This dinner was originally to be
held at Monk's Cafe, but a tragic accident occurred in the apartment complex
above the restaurant and Tom found himself closed for a week while L &
I and police investigators sorted out the problems with the building. Luckily
enough, Tom had the option to move the event a little bit north to the
Belgian Cafe. This was our first trip to the BC and we were quite impressed.
It is larger than Monk's and has an elegant dining space though the acoustics
leave something to be desired. The din caused by everyone conversing borders
on the painful. At least everyone kept quiet when brewer, Scott Vaccaro,
spoke about his beers and company.
The dinner began with a the Cuvee de Castleton, a nicely tart brew made with brett and locally grown Muscat grapes and aged for a year in barrels. This was paired with watermelon grilled with Thai basil, ginger and orange zest.
Next beer was NY3,an amber farmhouse ale with a hint of tobacco at first then dried fruit. It was made as a collaboration with CL, Ithaca and Southampton. Brewed with wheat and pils malt and a different honey from each of the brewers, fermented w/Belgian yeast and dry-hopped with Willamette ending at 6%. Paired with Lancaster County Frittata-local eggs, corn, tomatoes, zucchini and served w/asparagus.
Our entrée was roasted quail with walnuts, wild rice and local peaches. Paired with this excellent course was Xtra Gold, a 10% tripel w/lots of hops. It is a deep gold color with a fruity hop flavor and nose. Brewed with Pils malt, fermented with Belgian yeast and dry-hopped with Amarillo.
Captís Reserve IPA was our next offering. It was a double IPA, very citrusy and dry, dry-hopped w/Simcoe, Chinook, Columbus and Amarillo..90 IBU, 9%, IG 20, FG 3.5. Served with Cioppino: clams, mussels, shrimp and cod in a wonderful broth reminiscent of my Grandfatherís clam chowder. Though not a big shellfish fan, this was an outstanding selection.
Dessert is usually my favorite, but my dislike for bleu cheese made this a tentative choice: pear Tart with bleu cheese crust. I ate the pear at any rate. Our final beer was Smoke From The Oak aged in apple brandy barrels from Lairds. You could distinguish the apple on the nose with a light fruit palate and very light smoke on the finish. Scott said they made only 125 cases and it was a big seller.
Scott worked his way around the room and spoke to each table. As always there were lots of local beer celebs: Casey Hughes of Flying Fish, George Hummel, Rich Wagner, Carolyn Smagalski, Suzanne Woods of Sly Fox and her beau Chris Lapierre of Iron Hill Maple Shade, Patrick Mullin of Sierra Nevada and Bryan Kolesar and his wife, Patty.
A good time was had by all and we look forward to our next visit to the Belgian Cafe which just celebrated its second anniversary. Congratulations Tom & Fergie!