Monday, July 2, 2012
5 Napkin Stone Brewing Company Event was Awesome
Last week, you may recall me running a giveaway on the site in partnership with 5 Napkin Burger for their Beer & Bourbon dinner series, this one hosted by the Stone Brewing Company. One lucky winner received a pair of tickets (congrats Christina!), and I was fortunate to meet this lovely woman, with an immense passion for good food and drink.
Joined also by Meg and Mackenzi, my We Heart Astoria colleagues, we had a great time tasting all the thoughtfully paired food with the Stone craft beers. Even Mackenzi who's not a huge beer fan became a semi-convert.
I like the steady format, which these events take, the first half hour - 45 minutes reserved for casual beer and app time, while the rest of it is spent at a big communal table eating dinner and indulging in various brews, paired with some delicious eats.
The first getting-to-know you part is quite nice, as you get to meet the brewers for the first time as well as your fellow diners. All this is strategically timed for when you go into the main dining room and actually get to sit with these folks to a nice dinner and discuss everyone's favorite topics at hand - burgers and craft beer.
There's usually a special menu that accompanies the beers, keeping in mind their unique flavors, making sure that it doesn't outshine them. Last week was no different, as we indulged in an exciting menu of diverse apps, a beer/potato/cheddar soup, two choices of specialty burgers and a custom smoked porter creme brulee. Needless to say, we were completely stuffed but in the best meaning of the word.
Apps - Finger foods are a nice way to enjoy beer, whetting your appetite for the main event. I loved the nice variety here, which spanned from bite sized beer belly and egg sandwiches to grilled chipotle shrimp and even tempura fried vegetables. Everything was fresh, piping hot, and ultra flavorful, which started the evening off on the right note. My personal favorites were the fiery grilled shrimp and the pork belly sandwiches, which showcased a nice flavor mix of slightly sweet and savory.
Potato Ale & Gruyere Soup - I always love me some soup, and was excited to see we were kicking off the dinner in this way. Judging by its name, I knew this would be a no joke, thick porridge, rather than a light soup, which was the right hypothesis. It paired quite well with Stone's Arrogant Bastard ale, which as its name implies is also robust and aggressive in taste. I enjoyed filling my spoon with the thick soup after each gulp of the Bastard, which further enhanced its flavors and brought out its yeasty beer notes.
Pimento Cheese Burger - This burger debuted on the menu just for this event, so I naturally had to see what it was all about. It was a hot ticket item, as most of the table ordered it too and everyone seemed impressed by its bold, uncompromising flavor. But even before I get into its taste, I want to first talk about its beautiful appearance, as it was dressed generously with soft pimento cheese, grilled red onions and fresh jalapenos. Each bite gave you a pronounced yet pleasant jolt of spice that hit you fast but that dissipated just as quickly. That's what I loved about it; that bold 1-2 punch. Paired with a "highly hopped" Stone IPA, it helped your senses cope with the sharpness of the burger, through its intensely bitter yet wonderful taste.
Stone Smoked Porter Creme Brulee - No doubt my favorite part of the meal, the creme brulee was a dark chocolate, creamy concoction with a buttery shortbread cookie on top. Also made with the Stone Smoked Porter, with which it was also served, it was rich in flavor, giving off notes of coffee with a smokey finish. Taking sips of the creamy porter provided the best kind of nightcap.
Service and Cost:
As always, the service was exceptional, from the steadily flowing appetizers to the many varieties of Stone beers, also at our disposal. I enjoyed speaking with Dennis, Stone's representative who seemed to have an immense amount of passion for the beer, and who also knew loads about Astoria and its many, diverse watering holes.
The cost of the dinner was $35, including tax and tip, which is a pretty sweet deal for all this booze and burger goodness.
3 boozy Mmmms
5 Napkin Burger - 35-01 36th Street, Astoria, NY 11106
N/Q Train to 36th Avenue