Another month, another beer dinner at the Vanderbilt. We’re beginning to think they recognize us there (hi, guys!). This dinner paired four courses with Kelso beers, introduced by brewer Matt. (We were a little disappointed in the introduction. In the past dinners, the representative from the brewery stood up between each course to talk about not only the beer, but also the pairing. This time, the talk was just beforehand, and it was only about beer.)
Here’s the menu, with the highlights discussed in-depth after:
Tomato and watermelon salad with Thai basil, puslane, and smoked salt
Vanderbilt clam bake with bacon, potato, green beans, cornbread
Kelso Belgian Pale Ale
St. Louis barbecue pork steak with creamy corn
Kelso Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial IPA
Peach and Yogurt Semifreddo with pecan praline
Kelso Bourbon Barrel-Aged Recessionator
The pairing of of the Kelso Pils with a tomato and watermelon salad was a great way to start off the meal. The ingredients from the farmer’s market gave the pairing a great freshness and the pilsner was subtle enough to complement the delicate flavors of the salad. The Thai basil in the salad really made the pairing complete, with the slightly sweet grassy flavors of the pilsner.
We also loved the St. Louis Barbecue Pork Steak with the bourbon barrel-aged imperial IPA. The flavors were big and bold with a definite woodiness in the IPA and the smokiness of the pork (it was smoked for 6 hours). The sauce had a great sweetness to balance the hop bitterness in the IPA. Chef Saul Bolton raved about the sauce that his staff had made: “I don’t now if you guys make barbecue sauce – but this fucking rocks.”
The last course of the semifreddo with the bourbon barrel-aged recessionator, a bock, didn’t work well for us as a pairing. There was too much sweetness without any contrast between the beer and food. The course was still saved by the unbelievably delicious pecan praline.