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Tap Talk: Town Hall Brewery Takes Part In Lupus Food, Wine & Brew Classic

For the first time, Town Hall Brewery will take part in the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota's annual fundraising event – the Lupus Classic.

The annual Lupus Food & Wine Classic serves as the largest fundraiser for the foundation, which works to bring awareness to the disease across the state of Minnesota through research, education and awareness.

"This event is two pronged, so to speak. It's to raise those funds for us to continue our work but it's also for us to expand our mission statement and really have some great focus on the research, education and awareness component to it," President of the foundation, Tharan Leopold, said.

As they celebrate 40 years, the Lupus Food & Wine Classic has added local breweries to this year's line-up. Among them is Town Hall Brewery.

Last year, Town Halls chef, Matt Lepisto, was set to participate in the classic, but was unable to due to overseen scheduling conflicts.

When the opportunity came around again this year, they jumped at the chance to have both their food and beer showcased.

"I think, it's a great way to bring awareness to both the Lupus Foundation and to local businesses," Lepisto said. "Each hand washes the other. We help bring new people [to the foundation] and it ultimately helps with local businesses, too. And at the end of the day we're all putting our efforts, time and money to generating money for the Lupus Foundation."

The evening will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, May 5 at the Great Hall in St. Paul.

It will include wine from local wineries, a food-wine-beer themed silent auction, a live auction, a wine wall and samples from local breweries.

Each of which will come paired with a tasting dish.

"We decided to offer three of our house beers at the event," head brewer Aaron Herman said. "We figured it would be appropriate for the audience because maybe a lot of people that are going to the Lupus Classic are not familiar with Town Hall. So, we wanted to give them an example of what they could expect."

Herman said the offerings are made up of the Dortmunder Local, the Masala Mama IPA and the Hope & King Scotch Ale.

He described the Dortmunder Local as a light German lager with pleasant grainy-ness and slight spicy-ness from Czech Saaz hops. It is the lightest offering Town Hall has year-round.

The Masala Mama IPA is an American IPA with seven different American hop varieties. While bitter, Herman said it has a nice malt backbone.

Finally, the Hope & King Scotch Ale is a medium bodied, dark, malt forward beer.  Slightly fruity, with notes of raisin and plum, and sweet, with hints of chocolate, it is the beer highlighted to be paired with Chef Lepsito's food offering – a smoked salmon salad.

The salad is made with honey glazed apples and a Hope & King infused granola.

"I actually use the beer to make the granola," Lepsito said. "I take my raw oats and I toss them in a glaze that I make out of the Hope & King, maple syrup and brown sugar."

That comes with the smoked salmon, topped with a maple Moscato vinaigrette.

"It'll pack a big punch for a small bite," Herman said.

While the Hope & King played a large role in the dish, the inspiration came from Lepisto's childhood.

"I had a family member as a child that was diagnosed with Lupus and he smoked white fish," Lepisto said. "I don't know if [they are tied together] or if my childhood memories just tie the two together, but I really wanted to do a smoke fish for this event."

"The statistic we often refer to is 1 in 200 people have lupus. So, chances are pretty good you know someone who has it," Leopold said.

While some share their stories willingly, others need a place that will help them share theirs. This, as well as research for a cure, is just part of what the Lupus Foundation hopes to accomplish through their fundraising efforts.

While the beers are available at Town Hall brewery year round, the recipe is exclusive for the Lupus Food, Wine & Brew Classic.

The 2016 Lupus Food, Wine & Brew Classic will take place on Thursday, May 5. Tickets cost $75 for individuals or $125 for couples. To purchase tickets, or to learn more about the event, visit the 2016 Lupus Foundation of Minnesota online.

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