Media is the closest Iron Hill to
us(75 min. drive) and therefore the one we visit the most. Oddly enough
though we have done lots of events and eaten there on numerous occasions,
we had never been to a beer dinner there. The IH chain isn't big on beer
dinners. They have a prix fixe special dinner each month, meet and greets,
Brewers' Reserves and lots of enjoyable events at each of the seven locations,
so dinners like this are only held twice a year if that. My wife and I
love to go to beer dinners......you get a great meal, good beer, good conversation
and all in a small personal setting. We attend dinners in lieu of fighting
the crowds and young overimbibers at the now oversold festivals and other
events. That rant at another time.....
Bob Barrar and his trusty assistant Vince make some of the best beer around. Bob has contributed a lot to help Iron Hill keep up the medal-winning streak of 11 years at the Great American Beer Festival.
When we arrived, we talked to Bob for a bit and he treated me to his famous Bourbon Russian Imperial Stout, a very tasty(and strong) brew. A big start for a long night!
We all found our spots at the tables and were greeted by Vince who was our MC for the evening(Bob is not a public speaker; he lets his beer do the talking). A Belgian-style Pale Ale was served to the delight of the crowd. You could see that most of these people were regulars here and familiar with the beers and cuisine.
Next up was a refreshing Hefeweizen that accompanied the Saffron-poached Scallops in broth. I love scallops and this was an excellent recipe.
From light to dark, we enjoyed an Abbey Dubbel with Baby Quail, Almond and Shiitake Mushroom Salad and marjoram and grilled prune coulis....a very interesting blend of flavors.
Another favorite of mine was poured next. The Wee Heavy is a nicely malted brew with a light peat smoke flavor to it. By this time, people were wondering how they were going to stuff it all in and then they bring out the entree....a large melt-in-your-mouth Pork Tenderloin over mashed potatoes and in a Lagavulin cider cream sauce......WOW! Talk about delicious! It was all I could do to eat the tenderloin and some of the potatoes dipped in the sauce! The marriage of beer and food...a pairing made in heaven!
I knew what was coming next and eagerly awaited its arrival. Lambic!!!!! Bob's is the best and this '04 selection was excellent! Paired with a Caramelized Apple Tartlet, the lambic melded beautifully with it. Lambics are my favorite style and to find local renditions is not easy. As a matter of fact, the first gueuze I ever tasted was from Christian Heim at what was then Lancaster Malt Brewing. I fell in love with the style then and have continued searching them out at every opportunity.
Well, needless to say, we all had a great time and look forward to the next time. Be sure to visit any one of the seven locations and enjoy the outstanding offerings that Iron Hill serves. Check out the website for event and beer info.