Thursday, October 7, 2010

Brewer's Bash at Eleven Madison Park

Last Sunday I skipped my usual routine of NFL viewing and headed up to Eleven Madison Park for the first annual Brewer’s Bash, the finale event of NY Craft Beer Week. The football sacrifice is one i hope to repeat next year; we had a grand old time.

It was a clear and crisp fall day, and they had set up picnic tables in the small outdoor area, which is where we ended up spending most of the day between runs inside for beer and grub because the band playing outside, The Crooners, were really rocking out. Their bluegrass stylings were the highlight of the day for me.  (They apparently also play the Big Apple BBQ Block Party as well as EMP's Derby Party.  Now I really want to hit that next time.)

I started with some Ommegang Cup o Kyndness from an outdoor station and then wandered in and got some Smoked Foie Gras Terrine as well as some Fried Chicken and Pickled Vegetables. The chicken station is the one food we kept going back for more of. The succulent thighs we figured has been brined and given the sous vide treatment before being battered and crisped quickly. This was one of the juiciest examples of chicken I have come across, and the crunchy batter proved an excellent foil. The foie, coming from chef Humm's kitchen, you can imagine, if you are lucky enough to have sampled some of his before.

There were far too many beers to try everything, but a few of my favorites were the Captain Lawrence Imperial Smoked Porter, a farmhouse ale using a special yeast that strikes fear into the heart of winemakers from Goose Island (Sophie Farmhouse Ale), and my top of the day a quad from Allagash aged for three years in wood with strawberries.

A remarkable thing about the event was that it was not completely overrun, as so many other events with food and drink stations i have attended have been. Granted, this pic is from very early before many people arrived, but they definitely did not go overboard on the tickets. I believe they sold 250, which made for a very pleasant experience. I never encountered a line more than a couple deep at either the food or beer stations, only the bar where they offered six different beer cocktails individually prepared was slammed. I only waited once there because I was enjoying the band outside too much to wait at the mobbed bar. The cocktails, btw, were excellent, I'll cover them separately.  Update: beer cocktail post up now.

Slow Cooked Pork Belly with Barbeque Beans and Weissewurst with Bavarian Mustard and Pretzel Roll. The wurst had a nice snap, and the belly had been smoking since dawn:

The Dark Chocolate Macarons were very nice and not too sweet, but the Salty Peanut Macarons, which had a lick of jam in the middle, were the best. I also saw Caramel Popcorn Cotton Candy and some Smoked Almond and Honey Ice Cream Lollipops going around, but never got around to grabbing any.

Here is the outdoor scene soon before the bash began. The weather and the tables gave it an Oktoberfest feel:

They offered two casks from Brooklyn Brewery for tasting in the upstairs private dining room. The left was a very aromatic pennant '55, and on the right was a stout aged with cacao nibs. The stout was really delicious, like eating really dark chocolate, with a pleasant deep bitterness:

Looking out from the PDR:

This was a very special beer Goose Island brewery was pouring we got the last sips of. The Bourbon County coffee stout was whisky like, with very deep and complex wood notes and only a very light fine carbonation:

Here is the giant smoked foie gras terrine they were serving:

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