Brewery Ommegang (Cooperstown, New York) announces Great Beer Deserves Great Food, a fine beer and food pairing program.

The initiative encompasses a wide range of culinary initiatives, including a sponsorship with Saveur magazine, ongoing support of culinary education programs, a beer and food ‘road-show’ of beer dinners, town hall-style gatherings and educational symposia, and deployment of a roving chef ambassador to serve as the voice of the effort.

Great Beer Deserves Great Food is built around an intensive collaboration with up-and-coming Washington D.C. chef Teddy Folkman. He is a TV and radio culinary personality, executive chef/co-owner of Granville Moore’s Gastropub, and alocal foodie hero in D.C.

Folkman will be a roving Ommegang ambassador, delivering the message that Great Beer Deserves Great Food. He’ll appear at food and beverage showcases around the U.S. and consult with Ommegang on retailer and consumer-focused programs.

Already underway: Ommegang’s sponsorship of an informal chefs’ club. Ommegang and Folkman are gathering leading chefs to trade knowledge about great beers and dishes, and to cook up new recipes to bring beer and food closer together.

Folkman hosted the inaugural meeting of the D.C. chapter on March 13, at Granville Moore’s, with a range of fine beers paired with his culinary creations. A dozen leading D.C. chefs and restaurateurs joined in the first chefs’ club, which will move among a group of D.C. restaurants, with new themes, dishes and beers at each meeting.

The recently announced partnership with Saveur includes sponsoring the publication’s June 27 Summer BBQ event in New York City. Last year’s event, which included exclusive beer-pouring and pairing with leading New York chefs, was named one of New York City’s hottest guest lists by New York Magazine. Additionally, Ommegang will sponsor a video series dedicated to finding the best American BBQ as well as a dedicated section on beer and food pairings online.

Phil Leinhart, Ommegang brewmaster, believes Belgian-style beers such as Ommegang brews are naturals for Great Beer Deserves Great Food.

He says, “Historically, Belgian brewers brewed their beers with food in mind. Belgians drink beer at every meal—yes, sometimes even at breakfast—and pairing is important: How will a beer complement a particular dish? At Ommegang we’ve employed this philosophy since our first brew back in 1997. Today we offer over ten beers from lower ABV white beers to saisons to strong ales—yet every beer is well-balanced and created to complement quality fare.”

Folkman echoes Leinhart. “Food fanatics are getting savvier about what stands next to their plate—more and more are recognizing that in many ways beer is a better fit than wine. As for restaurateurs, I see rapid change where beer lists are catching up to wine and spirit in variety, complexity and price. But rapid is relative and beer still isn’t as top-of-mind as it needs to be for chefs, owners and managers—my partnership with Ommegang is all about changing that.”

The next major showcase for Great Beer Deserves Great Food is ‘Taste of the Nation NYC’. The event takes place on Monday, May 23 in New York City and will feature Ommegang beers and food pairings from Folkman, in the service of fighting childhood hunger.

Following that event will be ‘Savor,’ June 3 and 4, in Washington D.C. This annual showcase sponsored by the Brewer’s Association is renowned for featuring superb food alongside the country’s best craft beers in the National Building Museum.

Some 2,500 guests are expected for the main event, while salons throughout the two days bring groups of 50 to 100 people together for more intimate presentations.

Ommegang will host a salon titled “Beer and Just Desserts” featuring Three Philosophers Quadruple Ale, Hennepin Saison Ale and Rare Vos Amber Ale. Ommegang will also sponsor dinners and gatherings at local venues through the week leading up to and around Savor.

Beverage, Industry News