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Challenging Elements: Beer


The Greenbriar Inn has been a Boulder County mainstay for the past 41 years, and you don’t last that long in the restaurant game without being something special. Greenbriar’s stack of prestigious awards only reinforces their staying power, including Wine Spectator’s Best Award of Excellence and a three star Mobile Travel Award.

Owner and former executive chef Philip Goddard has been with the Greenbriar Inn in one capacity or another for more than half its lifetime, and his influence on the menu is a strong guiding hand. Whether he’s planning a special tasting menu or updating the seasonal offerings, Mr. Goddard knows how to build a powerful, balanced menu.

We wanted to give him and his new executive chef, Sean Lowenthal, a challenge as well as something fun to experiment with. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we chose beer; the particular brew we left up to them.
Lowenthal did not disappoint. Twenty-four hours after surprising him with our ingredient, we were treated to a masterful presentation of Black Jack Porter-braised lamb shank in a porter lamb demi-glace with chickpea puree and tomato mint cucumber salsa plated with turmeric aioli and spinach coulis and garnished with a bouquet of fresh watercress and a fried sweet potato chip.

The plate glowed with color and interest with the lamb glistening under its rich porter-based sauce. After braising for a full six hours in the Black Jack Porter from Lefthand Brewery, the meat fell off the bone, melt-in-your-mouth tender. Chef Lowenthal mentioned to us that it was a nice change working with beer instead of wine, providing more continuity for the dish, as he was able to cook with the beer as well as use it to create the sauce. “It’s like a beer bordelaise,” he said with a smile.

The deep, roasted malt flavors of the porter complemented the richness of the lamb, while the freshness of the tomato mint salsa offered lighter notes to balance the dark tones of the meat. The chickpea purée held up well against the strong flavors of the lamb and salsa and provided a good base for the dish. Overall, we couldn’t have been
more pleased.

Ask your server to recommend a selection from the Greenbriar’s extensive wine list, or do as we did and enjoy it with a cold Black Jack Porter; either way, you won’t be disappointed.

The Black Jack Porter-braised lamb shank will be available through March 31 at the Greenbriar Inn, 8735 N. Foothills Highway, Boulder. Call 303.440.7979 for reservations or visit www.greenbriarinn.com.


Lacy is an award-winning food writer and blogger. She lives in Westminster with her family. Google

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