big crowd of spectators.
2016 Grand Champion chef named
The Grand Champion of the 2106 Cast Iron Cook-Off was Chef Jason Fleck of the 1863 Grill in Elkins, WV. Congratulations to him and his team.
Find more information on the overall program at the sponsor’s website.