Sunday, November 6, 2016

Moody Tongue Tasting Room

While I will occasionally right about a taproom that does not serve food, to find a place that does serve food (although not meals) and is still worth talking about is special.  Moody Tongue Brewery has been around for about two years.  They did not offer tours, but they bottled, so in order to try one of their beers, you had to find it at a liquor store or at a restaurant that served it.  Their head brewer both went to Culinary School and to the Seibel Institute, so he is skilled in both food and beer, which is reflected in their beers.  They brew four beers regularly, Smoked Applewood Gold, Steeped Emperor's Lemon Saison, Sliced Nectarine IPA, and Caramelized Chocolate Churro Porter.  All of which are very aromatic and flavorful and whose names perfectly describe them.  Jared Rouben, the brewmaster, calls what he does culinary brewing, using the best ingredients and using them as a chef would, adding the ingredients at the best time to emphasize the flavors and aromas of those ingredients.  I have had all of their beers and whole they all taste very good, these are special beers that are best appreciated by pairing them with something.  All of the bottles come with pairing suggestions on them.  While they did not start with a taproom in their brewery, a taproom was always in the plans and it recently opened.  The door to the taproom is in a nook and is an industrial metal door with a host's station waiting a short way in. Guests are led to their seats and are left with a menu of their beer and food.  The room has painted white brick walls and is both modern and classic with a rectangular bar (also white) in the center of the room.  In one corner there is a bookcase and fireplace with armchairs and a small table in front of it and a fireplace beside it.  The bookcase has several books on both cooking and brewing and one shelf devoted to the very special glassware used for the beers.  There is another set of armchairs around another small table (like a salon) and a few dining tables.  The ceiling is unfinished and the lights hang over the bar.  There is no (obvious) TV in the room.  I was seated at the bar and was able to watch the bartenders work.  The tap is on the back wall opposite the bar, above the shelf where the glassware, very special leadless quartz that looks similar to a wine glass, hangs, and below a black glass wall.  The menu is laid out in one page with the four standard beers on top, the special batches that they presently have on tap, and their available food at the bottom.  I decided to start light and went with the Smoked Applewood Gold.  In style, it kind of reminds me of a kolsch, very light and crisp, but with a very fresh flavor of smoked applewood.
Before the taproom opened, Brewmaster Jared Rouben said that there would be only two things available on the food menu, Oysters and Cake and on the bottom of the menu, where food was listed, were oysters and cake.  The oysters were served in orders of 6 or 12 and served on ice on the half shell.  They are apparently flown in every morning and while they looked very good, I had come for the cake.  I had read before going that the cake was epic, so I wanted to be prepared.  While I expected a big cake, I was still surprised at how big it was.  It was a six layer German Chocolate Cake with Chocolate outer frosting and layers of Peanut Butter, White Chocolate, Coconut, Chocolate and Raspberry, and a Graham Cracker bottom layer.  There were two chocolate sticks, one white and one dark balanced against the point of the cake slice and a small chocolate Moody Tongue button as a garnish on the plate.  As far as size is concerned, it was about five inches tall and about five inches on a side.  It was rich, flavorful, and much more than I could eat in a single sitting.  While I did go with an obvious pairing with the cake, the Caramelized Chocolate Churro Baltic Porter which went with it amazingly well, but I did still have some of the Smoked Applewood Gold, which went surprisingly well with the cake.

When I read that Moody Tongue would only be serving oysters and cake to pair with their beers, I did question the logic of that, but after seeing the space, and trying the beer with the cake, I will say that it works amazingly well.  I will have to return for oysters, but I will happily do that.             

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