“Part of the craft of brewing is in experimenting with different things,” says Ed Falkenstein, co-owner of local Palmetto Brewing Company. “If you went to a fine restaurant and ordered a dish, then went back and ordered it again three months later, it might be slightly different because you’re allowing the chef an interpretation. In craft brewing, drinkers allow the brewers to reinterpret things. There is flexibility.”
In the spirit of experimentation, Palmetto and Carolina’s Restaurant recently teamed up to present this month’s beer dinner. Founded in 1993, the Palmetto Brewing Co. was South Carolina’s first independent brewing company since Prohibition. Their operation on Huger Street keeps busy year-round. Their beers are filtered but unpasteurized, allowing them to condition and age in the bottle. The monthly events feature a five course food ’n’ beer menu prepared by executive chef Jeremiah Bacon, an acclaimed kitchen master who attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. Bacon and his assistant chefs design the beer dinner menus after careful sampling, debate, and consideration.
This month’s menu boasts a lot of locally-grown and caught items. It starts with a pickled shrimp arugula and red onion salad paired with a specially-brewed watermelon wheat beer. The second course is a ravioli-like clam/ricotta gnudi paired with Palmetto’s lightest item, the Palmetto Lager. Sautéed triggerfish with bok choy, cipollini onions, and a mustard emulsion will be served with the Palmetto Amber ale, followed by a dish of pan-roasted grouper, local veggies, and a pork jus paired with an amber-colored bockbier (another special-batch). The final course couples a flourless chocolate cake and espresso ice cream with the brewery’s popular Palmetto Porter, which is made with a bit of cold-extracted coffee, too.