Sunday, November 15, 2009

Brewmaster Dinner at Big Rock Chophouse

Big Rock Chophouse
Thursday Nov 12

Platinum Blonde Lager
Belgian Wit
Chef’s selection of Hors d'oevres

We arrived a little late for the reception, but the Platinum Blonde Lager still awaited us. Nice, crisp lager beer. I did manage to snag the last pot sticker.

1st Course
Helles Bock
Saison St Clair
Platinum Blonde Lager & Pinconning Cheddar Cheese soup “En Croute” (which means - wrapped in pastry)

Two wonderful beers. Dan’s Saison is 4 years old, and is remarkable. Its high level of carbonation cut through the rich creamy soup and the peppery spiciness added another savoury note to the soup. My favourite however, was the Helles Bock with the soup. At about 8% ABV it was more into the Doppelbock alcohol range, and this beer could have got me into big trouble. It was smooth, malty and beautifully balanced, and for me the sweet malt notes melded into the creamy cheese wonderfully.

2nd Course
Czech Pils
Red Rock Farmhouse Ale
Steamed Lake Superior Whitefish in pilsner soaked cherry wood
Butternut squash & ginger chutney

Pils and steamed whitefish. Simple, but very good. Dan’s pils is excellent, and so aromatic. The hop aroma created a cloud of joy in the glass.
Red Rock is a Flanders Red Ale. And it’s amazing. It was my favourite beer at the recent MBG Harvest Fest. It just won silver at the 2009 GABF competition in the Lambic/sour Beer category, beaten only by the venerable Lost Abbey brewery. And, the beer also took gold in the Sour Beer category, and Best of Show, at the 2009 World Beer Expo in Frankenmuth.
This beer is a delicious blend of malt, wood, and sourness, all in the correct proportions. It’s so more-ish, and it was perfect with the chutney. Though but a tidbit, this was the best pairing of the day.

Main Course
Belgian Strong Dark (The dark candy sugar used in this was made by Dan with Michigan-grown beets.)
Norm's Raggedy Ass IPA
Sour Cherry Tripel
Sopressata-wrapped braised short rib
Ragout of Black-eyed peas, cipollini onion & mushroom

The Belgian strong was, as expected, killer with the rich meat. The IPA was great with the ragout. The cherry Tripel, in limited supply, came around later when I'd had my fill of meat, but Mr Cicerone declared its affinity with the rib. The beer was at least one year old, but still had noticeable cherry notes.
Russian Imperial Stout
Bourbon-aged Russian Imperial Stout
Rogers Root Beer Float made with butterscotch toffee ice-cream.

A fitting finale to a fine meal. The float was superb, and beautifully presented in a huge snifter. While I preferred the stronger-flavoured bourbon version with the dessert, and the “ordinary” (hah!) RIS on its own, Mr Cicerone's palate preferred regular RIS with dessert.

A fine evening of beer, food, and company