Brooklyn Brewery Beer Dinner
written by: Julie Glasgow
For quite some time now, I have been anxiously awaiting a very special event being held by the Charcoal Group. I heard rumours a few months ago about a Brooklyn Brewery beer dinner going down at The Bauer Kitchen and Sociable Kitchen + Tavern and knew that as soon as I could get my hands on tickets, I’d be first in line. A night like this is the amalgamation of my two great loves: incredible beer and insane food; what more could a girl want?
For the first time, this event would be held at CG’s newest creation: Sociable Kitchen + Tavern in Brantford, Ontario, one of my favourite spots for beer, food, and great company. We were greeted at the door with a glass full of Brooklyn Lager while everyone mingled before dinner. In true Sociable fashion, I was welcomed by lots of familiar faces and felt like I was right at home.
Sociable GM Alena Fischer cheerfully welcomed everyone as they gathered in their seats and explained the collaborative menu we’d be experiencing between Brooklyn Brewery’s Head of Culinary Programming Andrew Gerson and Charcoal’s own Chef Brian McCourt. Upon careful selection of the five beer’s Brooklyn would be showcasing, the two chef’s curated a delectable menu of perfectly complementary courses for each brew.
The dinner opened with Brooklyn Lager, a malty amber lager that has a refreshing bitterness to it while still being very approachable and easy drinking. The lager was paired with the perfect introduction of crispy chorizo fritters, a pickled quail egg, bold Manchego cheese, fried bread, serrano ham and a flavourful Romesco. The flavours all complemented each other so incredibly well that I tried to prolong the enjoyment process as long as possible, and then begged for seconds.
While we waited for the second course we were prepped with the next beer, the Bel Air sour. Sours have been growing immensely popular in the beer world, with craft breweries all trying their hands at producing a winning sour. The Bel Air is perfectly balanced with mild fruit notes. The sour was paired with a beautifully marinated tuna served with crunchy daikon and carrots and compressed pineapple that worked very well with the Bel Air.
The staff worked seamlessly all evening, delivering each beer and dish with efficiency, drinks and plates were cleared and replaced before your eyes and the cheerful banter of the service staff ensured all the guests were having a good time. Chef Andrew from Brooklyn took the time to speak between each course, giving life to each beer and each meal that was placed in front of us.
He also introduced a series of large bottle offerings that would be available on top of the 5-course dinner. These unique offerings brought that extra edge to the evening and sold out before the second course was even finished.
I was able to enjoy one of Brooklyn’s “Ghost Bottles,” a very rare and limited bottle that has not been released to the public. Their kettle sour with mango and passionfruit hailed the name “The Passion of the Mango”. This gorgeously balanced sour was a treat for the taste buds and I selfishly enjoyed 90% of the bottle to myself.
I was also able to taste their Serpent Belgian Golden Ale. This is brewed in collaboration with Thornbridge Brewery in the UK and is unique brew packed full of flavour due to the overwhelming complexity of its brewing process. Utilizing natural wild yeast from fermented apples and then ageing in bourbon barrels and THEN bottle conditioning it. You can imagine the flavours that dance on your pallet from this crazy beer.
The third course was introduced with Brooklyn’s Insulated Dark Lager; a beer that bodes rich roasted malts but the lightness of a lager, paired with a confit rabbit leg in a white bean ragout. The creaminess from the smoked ragout along with the tender, light meat of the rabbit matched perfectly with the richness of the malts used in the brewing process of the dark lager. While the beer boasted a dark hue, it is surprisingly light in flavour and exceptionally easy to drink.
While my stomach surely couldn’t handle another sip or bite, my eyes were wide with excitement as we were presented with the final savoury course of the evening: tender local red deer mole with fried plantains and a tomatillo and cilantro crema. The Mexican inspiration in the dish was matched with the robust bitterness of Defender IPA, a west-coast style IPA. The goal of the Defender: to protect the world from bland, boring beer. Each year Brooklyn teams up with New York Comic Con to illustrate a new Defender for the logo. IPAs tend to handle spice very well, so the combination of the hoppy beer and the complex dish was brilliant.
Finally, we enjoyed the last course of the evening: a toasted Helca Iron Ale marshmallow with rich chocolate ganache, crunchy almonds, sweet figs, and molasses soaked cherries. This rich and flavourful finale was paired with, of course, the Helca Iron Ale. I loved the integration of the beer into the dish, it added a very unique element to the dessert. The Iron Ale was bursting with chocolate notes, nice malt flavours and a very crisp finish. I’m a firm believer that every meal should end in dessert, and both the Iron Ale and the toasted marshmallow satisfied my sweet tooth.
After the dinner, everyone continued to mingle and I had the pleasure of conversing with both Chef Andrew Gerson and Joe Soriero, their Export Marketing Coordinator. Both extremely down-to-earth and incredibly easy going guys. It was clear that they lived and breathed their passion every day and were excited to share it with everyone else. Brooklyn is an incredible brand doing some very unique things in the beer world and I was grateful to get to experience the evening. I left feeling satiated, quenched, and very beer happy.
Online reservations are set up for your convenience – but humans are still better.
If you don’t see your reservation time available please give the restaurant a call. We will have a second look and do our absolute best to fit you in.