The venerable Olney Ale House is one of those places that you might have thought had hosted many a beer and wine dinner in its 30+ years of operation ... and you'd be wrong! Because it was not until this past Monday that Olney hosted its first-ever beer dinner.
Current owner John Roach and managers Amanda and Mike welcomed over 50 patrons. Chef John Leisinring offered commentary on each dish as it was served. Rich Fleischer, owner of Hook and Ladder Brewing spoke on his beer. And I did the emcee-ing, an invitation which I considered a signature honor.
There was an hour-long reception beforehand with wines, cigars, and passed appetizers (and beers).
Mixed Green salad
with sundried cherries, applewood smoked bacon, and honey vinaigrette,
served with Hook and Ladder Brewing's Backdraft Brown Ale.
Chicken Breast browned in hazelnut/herbed broth,
served with Clipper City's Balto MarzHon,
two years in a row:
the nation's best Vienna-style Lager (Great American Beer Festival).
Wild Mushroom Risotto,
served with De Koninck Ale.
Salmon topped with diver scallop and fruit salsa,
served with Victory Prima Pils,
Silver Medal winner, 2007 Great American Beer Festival.
Lamb 'lollipop' served over parsnip potato hash
with sun-dried tomatoes and currant demi-glace,
served with Clipper City's Winter Storm Category 5 Ale.
House-made mousse of 60% dark chocolate and black berries,
served with beer cocktail of Lindemans Framboise and Rogue Mocha Porter.
Beer and food, beer and cheese: those are topics that can surprise many who might be skeptical about such pairings. Well, then imagine the reaction to beer and chocolate together as food partners!
Monday's mousse of berry and chocolate was served with a beer blend of tart Lindemans Framboise and Oregon brewery's Rogue's Mocha Porter. it was an appropriate, and appreciated, pairing at the dinner - complementary flavors between the beers and the dessert.
For many years, the Olney Ale House had been one of the only oases of good beer in the DC area. I first visited in the early 1980s, then enjoying my first-ever draft Liberty Ale. Back then, the Ale House sat at an exurban crossroads. Today, it's the same intersection toward which a bit more suburban sprall has encroached, but the Ale House still has that rustic hide-away feel.
Pictured are owner John Roach (l), and Hook and Ladder's Rich Fleischer (r). More photos here.