Wine dinners have taken a lead role in the growing Nashville food scene, but Frothy Monkey and Black Abbey showcased that beer pairing dinners deserve to share the bill. Despite popular belief, beer pairs well with foods other than pizza and chicken wings. To thicken the plot, yes a coffeehouse can execute a five course pairing dinner. A lot of hands went into making this dinner extraordinary, and the collaboration between chefs and brewers was top notch. The result was an unforgettable, sold out performance.
Although they have only been in the market for a handful of months, our friendship and partnership with the guys from Black Abbey has a three-year history. We first met Carl, John, and Mike at the Winter Warmer Beer Festival in our 12th South neighborhood. I instantly noticed that these guys not only had an excellent product, but the drive and passion to build a brand. The product was so good, that I got really impatient having to wait almost 3 years before I could sit in their Fellowship Hall with a crafted beer in my hand. The guys from Black Abbey are true craftsmen.
The second half of the partnership on the dinner came from our chef partner, Chase Ingalls, sharing the spotlight with Frank McGinty of Kaldi’s Coffee. Kaldi’s has been our coffee roaster for a year and a half now, and we could not be aligned with better people. Frothy Monkey and Kaldi’s share not only a love for coffee, but also for food. It is my desire that the American café will continue to integrate more food focus into its culture. Chase and Frank’s dishes demonstrated that both Frothy Monkey and Kaldi’s embrace this notion.
Some of my favorite moments:
• In course two, McGinty actually used hot wings as an inspiration for his dish: Grilled Sweetbreads, Buffalo Style Cauliflower, Celery, Charred Scallion Puree and Almond Foam. ?Black Abbey Pairing: Chapter House
• For course three, Ingalls reached out to our friends at the Hatcher Dairy Farm to procure the best lamb. The result was: Braised Hatcher Lamb with Red Dragon Risotto, Roasted Carrot and Blood Orange Corn Anglaise?. Black Abbey Pairing: The Special
• During course four (click here to view full menu), I had the pleasure of sitting next to Carl Meier of Black Abbey. This course was paired to their Stock Ale called The Champion. Now, I have had my fair share of this beer, and obviously Carl knows it well. We both took a drink of the beer at the same time, and were both taken back. The Champion tasted different than it ever had before. After a few minutes of discussion, we concluded that the Micro Herb Salad included in this course brought to the forefront an herbaceous characteristic in The Champion that we had never tasted. Gourmet food and beer are beautiful companions.
• I do not know if this stands true for everyone, but I have never enjoyed drinking beer with dessert. I am the kind of guy that will skip dessert if I have at least half a beer on the table, so the victory of the night goes to our Lead Baker Jen Mello. She created a Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust, Salted Beer Caramel and Black Pepper Cashew Brittle. ?Black Abbey Pairing: POTUS 44. Even though I am a little biased (POTUS 44 is a coffee porter made with Frothy Monkey Coffee), the dessert-pairing course was simply impressive.
Our next dinner is on Thursday, March 6, featuring Bear Creek Farms. If you feel you missed out on a one of a kind dining experience, you are in luck, because tickets to that event are already for sale. We head back to wine parings for this one, but rest assured, beer pairings now have a home in our rotation.
Thursday, January 23rd 2014
Tuna Three Ways
Nori Wrapped and served atop Mango Puree – Crab Stuffed Carpaccio – Chili Glazed Tartar on Spiced Parm Crisp
Pairing: The Rose
Grilled Sweetbreads, Buffalo Style Caulifower, Celery, Charred Scallion Puree and Almond Foam
Pairing: Chapter House
Braised Hatcher Lamb with Red Dragon Risotto, Roasted Carrot and Blood Orange Corn Anglaise
Pairing: The Special
Charred Hangar Steak, Smoked Purple Pomme Puree, Micro Herb Salad and Squid Ink Beurre Blanc
Pairing: The Champion
Vanilla Bean Cheese Cake with Pretzel Crust, Salted Beer Caramel and Black Pepper Cashew Brittle
Pairing: POTUS 44