2013 American Craft Beer Week – Beer Dinner

May 14, 2013

I’ve been asked by my readers to explain further about tonight’s beer dinner at Hopjacks 9-Mile Road. Okay, then. Here we go.

I had already been thinking of suggesting a menu to the boss for American Craft Beer Week when, in a minor fit of ESP, he turned to me and asked if I could come up with ideas for a small-scale dinner. Eerie sci-fi Theremin music began playing, if I recall correctly.

For some reason, I immediately thought of using bacon in a dessert. I’m weird like that. It does make sense, though; using a salty and savory component against sweet. With bacon as the focal point of that dish, I began to see piggy everywhere. This is to be a porcine praise of a dinner.

I’ve had a lot of perfectly-cooked eggs lately – a sunny-side-up rode atop my lamb poutine at Cask & Larder in Orlando while a pristine over-easy sent my burger over the top at The Tin Cow – and I really want to showcase a playful take on breakfast as dinner for the first course. I’m baking eggs in bacon fat and carefully topping grilled focaccia bread and Spanish Seranno ham with them before finishing with chive oil. Bell’s Oberon lends the course some whimsy; its creamy body and orange notes a substitute for your breakfast OJ.

A gussied-up take on red beans and rice will be simple yet possessive of a depth of flavor. Cured ham hock and wild boar sausage provide a one-two punch of smoky and sweet while fresh thyme brings out the Creole seasoning. Green Flash Hop Odyssey Imperial Red Rye will nicely amplify the dish’s spice while rounding out the flavor wheel.

Next I have cider-brined pork tenderloin that’ll be seared then served over a salad of mixed field greens, Fuji apple and shaved fennel finished with bacon-apple vinaigrette. The idea here was the roast pig with the apple in its mouth becoming something new. The truck-load of nuts, honey, caramel and hint of orange peel found in Pensacola Bay Brewery’s Conquistador Dopplebock provide a counterpoint to the tang and acid of the dish’s bright notes.

That brings us back to the afore-mentioned dessert. Praline bacon and caramel whipped cream over a toasted pecan blondie – a brownie with brown sugar instead of cocoa. Dessert usually calls for a cup of Joe, so instead we’ll get to serve up something brand-new to Pensacola; Straight To Ale Lily Flagg Milk Stout. We’re very happy to have this brewery selling locally, especially as the mocha coffee notes of the stout contrast so well with the dessert.

Seating is limited. We hope to see you for dinner.