There was a Wildwood restaurant event of a Brewer’s dinner with Breakside Brewery Friday, 6.29 in Wildwood’s back (and newly renovated event space) Wood Room. Wildwood’s Paul Kasten & Breakside Brewery’s Ben Edmunds recently collaborated to brew “Old Woody”, another one of Breakside’s series in which Brewer Ben works with a restaurant chef to make an interesting beer. They then created a special pairing dinner to pair various Breakside Brewery beer with Chef Paul’s gastronomic creations, including of course drinking “Old Woody”. All this was at the reservation price of $65 which was inclusive of food, beer and gratuity… yes that’s right, 6 courses, all paired with beer, tip included!
The menu included
- strawberries and asparagus basil, spring onion, champagne vinaigrette, goat cheese, saba paired with solera-style lambic. Brewer Ben explained meant that this beer was made using the solera process in which 3 beers were used in succession in the barrel with a little purposely left as the new beer was added, so this beer is the culmination of the flavors from all three (Sour Double Wit, Soursop Wheat, and Sourdough Ale plus Brettanomyces lambicus to make it a lambic… despite all the”sour” in the beer names, it only has a slight sourness to it). Pairing wise, he also noted that the same sort of acid found in this beer was echoed in the goat cheese of this salad.
- pastrami pork belly éclair spring onion, pickled chile cream cheese icing paired with newport summer ale although for the vegetarian, the pairing was mixed summer greens with cucumber, snap peas, and feta. Of all the items in the menu, this was one I highly anticipated, and I loved the taste of the pork belly eclair with the chili cream cheese (although I thought the amount of icing was a bit overwhelming for the beer, though it was tasty), a melding of the tang of the cream cheese with the softness of the eclair and the meaty with bit of fat of the meat inside. At the same time, I thought the nice fresh taste of the radishes and greens was quite complimentary with the ale too, perhaps even a better pairing… though I would not give up that pork belly eclair.
- lamb carpaccio guajillo oil, grilled scallions, crispy chickpeas, cumin yogurt paired with session brown which for the vegetarian was a grilled asparagus and farro salad with scallions and lemon that used a slight grilled smoke taste from the asparagus to go with the malt forwardness of this beer- in this case both pairings of food dishes was excellent but the lamb was better, particularly with those awesome light as air crispy chickpeas and guajillo oil
- crispy chicken confit wild mushroom and fava bean panzanella paired with old woody while the vegetarian had panzanella with wild mushroom and fava beans. Both these dishes were fabulously full of crispness and complex savory flavor to hold up with this collaboration beer that has a touch of sweetness from molasses. Panzanella, a stale bread dish, never sounded that interesting to me but now I know that crunch from the bread balanced with flavors of oil and vinegar and mushrooms sounds simple but delivers more than what you would think from the sum of those parts
- pan seared rib eye filet fava purée, grilled porcini, pale ale glace paired with old bourbon woody while the vegetarian pairing was russet potato gnocchi with morel mushrooms, fava beans, and creme fraiche. I’m certain this is the beer that started really working out my liver (just looked it up as it’s currently at Breakside Brewery on their board listed at 11%) but the complexity of flavor that every sip of liquid offered is well worth it, this is one fine beer. Ben also mentioned this beer’s other alias, Old Whiskey Dick.
- colston-basset stilton honey, candied walnuts, brooks cherries paired with bourbon barrel aged 1st anniversary wheatwine This was the only beer I didn’t love (though I still like it) because I thought it had too much alcohol upfront (it does clockin at 12.7%) and I would have liked to have it sit a little longer to mellow out, but F thought the beer was perfect as it was/is.
All the food and beer pairings were really wonderful through all six courses without anything being a disappointment and in fact, even impressing us more than we expected. Overall it was an amazing experience as everyone around us was a beer and food lover, but we got to enjoy this in a relaxed but refined atmosphere.
Wildwood also has a great bar with seasonal summer concoctions I enjoyed while waiting between the end of work and beginning of this brewer’s dinner. One of their summer drinks is the The Naughty Kitty with pimm’s, india lemongrass, lime and strawberry puree, a sweet but not too sweet drink that definitely took me away from my worries quickly and smoothly. I also appreciated a little gift from the kitchen of pate with a little dop of mustard and bit of cornichon all vehicled into the mouth by a little toast… as if I wasn’t already grateful enough that the Chef was willing to put together a vegetarian version of the six courses at my request. Enboldened by this bite, I decided I still had enough time to try one more cocktail that caught my eye- Oh Snap! Tanqueray, cointreau, mint tincture, lemon, and sugar snap peas puree, a fresh cocktail. As always, I have never been disappointed by Wildwood in presenting me with local and seasonal flavors that really embody the Northwest region.