There were TONS of beer events going on in Charlotte for Craft Beer Week. Being who we are and what we love to do, we couldn’t wait to go to all of them! Unfortunately this is the REAL World- so I hear. Due to Cat and my work schedules we could get to very few events. Working in the Restaurant/ Beer Industry makes PLAYING in the Restaurant/ Beer Industry hard sometimes! And unfortunately Cat was unable to get off work for even this event. But a Beer Dinner with Terrapin- one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE breweries- and SPIKE was going to be attending!!! This is a can’t miss! Enough of the obvious- How was it???
The dinner was a 5 course meal at Taco Mac Southpark. We started out with Fred Crudder, The Beer Guy, introducing himself and then Spike. Brian “Spike” Buckowski is the Brewer and co-founder of Terrapin. If you are reading this you probably already know that, but it is important. So Spike begins by telling us about the history of Terrapin Brewing Company. It is a fascinating story and I can not try to retell it- too many details that I would not get correct. What I do remember vividly is that they won a GOLD Medal at Great American Beer Festival for Rye Pale Ale- before they ever had a brewery!!! Winning a Gold Medal at GABF is a lifetime accomplishment and one of the highest goals of any brewery in the craft beer field. And to win BEFORE you even have a brewery!!! Spike said the phone was ringing off the hook with people that wanted to buy his beer. However, he had no way of brewing it. That started the ball rolling and today we have an AWESOME selection of Terrapin Beers!!!
So the first course comes out….. fried cheese grits with crispy pork belly and spiced apple compote with Rye Pale Ale. This was a very nice introduction. Something familiar paired with something a little daring. Pale Ale is familiar- rye is a little adventurous. Spiced apple and grits are welcome on any southerners table but frying the grits is inventive and the crispy pork belly adds the risk factor to this dish. With the aforementioned Rye Pale Ale this was a great start to the evening and set the tone in a positive way for what was to come!
Excited after the first course, and Spike entertaining the group, the second beer was brought out. What was this? A pinkish colored beer? Abita Strawberry it was not! This was Monk’s Revenge, a Belgian Tripel/ American Double IPA aged in a Cabernet barrel. This beer will knock your socks off!!! It was paired with the salad, a classic combination of organic lettuce mix with spiced pecans, blue cheese, and a cranberry vinaigrette. The salad was awesome, but the BEER was amazing!!! Best and most innovative beer I have had in a long time!
The third course was the coriander crusted salmon with sauteed garlic, spinach, and tomato shrimp ragout paired with Hopsecutioner. Up front- I am a meat lover. I am not a seafood guy but many of the attendees said this was the BEST plate of the meal! I took advantage of the ability to drink some Hopsecutioner! I never noticed the Gold Dollar Sign on the side of the bottle, but when I told Cat she said she always wondered. Ask me and I’ll tell you the story- very funny. Overall this course was great, even if I only enjoyed the Beer cause it was HOPSECUTIONER!!!
The main course came out next. Roasted New York strip with pork belly fried brussels sprouts and truffled macaroni and cheese served with the All American Imperial Pilsner. I am not going to lie. When I saw the menu I was a little concerned about a Pilsner standing up to steak. Sort of like serving a Chardonnay with Steak…. really??? Pilsner Urquell would be lost on this. But this 9% IMPERIAL PILSNER was AWESOME!!! Great pairing and a great beer to match with the steak.
AND THEN DESSERT!!! Wake and Bake!!! Thanks Jittery Joe’s in Athens for helping with this tasty brew! The dessert was a chocolate mousse with Wake and Bake infused in it.
In summary, it was AWESOME!!! Spike was really cool to get to know, the food was AMAZING, as was the beer!!! Terrapin!!!