Dogfish Head Alehouse 2013 Mardi Gras Beer Dinner
Welcome to the Bayou! It’s Carnival season and time to indulge for Fat Tuesday. And indulge we did. The guests arrived, masks and beads adorning the hungry masses. Ragtime music filled the air along with the Cajun scents of a good ole’ New Orleans Mardi Gras Party!
Chicken and sausage Gumbo and Indian Brown Ale
Our first course at our evening’s bayou bistro was well worth the wait. The chicken was the perfect texture swimming with the andouille sausage in the spicy broth. Each bite was followed by the roasty-hoppiness of the Indian Brown Ale. The roasty notes of the ale really complimented the chicken and sausage; while the heat of the spices brought out the hoppiness of the Indian Brown.
Grillades and Grits with Raison D’etre
While our palates still celebrated the lingering heat from our first course, Dustin and Wren brought us our second delight for the night. I may not have grown up on the bayou, but I am a southern girl (partly) and grits and gravy have me hollirin’ “Hey Ya’ll!” The grits were just the right texture and the beef was tender and almost sweet, smothered in gravy goodness. The notes of raisins really comes out in the Raison D’etre when paired with the gravy and beef. The mild, soft textures and flavors of this dish, along with the sweet, wine-like characters of the beer were the right contrast and follow up to the spicy power of the first course.
Fried Green Tomatoes and Shrimp with Burton Baton
The Burton Baton seems to make a lot of appearances at our beer dinners, and with very good reason. It pairs so well with so many things, and dresses up any food offering. The creamy sweetness of the shrimp and remoulade dressing had the strength to last to the finish with the Burton’s hops. The tomato added texture to each bite, balanced by a tanginess from the greens. This was the perfect precursor to what was coming in the next course. A simple dish that I would enjoy having on a regular basis; as long as I have some Burton on hand of course.
Crawfish Boil and Hellhound on my Ale
The main attraction in the this parade of Mardi Gras fare was the crawfish boil and our blues legend tribute ale the Hellhound! The citrus and hops of this ale was meant for a crawfish boil. The notes of lemon blended with the centennial hops refreshed and cleansed the palate after the cajun seasoned bites of shrimp, crawfish, potatoes, and corn.
Kevin, our GM and host for the evening gave a little demo on the proper way to eat a crawfish. We were lucky enough to have couple in attendance that was from Louisiana who verified his technique and complimented our edible tribute to Mardi Gras.
White Chocolate Bread Pudding accompanied by Palo Santo Marron
Any meal that ends with a glass of Palo Santo Marron is a success to me. It is one of my favorite beers, and when it is paired with a dessert such as this bread pudding with a raspberry and malbec reduction, I can barely contain myself. The rich roastiness of the Palo is what is called for to wash down the rich texture of the bread pudding. Each bite was filled with a sweet softness with a hint of crunch. There was definitely a party in my mouth with this dish.
It was a terrific success with people enjoying themselves to the fullest. I recognized a few regulars, but there were lots of new faces celebrating with us tonight. I’m sure after tonight I will be seeing lots more of their faces at the Falls Church Alehouse. The husband and I were stuffed and satisfied as we made our way home at the end of the evening. I found myself thinking that we might have to make a visit to my sister-in-law in Lousiana next year. We’ll go for the food,but we will bring the beer!