Farm 255: A beer dinner
Last Wednesday (Nov. 14, 2012) marked a couple of firsts for Sarah and me. No, not the type of first to post on a blog or forum and scream FIRST! Firsts are fun for us, because typically you (or rather we) remember the first time we do something, even more if it’s together. So it was finally, and I say finally because we’ve talked about wanting to go so many times to Farm 255 to eat. How can you live in Athens, GA and not know about Farm 255. It was also Sarah’s first beer dinner and our first beer dinner together. We first heard about this beer dinner while hanging out at Aromas Wine Bar with the Rawlphs. Kevy Seas the beer ranger for Heavy Seas in the Southeast mentioned it to Cloudyfly and me, when I quickly added it to my calendar. Sarah was eager to go my nervous about the menu since she’s not a seafood chick. But she thankfully had some mussels at Five and Ten recently and loved them.
Most beer dinners have a plan, and we heard that this plan took two months to come together. The flyer was a hand showing four fingers stating 4 for $45. Yes I know, you won’t find a better deal. Also it included four big players. Farm 255 supplied the food of course, with two courses including cheese from South Georgia local Sweet Grass Dairy cheeses. The other two supplied the beers, from local favorite Terrapin Beer Company and the aforementioned Heavy Seas Beer from the DC area. One of the quick details that Sarah picked up on and pointed out was that HS Beer was being served in Terrapin glasses and vice versa. The four courses were creatively prepared by famous chef Whitney Otawka around four different regions of the world. She started the dinner by describing each course and its origin which I’ll mention later. Following her was new-found friend Matt Willey from Sweet Grass Dairy who talked about their existence, cheeses and each cheese in the menu. Next was beer ranger Kevin Fox, aka Kevy Seas, from Heavy Seas to talk about their beers in the menu and how each would pair with the course. Following was Dustin Watts, VP of Marketing for Terrapin. Later in the night was the first time the two of us officially met. Though I know him, he also mentioned he knew my name. Dustin did a great job talking up the craft beer community, talking about prohibition and the community. In fact all the stars talked about community. If you are the least bit involved with craft beer or have read countless articles lately about it, you will know it’s all about drink local, eat local and community. The fun fact of the night was Dustin talking hops and how AB completely funded the develop of the Simcoe hop through Hop Union only later to say they didn’t need such an aggressive hop profile. Needless to say the craft community was all over that anxiously awaiting an aggressive hop profile. The restaurant was set up family style with big tables and encouraging people to be a community for the night. We sat next to a cute couple passing through on their way back home to Charleston. She is a pharmacist and her husband is doing his residency in neuroscience to become a doctor. Yeah, I was the dumb one at the table. Though it was funny at the end of the night when Rachel came over to introduce herself. She helped me through emails and confirmed my reservation. He asked if I was kinduva a big deal. Too funny.
First Course: Welsh – Welsh Rarebit
Not to trying at all to down play the course, but simply put, its bread covered in cheese. Described as “sweet grass georgia gouda, terrapin hopsecutioner, pain au levain, roasted frisée, georgia apples” and more simply put as it’s going to be hard to be the first course. If you follow along you know I’m a huge SGD cheese fan. I’ve wanted to try their gouda and achievement unlocked. This was paired with HS Pale Ale and paired nicely. Nice until the waiter grabbed Sarah’s beer with two sips left and she is all about getting every pennies worth. I quickly calmed her after she realized they were refilling the half pours during each course.
Second Course: Belgium – Moules Frites
It was hard for me knowing the menu and deciding if I was more excited about this course or the next. Ingredients listed were “leeks, shallots, housemade bacon, terrapin golden ale broth, fries,
roasted garlic aioli” and paired with this year’s stellar Citra wet hopped Terrapin So Fresh and So Green, Green. Crap! I’m just realizing I haven’t blogged about Terrapin’s Hop Harvest Fest were SF&SGG was released. Sorry guys & gals, I’ll get on that. The frites (fries) were fabulous and I’m sure some people wonder why I mention that? Could you imagine eating mussels with McDonald’s or Zaxby’s fries? The mussels were great, along with the brother. If at home I would have cereal milk bowl drank that broth. Whew it was good. Not to down play anything, as this course was awesome I pondered how it would pair with a Monk’s Revenge, which is Terrapin’s Belgian Imperial IPA. Wonder if I can sneak (byob) a Monk’s into Farm 255 sometime and try with mussels? As good as the first course was, this one topped it.
Third Course: Czech Republic – Braised Short Ribs
Now could a seafood lover enjoy a meat course after a stellar seafood dish? This course included “terrapin india brown ale, potato pierogi, sweet grass dairy thomasville tomme, caramelized onion” and paired with the great HS Beer Small Craft Warning Uber Pils. Now we talk about beer and food pairings. The smooth bittering of the pilsner along with the subtle sweetness from being an imperial contrasted well with the richness of the meat. Not to mention I may be a sucker for SGD Thomasville Tomme. This was my first time having a pierogi, which is a dumpling of unleavened dough per Wikipedia. Several people made comments that they had never seen a pierogi so big. This beer dinner is turning out to be an endless mountain climb in regards to how well I like each course.
Final Course: Germany – Black Forest Cake
All I can say is chocolate > seafood. This delicious chocolate cake came along side ice cream made with HS Beer imperial stout with a spread of brandied cherries sauce on the dish. Did I mention I like chocolate? So pair this with the recently released 2012 Terrapin Moo Hoo chocolate milk stout and I could sit here all night until I popped. Okay, so I could only eat my piece before I wanted to pop. Though I’m bias, this was MY favorite dish of the night. I’d be willing to be that many favored the main course.
During the last course Spike, head brewer for Terrapin spoke some and thanked everyone. Kevy and Dustin both spoke and asked for applause for the Farm staff and Chef Whitney. The peak of the mountain was meeting Chef Whitney Otawka afterwards as we spoke with friends and thanked them. Chef Whitney seemed very down to earth and not full of herself like some would expect from a local celebrity that you see on television often. She listened to questions about Monk’s versus SF&SGG and gave the great response that the latter was a more special beer and she was seeking a special night. Job well done and cheers to Chef Whitney for a great night of community!
[photo credit to Matt Willey of Sweet Grass Dairy & Emily Garrison of Shiraz Athens]
Posted on November 20, 2012, in Beer Events and tagged Aromas Wine Bar, Athens, beer, beer dinner, Chef Whitney, craftbeer, Farm 255, GA beer, Heavy Seas, Heavy Seas Beer, HS Beer, SGD, Sweet Grass Dairy, Terrapin, Whitney Otawka. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.