Technology was the enemy of pictures this time (as opposed to the usual feeding frenzy cause.) I tried to use my phone and couldn't figure out how to get the flash to work until too late for most pictures. There are a couple.
Ed and Morgan Westbrook were there from Westbrook Brewing. Ed said that he brewed the beer, and his wife did everything else. I can believe that since Morgan had boundless energy and a sparkling golden shirt to match. They were both very informative, without talking so much that the food got cold. Cool to meet them.
Les Addis, the SE Sales Rep for Allagash was also there, and he spread tons of information about Allagash's specialty, Belgian Beers. I especially liked the story of how Interlude was an "accidental" beer. Really appreciated his enthusiasm (and the taste of Allagash Black - awesome!)
The food was exceptional, so I'll get right to it.
Salad of Local Bibb Lettuce with Goat Cheese, Prosciutto and Orange: I wish this picture had come out. The lettuce was wrapped in cucumbers sliced longwise and was very well presented, like a bow almost. Great creamy dressing. A solid 4.0. The beer was Westbrook's White Thai, one of their most popular beers, and one of Kari's favorites. We gave this a 4.25.
Steamed Local Clams with Sausage and Ginger Broth. The broth was awesome. My only complaint would be that some bread would have been great with it to get every last bit of! 4.25. The beer was Westbrook IPA, a perfect example of the style, and one of my favorites. 4.5
Smoked Local Beef, Sauteed Arugula and Onion Pie. I have to say I was impressed with the pie crust. Any one who cooks can tell you it's hard to execute, but this one was flaky and tender. The steak was perfectly cooked, though mine could have been trimmed a little better - everyone else's was perfect. We rated it a 3.75. The beer was the last from Westbrook, their Saison Ale, a high alcohol, refreshing beer. We gave it a 3.5.
Butter Poached Local Fish with Black Rice, Asparagus and a Vanilla-Saffron Syrup. The fish was excellent, but the black rice stole the show. It was sweet and savory and went great with the syrup. We gave this a 4.75. The beer was Allagash Tripel Reserve, crisp and wonderfully alcoholic. It gets a 4.5.
Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Fig Risotto and Roasted Fall Vegetables. If you read this blog, you know I don't like brussell sprouts or most squashes, but I can appreciate a proper preparation of them. Serve it with Pork and BACON, and you got me. Fig in Risotto was also awesome. Another 4.75. The beer was Allagash Four Ale - a quad (fermented four times!) I love this style: 5.0! (Photos stopped here due to feeding frenzy)
Last was an assorted cheese and charcuterie plate. We were too stuffed to truly appreciate this, so I'll bypass scoring it. The beer, Interlude, is a perfect introduction to 'sour' beers (this one is just slightly sour.) They take a while to grow on you, but once they do, you'll love them. A solid 4.75! See below if you want more info on sour beers...
Service was great, very attentive and helpful. The pace was good - beer dinners tend to be slow, but you still have to keep it moving. This one hit it perfect, six courses in about 2.5 hours, plus a little more time for talking and getting checks taken care of. Serving size of food was generous, beer size was 3-4 ounces - a good size for 6 beers.
The only negative to the night were the full glasses of beer at the next table over. Why go to a beer dinner if you're not going to drink them. More importantly, why not SHARE if you aren't drinking them!!
Bonus Sour Beer Link