My wife’s credit card gives us all sorts of perks, like being able to attend Top Chef Duels and Masters premiere parties, or to dine on a billboard above Times Square. The perk we took advantage of yesterday was a special Oktoberfest beer tasting and food pairing event hosted by several breweries around New York, right next door to our apartment at the bar in Whole Foods. Yes – there is a bar in Whole Foods, and it is actually a pretty good bar!
I won’t go through all 12 beers that we got to try, but I will highlight some of the better choices.
My absolute favorite of the night came from local Oceanside brewery Barrier Brewing Company. It was a briny, salt-of-the-sea Belgian style wheat beer that had hints of toasted peat, called Le Pete. It was fucking perfect. The only thing that would possibly make this beer better is if it were served with an ice cold place of oysters on the half shell.
My next favorite was Original Sin’s Hard Apple Cider. It was crisp, light, flavorful, and not too sweet. Most cider’s hurt my teeth because of the sweetness. This was naturally sweet without being overbearing. Boozy, bubbly apple water. Awesome.
My third favorite was the Sierra Nevada Narwhal Imperial Stout. It was a beastly 10.2% ABV with notes of chocolate and molasses for sweetness and toasted coffee for a little bitterness at the end. This was paired with our dessert (see below).
Okay now onto the food and pairings.
We entered the bar to a nice set-up of bench tables with an assortment of snacks already set out for us:
The best was by far the hummus with toasted, herb pretzel bread pieces (immediately above).
The first course was a barley risotto with aged cheddar. This was pretty nice. Good texture to the barley, great flavor from the aged cheddar, and a little bit of sauteed apple in there for a kick. Naturally this was paired with one of the Original Sin ciders.
Next was quail with a butternut squash bread pudding and some sliced root veggies. This dish was great. The sauce was a little bitter, but when you mopped it up with the bread pudding it was a great balance. This was served with a Barrier beer made from butternut squash. Pretty nice.
Dessert was chocolate cheesecake made with the Narwhal beer I mentioned above. A whipped cream was made from the beer as well, and it was garnished with cocoa nibs and sat atop a nice graham cracker crust. Top marks for presentation here though – dessert in a mini beer mug for Oktoberfest:
We closed with a really cool presentation of a home brew kit product from Brooklyn Brew Shop. Looks pretty simple, and tastes pretty great. We were served their chestnut brown ale from the kit, which was my fourth favorite beer of the night, alongside the Barrier cream ale.