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Thursday, November 8, 2012

On The Rox

Lately, I've been toying with the idea of doing a Beer Tasting Dinner at home. Wine always seems to take center stage at these types of events, but lots of local places have been holding regular tastings and dinners signaling that craft beer is moving up in the world. And what's better on a chilly fall evening than beer and great food? 

A friend recently introduced me to Mike Pendergrast, Chef and Beer Aficionado at On The Rox. As we enjoyed Mike's company and his great selection of craft beer, it became evident rather quickly that this man knew what he was talking about. So who better than Mike to give me a Beer 101 lesson and help me plan my menu. 

But first....a little bit more about Mike and On The Rox.

Mike absolutely loves what he does, but cautions it's not for the faint of heart. Cooking professionally is demanding on many levels and like all great art {yes, I think good food is art}, if you don't fully commit to it you end up with a "mediocre copy of another man's genius". That's one of my favorite lines from Little Women but it totally applies so just go with it. He spent a few years on the Charleston, SC restaurant scene and also taught culinary arts at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College before laying down roots at On The Rox. 

"I always knew I wanted to use humble ingredients without changing the integrity of the dish."

{ Panini, Hand Cut French Fries Confit in Duck Fat, Buffalo Fried Chicken Legs with Celery and Blue Cheese Slaw }
{On The Rox has an amazing happy hour, karaoke every Wednesday, and always has "the game" on}

To accompany his unpretentious, yet surprisingly sophisticated menu, Mike knew he wanted a robust craft beer list. With his knowledge of the brewing process and landscape of the industry, it was not surprising to me that I enjoyed every beer we sampled. On this particular evening I was in for a double treat. Not only did I have Mike teaching me, but we also got a visit from his old friend Teddy Folkman, the chef at Granville Moore's in DC. What more could a girl ask for?

{Check out one of my favorites here}

{An experiment for your guests: Try the same beer in two different shaped glasses it will taste completely different}

{Our menu}

Here's the menu we came up with including a fabulous beer for every course. I hope you will be inspired to host your own tasting but always heed Mike's advice - Balance is key, the beer should never overwhelm the food.

First Course:
Mussels with tomato and cilantro in white wine
Beer: Hennepin

Second Course:
Beet and Pear Salad with aged Bucheron Goat Cheese
Beer: Tripel Karmeliet

Third Course:
Steak with Asparagus 
Beer: Orval

Fourth Course:
Chocolate Pot de Creme
Beer: Guinness Stout {My pick}

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