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With each of these Beer Dinner events, The TapHouse in Tuckahoe heightens the quality and creativity in both their menu and pairings. This time around the local brews of the Westchester based Captain Lawrence Brewery were featured. The six course meal was accentuated by a wide range of Captain Lawrence’s top selections that were paired perfectly by the culinary prowess of the TapHouse staff.
The first course paired a Kumamoto Oyster in a cucumber and grapefruit mix with CL’s Kolsch. This clean and crisp lager style beer is great for summer drinking and really enhanced the mild sweetness of the oyster. This was followed up by an exceptionally tasty Maine Lobster Roll which was served with the CL Saison. While it may have been simple, this was my favorite pairing of the night. The fresh and subtle herbs and spices in the lobster roll brought out all the clean orange and tangerine flavors in the Saison… really a well thought out combination.
Sticking with the seafood theme, the Steamed Crawfish and Lump Crab in a creamy Creole Mousseline was up next. This course was paired with Captain Lawrence’s flagship brew, the Fresh Chester Pale Ale. The creamy richness of the beer matched up well to the consistency of the spicy sauce without being too overpowering. As the courses moved on, so did the alcohol content in the beer selections as the CL Imperial India Pale Ale was up next. At a blurring 9% alc, this hoppy and malty concoction was served with a Spicy Braised Pork in Lettuce Wraps that just melted in your mouth. This is now on the TapHouse menu and is worth the price of admission.
The final meat entrée was the most daring pairing (yes I do know I’m a poet) of the evening. Rabbit wrapped in Bacon in a White Bean and Foie Gras Ragout was coupled up with the CL Smoked Porter. Man was this course a mouthful! The potent meaty and gamey aspects in this dish are about the only things that can stand up to this behemoth brew. And to cap off the night the Chocolate and Raspberry Mouse was teamed with CL’s St. Vincent’s Dubbel. Loaded with brown spice, rum and raisin flavors, this 8.5% doozy makes a nice addition to most desert dishes.
If you have yet to attend one of these Beer Dinners I highly recommend it. Even if you are more of a wine drinker than a beer drinker, it is really eye opening to see how the right food can bring out some amazing flavors in a well crafted brew, and vice versa. And as good as The TapHouse always is for a quality meal, they really step up their game for these specialty Beer Dinners…so be sure to get there for the next one and have a cold one with the WWG!
If you missed the Wine and Food Event hosted by Westchester Magazine at the Ritz Carlton in White Plains, here is a round up of what I thought was a very successful inaugural event.
LOCATION: B +
The Ritz in White Plains is a stunning hotel both inside and out. The afternoon grand tastings and Saturday night Winemaker’s dinner were held in the Grand Ballroom on the second floor. This is the only reason it doesn’t get the A grade, as Restaurant 42 would have been a much more impressive spot to hold the event. Up on the 42nd Floor, the window encased restaurant offers impressive views and a more upscale feel than the general ballroom.
FOOD: A +
Westchester showed that it is second to none when it comes to top notch restaurants. Everything from high end steakhouses, such as The Willet House and Benjamin, to local sushi joints, like Sushi Mikes, to the top rated and most popular restaurants in the county such as Crabtree’s Kittle House and X20 were there in full force. The most impressive part was the lack of overlap in cuisine, as each day displayed 25 different restaurants…a treat indeed.
WINES: A –
There was certainly a vast array of wines available to taste, with about 20% of them from the higher echelon. There were even some fun NY vineyards such as Millbrook and Shaw making an appearance along with Westchester’s own Captain Lawrence Brewery. What was very cool was the ability to purchase any wine that you tasted right on the spot. Grapes The Wine Co. set up a system where you could fill out an order sheet and have the wines shipped to you at a special discounted price. First time I have seen that, and I have to say it was pretty innovative.
WINEMAKER’S DINNER: A
The top Westchester Chefs, such as Peter Kelly and Anthony Goncalves, prepared individual courses and had wine guru Kevin Zraly pair up each course with an appropriate wine. Every course was memorable but the braised beef cheeks and the ‘05 E. Guigal Chateauneuf du Pape had to be the highlight. That being said there was also a Puligny-Montrachet and a 5 Puttynos Tokaji thrown in the lineup, so there were some real big guns being paired with these exquisite dishes. The mild downside being the elongated hour of awards and speeches (as interesting as they were) before the first course and wines were served.
DATE: B -
This was the only small glitch for the event as it was scheduled on Father’s Day weekend. Not that every Father out there wouldn’t enjoy this event, however it seemed that Sunday drew much less of a crowd as I am sure burgers, BBQ and brew were probably on most Dads’ calendars. But it did not take away from the fact that Westchester Magazine, and all involved, did a wonderful job pulling this off especially as a first time event.
Congratulations on a job well done Westchester Mag!
Check out the link below to catch my latest tasting video for The Winery Club with Erika Strum (@strumerika on Twitter) featuring the 2005 Cornerstone Napa Cab. There’s also a pretty aggressive deal on a vertical of their delicious Cabs (2005-2007) that probably won’t be around for long. Enjoy!