Mmmmm … Beer School

Sheffield's Offers Monthly Beer Pairing Event

"Beer School" sounds like the name of a new Will Ferrell comedy, right? Well, Sheffield's monthly Beer School doesn't feature the curly-haired comedian, but it will have you smiling from ear to ear.

Most of us are aware of food and wine pairings, but the folks at Sheffield's want you to know that beer pairs just as well -- if not better than wine with your favorite foods.

The featured brewery at a recent Beer School was Lagunitas. The California brewery began when the founder was experimenting with small batches in his kitchen. Those small batches led to big dreams, and Lagunitas is now the 24th largest micro brewery in the U.S.

The first course was a purple cold potato soup called a Vichyssoise. While a couple of patrons were leery of cold soup, their spirits were quickly warmed by the Czech-style pilsner, a sophisticated beer that takes longer to make.

The grilled endive salad was paired with Lagunitas Lucky 13, a bright hoppy ale that awakens the taste buds for more savory foods. That savory dish was the seared duck and sweet mash boniato, paired with Lagunitas Brown Shugga. Smooth and surprisingly not sweet, the Brown Shugga has twice the alcohol content of most beers, which brings out the flavor of the duck and its high fat content.

The night ended with an amazing butter rum pecan pumpkin cheesecake. Lagunitas Gnarly Wine is aimed squarely at the dessert crowd. and brought out the spicy clove undertones quite nicely.

Sheffield's Beer School offers a new and unique featured brewery each month, but Don't worry if you're not beer savvy. Sheffield's resident "Beer Dude" gives a tutorial before each course.

Beer, seared duck, and a Beer Dude all combine to create an education you only wish you got in college.

Read more of Hungry Z's reviews at and the NBC Chicago Street Team blog.

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