Tuesday, September 30, 2014

rabbit hole beer dinner at state & allen

Recently I followed Rabbit Hole Brewing down their rabbit hole and into a food comatose following a four course beer and food pairing done at the Uptown neighborhood bar/bistro State & Allen. I had never been to State & Allen before so I was anxious to try their food offerings alongside beer from one of my favorite breweries in the DFW area. Let's go course by course shall we?

Course 1
Pulled Chicken Arepa w/ apricot, jalapeno
Pairing: Mike Modano's 561 Kolsch
Thoughts: This was my least favorite pairing of the night. The chicken was a little too dry and bland. A little more spice kick from the jalapeno would have helped bring out some fruitiness from the hops used in this Kolsch.

Course 2
English Drunken Mussels w/ rouille and torn bread (Hawaiian sweet rolls)
Pairing: 10/6 English IPA
Thoughts: The two by themselves, fantastic. I loved the mussels, perfectly cooked with a very flavorful broth that I would gladly bathe in. The 10/6 English IPA is one of my favorites from Rabbit Hole, marrying that balance between malty sweetness and grassy/herbal hoppiness. Together? They just didn't do much on the palate, the pairing fell kind of flat.

Course 3
Country Lentil Cassoulet w/ rabbit sausage, duck breast and lamb chop
Pairing: Rapture Fusion Brown
Thoughts: If State & Allen is reading this, please put that rabbit sausage on the menu, it was fantastic! The whole dish had that rustic feeling and was a perfect 'comfort dish.' Not only that, the pairing was perfect. Taking a bite of the rabbit sausage and taking a drink of the Rapture Brown brought out this pleasing sweetness that you would otherwise not get. Seriously, I want to buy a pack of that rabbit sausage and have a backyard BBQ w/ a keg of the Rapture Brown.

Tom, head brewer, also enjoyed the cassoulet

Course 4
Crepe w/ banana, hazlenut and white chocolate
Pairing: Off With Your Red (Imperial Red)
Thoughts: Perhaps my favorite pairing of the night. I'm tired of the same ol' dessert pairings with stouts or fruit beers, they've become too safe in my opinion. State & Allen took a risk with this one and it paid off. I couldn't tell what it was, perhaps the banana, that helped bring out this intense fruitiness after taking a drink of Off With Your Red. It took a second, but once the back of your tongue got hit with it, game over. I couldn't stop eating this one. When it was gone, I wanted more.

Overall, even though the first course fell flat, the meal progressively got better and better with two fantastic pairings. State & Allen, you have a new fan. I will be back. Expect more beer and food dinners from them in the future, they're talking about hosting one once a month. Rabbit Hole, keep doing what you're doing by brewing that good stuff for DFW. Cheers!

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Friday, September 19, 2014

texas ale project

Brent Thompson of Texas Ale Project

UPDATE 2/9/15 - Texas Ale Project has been delivering their beer around Dallas for some time now, and their beautiful tap room is now officially open for pouring. Be sure to keep up with them on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

They will start out with their three core beers. Fire Ant Funeral is an American amber with nice toasty notes and a clean finish. Somethin' Shady, a porter, has a clean malt backbone and subtle roasty notes that makes it quaffable even on the hot days. My favorite of the three is the Naked Truth, an American wheat. This surprised me beyond words since I'm typically not a fan of the style, but theirs packs a nice hoppy punch thanks to the Nelson Sauvin hops they use. I'll be putting back a few of these in the future.

T.A.P Room Hours:
Thursday and Friday from 5-9pm
Saturday from 1-9pm

Porter, Wheat, Amber

There's a new district in the Big D, the Dallas Brewery District. Okay, that's not official, but with the addition of Texas Ale Project in the Design District, it might as well be called just that being added alongside the likes of Peticolas, Community Beer and Four Corners (I know Four Corners isn't technically in the Design District, but they're all just so damn close to each other now!). If the city of Dallas has any plans on a bike path in the area, they should seriously consider a brewery tour bike path.

Texas Ale Project isn't open just quite yet as evidenced by the 'Under Fermentation' sign out front and the massive amount of construction going on. However, Brent Thompson, founder of Texas Ale Project, hopes to be open late this fall with four core beers including an IPA, Amber, Wheat and a Porter that Brent described as '...drinkable in any type of weather but still has a good porter body to it.' They will also have a small pilot system where they can play around with experimental brews.

The building is massive with a lot of room for future expansion and room for a canning line which Brent hopes will be operational within the first year, but he admits that's a bit optimistic so it'll be draft only in the North Texas area at first. There will also be a large area dedicated a tap room which will be open Thursday-Saturday (times TBD). The tap room has large windows overlooking downtown Dallas so I forsee some happy hours will be enjoyed here.

Even though they are not open yet, you can still have a chance to try their beer. If you got tickets to the Texas Craft Brewers Festival they will be in attendance with two experimental beers.

Party Like it's 1773 - Patriot Ale
'Dry Leafed' with tea, golden in color

Imperial IPA
9% ABV, around 100 IBU. Very balanced with tons of citrus on the nose and in the flavor profile and not overly bitter for a IIPA.

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