Tag Archives: North Coast

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.

Review: Cafe 412

Last night, after spending a couple hours at Nikki’s for the Thursday night beer tasting, I headed over to Cafe 412 at the suggestion of Mike (the beer guy and owner of Nikki’s).  I had known of the existence of this bar/restaurant, working for Providence College and all.  One of my former student employees, Jenny, had talked about this bar quite a bit as I believe she is friends with the owner.  So we headed over to this little bar on Douglas Ave and walked inside.  It was about 9:00 pm and the bar was completely empty.  It’s a small room with a U shaped bar and a couple of bar-height tables around the edge.  There’s a little nook with an ATM machine (that is “free”, in that they’ll take a dollar off your purchase for using it and paying the dollar fee) and a bathroom in the back corner.  In the middle of the bar are the taps and a row of bottles beneath displaying the beer.  There are 2 chalkboards hanging on the walls on either side of the bar displaying the beer list.  Behind the bar is a big reebar (sp?) rack to hold wine bottles with a neat arch made of tab handles for various beers.

The beer selection last night was pretty impressive, especially considering this is a college bar.  They had the following on draft:

  • Allagash White
  • Stone Ruination
  • St. Bernardus Abt 12
  • Victory Prima Pils
  • Ipswich Ale
  • Rogue Dead Guy Ale
  • Left Hand Milk Stout
  • Flying Dog In Heat Wheat
  • North Coast Red Seal Ale
  • Thirsty Dog Hoppus Maximus

In addition to that, they also had one tap that wasn’t being used.  Their bottle list was a little less impressive, though the standouts were Haverhill Leatherlips IPA and Whittier White, Long Trail Double Bag, Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout, Thirsty Dog Siberian Night, and Left Hand Sawtooth Ale.  There were probably about 25-30 bottled beers in total.   The beer was served colder than what would be ideal, but with a little time, it warmed up.  The Abt 12 was served in a St. Bernardus chalice, which was a nice touch.

Our waitress, Audrey, was fantastic.  She didn’t know a whole lot about the beers, but she seemed very willing to learn, and had informed us she was planning a trip to Nikki’s to mix her own 6 pack this weekend.  We also ordered some food.  I had heard their pizzas are really good.  Those who told me weren’t lying.  It’s a grilled flatbread pizza.  I got a margarita (fresh tomato and basil) on their whole wheat crust.  It was awesome, rivaling Bob and Timmy’s (though this was a little different from Bob and Timmy’s grilled pizza).  Everyone else also seemed to enjoy their meals (I don’t remember what people got, other than Susan who got nachos that looked fantastic).  We left around 11:30 and there were still only a few other people in the place.  I’m going to assume that because they actually card, it’s not a big hot spot for the students.

If you’re looking for a great low key bar in Providence that serves great food, Cafe 412 is worth a visit.  The beer selection, while not over-the-top, is great, the food is awesome, and the service is fantastic.  Check it out, have a beer or two, and enjoy their awesome prices (my pint of Ruination was $4 and the Abt 12 was $5).  Chatting with the waitress, it sounded like the owner wasn’t too sure how much longer he’d be able to carry some of the beers because they’re not big sellers and because of their high price.  We actually suggested to her that the owner should raise his prices on some of these beers (Ruination usually goes for $5-6 for a 10-12 oz. pour and Abt 12 is usually around $7-8 for a smaller pour as they filled it above the fill line on the glass).  I’ll definitely be going back, especially if I end up moving back to the neighborhood.