11 July 2010

Sun King 1st Anniversary Dinner

At first glance, it looked like a typical Thursday at the Sun King Brewery. People milling about, talking in groups with samples in hand. Upon further inspection, the usual white picnic tables are replaced with white-clothed round tables. The second tasting table usually by the canning machine is still there, but on it is a colorful array of cheese, crackers, sausage, and accouterments from Goose the Market’s tour. Off in the corner is a spectacular ice sculpture carved by Jeffrey Bane from The Chef’s Academy. At the front, the usual beers that flow from the taps are available, as well as a tub of random cans of one-offs, leftovers from competition entries, and interesting mixes of different batches.

The interesting concoctions that come from one batch ending and one batch beginning on the canning line are always a lot of fun to sample. Mixes like L’Espresso Robusto & Rathskeller Red are not that unusual, but when you start making combinations of beers that include chamomile, chili spice, and coffee into the mix and you’ve got some interesting flavors.

After getting warmed up on a few Frankenstein beers, we took our assigned seats and chatted with our table mates. We were fortunate to be seated at the same table with both old and new friends of the brewery and had a great time talking with them throughout the night. We’ve been lucky throughout the year that many of the friends of the brewery have become our friends too.

As the first course arrives, Clay and Dave take a moment to thank everyone, including our chefs and servers of the evening who are also friends of the brewery (and HBG). Chef JJ is no stranger to serving delicious pairings with a variety of Sun King beer, as he and his crew hosts Brewer’s dinners a few times a year at his Back Yard location in Broad Ripple. The first course of the night is Antipasto Salad with Firefly Wheat Vinaigrette paired with Orange Blossom Special. The salad was a mixture of Romaine, artichoke, olives, cauliflower, carrots, red pepper, and giardiniera. The dish was spicy, particularly the carrots and cauliflower. The American Wheat beer carries a tart and citrusy sweet profile which cuts into the spiciness of the dish without dissolving the flavor.

The second course is another spicy one. A dish of Red Chili Scallop & Shrimp with Mango Salsa arrives, much to my delight. I love mango salsa, so I was really anticipating this one. One really great aspect of this dinner is that each course (except dessert) was prepared using Sun King beer. The first course had a Firefly Wheat vinaigrette and this one, the second, had Sea Scallops and Tiger Prawns marinated in Cream Dream II. The salsa was a perfect blend of fruit, peppers, and mint. It was refreshing with the heat of the scallops and shrimp. I think the mint in the salsa made the hops from the (very hoppy) Grapefruit Jungle that was paired with it really stand out front and center. As you followed your bite with a sip of beer, it really cooled down the heat of the spice, but allowed for the intense flavor to linger on just a little bit after the drink.

The third course followed promptly with a Flank Steak marinated in Pecan Smoked Hungarian Wax Pepper Wee Mac (just go ahead and try to remember that whole name in a minute) paired with the Dominator Dopplebock (2010 World Beer Cup Bronze Medal Winner). I enjoyed this pairing quite a bit because what goes better with steak and potatoes than a malty Dopplebock? Nothing, I tell you, nothing.

For the final beer of the evening, and one we’ve been waiting a year for, the pitchers were sent over to the beautiful (and functional!) ice sculpture and Clay began filling them with Batch #1, Johan the Barleywine. If the beer is a reflection of the namesake, then John must have been a pretty incredible individual. Barleywine style beers often let you know that you are drinking something with a high alcohol content, often finishing hot. This one, not so much. It’s an incredibly dangerous combination of 10 different yeast strains. It is so smooth and so delicious, it would be easy to lose yourself in a glass (or more) without thinking of the consequences. Paired with the Johan was Chef Jenna’s cinnamon and sugar Doughnut muffins. wow!

If your mouth is watering, you may want to check out the Make it Local: Craft Beer and Food event this Friday, July 16th. There will be beer from 6 breweries paired with food prepared by 5 local chefs.

Congratulations to the Sun King crew on one amazing year!

1 comment:

  1. So proud of this brewery and happy to have them in our community!