December 03, 2012

Picture day! Zwanze 2012 and Wild Game

On an unseasonably warm Monday in December, let's reflect on some pictures from the recent past.

First, a picture of the lineup of beers from Saturday's Zwanze Day 2012! From left to right, there's Fou' Foune, Kriek, Iris, and the 2012 Zwanze beer.

It was a great day for sour beers!

The commemorative Zwanze Day glass, with the deliciously tart rhubarb lambic. I loved the Zwanze 2012. There was some earthiness from the rhubarb, and a very drinkable sourness. Yum yum yum!

Now, although it's been two weeks with a few different Thanksgiving meals since the last beer dinner, it's a meal I won't forget. There aren't many opportunities to eat wild game, so when there's a whole meal of it, it's one to remember.

The meal started with a wild boar confit, with shaved asiago and toasted challah, paired with Weihenstephaner Vitus. Weihenstephan lays the claim as the oldest brewery in the world, so it's fitting that it's in the first course. The boar was delicious, sort of along the lines of a rich pulled pork and balanced with the strong wheat beer. This was a strong first course. 

The second course paired Odell Shenanigans with hasepfeffer. Rabbit stew. There was a tang in the stew that perfectly matched the acidity in the wild ale, which made for a fantastic course. The hush puppy-like fritter was dense and soaked up the stew nicely. I believe this was my first time having rabbit stew, an dthe first time having the Shenanigans. I'm looking forward to having both again in the future, as the Brettanomyces keeps the beer evolving. And, well, rabbit stew is delicious.

Next was a nice little surprise - an amuse-bouche of lime with pink salt. Tasty! Thank you to hand model Jeremy Danner for assisting with this picture.

After the palate cleanser, diners were served crispy pheasant with a cherry agrodolce, black rice, and bok choy, and Hitachino Nest Extra High (XH). The XH is a strong Belgian dark ale aged in sake barrels. Another first-time beer for me. It was dang good. The pheasant was tender with a crisp coating, and, well, as cliche as it is, it kind of tasted like chicken, but more flavorful. Not a gamey flavor, either. The cherry sauce was decadent, but not quite overpowering. A very well crafted plate, where the combination of every element making a very satisfying bite.

I have had elk in the past, but only ground and put into burger form, so I was excited for this. Roasted elk, pommes William, cranberry sage emulsion, and Brussels sprouts. The star of this plate to me was the Pomme William. Basically mashed potato formed into a pear shape, then breaded and fried. As aesthetically pleasing as it was delicious! The elk was fantastic, and Brussels sprouts are one of my favorite vegetables. The cranberry sage emulsion fit the role of a fancy ketchup. Very nice. Boulevard's Nommo complimented the food with a little spiciness.

And now dessert! Pumpkin tart, heirloom pear compote, and spiced cream. It tasted of fall. And while I may not prefer pumpkin in beer, it is quite lovely in desserts. Pears are another favorite fruit, and I have a sort of crush on all things heirloom. It was nice and light, which helped keep the Founders Breakfast Stout from coming off as too heavy. It's a wonderful beer, full of coffee and chocolate flavors. This dish was great, and the meal was one of the best all-around dinners I've had. No weaknesses. 

Your next chance to join us for a beer dinner comes two weeks from today, when Beer Kitchen will have the Feast of Samichlaus at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, December 17th. It's a trip around the globe with beers and dishes from five different countries. $60 for a seat, including the meal, tax, and gratuity. Don't miss it!!

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