December 2010

Beer Guy

By: Fred Minnick
photos by the author
At RM Seafood, his downstairs restaurant in Mandalay Bay Las Vegas, Celebrity Chef Rick Moonen pours a longneck of Stella Artois into the brand's patented golden-ring chalice. The Bravo TV Top Chef Masters star brings it to his nose, taking in the beer's aroma, tilts it back and sips. An ear-to-ear grin pops up.

"I love this beer," he says. Moonen, who has authored or contributed to several cookbooks, is not a paid Stella Artois spokesperson and has never even publicly shared his passion for the beer that takes up several shelves in his home refrigerator.

In general, Moonen prefers beer to wine and commends restaurants that offer beer pairings. "Categorically high-quality beers can satisfy different parts of your meal, following a structure similar to the wine tastings," Moonen says. For his RM Seafood restaurant, Moonen recommends pairing Stella with anything, even with lobster ravioli, seafood puttanesca and sushi.

"I can't think anything on my menu it would not pair well with. It's clean and refreshing," Moonen says. "The hops have a level that's enjoyable; it's not intrusive to your palate. If you ever eat caviar or something people consider fishy, Stella cleanses the palate of the elongated fishiness."

But Stella is not Moonen's only beer love affair. He's a beer man, plain and simple, which has carried on to his son, Christopher, an RM Seafood manager, who Moonen admits knows more about beer than him. 
Christopher Moonen (left), a dining room manager at RM Seafood, enjoys a beer with his dad.

"I tried to teach him about wine, but he just took to beer," Moonen says. Like father, like son.

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