August 31, 2012

Coming in September: Local Pig Beer Dinner

Finally recovered from the Great Nebraska Beer Fest. It was a fantastic time, rain and all!

The view from under a tent
One of the big takeaways from the fest for me was that Cinder Block can't get here fast enough! I really enjoyed their beers (especially the lemongrass saison and the sour they brought!), and think they'll be a welcome addition to Kansas City. Any other readers make it to the fest, and have any standouts?

Now, how about a little news about our next beer dinner?

On Monday, September 17th, Beer Kitchen will host a 6-course beer diner, featuring Chef Alex Pope of Local Pig. If you're not familiar with Local Pig, why not?? It's a charcuterie, located in Kansas City's East Bottoms, specializing in hormone, steroid, and antibiotic free meats, from the Kansas City area. They make their own sausage, cure their own meats, and offer classes on butchering whole animals or making sausage, among other meat skills. And if you're a home brewer, they'll even trade you a sausage for one of your beers (I believe it's up to 6). They appreciate good beer, and sell some of the best meats you'll find. So this is a beautiful fit for a beer dinner.

Here's a quick rundown of the courses we'll be having:

First Course: 
Stillwater Debutante paired with dry-aged beef tartare, slow-roasted tomatoes, Green Dirt Farm cheese, and gaufrettes

Second Course:
Crabtree Ginger Bee with coppa, sweet corn (bread), soy-braised shiitake, red pepper custard and fennel

Third Course:
Deschutes Chainbreaker with chorizo verde, grilled scallions & almonds in phyllo, and a kale & berber vinaigrette

Fourth Course:
Hofstetten Granitbock paired with a manchego-stuffed pork chop, smoked sauerkraut, and butternut, dry-hopped honey, and apples

Fifth Course:
Contreras Valier Extra with whipped bleu cheese, beet pie, pickled melon rind relish, and balsamic

Sixth Course:
Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown, pretzel bread pudding, morita white chocolate ice cream with rosemary pecans and roasted pear

Oh my. Oh my. First off, there are a few beers here I've never tried (I think the Deschutes and Tommyknocker are the only two I've had). Then, the food. Mmmmmmmm. I LOVE beef tartare, and fell in love with Green Dirt Farms in their beer dinner a couple months ago. So this is rockin' right off the bat. And really, I don't know that I can single out a course I'd prefer over any other right now on paper. Bread pudding is a weakness of mine, so I'm excited about a pretzel bread version of it.

This beer dinner has limited seating, so make your reservations soon! $65 per person will get you all six courses with tax and gratuity included. Hurry, this one is sure to sell out! Call us at 816-389-4180 to get your spot.

August 22, 2012

Summer Harvest Vegetarian Dinner

Being an avid lover of carnivorous dishes, I was a little nervous that after Monday night's vegetarian beer dinner, I'd have to go out and get a mess of greasy hamburgers to sate my appetite. How wrong I was. Starting with the first course, I was satisfied (and well fed!).

Up first was a roasted heirloom tomato (from Kurlbaum's) with citrus-feta orzo, paired with the Leipziger Gose. Every aspect of this course worked together. The citrus and feta orzo had a salty aspect that matched up with the gose, and the tomato had a sweetness to balance it all. Also, I still have a crush on heirloom tomatoes, and this did nothing to dissuade it. A great start to the dinner, and not suffering from a lack of meat.

This is my artsy picture
Next was seared shiitakes, wilted spinach, and fennel vinaigrette. With crispy bread and Gouden Carolus Ambrio, this was another winner. I love mushrooms, and spinach, and Parmesan cheese, and fennel. So yeah, I liked the food. This time the Gouden Carolus Ambrio provided the sweetness for the dish. And I think this was the first time I'd had this particular beer. It had some dark fruit tones, nice with the earthier flavors of the mushroom and spinach. Mushrooms took the place of meat, without taking away any of the flavor.

This was my probably favorite course. Smoked potato and leek skewer with warm gouda, paired with Orkney Skull Splitter. Rich and creamy gouda "fondue" was a perfect condiment for the smoky potatoes and leeks, and the peat in the Skull Splitter went right with it. I wanted about twenty more plates of this.

If there was one course that wasn't a crowd-pleaser, it was the tofu course. It's a divisive product, for sure. Personally, I like it, but I understand people not enjoying it. It's got an unusual texture, not a lot of flavor of its own, and not . But this worked well with the black beans, barbecue sauce, and the watercress slaw. For me, though, tofu can't be a proper substitute for meat in barbecue. Deschutes Black Butte was the beer pairing, and the porter was a great compliment.

The dessert course was possibly the best overall pairing in the meal, matching house-made Ice Chai Neapolitan  - strawberry balsamic, chocolate lavender, and peach honey vanilla, all made with chai ice cream - with McCoy's Hogpound Brown, "Randyl'd" with tea leaves and chai spices (including clove, orange peal, cardamom, peppercorn, ginger, cinnamon, star anise, and bay leaves). Again, it's another case where I like the main component of a dish, and it's knocked out of the park. Chai is a natural fit with the brown ale, as well as the three ice cream flavors. Fantastic, all around.

It was a fine night and a fine meal, and a fine example of vegetarian dishes. It wasn't a case where there were "meat substitutes," (which is where I can get derailed), but a meal made up of well-crafted dishes, dishes that required no meat component. Of course, September's beer dinner will be on the other end of the spectrum. On September 17th, Beer Kitchen will be hosting a 6-course meal with Local Pig, featuring Chef Alex Pope!  I'll put more details up soon, but this is one that you won't want to miss! I mean, aside from the vegetarians. I'm not sure there'll be much for them, so they'll probably want to miss it.

August 17, 2012

The Great Nebraska Beer Fest Approaches!

No plans next weekend? Why not make a weekend trip to Papillion, Nebraska, for the Great Nebraska Beer Fest! We'll have beer available there, including our Ginger Shandy, Kolsch, ESB, and Pacific Jade DPA. There's a great list of breweries that will be at the fest, many that we don't usually see around these parts! Here are a few highlights - 

A great brewery out of the land of great breweries, Colorado. Fort Collins to be specific. They generally make saisons, and make them very well. Tropic King is a favorite of mine, but they're all top-notch. As far as I know, you can't get their bottles outside of Colorado, so it's a treat for them to be this far away from home!
Another that doesn't get too far from its home state, Cigar City has been making some fine beers in Tampa, FL. The Jai Alai is a great IPA, and I'm really intrigued by the Cucumber Saison and the Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale.

This one is near my heart, as it's from the city where I was born, Davenport, IA. Their Red Band Stout is ridiculously good. If you like coffee stouts, seek this one out. Granted, that's the one beer I've had from them, but it was fantastic. I'm excited to try more.

Another from my home state. What can I say, I'm a sucker. But Peace Tree earns it, making a wide variety of tasty, tasty beers in Knoxville, IA. At last year's fest, they had a version of their Cornucopia Saison with Brett that was AMAZING. My favorite beer at the fest. This year, they're bringing a Wild Templeton Red, a beer that has gotten nothing but rave reviews from those who have had it. 

Of course, Missouri and Kansas breweries will be well-represented, too! KC will have McCoy's, Boulevard, and soon-to-be newcomer Cinder Block. Some of our friends from St. Louis will be on hand as well - Morgan Street, 4 Hands, Schlafly, Cathedral Square, and Perennial. 23rd St, Little Apple, Blind Tiger, Free State, and Tallgrass will be part of the Kansas contingency. And then there are lots of smaller breweries and even home brewed beers that will be there.

I could go on and on listing many more of the breweries, but then I'd just end up with the list posted on the site. So check it out, and hopefully we'll see you there next weekend! 

August 08, 2012

Dog Days and the next Beer Dinner

Saturday's Dog Days of Summer was a great end to Base Camp! There were some great beers from Deschutes, including some goodies in Woody. If you missed it, you might find a few of the beers still around. . . The Foundry has Black Butte XXIV on tap, and Beer Kitchen still has some of the Black Butte XXIII! The Horse Ridge IPA went pretty quickly at McCoy's, so get here and try these before they're gone.

Getting the Black Butte XXIII marked off on the passport
Fans lining up for Woody!

We have another exciting event coming up in a few short weeks, as it's once again time for our annual vegetarian beer dinner.

On Monday, August 20th, Beer Kitchen will host a five-course Summer Harvest Vegetarian Dinner, featuring local produce!

You may recognize the Leipziger Gose from an earlier post, in a lineup of fantastic beers. After the gose, there's a great Belgian Strong Ale, a delicious Scotch ale, one of the best porters around, and then an excellent local beer, "Randyl'd" with something special! And the food features local produce, appealing to the vegetarian fans! 

$50 will get your ticket, and includes all food and beers on the menu, tax, and gratuity for the night! Call 816-389-4180 to reserve your spot!

August 02, 2012

Celebrate #IPADay with a hometown brew!

If you're looking for a place to properly celebrate International #IPADay today, we've got you covered at McCoy's!

Pacific Jade DPA!!
McCoy's has their Newcom's IPA on tap, and the next beer in the double pale ale series is now tapped!  This new DPA features the Pacific Jade hops - a fairly new hop to the scene, out of New Zealand.  It's a smooth, hoppy beer, but with a little more malt than a straight IPA.  There are some citrus notes there, but this is a good representative of the New Zealand style of hops, as opposed to the American Pacific Northwest style that's been hot in recent years.  To me, the NZ hops are a little grassier and fruitier.  This beer is a great chance to try a different kind of hop!