The beer dinners that are put on by Fiddler's Crab House here in Savannah, GA are always outstanding. The chef involved with it, Jared Wilderman, goes above and beyond each and every time. The menu always feautres freshly sourced ingredients, but on this night, the food was paired with brews from Terrapin Beer Company out of Athens, GA. Each course built on the previous, as a masterful conductor would entice a crescendo from an orchestra. Let's the eating begin!
House made lobster gyoza with a spicy soy vinaigrette and sweet chili sauce. For those alergic to shellfish, Jared accomidated with a pork version. Turns out, it was too good not to share, so he included one on each of our plates. What a surprising and tasty treat!
What’s a Gyoza? I know I had it before, but prior to this dinner I researched it and learned that it is akin to a Japanese dumpling. Basically, it is a delicious pillow filled with meat. If I slept used that to rest my head on at night, I would need a new pillow every morning.
Both were delicious on their own, but paired with the spicy sweet chili sauce and the Hopsecutioner was perfect. I knew I liked spicy foods and IPA’s prior to this beer dinner. Through research prior to the dinner, I learned that spicy food is typically paired with IPA’s. The Hopsecutioner from Terrapin has a strong malt backbone which can help quell the fire in your mouth. You know, if you happen to drink the chili sauce because it is so good after the gyoza is gone. Not saying I did that...but I'm also not denying it.
The lobster was salty and creamy, while the slow cooked pork hit more of the umami taste buds. My preference was more in line with the pork, but either one I would order again!
On to the next course!
Warm salad of tossed butternut squash, apples, wilted winter greens, and country ham, tossed in a buttermilk dressing.
Paring: Golden Ale
Unfortunately, I missed out on a photo op and did not take a picture of the salad.
This award winning Golden Ale is only available in Georgia and pairs perfectly with this salad. There is a slight creaminess to the beer that matches up with the goat cheese in the dish. Also, with it being golden ale it tends towards characteristics of a lager which also pairs with the creaminess of certain dishes. It seems that the apple in the warm salad pairs with the beer in a light and crisp kind of way. The butternut squash was seaoned with a light dusting of nutmeg and cumin and its soft texture was the perfect balance with the crisp apple and greens. My wife said it tasted like Christmas.
You can really tell that the ingredients used are fresh! Ready for the next dish?
Coffee crusted lamb chops with a red wine reduction. Served with garlic whipped potatoes and broccolini.
Paining: Cinnamon Rolled Wake and Bake
The main course consisted of lamb chops that had been cooked to perfection in the method of Sous-vide. Sous-vide means it was placed in an airtight back and submerged in a water bath; in this case for 4 hours.
The coffee crusted on the lamb paired effortlessly with the coffee notes in the beer. It was almost as if the same coffee that was used from the beer was used on the lamb. I will have to ask Jarred in my upcoming interview with him. Craft brewing is really about using localaly sourced ingredents and supporting other small businesses that have a passion for doing things the right way--even if its not always easy. There is something about small businesses supporting eachother. Terrapin Beer Company exclusively uses a local Athens coffee company, Jittery Joe’s. Talk about local collaboration!
If you were so bold as to take all the pieces on the plate in one bite to pair with the beer, then you were a very lucky individual. As mentioned previously, the coffee on the lamb pairs very well with the beer. So does the creaminess of the potatoes and the subtle sweet and peppery flavors from the broccoli.
This course again builds on the last with the creamy notes from the dish paired with the coffee beer and it hits on some totally different areas of the palate that were unused up to this point.
On to the final pairing!
Black cherry cheesecake with coffee liqueur cream.
Pairing: Tira-misu Hoo
Chocolate cherry cordial.
A friend of ours seemed to recreate an Herbal Essence commercial when she took a bite and drink of this pairing. She might have even described it as orgasmic!
I would have to agree. In his description of this delectible dish, Jarred failed to mention the extra attention given to the preperation of the cherries. They just so happened to be soaked in burbon, adding another layer to the taste profile. On its own, this beer is my favorite of the four that were offered, but paired with this dessert it was even better.
The Terrapin rep for our area was actually the one who came up with the idea and name for this beer since it is her favorite desert. Tiramisu has a cool and refreshing vibe, with a hint of chocolate and espresso liquor. Pairing that fluffy cloud with a creamy dessert- topped with a coffee liqueur cream- was in fact slap yo' momma good. I could drink that beer and eat that dessert for every meal for the rest of my life and be content(=fat).
It seems that an ongoing theme of the dinner was that of notes of creaminess, I will have to ask Jared about that as well.
I did not want the dinner to end, but with all good things, as Sir Francis Drake said, “Continuing unto the end… yields great glory”.