When the Events & Marketing Manager from Abby Park invited Mal and me to their Smuttynose Beer Dinner, I jumped at the chance.
The menu for the beer dinner was awesome. There were lots of interesting flavor combinations, seasonal selections, and I was really hungry!
While we waited for everyone to arrive, we enjoyed some passed appetizers and the first beer that Smuttynose ever brewed: Shoals Pale Ale.
In our house, the Shoals Pale Ale goes fast. Mal and I both really like it, so it's always the first out of the mix pack to vanish. It's medium-bodied with a complex flavor: fruity at first and then crisp, hoppy, and malty at the end. It's just easy to drink.
It paired well with the Mini Duck Tacos, which were served with creamy avocado and mango chunks. The beer really enhanced the avocado and mango flavors.
The Shoals Pale Ale actually seems to complement a lot of different foods. Mal and I often drink it with pizza.
The First Course featured my favorite Smuttynose beer: Star Island Single. This beer is subtly sweet with hints of honey, citrus, and coriander with a dry finish. I love beers with a dry finish, but they can get me into trouble! This one usually goes down fast!
Fun fact: Star Island Single hit the market exactly two years ago yesterday. Happy birthday, Star Island Single! I'm glad that I celebrated with one!
The Star Island Single was paired with Seared Diver Scallops with roasted pepper walnut pesto and scallion vinaigrette. I enjoyed the scallops, but I really loved the roasted pepper walnut pesto. It had so much flavor!
Ok, I have three very important words for you: Asiago Cheese Bread.
I don't think I can give this bread a proper review because I can't find the words for something so amazing. THIS IS THE BEST BREAD I HAVE EVER EATEN. Seriously, what the hell did Abby Park put in this stuff? It's wonderfully cheesy and so light and fluffy. I've never experienced bread like this before.
For the locals, Abby Park sells this Asiago Cheese Bread for $5 a loaf. You KNOW you will see this on CNC again.
Ok, back to the beer dinner. That Asiago Cheese Bread is intense.
The Second Course was an Arugula Salad with shaved carrot, grapes, and ginger oil.
The salad was paired with the “Finestkind” IPA, which is Smuttynose's most popular beer. (It makes up 40% of their business!) The ginger oil and hoppy-ness of the beer complemented each other nicely.
The “Finestkind IPA” is a big, hoppy beer, but its maltiness really balances the bitter taste. I'm not usually an IPA lover, but I liked this one. It also had a nice citrusy (grapefruit) flavor, which I can definitely get behind. IPAs are Mal's favorite, so he absolutely loved this one.
The Third Course was Old Brown braised short ribs with sesame potato hash (yum!) and spicy radish salad. It was paired with the Old Brown Dog, which is a medium bodied, soft, smooth, and sweet (think caramel) beer. It's very food-friendly. This one also goes fast in our house!
The final course of the night was dessert. I was pretty full at this point in the evening, so I planned to only enjoy a bite or two of the Chocolate Pecan Pie. Um, yea. That didn't happen. I ended up eating the entire piece. Holy yum! I've never had pecan pie like it before. It was chocolaty, but not sickly sweet; it was much more balanced. I housed it.
The Chocolate Pecan Pie was paired with the Robust Porter, which had a strong espresso flavor, but it was much too bitter for me. Plus, my stomach was beyond stuffed. I just couldn't drink anymore.
I already loved Abby Park and Smuttynose, but now I really love them. Both of these businesses are okay in my book!