Whenever I think of Samuel Adams beer, it reminds me of the skit on the Dave Chappelle Show (not safe for children, don't click if so!!!). If you've never seen it, think of Samuel Jackson and his character from Pulp Fiction and beer. But in reality, the original Samuel Adams Lager is from Boston and doesn't involve a bunch of swearing, unless one has had too many. Recently, I was invited to attend the Samuel Adams-inspired dinner hosted by Mijune at Fable featuring dishes crafted by Chef Trevor Bird.
Naturally, we had some Samuel Adams Boston Lager for the table (actually, many bottles... still no profanity though!). This was only the second time I've had this lager and it was much more complex than I remembered. It had a nice bite at the end that ultimately went well with the rest of the meal (especially the heavier stuff). We started with the fresh Pretzels with Sam Adams fermented beer cheese. This smooth and creamy concoction was beautifully blended with beer. I could definitely taste it, but there was no unsavoury bitter aftertaste. Rather, the cheese came through with a nice mild sharpness. I liked the contrast in temperature between the cold dip and warm pretzel. As for the pretzel, it was soft on the inside while maintaining a firm chewiness on the outside.
Next up, the Mussels & Chorizo with Sam Adams apple broth & cured bacon was on the money. With buttery large mussels and a wealth of chorizo bits, there was no lack of flavour. Rather than using white wine, the use of beer gave the broth more body and richness while at the same time being cooked down enough so it didn't overwhelm. I liked how there was a slow buildup of spice that lingered to the end. And then it arrived... The Porkapalooza Platter consisting of brined pork rack, BBQ pulled pork and cured bacon along with kale, fiddle heads, potatoes, apple sauce, mustard and jus. By far, the bacon was the biggest hit as it was buttery while meaty at the same time. I wouldn't say it was melt-in-my-mouth tender though as it maintained a chew. I could definitely taste the background beer flavour to go along with the saltiness. I found the pork rack to be tender and moist, yet the most mildly flavoured of the 3 meats. I would've liked to see even more beer taste here as the meat would've stood up to it. Lastly, the meaty pulled pork was a nice balance of sweet, tart and rich beer flavour.
For dessert, we were served a Cheddar Apple Pie with Sam Adams ice cream. With the cheddar baked into the thin flaky crust at the bottom, it ensured that the apples remained the star of the show. Yet, the cheddar still came through adding both aromatics and extra texture. The apple portion was tender while not too sweet. It consisted of 3 whole apples compressed (through cooking) into a neatly compact package. Hence, the apple flavours were more complex. The ice cream added the necessary extra shot of sweetness to the dish. This was a fine ending to a meal that featured Sam Adams beer in a very balanced manner. There too many times, too much of a good thing results in overwhelming flavours, but not in this case.
- Balanced use of a featured ingredient
- Flawless execution of proteins
- Although balanced, some flavours could've been even more pronounced