Approaching their first anniversary, the kitchen and bar teams at King Street's Boone's Bar and Grill have been staying busy this summer, serving an ever-widening variety of Lowcountry fare, tavern cuisine, craft beers, and fine whiskeys. They offered their first-ever beer dinner on Thurs. Sept. 1 with four pairings from Stone Brewing Co., a top-notch microbrewery located just outside of San Diego, California.
With the assistance and reassurance of the always-animated Stone rep Scott Sheridan, Boone's food and beverage manager Chris Phillips, sous chef Chris Fulmer, and cooks James Bergeron and Joey Perkins scrambled to get everything ready by the 7:30 p.m. start time. With their front dining room filled nearly to capacity, they offered complimentary pints of hoppy Stone IPA (6.7 a.b.v.) and Arrogant Bastard (7.2 a.b.v.) while the cooks put the final touches on the first courses.
Local beer scribe Timmons Pettigrew (author of the forthcoming book Charleston Beer: A High-Gravity History of Lowcountry Brewing) was in attendance, as well as several veteran homebrewers and beer fanatics. Several groups of newcomers who’d never experienced a beer dinner before were glad to participate, too.
Located between Calhoun and George streets, Boone's has become a CofC hotspot, with live music and rooftop patio seating upstairs. Fortunately, they've put plenty of effort into their menu and service in the downstairs dining room and bar area, too. Fulmer and his guys clearly enjoyed the opportunity to show off their skills and creativity with the courses of this beer dinner.
They started with zesty course of sausages and stone-ground mustard made with Arrogant Bastard ale. Two varieties of wurst came sliced atop a serving of stone-ground grits and beer-braised sauerkraut. The spicy favors went well with the Sublimely Self Righteous Ale (8/7 a.b.v.), a powerfully hoppy, big-bodied dark ale. A strong German lager or wheat beer would have done the trick, too. The huge IPA was a bold a first move.
Up next was a nicely arranged salad of field greens with skewered local shrimp, zucchini, and a light but flavorful sweet Thai chili sauce and vinaigrette. Stone’s citrusy/grassy Ruination IPA, a very bitter American-style pale ale, complimented the teasing spiciness of the dish. The salad probably should have been served as the starter, perhaps with a lighter style of beer, but it provided a fun breather between the sausages and the third course of pork.
Course three, a sizeable helping of tender, slow-roasted braised pork over horseradish slaw, arrived with citrusy/grassy Ruination IPA, a very bitter American-style pale ale. They braised the pork in Stone IPA and seasoned it heavily with hot spices. The hop zing and puckery bitterness of the Ruination actually enhanced the rich flavors of the pork while offering relief from the fire.
The Boone’s beer dinner concluded with a rather light fruit dessert paired with a very heavy, sweet, alcoholic ale. Stone’s Highway 78 Scotch Ale (8.8 a.b.v.), a traditional wee heavy style brewed in collaboration with their brewpub neighbors, Green Flash and Pizza Port Carlsbad. The simple pastry was a bit bland, but the caramelized, flambéed peach slices were sweet, soft, and delicious. A medium-strength ale with a bit of coffee, chocolate, or tartness might have worked better to complement the dish, as Stone’s Highway 78 was almost a dessert all by itself.
Boone's plans to book more beer dinners and beer-related events through the fall and into 2012. Cheers to that.