Dallas has few diversions other than eating, drinking and shopping.....and shopping does not interest us.
So we spend our time hopping from restaurant to restaurant and to every pub that we can find in search of the perfect meal and the perfect beer.

We randomly review restaurants and bars, dishes and beers at whim and give our brutally honest opinions of our findings. And while we concentrate on Dallas, we travel far and wide to sample cuisine from all regions of the country and beyond.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Avery Beer Dinner - June 2011

Avery Beer Dinner at the Meddlesome Moth.

There comes a time in MOST peoples lives when quality becomes more important than quantity.  I know, almost inconceivable I know, but it is not really a bad thing, realizing that enjoying the flavor of beer can be better than slamming so much cheap beer that you puke in the backseat of your buddies car.  Then if you are lucky, you may realize that beer makes a great accompaniment to meals, and I don't mean popcorn and hotdogs at a ball game, I mean a real, grown-up, sit down dinner.  Somehow, beyond all comprehension, I have reached that stage.  So now instead of searching out drunken fiestas, we search for interesting beer/food pairings AND WE REALLY ENJOY THEM.  Damn, I must be getting old.

One of our favorite venues for beer dinners is the Meddlesome Moth on Oaklawn in the Arts District.  Thanks to the long reach of Keith Schlabs we not only get the pairings, we get to meet the brewers who create our favorite libations.  Don't think that we attend all of them, we pick and choose based on the brewery and to be quite blunt, not every dinner is successful though kudos for chef Chad Kelly for attempting to produce a pairing for beers as brutal as those produced by the Stone Brewery.
Joe's Pilsner
The Avery pairing was indeed one of the more successful pairings that we have attended, but to be fair, I really like Avery, thought not because all of their beers are great, but because they experiment.  The hardest part of this evening was driving home after consuming the 5 food courses and the 9, yes, 9 beers offered.  No occifer I'm not as think as you drunk I am.

Our welcoming beer of the evening was the Joe's Pilsner (4.7% ABV).  This American style lager was quite innocuous and did not offend the palate whatsoever, but it did little to excite it either.  A hot summer day on the lake?  Why not?

The first course was a Sunchoke Vichyssoise with Salmon Roe and Petite Chives.  Sunchoke, also called Jerusalem Artichoke, is a species of Sunflower from eastern North America and it is the root that you eat and not the seeds.  Vichyssoise is a thick soup made usually made of pureed leeks, onions, potatoes, cream, and chicken stock.  All I can say is that it was superb, except for the fish eggs, I could go the rest of my life never eating salmon roe again and would be OK with that.  The beers chosen to accompany were Karma and Salvation.  Karma (5.2% ABV) is a fairly decent Belgian style pale ale with very little smell and a clear amber color.  It has a earthy, bready flavor that accompanied the gardenesque soup nicely, though I doubt I would actively pursue a Karma on it's own.  Salvation (9% ABV) is really fine Belgian style strong pale ale.  The flavor is quite balanced, with malts, candy sugar, fruits and a bit of yeast.  Not as good of a pairing, but a much better beer.

Moroccan Lamb
Our second course was a delightful Moroccan Lamb with Couscous, Pine Nuts and Currants.  More pronounced flavors demanded a more forceful beer, or rather beers.  The lamb was oh so tender and not as fatty as lamb sometimes can be, with the Moroccan spices not overpowering in the least, which took a deft hand in the kitchen.  To stand up against this spicey treat they chose the IPA and the New World Porter.  IPA = hops, but not in face puckering amounts, just 64 IBU's to give it some interest.  There was a goodly amount of malts in this golden amber brew.  The malts, citrus and pine for the hops were fairly well balanced.  What Avery calls a Porter, the rest of us would call a black IPA.  It is hoppy, mildly sweet and dry.  The coffee flavor is a bit overpowering however and did not compliment the dish as well as the IPA, unless, of course, you really like coffee.
New World Porter

Giant Prawn
Hog Heaven
The Reverend
The third couse featured Giant Nigerian Salt Water Prawns with Piment d' Esplette.  Basically humongous shrimp with a not too hot chili sauce.  Big.  Damned.  Delicious. Shrimp.  Alongside the shrimp was the Reverend and Hog Heaven.  The reverend is a Belgian style quadruppel that is admittedly one of my very favorite beers.  You could pair this delight with a deep fried dog turd and it would still be magnificent.  Hog Heaven is dry hopped barley wine that would classify as a double IPA to most beer drinkers and is not one of their better beers.

 Our fourth couse of the evening was a slow roasted pheasant accompanied by a mushroom bread pudding with a green garlic jus.  Mother goose.  The pheasant was perfectly prepared, mouth watering and tender with gasps of disbelief from the group claiming that this bird was chicken.  Fantastic.  I must admit to you that I am not a fan of mushrooms.  It is not so much a taste thing as it is a texture thing.  Slimy, gummy and gross.  HOWEVER, if mushrooms were served in this fashion all the time I would probably eat them for every meal. Really an incredible creation.  The beers paired with this round were Avery Czar and Depuceleuse.  Czar is an English style ale with malts and toffee flavors that perfectly matched the meal.  The Depuceleuse (which is an obscure French term meaning deflowerer, but as in a woman who takes a man's virginity) is a sour ale where the wild yeast ale (which would be sour in it's own right) has been aged in Zinfindel barrels.  Then just in case it is not sour enough for you they add 13 lbs. of cherries to every barrel for the pucker factor.  Not really my cup of tea.

The desert course featured Mignardises, which are small, bit sized desserts kind of like a petit four.  There was a chocolate-walnut , flourless cookie and a coconut macaroon with a of vanilla-orange tapioca with sugared mint leaves.  Delightful.  The accompaniment for these delicates was a concotion called The Beast.  The aroma of this animal is that of jet fuel, with dates and raisons and coincidentally was the exact color of jet fuel as well.  The flavor of the sugar (turbinado) sweetened it so that it tasted more like sweet jet fuel.  Really, really strong.
The Beast

Our aparatif was a rare ale called Dihos Dactylon.  For a description please refer back to the Savor event review.
All in all the night was quite enjoyable and I must say that the dinner, the beers were amazing and Adam Avery was oh so charming and entertaining.  But do I really need 9 beers and 5 food courses?  I am forced to admit that this was quite a bit over the top and while it may have been worth the $95 per person cost it was just too much.  Going to work the next day was difficult to say the least and I will have to consider carefully whether or not I will attend another liver pickler like this one again.

The Meddlesome Moth
1621 Oak Lawn Avenue # B
Dallas, TX 75207-3401

The Avery Brewing Company
5763 Arapahoe Avenue # East
Boulder, CO 80303

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