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Wild For Game Night At CBH

February 1, 2016

This was the second Sunday in a row that I was eating a multi-course meal at the City Beer Hall paired with unique and amazing beverages.

Last week it was whiskeys. Last night it was beers.

You’ll have to excuse me for keeping this brief, but each course was paired with a different beer. There were seven in all. And amazingly, when everything was said and done, I was compelled to stick around for just one last beer.

I would say that was a mistake, because it was a damn fine beer, and it gave me the chance to really talk with Korey, who is the Eastern New York sales rep for Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. But the truth is that I’m tired. Still, I’m compelled to write. By Tuesday, the story of this dinner will be stale, so I have to strike while the iron is hot.

My biggest struggle is trying to figure out if the focus of this post should be on the amazing dishes, or the rare beers that were brought in for the pairings.

IMG_3698How about we just do the highlights? There are always components of a meal that I can nitpick. Elements of a dish that don’t quite live up the the high standards set by everything else on the plate.

But I’m not going to do that here.

In part because this was a $55 dinner of remarkable foods paired with remarkable beers. All told it was seven courses. And the love put into some of these dishes was palpable. Plus, I didn’t count how many people were there, but I’d guess it was around 100. It’s a ridiculously hard challenge to pull this off.

So, the highlights.

Sturgeon croquettes. Hot damn. Those were delicious. Crisply fried, well seasoned balls of grilled sturgeon.

1

The rabbit mousse pate was made out of rabbit hearts, livers, and kidneys. Such small delicate pieces of offal. It must have taken a ton of them to make the little square we had on the plate. We had one of the four kegs of Sierra Nevada’s barrel-aged Maillard’s Odyssey, which was a celebration of roasty toasty things. And it was delicious, but the pairing really popped when the beer was sipped after a bit of the CBH spicy pickle.

2

Two words. Partridge chicharron. It’s as good as it sounds. I want poultry skin chicharron every day. I’ve told you of my love for gribenes, haven’t I? They are the pork rinds of my people.

3

The intermezzo was a good time for a sour beer, to help cleanse the palate, before we got into the seriously heavy stuff.

4

Kangaroo was great. Actually, this entire dish was banging. But what put it over the top was the black garlic aspic. I’m thinking about camping out on the steps of the CBH until Dimitrios tells me how to make that stuff. It’s glorious. That’s not a word I use lightly.

5

The pairing of Bell’s Le Pianiste Bier de Garde did a good job at clearing the palate of the heavy flavors of the dish, And I appreciated the farmhouse style. But it’s still a bit too intense for me to take the food to a higher level.

What worked hardest for my tastes was the combination of Bell’s Third Coast Old Ale with the braised elk. The City Beer Hall was the only place in NY that got a keg of this stuff. It had Michigan cherries added into it. And the interplay of this beer with the pulled elk osso bucco both intensified the spice of the dish and the flavors of the beer.

6

Dessert was a delightfully savory sweet potato mousse with blue cheese, graham cracker, oats, and wild boar.

7

My second dessert was the 2012 Bell’s Expedition Stout. Yowzers, that was a good beer. Luckily, they were kind enough to pour me a mere five ounces of the stuff. Because, the last thing I needed after all those beers was another beer. But I just could not say no.

Bravo, once again, to the entire team at City Beer Hall. Dimitrios is a force to be reckoned with. Now he has Ian O’Leary at his side. With Rich on the beer and Robert on the cocktails, this corner of downtown Albany is busting at the seams with talent.

I look forward to seeing what they do next.

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