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Thursday, February 22, 2007
Monk's Beer Dinner 1/23/07 : Russian River Brewing Co.- Adam's Take
Thanks Bryan for getting your impressions up here last week. Here are my notes from the night. We really ought to pay our interns. We might get better turn around times. ;-) OK, so after last year's Russian River/Pizza Port dinner blew my palate all outta shape I was a bit relieved that only one of them would be in the ring with us that night. So what did I expect? Well I'm not a sour virgin anymore, but, that doesn't mean I know sour yet. I have a looong way to go before that's the case. I think I expected to actually TASTE each of the beers this time and I expected some outstanding beer and food pairings. How did I fair. Well lets see. Bryan and I walked briskly on a crisp night from our limo...er...regional rail car. Soon we saw the neon sign and walked up the steps into a much warmer place. It was a familiar scene. One that we enjoy with every beer dinner. Fergy and Tom milling about and George MC'ing in that little dark comfy place everybody calls Monks. The hostess led us to our seats after a bit of shoulder to shoulder bumping around. Ahhh the excitement builds. Alright lets have a look at the menu. Spicy Thai Shrimp sounds interesting, but, with Temptation...hmmm I wonder. I'm not a real fan of Duck. Pork tenderloin sandwich? Hmmm...how is this all going to come together. Well the bread pudding sounds like something for a cold cold night. George took the mic and introduced Vinnie from Russian River. He spoke about the horse blanket. He scared us with the dirty socks. Ultimately he said that control was the name of the game. Control that nasty little brett animal or it would be the end of your beer. Of course Vinnie has done just that with many of the beers we tasted that night. Vinnie then took the mic with confidence and spoke of each beer like a proud father. I'm paraphrasing here. The Damnation is a bottle conditioned "good Belgian blonde ale" which is offered year-round. Tonight's Sanctification is one of the last kegs around. There isn't even one left at the brewery. It is fermented with 100% brett and some other microorganisms. Supplication is Tom's fav and his wife's too. It seems there's more left at Monks than at the brewery in this case too. The Blind Pig, a solid year round IPA, stands out as the only non "tion" beer on the menu tonight. Last but not least Salvation, a strong dark ale at 9-9 1/2% ABV. Temptation was also mentioned, however the intern spilled coffee on those notes. Vinnie also spoke about the presence of fruit in each course. He mentioned the pair-ability of the beer. They are dry and drinkable. Not too sweet. What follows is a brain dump of my impressions from that night. Let the tasting begin. No notes on the Damnation. Must have been terrible ;-) JK Temptation = Pucker Up and Transport me to sourville. What happens when you mix heat, watermelon and temptation? You want to drink more! What a delicate pairing. Kinda like that watermelon wheat we tasted with some dry spices. This pairing just worked. If Temptation sent me to sourville, Sanctification sent me downtown where the action is. I knew I was going to like this sour thing. Still have a hard time explaining it, but, damn it's fun. Scallops were tender and delicious. Not sure about the whole course though. Bryan did find something interesting out here though. I think it he said that the fish eggs really brought out the er...FUNK! I think it was a in a good way. I hear some people are really into that FUNKY beer thing. Me I'm still trying to acquire that taste. My fish eggs were gone too quickly to try the same combinations as Bryan. I guess I'm gonna have to order some sushi with my next sour beer. Is it just me or does the word Supplication just go with the word Duck? Must be that "u" in there. Well let me tell you I ain't had nuthin' this good since my Gram made me some homemade chicken noodle soup. I loved it. I don't think I'll ever get duck this good again. Ok...I know it sounds like the beer went to my head...and well it did...but, that's besides the point. It was so tender and tasty. (I really need some new adjectives.) Duck + Apple + Supplication = Happy Man! Have you ever been to a fancy dinner and been left a little...er...hungry? I have. Well here comes the pork tenderloin sandwich to save the day. This puppy really hit the spot with the tangy blue cheese and sweet pineapple. The Blind Pig was there to chase it down too. Man what a pairing and satisfying too. Do you know how hard it is for me to write a review like this? It's like trying to paint a sunset and capture all the subtle differences in the colors. On to the dessert. What can I say? It was one of the best desserts I have ever had. I know, I know I've said stuff like that before. I especially enjoyed the dessert pairing at the RR & PP dinner last year, but, this is different. Although I enjoyed the Salvation. I thought the dessert, Bananas Foster Bread Pudding absolutely stole the show. I can't explain it. Do you remember that scene in when Harry Met Sally? Yeah the one at the diner. OK, you got it. That's it. That is how good this was. Whew, is it getting hot in here? After dinner we milled around a bit hoping to catch some people before they left. We decided it would be nearly impossible to get the next train so we were "stuck" here for another hour. No matter we made the best of it. Bartender I'll have a.... There you have it. It was another incredible night at Monks. A big thanks to Adam the Chef and his team.