December 18, 2012

Bell's Brewery Holiday Dinner at Big Tex

I was fortunate to get a ticket to the sold out Bell's Brewery Holiday Beer dinner at Big Tex in Decatur last Thursday night. It was the first ever beer dinner at Big Tex and the staff did a nice job of trying to make the evening special and memorable. The dinner was prepared by Big Tex Chef, Rick Watson, and featured five courses matched with specific Bell's beers. A brief take on the courses:
1st Course– Amuse Bouche of Rappahannock Oysters two ways, raw and grilled, matched with Bell's Winter White Ale.  This was a great pairing, but really, the White Ale is just a great beer all around that I could drink anywhere anytime. Fresh, briny Chesapeake Bay oysters were nice way to start.
2nd Course- Beef Carpaccio with Bell's Two-Hearted Ale. Beef carpaccio was decent, but questionable in the use of tomato and corn in December.

3rd Course- Lamb Slider and Deck Fat Fries with Bell's Best Brown Ale. This course was fine. A slider, some crispy fries, not much not to like and it was executed well. Tasty match with the Brown Ale, too.

Interlude--This item, brought over from Fox Bros. and not listed on the night's menu, was the best taste of the night. Succulent Duroc pork belly with Fox Bros Bbq sauce and cole slaw on buttery toast. Not surprisingly, this was a great bite as it is in the Fox Bros. wheelhouse.
Course 4- Braised Georgia wild boar paired and cabbage purse with Bell's Porter. Decent dish, lamb a bit tough, and the dish was luck warm by the time it came to the table. 
Course 5- Bell's Black Note Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout paired with a Bourbon caramel chocolate eclair. Bell's Black Note is one of their rarest beers. It also packs quite a punch at 11.5% alcohol. It's a good dessert beer, but it is big, rich beer and best in small doses.
Overall, this was a fun night with some very good beers, some decent bites and good company. While I've been a fan of Bell's, this dinner certainly cemented Bell's as belonging near the top of my go-to list for American craft beers.

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