Since I last wrote, I haven’t stopped. After the great swim, G and I went out for a mini-vacation at B and M’s place “out in the county” as they say here. B is a native Puebloan from a 3 or 4 generation farm family and the two of them just moved back last year after she had been away for 30 years. She couldn’t wait to put Pueblo in her rear view when she was younger, but is now discovering that the town has changed quite a bit since then and much of it for the better.
For example, on Thursday night all of us went to the Shamrock Brewing Company’s first Brewer’s Dinner, a 6-course tasting meal with each course paired with a brew from the pub. The meal was amazing, but you’ll have to use your imagination as silly GG did not bring her camera along.
The first course was white almond gazpacho paired with Blonde Lager. The presentation was lovely, ground almonds pureed with some of the pub’s bread and garlic, a hearty chilled puree topped with slivered almonds, tiny chopped tomatoes and drizzled with green parsley oil. Irish colors!
Second course was fava bean and asparagus salad with fresh arugula with Belgian White ale. The lemon balsamic vinaigrette matched the citrus-y flavor of the ale which is served with a slice of orange. The greens were fresh and peppery and the asparagus and beans perfectly cooked. A great, light second course.
The third course was Porter BBQ glazed St. Louis ribs with apple slaw paired with Porter Ale. The Shamrock’s Porter is similar to Guinness but without the bitterness. Smooth all the way down. The ribs were brilliant! Done with a spicy dry rub, those who thought the bite a tad too much only had to take a bit of crisp apple in the slaw to cool things on the tongue immediately. The darker Porter added a depth and richness to the entire dish. The added touch of warm, moist napkins and bone plates served with the course was much appreciated. These ribs easily fell off the bone to fork or teeth. No gnawing needed!
The fourth course was Hasenpfeffer fingers with a lemon Tobasco cream and Maytag blue cheese dipping sauce with Nut Brown Ale. I’ve only had rabbit a couple of times in my life, and this preparation stands at the top of the list. Crisply but not heavily breaded, the mild taste of the meat came through, but the Tobasco cream sauces? Dear God, just give me a straw and I’ll be happy! Yummy, yummy, yummy! The brown ale, similar to Newcastle, added lower notes to the tart spiciness, a great balance.
Lest you think that we just inhaled this entire feast, the service team paced out the entire dinner just right. Time between courses allowed guests to chat and get acquainted and the Brewer, Jason, was a charming young man who introduced and explained each course and the reasons behind the choice of each beer. We also learned that he buys his malted barley from a local place in Alamosa, CO, a family who switched from a sinking dairy business to a now-bustling malt trade to the micro- and home brewers of this state. Great story!
The fifth course was a beef tenderloin with horseradish mashed potatoes and a strawberry demiglace paired with Irish Red Ale. Could Heaven be any closer? I don’t think so. The beef was cooked to absolute perfection, tender, flavorful. The potatoes added just the right zest with the horseradish and the strawberry essence really came out in the demiglace without overpowering. The hit of sweetness in the red ale brought everything together. It was a unanimous request of the diners that this dish be put on the menu immediately!
Finally, the sixth course was a brownie made with the nut brown ale, topped with home made ice cream with a hint of almond flavor paired with a Double Irish Red Ale. By this time, I was beginning to slide into a coma induced by a complete overabundance of amazing food and the best beer I ever indulged in. I managed to snap out of it long enough to handle dessert, though! The brownie was still warm, the ice cream decadent and while I don’t often think of beer as being a dessert beverage, the intense sweetness of the Double Irish really added to the overall dish.
We lingered and chatted and laughed and complimented everyone on a job most fabulously done. We got on the VIP list for more such dinners and M and I offered our foodie opinions for the theme of the next one. We were all a bit overloaded to drive, so we took a postprandial stroll around downtown Pueblo where we encountered a lovely man out with his young daughter who took us up to his in-town renovated condo for a tour. All of us had been dying to see inside the building and he graciously took us all over until we sobered up enough to get home. That’s another story.
After that evening, I barely rolled out of bed in time to put on coffee and get down here to spend the day banging out medical reports. Speaking of which, yeah, gotta go. Hope you enjoyed the culinary tour. Come visit us and we’ll take you to the Shamrock for a pint!