Monday, June 20, 2011

Tales of a Beer-Centric Dinner: “the delirious bovine”

(Warning: this blog is not for the masses)

First, let me apologize for the delay in posting this commentary.  As a government worker drone, things tend to get pretty darn busy as we move into the 4th quarter of the fiscal year.  Hopefully, this won’t become a habit.


Last Saturday’s Beer Dinner at the Nook Tavern, in Huntsville, Ala., was a huge success!  Thank you to everyone who came to enjoy good food, great beer, and a classy environment. 

Other than some minor setbacks with the delivery of fresh asparagus to the area (which is odd given the vegetable is technically in season), the meal turned out beautifully and was only enhanced by the beer.

This week’s menu was actually based on the collective work of Julia Child, Simone Beck, and Louisette Bertholle, but don’t worry I think there were enough variations to please the cooking gods.  The dish was built around a reinterpretation of Bitokes a la Russe (or a traditional French-style hamburger doused with a maddeningly delicious, and dare I say delirious cheese and cream sauce.)  To contrast the richness of the burger, I relied on an old standby: citrus-butter asparagus with shallots.  And to round out the meal, we served baked potatoes to provide a starchy vehicle to carry the full flavor of the other items. 

Enter the beers...Each one was carefully chosen to compliment a different aspect of the meal. 

The slight spiciness and herbal qualities of La fin du Monde (by Unibroue) paired very well with the subtle spices of nutmeg in the mornay sauce while accentuating the flavors of fresh parsley and thyme in the hamburger steaks. 

To accentuate the rich roasted flavors of the cooked beef, we decided a malt-ier beverage was definitely needed...and for that we turned to one of the record holders for the maltiest beer in the world: The Celebrator Doppelbock (by Ayinger).  This beer conveys the subtle notes of caramel and molasses that tend to pair energetically with cooked meats (though more often with pork than beef).  However, I must confess that the Hazelnut Brown Nectar (by Rogue) would probably have elevated the flavor even more, by allowing the richness of the burger to shine through without accentuating the pepper, which was unfortunately a problem with the dopplebock. 

And as a good palate cleanser, we selected the Oktoberfest (by Paulaner).  The effervescent nature of the beer, scrubs the palate clean while not overwhelming one’s taste or making one feel full.  It does however, have a strong enough flavor that it is not an easily overwhelmed beer.  A true work horse!

(Recipes to follow...hopefully very soon)

Next week “the flushed friar” makes a comeback! (Saturday June 25, 2011, @ 5 pm)

-Hard Cider Brined Pork Chops with Tangy Mustard Sauce and Apple-Onion Chutney
-Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecans
-Sweet Corn Muffins

Beer Recommendations:
Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock
Paulaner Oktoberfest-Märzen

Have something you want to eat? Suggestions for Beer-Centric Meals? Visit the Beer Dinner event page on facebook at:!/event.php?eid=202272106473231

I’ll let everyone know how it turns out!

As Always, Drink good spirits, eat good food, and above all stay classy. -sam