Thursday, April 28, 2011

BEERflections ~ Broken Barrel Tavern 2 Year Anniversary

I’ve been a fan of Kevin and his bastion of smoky BBQ delights, Broken Barrel Tavern, for two years now even if I wasn’t there for the very beginning. A newly remodeled strip mall on the corner of Babcock and Palm Bay Boulevard isn’t exactly what some would consider prime retail for artisanal beer, food, and spirit exploration. They would be wrong! A funny thing about expectations – they are made to be broken repeatedly, successfully, and tastefully.

Chilling at the bar for a few were yours beerly and her Lovely Laura. As the festivities rocked all around us, we scoped out the killer draft line-up ranging from the Avery Maharaja to Widmer Brrrrbon. Arriving around 7pm, the Avery Maharaja was already drained while other tapped offerings included Cuvee Alex La Rouge, De Dolle Oerbier, Dogfish Head Namaste, Great Divide 17th Anniversary, Harvieston Bitter & Twisted, Kasteel Rouge, Ommegang Gnomegang, Sierra Nevada Ovila Dubbel, and tapped right before our eager eyes, the Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers.

Chipotle Peppers – drank em and love em.

Heat and I don’t get along very well and the Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers from Stone had HEAT. Yowza! With our tastebuds a-tingle, Laura and I had set sights on the Barrel’s smoky spicy dry-rubbed St. Lois ribs but alas, we were too late. A mad dash on ribs early in the Anniversary celebrations had emptied Barrel’s fresh reserves for the day. Yes, they really are THAT GOOD. Our beer and food pairing intentions were crushed, but that’s okay because there is always next time. Keeping our bellies full in the meantime were the funkalicious blue cheese chips. Blue cheese melted and chunked atop crisp house chips along with roasted red pepper niblets for finger-licking lip-smacking enjoyment.

Always on the hunt for new beers to explore in contemplative savorance, I tasted my way through the Dogfish Head Namaste, De Dolle Oerbier, and finished with the aforementioned chipotle pepper infused Smoked Porter. An inspirational procession of flavors, they took me from Rehobeth Beach to the landlocked Burgundian pleasures of Belgium and all the way back to Escondido, California, home of my Love’s favorite brewery – Stone. Yum, Yum, and yum!

We didn’t win anything with our generous stash of raffle tickets despite our best drinking and eating intentions but it was fun trying. As night crept and we made our way home, I reflect on lessons and blessings. Having a family irrevocably changes one’s perspective priorities and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Home is where the heart is and the heart is home, forever and always.

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(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Brew & Grub Dinnerflections ~ April 13th 2011

When it comes to beer and food, there is no such thing as enough, and so the weekly Wednesday Brew & Grub Dinner Pairing at BrewGrrs was born thanks to the conspiring minds of Anthony, Rob, and yours beerly. Is a weekly dinner pairing still special when it’s weekly? In my naturally biased opinion, yes, and you can take my word for it. Better yet, is Vero Beach ala the Treasure Coast ready? If not, they will be soon whether they like it or like it. And what’s not to like, dangnabbit?! Good brews and good food are natural bedfellows to which I am the willing third party and so are you.

Last week’s inaugural dinner was a voyeur fest for me while this week I was attentively engaged in beer and food porn. Before starting my own flavorgasmic journey through three courses of plate licking proportions, I bounced around the kitchen, camera flashing, to catch creativity in action. A weekly venture through brewphoric culinary bliss? Bring it! This burgundian is armed and ready! But which will be mightier – the fork or the pen?

Our first course was a sushi lover’s treat. Fresh is as fresh as the Wednesday morning delivery of Norwegian Salmon we received. In cracking the lid on her chilled Styrofoam confines, I heard the gentle lapping of chilly Norwegian waters lap against rocks weathered by time and tradition. As a native Floridian who spent her youthful years fishing the Indian River and North Atlantic Ocean, tis tradition near and dear. Expertly plated, the avocado dill oil drizzle was creamy herbal temptation that lured me straight into melt-in-the-mouth Norwegian Salmon tartare tidbits briefly tossed in a sauce of mayo, soy, syracha, cumin, lime zest, cucumber, onion, and hand-chopped cilantro. Kept company by a deliciously burnt reduction of Guinness and soy, the tartare was paired with the limited release of Samuel Adams Rustic Saison. An impressive take on the historic Belgian Saison, it poured from a special faucet meant to temper the vivacious yeast while best presenting said beer’s flavorsations. Expect many good saisons to flow from its gleaming glory through the passing years, months, weeks, and days.

But I digress.

Joined by fellow beer dinner fanatic John B, we ogled, oogled, sniffed, snarfed, and moaned our way into the second course.

I’ve been a fan of Brooklyn Brewery for as long as I’ve been lucky enough to savor their classic fermentables. Garrett Oliver is a genius brewer, flavor advocate, burgundian, cocktailarian, and all around awe-inspiring gent I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting. Yet. One of the first few Brooklyn beers was the English inspired brown ale whose malty spicy caramelized savory designs scream for red meat. Yes, scream. One bite of the lip-smacking Brooklyn Brown Ale BBQ Black Angus pulled short ribs infusion and angels blushed while I lavished love on each succulent morsel. Poured perfectly was a perfectly fresh melon salsa. Pooled next to our Angus bounty was a plolenta that defied physics within its firmly melted ooey-gooey cheesy proportions. Accompanied by a glass of Brooklyn Brown Ale, the tastegasms were innumerable.

A moment please…

It is hard to believe but yes, burgundian pleasure does come in threes. I like a cookie and you like a cookie. I scream for ice cream and you scream for ice cream. Together with a little help from Ghirardelli chocolate chips and I’m transported to frolicking days of youth in just one bite. Blanche de Bruxelles infused white cookies sandwich Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream and a glass of Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron met in a drum roll of spice, cookie, vanilla cream, chocolate crunch, tobacco leaf, earth, love, and bliss on earth. Sometimes simple is best and within that simplicity does one realize infinite pleasure in its infinite simplicity.

Confused? Good.

As night settled, John and I bid our separate ways home with a promise to meet again sooner than later. BrewGrrs weekly Wednesday Brew & Grub Dinner Pairings are another adventure into flavorspiration, and a welcome challenge for my muse. With both pen and tastebuds at the ready, I say Welcome!

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Brew & Grub Dinnerflections ~ April 6th 2011

For BrewGrrs inaugural weekly Brew & Grub Dinner Pairing, I was remiss to taste my way through each course but I made sure to take advantage of multiple photo opportunities. My sincere regrets for not savoring Anthony's flavor creations; sorry! Thankfully, near and dear friends Mike and Paula ensured that a nibble or three passed across my lips to caress my tastebuds in flavorphoria. Yum! As for reflecting on the brew part of the grub pairing...unfortunately not this time. But having savored the brews separately more than once, my burgundian imagination can come pretty close to the real thing. As I ready to write and reminisce on the second brew and grub pairing I shall leave you with...

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

BEERflections ~ Ballast Point Beer Dinner @ Town Crier Pub

A month seems so long ago and yet just like yesterday, time can be an intriguing reflection through which great beer and great food reminisce in prose and lyric. Beerotica for the mind’s eye but just what is beerotica…

One doesn’t have to travel far to find truly mouthwatering morsels of hand-crafted flavor exploration. As a native Veroite and self-discovered foodie, my own personal euphoric journey of beer and food is truly near and dear. Via the cool concrete of the well-traveled I-95, I found myself once more amidst the friendly faces of Town Crier, a land of beer and food not so far away.

Having never missed a Pub dinner to date, I was not about to miss the first of a brand new year. Joining me for the first time was my Lady Laura, reason alone for this dinner to be the best so far. Not to say the brews, food, and peeps also contributed to my night of tasteful indulgence but in the warm accompaniment of Love, life is always good.

How good?
As good as five courses of beer foodvinity can be.

I wish their previous chef George Citron well at his new culinary endeavor and he can rest assured that the Town Crier Pub is in good hands with Chef Kyle Greene. Ballast Point Brewery out of San Diego, California may be new to Florida but they are certainly not new to beer. I’ve said it before, I’m saying it now, and I’m sure I’ll say it again: great beers + great food = magic. Not the magic of fairy dust and unicorns but the very real magic of flavorvana.

Joining my Love and I at our table of awesomeness were fellow alum Mike and Paula (never missed a dinner), Mark Boland (never missed a dinner) and his own leading lady, Tammy, Joe, Lorraine and Duncan, Tara, and a beer dinner newb, Jenny. With camera at the ready, tastebuds raring, appetite rumbling, excitement crackled through the air as the first of five orgasm-inducing courses entered, followed by another and another until there were none. No matter the dinner, there has always been one course that rises above the others but not this time. A Town Crier first, all courses excelled equally. The bar has been raised high indeed. Can you hear me, Major Tom?

Astral projection aside, since I can’t choose nor do I desire to do so, a few titillating tidbits of beery food porn shall I expose here and now. The rest shall be left to the enviably hungry imagination.

First Course:
Curry jumbo lump crab salad resting atop mango coconut sauce accompanied by fresh avocado slices and paired with Wahoo White.
  • Soft fresh melt-in-the-mouth hand lumped crab meat atop sweet mango coconut decadence tempers a spicy curry kick. As for the avocado, tis a treat unto itself and seafood’s natural bedfellow. Paired with the soothing essence of bubblegum, tropical fruits, moist breads, and sunshine, Wahoo Wheat was the beginning and the end.

Second Course:
Seared sea scallop amidst toasted almonds and tropical fruit salsa puree meets the Sculpin IPA.
  • Sculpin is easily one of my favorite IPAs readily available within my sunny state of Florida. Crisp and dry, spicy and fruity, bitter and sweet, citrusy and grassy. Unsurprisingly, her flavors complemented and uplifted the savory succulent toasty caramelized tropical spicy delights that exploded with each bite. Hands down one of the best scallops ever savored in my life amidst a phantasia of seafoodsations.

Third Course:
Chorizo encrusted mahi-mahi rests atop a moat of creamy Creole sauce accompanied by Calico Amber Ale.
  • When I pass from this world I want it to be with a warm crock of creamy Creole sauce in my hand. Holy mahi-mahi! May I have some more please…and please I did. (Yes, there are pictures) The tender mahi-mahi with its chorizo crust crunched and the sauce creamed as spicy heat tickled. With each quaff of the Calico Amber Ale, clean hops cut highlighted while a crisp malt backbone kept order of each flavor procession from fork to mouth and glass to lips.

Fourth Course:
Petite sirloin slathered with beautiful bacon onion marmalade surrounded by mushroom ragout and pubstershire sauce while the Big Eye IPA stood guard.
  • Red meat, white meat, purple meat – if you kill it and cook it I will eat it. Just please, make mine as juicy red as possible please and thank you. The sauce was a sweet meaty succulent umami carnivoregasm. The only problem and a minor one at that was the omission of steak knives. Tender is as tender does but tender can do neither without her tablemate. Cutlery aside, the Big Eye IPA threw his malty weight into the mix, matching bite for quaff with caramelized melba crunch and hop spice.

Fifth Course:
Dense nutella-chocolate mousse with in-house candied hazelnuts accompanied by Victory At Sea, a coffee vanilla imperial porter.
  • Consider this your exclusive beer ambassador expose to tempt, tantalize, and seduce. What appeared before my lovelorn eyes was neither dense nor daunting but demure and divine. Her nutty chocophoria floated across my tastebuds like a buxom goddess drifting through clouds of heavenly fluff – sensual and sexual. Ambrosia is alive and well at Town Crier Pub of Tradition, Florida, indeed.

Hungry and thirsty yet?

Burgundism came, tasted, and conquered once more. I know I alluded to earlier but it bears to be said again – best beer dinner yet. Not only were the pairings taste-on, but for the first time the portions were perfect. Chris, Kyle, and the crew are definitely taking off into a successful new horizon of burgundian indulgence, a new horizon me, my Love, and my posse of peeps will happily crest time and time again.

Since the February 28th dinner, there have been no further pairings. On the flipside, Ballast Point brews of all varieties have graced my fridge and will continue to do so. For sharing his personal passion for Ballast Point with we humble beer dinner geeks of the Treasure Coast, a generous thanks to Earl. Florida may be a bit behind the whole craft beerdom but not for long. Look out world, here we come and here I am!

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Brew & Grub Dinner Pairing @ BrewGrrs ~ April 13, 2011

**Another week has passed which means it's time for another fantastic journey through the scintillating sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of beer food harmony at BrewGrrs of Vero Beach, Florida. Also, last Brew & Grub Dinner Pairing we did partial pours in our special event glasses. NOT THIS TIME! From now on it's a full glass of each tasty brew to savor with each tasty course.**


Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Brew & Grub Dinner Pairing @ BrewGrrs

**From 6pm - ? every Wednesday BrewGrrs will feature a 3 course dinner to tempt your tastebuds. We call it our Brew & Grub Dinner Pairing and not only do I like it, we think you will like it, too. Stop in and experience the flavorgasm of beer paired with food.**