Ever since I heard the call of the phone-shaped 312 tap in my Chicago days, I've been a big fan of Goose Island. So I was thrilled when I was invited to a Goose Island Beer Dinner here in St. Louis. The lovely folks at Goose Island treated my fellow bloggers and me to a delicious dinner with beer pairings at Table in Benton Park.
Three delicious beers were paired with a tasty three-course meal, along with demonstrations from the Executive and Pastry chefs. Here's what was on tap:
Beer #1: Sofie Farmhouse Ale (my favorite)
This wasn't my first encounter with Sofie and I wasn't sad to see her again. This red wine barrel-aged ale has just the right balance of flavor and lightness for me. A zippy floral nose and orange notes, without tasting like you're chewing on an orange peel. The chef paired this with a local radish, scallion and sorrel salad. Loved the bright zesty beer flavors with the peppery bite of sorrel. This would be great with watercress or arugula too.
Beer #2: Matilda Belgian Strong Ale
With the second beer, Matilda, things started to get a bit darker, in the most delightful way. This nutty ale had a earthy, nutmeg flavor. It was incredible with the salted dark chocolate on our table. With it's spiced flavors, I think it would be lovely with all the pumpkin dishes going around the blogs right now too.
For this dinner, it was paired with an awesome braised pork belly with roman gnocchi (which was really more of a polenta in my opinion); all with a balsamic-beer reduction. This sauce was pretty much the shit, though did not photograph well. Believe me and try the recipe at the bottom of this post.
Beer #3: Lolita American Wild Ale
The name for this beer couldn't be more fitting. This saucy minx had a tempting sweet and sour duplicity. I'd never tried this one before and it's bright color was the first thing that struck me -- that deep bright red, that stains your fingers when you eat raspberries. The beer delivered on its appearance, with strong berry flavor. The tart and fizzy beer was lovely with the creamy, vanilla-bean flecked panna cotta dessert. Lord knows this girl loves a panna cotta.
A tasty night overall with great beers to complement bites. Since you guys couldn't all join me, I've included the recipe for the delicious balsamic-beer reduction sauce from Table below. This would be great on pork tenderloin or grilled asparagus. Try it out and let me know what you think. Cheers!
1/2 cup Matilda Belgian Strong Ale
1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Combine beer, Balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in small pot. Simmer on low until thick, syrupy and reduced by half. Spoon over pork tenderloin or grilled asparagus.