Beer Dinner #2
An Informative Afternoon : An Incredible Dinner
Wednesday, June 8th
Teamwork is a massively important part of everything we do. Whether it is cooperation at work, helping out at home, or the pairings on the table in front of you, this day was about all of the above. As a follow up to the meeting World Class Beverage held two weeks prior to discuss their new project, BeerU, they again invited area beer retailers for a meeting and a meal.
Brennan and I arrived at the state of the art Monarch shipping facility on Indy’s Eastside where we got to dig a little deeper into BeerU. It’s a new project they are rolling out with a few goals in mind. Educate retailers and customers about craft beer and, in turn, grow the craft beer segment as much as possible. Essentially, it is an online ‘university’ where you can learn about specific processes, styles and histories of beer. We are excited to explore and utilize it as much as possible for our staff and all of our interested customers. So, be on the look out for educational/classroom style tastings here at Kahn’s in the near future. There is so much to learn about craft beer!
After the BeerU training it was off to a beer dinner at Oakley’s Bistro. A dinner Brennan and I had been salivating for ever since we received the email inviting us. Upon entering, we were greeted with two refreshing easy drinkers as our liquid appetizers: the light and thirst-quenching Anchor Summer Beer and the lemony goodness of Leinenkugel Summer Shandy. Both proved to be suitable answers to the sticky heat that harassed us on the way over. Ok… Food please!
Asparagus “Toad in the Hole” : Brioche / egg / asparagus / prosciutto / roasted peppers / artichoke / brie cheese / truffle vinaigrette
This first course was a delicate, flavorful and multi-dimensional precursor of the other exceptional plates to follow. I have no doubt that I could eat this dish for every meal for eternity. Is that too high of praise? I don’t think so. Especially when you factor in how well the asparagus, brie and truffle vinaigrette paired with the 3 Monts Biere de Garde. Each played off the other perfectly! The Blue Moon Grand Cru proved to be a bit too big in style for the delicacy of the dish, but provided a great example of how a proper pairing can enhance or hinder a meal.
Butchers Board : Selection of housemade charcuterie / foie gras honey mousse / pickled vegetables
If I said this was my least favorite course it might sound a little harsh. It’s more like if I said that one of my five fingers was my least favorite. It’s still one of my fingers and I would never want to part with it. This dish offered a nice sampling of charcuterie that actually went better with the Killian’s Irish Red than the Chimay Grand Reserve. I’ll even admit that Killian’s is one of my most despised beers, but yet again, the power of a good pairing reared its head again. While the malt and body of the Chimay were tasty as always, it was too much for this dish, in my opinion. The light-medium body Killian’s, on the other hand, had a suitable amount of malt that complimented the selection of meats nicely.
Sea Scallops : Parmesan pudding / portobello mushrooms / spinach / garlic chips / spicy balsamic
I love sea scallops. Love them. My mouth is watering again as I type and I’m only just now starting to really relive this dish in my mind. This course is tied with the first and fourth as 3 of the best I’ve ever had the opportunity of trying. There are a few others I’d put up there in my past, but dang… these were complete efforts from the kitchen AND were paired so well! I just told Brennan that I wish I would have a soft-serve ice cream machine that would dispense parmesan pudding anytime I would want it. Granted it might not be the healthiest appliance a person could own, but it would be the most delicious and possibly the most used. Again, as with the second course, I was surprised by which beer I enjoyed more with this dish. Boulevard has quickly become one of the most consistently impressive breweries we are fortunate enough to carry. Continuing that trend of quality was the Boulevard Two Jokers. It is a well balanced imperial Belgian wit beer, but was just too much for the soft graceful flavors presented here. The Leinie Classic Amber presented a lighter body and a perfect maltiness to highlight the scallops, parmesan, portobellos and garlic chips. I have no doubt I’d enjoy this one even if it was served with a cup of sriracha, but to have it enhanced by the beer was a treat.
Duck & Duck : Pulled duck enchilada / roasted duck breast / almond mole / baby vegetables / pico de gallo / avocado mousse
How many flavors, textures and visually stimulating presentations can Chef Oakley utilize and, better yet, harmonize? Umm… a lot! This course was over the top impressive. The mole sauce and the spices used in the pulled duck acted as the perfect bridges to tie the rest of the dish to the two beers. This was probably the best all around course when you factor in all the elements. Presentation, texture, taste and they way they went with the roasty chocolaty nature of both beers. Well done!
Vanilla Crème Brulée : Strawberry Jam / corn puffs
So, I think after running us all through his own personal gauntlet of amazing courses, he let us recover and savor the past hour or so by offering us a straightforward and refreshing dessert. This was a hard one to mess up. Big vanilla beans and strawberries that paired so well with each beer. Those of you who may not be familiar, New Glarus is a terrific Wisconsin brewery that we unfortunately cannot enjoy here in Indiana. This was a surprise treat provided to us for being a part of the BeerU program. The slightly sour nature of the Raspberry Tart was perfect here and so was the refreshing light berry wheat from the Leinie collection. Another more than adequate combination of food and beer!
I hope you all can live vicariously through our experience (and not resent us too much). I hope it excites you and inspires you to venture out and try more things. Plan meals around the beers you like. Base the beers you buy around the foods you like. Explore all the possibilities. Learn as much as you can and you’ll enjoy the combinations more than you ever thought you could! Food and beer, our distributors and Kahn’s, Kahn’s and all of you. A day full of pairings is a good day!
Check out World Class Beverages
Check out Oakley’s Bistro
And Come in to Kahn’s!