Saturday, January 14, 2017

Hopewell Brewing - Monday Night Dinner with Bang Bang Pie and Biscuits

Before Christmas I had come across a notice for a beer and pizza dinner with partners I was very interested in.  I could not at the time however, commit to it and thought I would come back to it after Christmas.  When I did try to come back to it though, I could find no note of it anywhere.  I did however come across a beer dinner hosted by a brewery in my neighborhood, Hopewell Brewing, with food provided by Bang Bang Pie and Biscuits.  Most beer dinners are done by a restaurant to feature a brewery and Hopewell Brewery doesn't have a kitchen, so this was a little unusual.  Hopewell is planning on doing a dinner series, inviting different restaurants to work with them, so that should be a lot of fun.  The taproom at Hopewell Brewing is big and open with a high ceiling and communal tables (in addition to the bar which was not used for the dinner).  The front of the space has floor to ceiling windows which were covered with shades for the evening and the brewing tanks are in the back and can be seen trough a window in the taproom wall. Things started out immediately after we checked in.  there was a plate of Pastry Crust with a Champagne Foam on top.  It was a one bite wonder with a very tender and flaky crust and a light tangy foam.  With the pastry square we were served our first beer.  Called Clover Club, it was a Wild Raspberry Beer made with Gin Botanicals.  It was sour with a nice raspberry flavor and bitter from the botanicals.  It was very red and also very clear, and it wasn't something that you might want to drink quickly.
After we had our beginning bite and our first beer, we found a spot to sit at one of the communal tables, our choice.  The food was going to come out family style and we were to serve ourselves.  I found a spot near some interesting people and we had some good conversations throughout the evening, although because one couple were parents to triplets and another was a brother to triplets, the conversation kept on coming back to triplets.  Our first course started with a Farmer's Salad with Arugula, Granny Smith Apples, Walnuts, Pomegranate, Goat Cheese, and a Champagne Vinaigrette.  With that came a Mini Scratch Biscuit, the full size for which Bang Bang Pie and Biscuits is known, and Dijon Chive Butter.  The salad was fresh, crisp and very flavorful with nicely peppery arugula, sour and crisp apples, tart goat cheese, bittersweet pomegranate and nutty walnuts.  The beer, the Friends and Family Saison, had a nice funk and evoked the farmhouse as well.
Our next course was simple, but still a classic that is a favorite at Bang Bang Pie and Biscuits, Mac and Cheese.  Done with Elbow Macaroni, it was very cheesy and also included Maple Glazed Country Ham.  The salad took a couple of passes for it to be reduced to the dregs, but the mac and cheese disappeared quickly.  Served with the Mac and Cheese was the Swift IPA which is crisp with a sweet bitterness and a malty backbone.
Our main course was very much a standard in midwestern homes, Meatloaf, but this Meatloaf was ridiculous.  It was enormous and topped with Oyster Mushroom Gravy (although it tasted also as if it used Barbecue Sauce in the loaf).  As sides, we were served Country Style Green Beans with Bacon and Onions and Whipped Potatoes with more Oyster Mushroom Gravy.  The meatloaf was cooked very well, was a lot less greasy than many meatloafs that I have had in the past, had a slightly crisp exterior, and a great flavor.  It was also pretty heavy so many people (including me) brought some home.  The beans were fresh and crisp and the bacon and onions provided a nice added flavor.  The potatoes were chunky and flavorful and the gravy added a nice mushroom flavor.  The beer that was paired with the meatloaf was Thick and Thin Stout.  It had a nice and strong stout flavor that went well with the meatloaf.
Last came dessert and while many of us were approaching full, Bang Bang does some great fruit pies so we were very excited for dessert.  We, surprisingly, were not served pie, but it was similar.  We got a Cast Iron Cherry Crisp with Spiced Tart Cherries and Brown Sugar Crumble.  It wasn't a pie, but it was like a pie with out the crust and it was still fantastic.  It also disappeared pretty quickly.  Our final beer was the Very Nice Belgian Strong Ale and it was very nice.  It was rich and sweet and went well with the cherry crisp.

This dinner was a lot of fun.  The food wasn't incredibly elaborate and was in fact pretty common in kitchens around the Midwest, it was done very well and went well with the good, but simple beers served by Hopewell.  I made sure to add myself to their email list so I know when they do another dinner.


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