Tag Archives: Beer Dinner

Stouts and Porters Beer Dinner

It probably isn’t fair to be reviewing this one on the heels of the Nikki’s Beer Dinner from last month as that was a tough one to beat.  The Stouts and Porters Dinner at Julian’s on Sunday night was a great time and they did top it one way – entertainment.

In the middle of the dinner, they had a bunch of people from a Chinese dance school come in and do a little thing with a lion that ate and regurgitated some lettuce.  It was accompanied by drumming.  It was really fun and bought a nice new dimension to the dinner.  In addition, Brian from Julian’s also attempted to wear a different color ruffled tux shirt with each introduction for the courses.  Anyway, on to the review.

The first course found us drinking Buffalo Belgian Stout.  I had tried this once before from the bottle at a warmer temp and it was quite enjoyable.  It wasn’t nearly as good off the tap, unfortunately.  It was served with chestnuts and cranberries, which actually paired quite nicely.

The second course was a salad served with Avery The Czar.  The beer was awesome.  It was the first time I had tried it.  I found it a little odd that the strongest beer, at 12.2%, was served with the salad.  It had a lot of depth to the flavor with some dark fruit and anise.  The salad was greens, golden beets, herb encrusted pistachios, and crispy sweet potatoes.  It paired alright with the beer.  Neither over-powered the other, but I didn’t find them overly complimentary.  However, I also didn’t find them to be so opposite that they went poorly together.

The third course is honestly slipping my mind right now.  The beer was a whiskey barrel aged Ten FIDY from Oskar Blues.  This was quite tasty and added a nice dimension to the Ten FIDY without giving it a strong whiskey/bourbon flavor as happens too often when beers are aged in those types of barrels.

Following that was an intermezzo.  Again, the food is slipping my mind.  The beer was Great Divide’s Oak Aged Espresso Yeti.  This is easily one of my new favorite beers.  I managed to try some of this at Track 84 on Thursday.  It’s very tasty and has quite a bit of depth to the flavor.  The espresso is muted enough that it’s not overpowering, but strong enough to really complement the other flavors of the Oak Aged Yeti.  If you can find this, you need to try this beer.

Now onto the main course.  As with all the Julian’s beer dinners, there were 2 options.  Luckily, this time Susan and I picked different options.  I opted for the crab corn butternut squash ravioli, which came with an oak aged Smuttynose Robust Porter.  It turns out that this is actually called “JD” Oak Aged Robust Porter, the JD presumably standing for Jack Daniels.  Boy was that beer strong with the whiskey flavor.  Luckily, some of that flavor died off as the beer warmed, bringing out more of the porter flavors.  The regular Robust Porter is one of my favorite porters.  It’s very flavorful and has a great body.  This rendition of it wasn’t really up to my liking as I’m not big on strong whiskey flavors.  The meal was perfect, though, again, it wasn’t a perfect pairing.  If anything, the strong flavors of this beer took a little away from the food.  The other option was a roasted duck dish served with Hoppin’ Frog’s B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher, an oatmeal Russian imperial stout.  I found my dinner to be better and the beer to be different enough that I was really glad I chose what I did.

Finally, we made it to dessert, which was also a choice of 2 options.  I opted for a pumpkin creme caramel with a ginger cookie.  The beer was Meantime Coffee Porter.  This was the best pairing of the night.  The beer is excellent, and the dessert had just the right flavors.  It had a great consistency and the mix of pumpkin and ginger went well with the coffee flavored porter, which has a nice coffee flavor that is not overwhelming.  The other option was a float made with Young’s Double Chocolate Stout.  Again, I’m glad I chose what I did.  It was the better of the 2 options.

Overall, this wasn’t the best pairing, but the beers were fantastic and the evening, as always, was a ton of fun.  Many thanks to Brian, Mike, and the rest of the great staff at Julian’s.  I wish I remembered those other 2 dishes, but I just can’t.  If someone reading this remembers, feel free to post it in the comments.

Next month’s beer dinner is curated by JB Masters from Tigris Beverages.  I won’t be able to make this one or even the following one, which will be curated by Dave from Track 84.

Nikki’s Liquors Beer Dinner

In mid-November, I went to the Nikki’s Liquors beer dinner at Julian’s on Broadway in Providence.  The beers were chosen by Mike from Nikki’s.  I just wanted to write a little review of it, mainly because there were some interesting beers served.

First, in general, the beer dinner was a huge success.  The pairings with the food were spot on (thanks to Mike the chef from Julian’s), the delivery of the courses and the beers were quicker than the last beer dinner I attended there (the Dogfish Head one over the summer).  Finally, the pairings were better than those at the DFH dinner.  They’ve done several since the DFH dinner.  I imagine they got used to pairing with beer and were fixed any mistakes to streamline the process.

Now, the beers.  The first beer was Traquair Jacobite.  This was an excellent Scotch Ale with some nice dark fruit flavors that paired nicely with the cheese and raspberry starter plate.  The second beer was Tripel Karmeliet, an awesome Belgian Tripel that went perfectly with the salad.  The third pairing was a bit odd, but the beer is worth mentioning.  It was Baron’s Black Wattle Superior Wattle Seed Ale.  This beer is like nothing I’ve had before.  It’s almost like a Brown Ale, but it’s not.  The wattle seed comes from a tree in Australia.  It gives the beer a nutty chocolate flavor.  The beer is lighter in body, but big in flavor.  If you see it, it’s a must try.  It was paired with samosas, which were fantastic.  The fourth dish was a choice as it was the entree.  I got the Old Rasputin with the steak.  The beer was on nitro-tap, giving it an awesome creamy mouthfeel that enhanced the beer a bit.  The other option was Southern Tier Unearthly IPA with escolar.  Dessert was my favorite part.  We also had a choice.  I got the De Dolle Oerbier Special Reserva 2006, which came with an orange cream tartlette.  The beer was easily one of my favorite beers.  It was funky and slightly sour with a nice fruity flavor.  The other option was Oude Beersel’s Oude Kriek Vieille with a chocolate covered vanilla bean cheesecake.  Finally, there was a finishing dish, which was a truffle paired with Xyauyù, a strong English style barleywine from an Italian brewery.

It was an excellent night of beer and food.  The pours were small enough so no one got too drunk, unless they were ordering other beers in between courses, which some were.  Julian’s is doing a stouts and porters beer dinner on Sunday, which I will be attending.  I’ll write a review shortly after, rather than waiting a month.

Dogfish Head Dinner

As I previously posted, Sunday night was the Dogfish Head Beer Dinner at Julian’s on Broadway in Providence.  We arrived a little before 6 and found a couple of Nikki’s regulars already there drinking.  We went inside and waited for them to start (which we were told would be promptly at 6).  We got our first beer, Festina Pêche and the first course, almond-mint pesto stuffed mission figs with pickled jalapeno pepper.  The beer was pumped through the Randall, a device that’s basically just a pipe filled with stuff (usually hops), that had strawberries and oranges in it.  It added a nice fruity dimension to an already awesome beer.  The fruit served to balance some of the tartness.  I was very impressed.  It was served in Dogfish Head snifters which ended up being given back to us as a gift to take home at the end of the night.

The next course was a champagne-poached pear, preserved lemon, and baby arugula salad with celery root chips and a green tea vinagarette.  It was served with Black & Blue.  The salad was really good, though, obviously, the lemons were super sour.  The root chips were awesome, as were the pears.  I’m not normally a Black & Blue fan, but the beer paired perfectly with the salad.

The third course was cucumber stuffed curried sticky rice balls golden beet carpaccio, and curled jicima.  This was paired with Chateau Jiahu, another beer I’m not overly crazy about, but was perfect with the appetizer.  The rice balls were awesome.  It’s a purple sticky rice, which I have only previously seen at Julian’s.  The only thing I wish is that the curry was a bit more predominant as I couldn’t taste it at all.

There was a palate cleansing intermezzo course.  For this, they gave us a ginger ice cream float made with 3 year old Pangaea with a ginger lace cookie.  It was really good, but we all wanted to actually try the aged Pangaea on its own, so they gave everyone a small glass of it.  I was impressed.  I wasn’t overly crazy about this beer fresh when I tried it at Nikki’s the night before, but it was awesome aged.

The entree came next.  We had a choice of brown sugar and soy marinated flank steak or seitan (a vegan steak) with pomegranate smashed carrots, herb dressed watercress, and meyer lemon coulis served with Immort Ale or pink peppercorn rubbed escolar with bruleed summer vegetables, butter braised frisee, and rhubarb Raison d’Etre reduction served with Palo Santo Marron.  I chose the steak and Susan got the escolar (which we later found out can cause some not so fun digestive issues).  They were both absolutely awesome and the pairings were spot on.

Finally, we had dessert.  There was also a choice for this course.  I had the vegan peach cheesecake with peanut butter drizzled over the top and raspberries served with World Wide Stout.  Susan got the quince, which sounded better and was served with Raison d’Extra.  My whole dessert was actually better, and while the pairing didn’t sound like it would work, it was perfect.

Brian, the bar manager at Julian’s, told us that they’ll be doing a beer dinner the last Sunday of every month.  July’s will be a Belgian beer dinner.  I haven’t made a reservation yet, but hopefully they’ll announce a menu soon and then I’ll make my reservation.  It should be good.

Dogfish Head Beer Dinner at Julian’s

I know it’s a little late, but this coming Sunday is a Dogfish Head beer dinner at Julian’s on Broadway in Providence.  It’s sold out (which is why this is a little late).  I imagine they’ll be open after it’s over and still have some great Dogfish Head beer on tap, like a keg of aged Pangaea, World Wide Stout, Raison d’Extra, Immort Ale, and Palo Santo Marron (among others).  The menu looks to be pretty unique (as with everything at Julian’s and Dogfish Head).  I’m looking forward to it and I will most definitely report back.

If you don’t have reservations and still want a great dining and beer experience, you must get over to Julian’s.  They currently have some great beers on tap, including Left Hand Imperial Stout, Ommegang Hennepin, and Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale (which is not part of the beer dinner).