Beer For Brains Drink Local Dinner at Rico’s American Grill

On July 28th, I was very fortunate to be in attendance at the Beer For Brains Drink Local dinner at Rico’s American Grill.  It was a fantastic event that was put on to support a great cause and it went off without a hitch.  In the weeks leading up the the dinner, all 41 reservations were quickly filled and an unlucky 29 had to be turned away due to maximum capacity being reached.  All told, about $320 was raised and donated to the Beer for Brains Foundation to aid in raising public awareness about brain cancer and helping fund groundbreaking research leading to a cure.*

Executive Chef Kenneth Arneson put on a delicious show all evening and described how he preferred to source all of the food he uses in his recipes locally – from farm to table, so to speak – and how the menu he puts together may feature influences from all four corners of the country, but is ultimately settled in the Southwest.

From the Beer for Brains event page:

To Celebrate National Beer Month, Rico’s American Grill at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort has teamed up with the Beer for Brains Foundation and four local breweries to create a special fundraising dinner on Thursday, July 28th. Executive Chef Kenneth Arneson and his crew have prepared a special menu for the evening to illuminate local breweries. The fundraising dinner will feature six courses paired with local beers, with the event’s proceeds benefitting the Beer for Brains Foundation, a Peoria-based non-profit that brings together craft beer lovers in the battle against brain cancer.

To create the menu, Chef Ken and his staff teamed with four Arizona breweries, Sun Up Brewing Co.SanTan Brewing Co.Grand Canyon Brewing Co. and Sonoran Brewing Co.. “It’s been an absolute pleasure to create this menu with help of the Sun Up, SanTan, Grand Canyon and Sonoran brewery teams,” explained Chef Ken. “So often we do wine pairing dinners; so being able to work with these local craft beers has been a unique experience that we think our guests will really enjoy- not to mention, the proceeds of the event benefit an amazing cause.”

Click through the photos in the gallery to get a closer look at the food and brews that were masterfully paired and eagerly enjoyed, as well as who was present at the event, from Louis Dolgoff, the founder of the Beer For Brains Foundation, to representatives from all of the local breweries that were featured.  All of the meal items are pictured, but here’s a complete list of what was served and what it was paired with:

Reception -Chefs Selection Petite Appetizers (Prosciutto-wrapped grape leaves stuffed with cheese & Sweet potato ravioli) | paired with Grand Canyon Pils and SanTan Sunspot Gold

First Course – Corn Meal Crusted Oysters with mango and horse radish vinaigrette and melted heirloom tomatoes | paired with Sun Up Armadillo Red and SanTan Epicenter Amber

Second Course – Scallop Wrapped Pork Belly with lemon grass sweet chili plum and sweet corn panacotta | paired with Sun Up Trooper IPA and SanTan Devil’s Pale Ale

Intermezzo – Raspberry and lemon thyme Caviar

Fourth Course – Seared Veal Loin with crispy sweetbreads, cotija crusted quesadillas, and charred corn relish | paired with Grand Canyon Amber and SanTan HefeWeizen Wheat

Fifth Course – Chili Rubbed Buffalo Tenderloin with roasted singh farms squash, vermouth and saffron creamed corn, and local tapery white bean hummus | paired with Grand Canyon Horseshoe Bend Pale Ale and SanTan Blackjack IPA

Dessert – Trio of Frangelico laced pumpkin french toast with drunken local fig, Goat Cheese and caramel profiterole (cream puff), and Salt River citrus vanilla Crème Brûlée | paired with Sonoran White Chocolate Ale and SanTan Cherry Infused Stout

Many, many thanks to Rico’s American Grill for teaming up with Beer For Brains to host this wonderful local dinner, as well as to Chef Kenneth Arneson and his staff for the mouth-watering pairings and friendly atmosphere that dominated the evening.  I look forward to the next time I can enjoy such a collective intimacy amongst food, beer, and supporting a good cause.

For more information on upcoming and past BFBF events, visit the Beer For Brains website.


*Proceeds raised by Beer for Brains are donated to the Barrow Brain Tumor Research Center (BBTRC) in Phoenix. The BBTRC is a part of the Barrow Neurological Institute, a leading institute for brain tumor imaging, brain tumor surgery, cancer research and stem-cell science in the United States.

5 thoughts on “Beer For Brains Drink Local Dinner at Rico’s American Grill

  1. Hey Lys,

    Once again, you knocked it out of the park with a great article. Looks like yet another fantastic Sonoran Desert craft beer event and, more importantly, a superb cause. If you had to pick a favorite brew of the night, which would it be?


    • Thanks! Any event that is put on by BFBF, I try to attend at any cost, both to support and experience, as they are all phenomenal. My favorite brew for the night, other than the White Chocolate, of course, would have to have been the Sun Up Armadillo Red or the SanTan Blackjack IPA. Both were awesome with the food, but they still held their own when alone.


  2. Yo Lys!

    That looks like a glorious event! Thanks for sharing the experience. Love the photos too. It’s like we’re right there with you.


  3. Pingback: Harvest Beer Dinner « Drink Better Beer

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