Beer Wednesday – Beer Pairing @ Great Sage
So, let’s discuss awesomeness. Awesomeness is something that makes your eyes roll back in your head. Awesomeness is food that twists your tongue in a knot, and makes your tastebuds do flips.
Awesomeness is the food at Great Sage.
Great Sage, which I raved about here, is my and the Blonde’s favorite restaurant so when we saw that they were hosting a beer-pairing with Peak Organics beer, I immediately thought that it would be great.
The Blonde was less thrilled.
Not a huge fan of beer, the Blonde decided to pass. Enter Jason. Jason is the guy (along with his lovely wife) that we went to New York with. Jason is also a profound beer aficionado. He introduced me to a beer-drinking group in Baltimore and always keeps a well-stocked fridge.
He was in from the first thought.
The course was prix-fixe, and the menu and pairing was as follows:
IPA: Toasted Pumpernickel points accompanied by smoked ‘cheddar.’ chipotle red onion marmalade and shaved peppercorn seitan
Fall Summit: Arugula salad with butternut squash, red cabbage, carrot and pistachios tossed in a gingered apple vinaigrette and topped with a ‘Parmesan’ crisp
King Crimson: Grilled scallion marinated Beyond Meat ‘chicken’ with a potato terrine, toasted Brussels sprouts and a King Crimson pumpkin glaze
Hop Noir: Hop Noir chocolate ‘cheesecake’ with salted almond brittle and pomegranate coulis
First, the pairings. The beers paired with each course were beautifully done. I have a hard time thinking of how this could have been dome more perfectly. The hoppiness of each of the four beers was complimented beautifully by the meals that sat beside them.
The IPA, with 7.9% ABV and 76 IBUs, had a nice, clean bite, which accompanied the richness and smoothness of the ‘cheddar’ and pumpernickel beautifully. The brightness of the hops and the clean finish kept the flavors light and bright, which is just the way that we wanted to start the meal. The combination of all of the elements on the plate, ‘cheddar,’ seitan, onion marmalade, on the pumpernickel points was a thing of beauty, and clearing my palate with the IPA really prepared me for the salad.
It did not last long on my plate.
Second course, the arugula salad, paired with the Fall Summit ale, caught me off guard at first. I’ve had the Fall Summit at Great Sage before, and so I was ready for the smoothness of the beer, with just a hint of hop to it. With just a 5.7% ABV and 64 IBUs, the Fall Summit’s malts really finish the beer off, and the beer did outshine the salad here. My first words upon tasting the salad were “Is that butternut squash?” I was taken aback, and intrigued, but I felt that the salad was missing one minor element (apples? cranberries?). As a showcase for the beer, however, the salad was just right. The arugula’s peppery bite made both of us reach for our beer, and deep down, a larger glass would have been nice. Not for our ability to drive, but for the salad.
And now, the complete coup. The King Crimson red ale.
Give me a moment while I remember this incredible brew. . . No, seriously, I’ll need a min. Go get a glass of water or something. I’ll still be here when you get back.
First, the full glass of the King Crimson was a nice surprise. The 9.5% ABV caught us off guard too.
First, If you haven’t had Beyond Meat, you have to understand that the first time the Blonde brought it home, we were both a tiny bit put-off by how closely it resembled chicken. When Jason and his wife had it for the first time, they thought the restaurant had made a mistake. It is that close to chicken. Thankfully, it’s made right here in Maryland, so Great Sage has it regularly.
Secondly, King Crimson is a fresh, hoppy, beautiful red ale. It’s 9.5% ABV isn’t overpowering, although it could be, and it’s 90 IBUs don’t make you pucker at all. In fact, the combination of the Brussels sprouts and the potatoes with the rich, full flavor of the King Crimson really paired perfectly. Once I scraped the pumpkin glaze of the plate, and accompanied the other parts of the dish with it, my mind was officially blown.
I just about licked my plate. . .
To wrap up the whole evening, We were treated to a ‘cheesecake’ made with Hop Noir, Peak Organic’s Black IPA. The black IPA was smooth and rich, and my first thought was that it was porter from it’s color. It was delicious and rich, without being heavy and strong. It was the perfect beer to pair with dessert, and especially with the ‘cheesecake.’
The whole dinner was beautifully put together and we were both really very thrilled.
The only thing that disappointed us was the table next to us. I rarely call out other people at dinner, but this was a pre-fixe dinner, with the menu published a month ago. The beers were well established, and the food was delicious. I devoured every course, and I promise that I loved it.
Our neighbors disagreed. They were wrong, but they did leave this on their table. . .
When this was left behind, it ended our night on a slightly sour note, but we made up for it by appreciating our beer and dinner even more. Our food was delicious, and the beer was wonderful, and at the end of the day, Jason and I went home happy. So a big “Thank You” to Great Sage and Peak Organics Brewing Company.