Monday, August 23, 2010

Sam Adams Beer Dinner at the Arena Bar and Grill

Go on boys. Drink your swill and scarf your Mac-n-Cheese!

I was extremely fortunate this year to have S treat me to a surprise birthmonth present at the Arena Bar and Grill last Sunday at their Sam Adams Beer Dinner.

(I typically don't celebration my birth day--I celebrate my birth month. S is nice enough to humor me.)

And Liquid gold surprises make for the best birthmonth celebrations. Don't you think?

We started out at the bar enjoying the home-made mixed beer nuts as we waited for the thirty-some other like-minded beer aficionados to straggle in. The nuts were a combination of almonds, peanuts, cashews and brazil nuts laced with a baked spicy-sweet glaze. The Boston Lager provided just the right fire-quenching you need for something like this. The nuts and beer would go well watching the Steelers win another Super Bowl.

From there, the revved-up crowd (fully assembled) raced to tables in the left-rear of the dining room, for dinner (and beer) and boy did the fun really get going over there!

(And drinking was just the half of it!) We met a nice couple from somewhere I don't remember. (Could've been from outer space for all I know but pardon me, I was under the influence of Sam Adams.)

I do remember the finer half of the couple: epicurean L! We'll definitely meet you at the Cork sometime!

Also J from Buttonwood who sat across from me and enjoyed the beer just as much as I did! And of course our keen conversations about Buttonwood, Hanover, and times and places of the near past were delightful.

Here you can see the pairings. (Now I'm not that much of a Sam Adams man although I do admire his cousin John in some ways, but there were some impressive brews here nonetheless that aren't available widely in PA, or so we were told.)

The real standout here, to me, was the Stoney Brook Red paired with marinated Skirt Steak. This dish had sweet summer vegetables on the side. The skirt was perfect and raised just enough to entice (a bit of thigh showed) and tasted faintly of the beer. The beer was hardy enough to hold it's own with the steak.


And the American Kriek beer was nice paired with the superior Black Forest Cake, too. Although I'm not a big desert fan, the beer more than made up for it.

There was a brewer from the Boston Beer Company present to discuss and describe each beer as they were served, as someone from the Arena's kitchen introduced each dinner pairing. Also, there was a Sam Adams rep from the Allentown area who also knew a thing or two about the beers, like where they were available or could be purchased. We did yearn though for a bit more interaction with the brewer as the dinner moved along.

All in all, we spent a wonderful three hours or so learning about pairing beers with different foods and sampling same. The food was awesome and really no missteps in any of the courses. The service was impeccable. The company was great. The beers impressive. I would definitely go again if offered.

Thanks S: You are the best part of every day.

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