On Wednesday night, October 15 Sarah and I enjoyed a great four beer, three course dinner at Chef Miley’s Catch 22 Gastropub. We arrived around 6:15p and found a seat at the front community table next to Cousin Owen and The Beer Wench. We talked for a few minutes and met the new Stone Brewing rep. Andrew before the entry beer was served.
The opening beer was Reason Be Damned, an 8% Belgian Strong aged in red wine barrels. My likeness for Belgian yeasts comes and goes, but this was superb. So much so that Sarah even liked it, she even got another half pour before dinner started.
The food pairings started off great and it’s hard to imagine how they could possibly get any better. The first course was a intensely spicy roasted poblano soup with hominy, which was paired with Bang Bang. Bang Bang is a hoppy red ale aged in bourbon barrels at 7.5% and was touted as being the only keg in the state. If so or not I’m glad we got to enjoy it. The bourbon doesn’t shine much which would be okay if sipping this beer solely but paired with this amazing soup made the bourbon shine and accentuated the bitterness of the hops. Everyone was raving about the pairing and the base of the soup. It truly was great. Sarah and I were discussing our excitement for the dinner a few days earlier and I told her I was anticipating a southwest course being Miley’s roots from Cali and Stone being San Diego based. The main course is duck two ways, a roasted thigh and beer braised leg tamale. Sides were ancho creamed corn, smashed avocado with green onion and lime. Pair that medium rich course and slight heat with Enjoy By 10.31.14 and now this is debatably the best course. Typically I’m not a fan of the hugely bitter Enjoy By beers, but this course and that great tamale gave perfect balance to the beer. Thankfully there was plenty of corn and we were given left overs. Score!The last course would certainly fall short but I was looking forward to finally trying this Chris Banker/Stone/Insurgente Xocoveza Mocha Stout. It’s an 8.1% stout brewed with cocoa, coffee, peppers, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg which sounds like a lot but comes across as, well, a mocha stout. Paired with an amazing pumpkin latte trifel and white chocolate whipped cream and you suddenly have a pumpkin spice latte. The huge coffee bitterness of the stout cuts through the sweetness of the dessert. There was a cookie that I quickly devoured, so I can’t say much about it. Just like the cookie, the last course was great.
Typically I like to say which of the courses was my favorite but Chef Miley made that really tough. We stayed a bit after so I could enjoy another pour of the stout, Sarah had a pour of Southern Tier Pumpking, and we talked to our vast group of local beer geeks and how much we all enjoyed the dinner. We left full but not stuffed and not overly served, which is great. Most beer dinners set out to get you hammered and Chef Miley didn’t do that. Catch 22 has had two recent beer dinners so their tap list and new fall menu is great, so I strongly suggest a visit soon. Thanks to Chef Cora so the extra ancho creamed corn too, it paired great with cast iron seared pork chops and sautéed broccoli at home the next day. Great job to the chefs and everyone at Catch 22!