Because March is the month we celebrate St. Patrick's Day, The Voluptuous Table would like to offer an (almost entirely) Irish beer tasting on Saturday, March 10th to help you prepare for your own festivities. Won't you join us at 3 p.m. for a little beer education, a range of mostly Irish beers, and some fabulous--sometimes not so traditionally Irish--food pairings? Our beer tastings are fun, as well as small and intimate so that you can talk about the beer and the food, and get to know the other people who have joined you at The Voluptuous Table for this event.
The St. Patrick's Day tradition of raising a mug began as a feast day held in honor of St. Patrick on the anniversary of the day he died. During this feast, Christians were allowed to put aside their Lenten restrictions on food and alcohol consumption for the day, which is why drinking has become such a tradition on March 17th. (Source: kegerator.comhttps://learn.kegerator.com/history-of-saint-patricks-day/) Now, we're not encouraging you to break your Lenten commitments, but we are offering some justification (and historical precedent) if you do.
We begin our afternoon with a cocktail and amuse bouche pairing that I think you'll really enjoy: Spiked Irish Cider (built with Irish whiskey, apple brandy and hard cider), paired with a Caramelized Red Onion, Rosemary and Cashel Irish Blue Cheese Pizza with Apple Jam. Nibble, sip and chat up your fellow beer tasters before we gather at the table. This is also always a good time to inspect the kitchen and eyeball the chef ;}.
After you've been seated, your first pour is Guinness Blonde American Lager. This beer is actually brewed in Latrobe, PA in a collaboration that Guinness refers to as "a fusion beer." This lager has a light, hoppy aroma with floral and citrus notes. Community tasting notes indicate that it's complex and flavorful with a lively mouthfeel. It's described as crisp and refreshing with a long malty and biscuity finish. I've paired this beer with fried Brussels sprouts served with a malt vinegar syrup and a pop of green chile to amp up the citrus and floral aspects of the lager.
Our second pour is Harp Premium Imported Lager, brewed in Ireland. This beer pours bright pale golden and has a fruity nose. Crisp and clean, it tastes slightly bitter up front, but has a smooth aftertaste. One community review states: "Nice dense soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of cracker, lightly toasted biscuit, light honey/nuttiness, herbal, light pepper, and floral/grassy earthiness. Nice aromas with good balance of bready malt and light-moderate earthy hop notes...and zero astringent flavors after the finish." Many reviewers praise this beer because of its balance, flavorfulness and food friendliness. I've paired this pour with my rendition of Irish Mac and Cheese with Leeks, Cabbage and Bacon. This rich mac and cheese is made with Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese, a grass-fed cow's milk cheese that is sweet and nutty with a piquant bite of aged Parmesan. The caramelized leeks and cabbage bring additional sweetness, and the bacon brings a smoky quality that amps up the flavor profile. Rich, creamy foods are a great foil for a crisp lager.
Next, Smithwick's Premium Irish Ale.Brewed in Ireland, this is a bright coppery-red hue with a creamy foam. It will taste mild with a malty, sweet aroma. There are hints of nut, toffee and roasted grains. Smithwick's is touted as being refreshing and clean with a gentle balance of bitterness from the hops and sweet, malty notes from the roasted barley. This is a beer that calls for food with some richness and substance; I hope you'll enjoy this pour with House-Smoked Salmon on Toasted Irish Soda Bread with Chive Butter. The salmon is smoked with apple wood, the soda bread is rich and tangy with buttermilk, butter, currants and caraway, and the chive butter is made with Kerrygold Irish butter, which is rich, dense and a brilliant daffodil hue. It truly is like no other butter.
Our fourth pour is actually a hop, skip and jump away from the Green Isle. Belhaven Brewery Scottish Ale, brewed in Scotland, is nutty and biscuity with a subtle spiciness. This ale is described as being well-balanced, dark amber brown, filtered, and moderately carbonated. The aroma is malty and very much like scotch. Made with toasted malts and hard water, this pour tastes of a toasted biscuit with a hint of bitterness on the finish. Its slightly sweet, nutty properties make it a good pairing for Garlic-Rubbed Roasted Cabbage Steaks with Whiskey Onion Cheese Sauce. Oh my...who knew that cabbage could taste so good? This cheese sauce is made with nutty, rich Kerrygold Dubliner and gets its flavor and texture from meltingly soft onions and a good glug of Irish whiskey.
We next offer the classic Guinness Draught Stout, brewed in Ireland. I was first introduced to this dark, almost syrupy brew at McSorley's Old Ale House in Greenwich Village in the early 80s and tasted it side by side with a plate of Nabisco saltines, thinly sliced onion and sharp cheddar cheese. The pairing was a revelation and I've never forgotten the experience, as simple as the food was. This stout is a sweet-smelling brew with a coffee/malty nose. It presents a good balance of bitter with sweet as well as roasted and malty flavors and is a smooth, creamy pour. Distinctively dark with a rich creamy head, it enriches and gives body to many recipes--it's a great pairing for heartier fare. I'm offering Irish Spiced Beef with Potato, Rutabaga and Parsnip Mash. This dish is actually spiced like a corned beef brisket but made with a fresh brisket, slow cooked until fall-apart tender. The root vegetable mash is buttery, creamy and a bit rustic due to the slightly chunky texture.
Our last pour, Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, is also brewed in Ireland. It presents a strong aroma with a dark, fruity character and a full-bodied palate with roasted notes; initially it tingles the tongue and tastes bittersweet, leading to a dry, crisp finish. Rich and dark in appearance with a frothy head, Foreign Extra Stout is a beer like no other (or so says Guinness). Its the most full-flavored of all of the Guinness products. Due to the almost chocolaty character of this beer, it pairs well with our dessert--what I am calling The Irish Lottery: a presentation of Chocolate Guinness Cake, Guinness Milkshake, and House-made Irish Cream Liqueur. If you've never paired stout and chocolate before, this is your chance to experience an interesting and truly delicious combination.
We hope you'll join us for this beer tasting on Saturday, March 10th at 3 p.m. All courses and beers described are yours for a suggested donation of $50 per person. Please RSVP to this email, or call 512-55 EAT 44 by Thursday, March 8th. We enjoy your company at these small, one-of-a-kind events and look forward to seeing you soon around The Voluptuous Table for a bit of blarney and a lot of high jinks.