2011 NY Craft Beer Week – Southampton Beer Pairing Dinner @ Hearth

30 Sep

This was not my first go-round at the rodeo. I’m not a beer-pairing dinner virgin. I GET that the variety & complexity of craft beers out there are naturals when it comes to pairing them with sumptuous food stuffs. That being said… heavens to Murgatroyd… 

Before I even get into the food, I have to explain the BrewYork connection to this dinner, and how I came to be invited. No, this wasn’t an ‘invite only’ event thank goodness… but rather, a friend invited me! Yep, that still happens ladies… chivalry is not dead! 🙂

I’ve known forever that my #BrewYork friend David Flaherty is the Operations Manager for Hearth & Terroir here in the city, but I’d never gotten over to one of the restaurants in the group to sample their fare. Well, while I was at work last Wednesday, my friend Shafer texted me to see if I’d like to join him for a Southampton Publick House beer pairing dinner at Hearth that evening. After a quick look at the menu, I excitedly accepted!

Now, I know that Flaherty knows his beer (and his wine!) and is a serious foodie (check out his envy-inducing website, Grapes and Grains!)… but I honestly was blown away by the pairings… which was a group effort between David, the chefs at Hearth & the folks from Southampton! Here’s how it all went down…

After a complimentary glass of Riesling and a yummy split pea amuse-bouche, we tucked excitedly into the first course:

CORN SOUP
Tomato, Mascarpone, Tarragon
Southampton Keller Pils

I swear, I’ve never had a corn soup that was anywhere close to the silky, creamy, smoothness of this bowl of heaven! The spices on the tomatoes were fabulous on their own, but once you followed up a bite with a sip of the Pils, the flavors just exploded in your mouth! I think that this may have been the best example I’ve ever experienced of how a beer can enhance and expand upon the flavors of a dish! Well done sirs, well done! Honestly, Shafer and I couldn’t stop exclaiming over the experience!

Next up was the entree:

GRILLED PORK SAUSAGE
Market Greens, Pepperoncini, Garlic
Southampton IPA

While the sausage was yummy, it was the market greens that really surprised us! You would think that a smoky flavor might accompany the sausage, given that it was grilled, but it was actually the greens that came off a bit smoky… and it was a delicious way to go! The bit of spice & smokiness from the dish paired very well with the IPA… but it was the side dish that might have ruined me for all other foods…

GNOCCHI!!!!!!

Until that night if you had asked me if I liked gnocchi, I would have answered with a resounding, “NO!”

To me, gnocchi is heavy, dense, & a bit too chewey for my taste. Apparently, I have not had GOOD gnocchi, the way it’s supposed to be! The little nuggets in this bowl of culinary perfection absolutely melted in my mouth… soft, light, fluffy… and lightly accented by a bit of butter, salt & pepper. I had no idea that a bit of potato could make me so deleriously happy! THANK YOU, Hearth!!!

And then, it was on to the desert course:

PLUM CRISP
Lemon Verbena Ice Cream
Southampton Abbot 12

 The plum was a VERY nice update to the classic apple crisp, and the lemon verbena ice cream was lovely… though I’ll admit, I definitely thought I picked up some ginger… but that could have been wishful thinking, or a result of the beers consumed 🙂 As for the beer… well, I don’t have the best palate nor am I great at describing complex beers, so I’m going to let my friend Peter over at Simply Beer do it for me 🙂 Southampton Abbot 12 Abbey Dark Ale

Overall this was an amazing evening… the restaurant was perfect, our amazing waitress was so full of energy and joy and really contributed to our overall experience… and the dishes and beers they were paired with were absolutely spectacular.

I can’t wait to go back to Hearth and sit at the bar with a pint of good beer and a bowl of the heavenly gnocchi!

~HH~

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