monk’s cafe – lost abbey beer dinner

Guest blogger Erin is back to recap her experience at last Tuesday’s Lost Abbey beer dinner at Monk’s Cafe.

Tuesday night, I was lucky enough to attend Monk’s annual beer dinner with Lost Abbey’s Tomme Arthur. I first discovered (and loved) Lost Abbey’s beers last year, and on a trip to California in August, was able to visit the brewery and sample plenty of their Belgian-inspired brews. When I heard that Monk’s was hosting a Lost Abbey dinner, I knew I didn’t want to miss out.

The dinner started off with a fluke and smoked scallop ceviche, with just a touch of jalapeno, and was paired with Devotion, one of Lost Abbey’s year round beers. Devotion is one of their more hoppy beers, and it went really nicely with the heat from the ceviche.

Next up was a duck confit spring roll with a cherry dipping sauce, and paired with Cuvee de Tomme (which was also used in the cherry sauce). This is a big brown beer, (11%!) which is fermented and then sits in bourbon barrels for a year with sour cherries and wild Brettanomyces yeast. The end product is a complex beer with strong raisin, cherry and sugar flavors coming through. I thought this was the star pairing of the night. The roll was perfectly crisp, and the flavors of the beer really complimented the duck.

The third course lightened things up a bit. Lost Abbey’s Carnevale, a bright saison ale, was paired with a chicken roulade of ham, spinach, goat cheese, pesto, and mushroom sauce. The roulade was a really nice blend of flavors, and the pesto packed an herbacious punch that was balanced by the gravy.

Course four was definitely the boldest pairing of the night. The beer was a strong golden ale called Gift of the Magi, a seasonal winter offering, and was paired with a massive lamb shank. When I say massive, this thing was HUGE. Braised with Gift of the Magi, it was served with carrot, turnips, onions, and parsnips. The beer was a good match for the strong gamey flavor of the lamb.

Next was a cheese and beer pairing. The cheeses were L’Amuse Gouda from The Netherlands, two years aged with hints of caramel and vanilla, and Lauren’s Pride, a house made raw cow’s milk cheese washed with Deliverance, the accompanying beer. Deliverance is another big beer (12.5%), and is a blend of bourbon barrel-aged Serpent’s Stout and brandy barrel-aged Angels Share. The booziness of this beer was balanced out by the cheese, and even tempered the pungent Lauren’s Pride.

The final course was a warm apple pie topped with extra sharp NY cheddar, and paired with my favorite beer of the night, Red Poppy. Red Poppy is a brown ale that is blended with sour cherries and aged in oak barrels with wild Brettanomyces yeast, resulting in a deliciously sour beer. The sweet apples and buttery, flaky crust complimented the tartness of this brew.

The meal was really enjoyable, and Tomme popped in around each course to talk about the pairings, his history, and love of Monk’s. If you haven’t checked out Monk’s or Lost Abbey, I highly recommend both.

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brewer’s plate 2012

Fair Food‘s annual fundraiser, Brewer’s Plate, was held for the 8th time this past Sunday. This year’s event was held at the National Constitution Center. Like last year, everyone represented at Brewer’s Plate was from 150 miles of Philadelphia.

The VIP area was home to a cooking demo from Chef Jose Garces, a craft beer presentation by Bill Covaleski (Victory Brewing Co.) and Marnie Old (wine author & columnist), and several restaurants. Supplying some of the good eats in the VIP section was Country Time Farm. Their heritage pork was used to make porchetta sandwiches and bacon wrapped paté.

One of my favorites from last year, The Bent Spoon, an artisanal ice creamery from Princeton, NJ, returned with three new flavors: dark and storm (king) caramel made with Victory Storm King, organic ginger, and salted caramel; nugget apricot nectar sorbet made with Troegs Nugget Nectar; and a bourbon chocolate ice cream made with Yards Love Stout, 61% chocolate, and bourbon. Later on I found out that they had a secret Russian River float! You had to give them the special code in order to get it.

Across the room from The Bent Spoon was North Mountain Pastures with their assortment of charcuterie.

Several breweries and restaurants even had pairings together at the tables. Lancaster Brewing Company paired their Double Chocolate Milk Stout with City Tap House‘s chocolate custard.

One of my favorite plates of the evening was the MLT (mutton, lettuce, and tomato) from Southwark. I should have had seconds!

Bar Ferdinand had a Spanish-German pairing by serving lamb Merguez sausage topped with a Spanish onion kraut alongside Stoudt’s Brewing Co.

As much as I enjoyed the Penn Museum last year, the National Constitution Center served as a great venue to hold everyone in. It was large and it didn’t feel too crowded despite the high volume of attendees. In addition to eating and drinking, you could pose with statues of our founding fathers or dance to the music of The Hoppin’ John Orchestra.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This is one of the best food and beer events, don’t miss out next year. You’ll have a great time!

Check out some other photos from this year’s event:

Here’s my recap to last year’s Brewer’s Plate.

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beer: wagner valley sled dog doppelbock

Today’s guest post is by my good friend and homebrewer, Erin Mulrooney.

While wine touring last fall in the Finger Lakes of upstate New York, one of the stops brought me to Wagner Vineyards, which also has its own brewing company. I first tried Sled Dog in their tasting room, and enjoyed it so much that I bought a few six packs to bring home with me.

Sled Dog pours a medium caramel color, and is extremely effervescent with fairly large bubbles and a small head that dissipates quickly. The aroma from this beer contains rich notes of caramel, and almost no bitterness.

Doppelbocks are known for being extremely malty and having a fairly high ABV, and Sled Dog does not disappoint. Weighing in at 8.5%, I was surprised at how smoothly this beer drinks, with very little alcohol taste. When I initially tried this beer, I was with my grandfather (who is not a big beer drinker), and even he commented on the smoothness. In addition to the ever-present caramel, you also get a pretty big dose of molasses in the flavor. With more sips, I started to notice the sticky quality that such a malty beer like this has – it actually stayed on my palate after finishing the beer. Despite the initial effervescence, it is almost nonexistent throughout the drinking of this beer.

Sled Dog is an enjoyable beer, especially if Doppelbock is a new style for you. It isn’t the kind of beer that you’d want to have a few of in one evening, mostly due to the stickiness, but it does make for a good pint on a cold night. If you ever find yourself in the Finger Lakes, I’d recommend a stop at Wagner to sample the other beers they produce in addition to Sled Dog.

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beer: charleville hoptimistic ipa

Today I finally open my blog up for a guest post. Friend and fellow blogger Ryan Hudak of In Search of Beer offered to write a beer post for me.

Being that Brian’s blog here has “beer” in the title but not really in the posts anymore, I thought I would help out and donate a little beeriness (more of which can be found on my blog, In Search of Beer). I received this particular beer, from Charleville Vineyard and Microbrewery in Missouri, in a beer exchange with a fellow blogger. I wanted something I wouldn’t be able to get at home, and this certainly fit the bill.

The beer poured dark orange with a thick, foamy yellowish head. It had a very soothing, floral, and piney hop smell that didn’t hint at much bitterness.

But, the bitterness was certainly there, and almost overpoweringly so. The first few sips were surprising, as the smell didn’t hint at this much bitterness. Underneath, though was a strong citrus flavor, but also a slight soapy flavor.

The beer would have benefitted from more balance. There was a subtle maltiness that could have been stronger to help with the bitterness of the hops. More balance would’ve elevated this IPA from good to great. If I ever go to St. Louis, I would order this again if there was nothing else, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to find it.

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dogfish head brewings & eats

This past weekend I went down with a friend to run in Dogfish Head‘s annual Dogfish Dash 5K which is held at their brewery in Milton, Delaware.

Since we’ve never been down to Dogfish Head, we wanted to make a weekend out of it and hang out at their brewery and brewpub, Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, in Rehoboth Beach all day/night. The race was on Sunday and we arrived early afternoon on Saturday. We didn’t realize we needed to make reservations for brewery tours, so we canceled that plan and just went to the brewpub.

120 min ipa & repoterroir

The wait was about a half hour, so we grabbed our first round at the bar, some 120 Minute IPA and Repoterroir. Repoterroir is a collaboration session lager between Dogfish Head, Allagash, Avery, Lost Abbey, and Sierra Nevada. It was a super earthy beer and very enjoyable. Unfortunately, it was kicked by lunchtime on Sunday. Glad I got to try some Saturday though!

The appetizer we got was the Woodgrilled Wings which were covered with a Palo Santo Marron BBQ sauce!

lawnmower & chicory stout

Next round of beer was a Lawnmower and Chicory Stout. The Lawnmower was very reminiscent of Festina Peche, minus the peachiness.

fish tacos

The main dishes we ordered were the Fish Tacos and The Indulgence Burger. The tacos consisted of buttermilk fried dogfish, apple slaw, chipotle aioli, and cilantro. They were served with rice and beans. Really enjoyed the dogfish. It was pretty meaty since a dogfish is actually a type of shark. Anyone know where I can get some? I’d like to try cooking with it!

the indulgence burger


The Indulgence Burger comes topped with a beer battered onion ring, house made bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and onion. Unfortunately I didn’t really enjoy the burger. It was ordered medium rare but was a bit on the dry side. The fries were not a strong point either.

peanut butter vodka

During lunch a friend who’s visited Dogfish Head in the past texted me saying that I shouldn’t miss the peanut butter vodka if it’s available. So our next round? A shot of peanut butter vodka. This stuff was ridiculous (in the best way). The vodka had a cloudy color and smelled like fresh peanut butter. Upon smelling it, we decided we were going to sip and enjoy this instead of shooting it. You bet I savored every drop. I also left the brewpub with a full bottle purchase of this stuff. It’s that good.

The next half round was a shot of wasabi vodka split between us two. I wasn’t too keen on getting it but friend wanted to try so why not. This I did shoot, and it wasn’t that pleasant in my opinion.

The following round consisted of a flight of beers: Black & Red, Shelter Pale Ale, Tweason’ale, 75 Minute IPA (cask), and Chateau Jiahu.

crab & corn chowder

That concluded Saturday lunch and we picked up race packets before leaving. A much needed nap at the hotel happened before we attempted to come back to the brewpub for dinner. At that point though, the wait was three hours. Dinner at the brewpub did not happen Saturday night.

antelope sliders

Sunday morning after the Dogfish Dash at the brewery in Milton, we headed back for one last meal at the brewpub before heading home. The only round was their 75 Minute IPA on cask and Chicory Stout. The foods were the Crab & Corn Chowder, Antelope Sliders, and Fried Pickles. The standout dish here were the Antelope Sliders. They were slightly gamey but tasted great. The meat was cooked much better than the burger. It also came with grilled onions and a truffle aioli. That burger would have been incredible had they used antelope or cooked it the same way.

fried pickles

This weekend was such a great time. I’m totally coming back down and definitely signing up for the dash next year. I forgot to mention that I had a nice complimentary My Antonia post-race on Sunday!

Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats
320 Rehoboth Ave
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971

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