Monday, January 07, 2013

Lyon Hall Restaurant challenges Allagash Brewing

Lyon Hall, a bistro in the Clarendon district of Arlington, Virginia, continues its series of "Versus" Beer Dinners on Tuesday, 8 January 2013.

David McGregor, the restaurant's Beer Director, 'battles' Suzanne Woods, the local representative from Allagash Brewing (of Portland,Maine). The dinner features five courses and ten beers. Each course, prepared by Chef Andy Bennett, is paired with two beers: one from Allagash and the other selected by McGregor. Customers vote for their preferences for the better beer-food pairings. A winner is declared.


The Menu 

1st Course 

Cauliflower velouté sauce, grapes, and caviar.
Allagash White vs. Hitachino Nest White White Ale
An interpretation of a traditional Belgian wheat beer, Allagash White delicately balances full flavor with a crisp, refreshing taste and subtle hints of spice. Naturally cloudy, with yeast. 5% alcohol-by-volume.

Hitachino Nest White Ale (Japan) is brewed in the tradition of a Belgian style white beer with coriander, nutmeg, orange peel, and orange juice. Malts: Lager, Wheat  Hops: Perle, Styrian Golding  Adjuncts: Flaked Wheat, Flaked Barley. Spices: Coriander, Nutmeg, Orange peel. Sugar: Orange Juice. 5.5% abv 

2nd Course 

Carrot salad, tossed with house-made ricotta, pecans, and yogurt-cumin dressing.
Allagash Curieux vs. Pretty in Pink Saison
Allagash Curieux was the brewery's first foray into barrel aging. Curieux is made by aging its Tripel Ale in Jim Beam bourbon barrels for eight weeks in cold cellars. The aged beer is then blended back with a portion of fresh Tripel. The resulting beer is soft with coconut and vanilla notes, with hints of bourbon. 11% alcohol-by-volume. [The brewery pronounces the beer as 'CURE eee oh'.]

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, four women from four breweries —Lost Rhino (Virginia), Bluejacket (Washington, D.C.), Vintage 50 (Virginia), and Hardywood (Virginia)— came together to craft a beer for hope, Pretty in Pink: Awareness Ferments Hope. Using the finest malts, two strains of hops, and an Ardennes yeast, then adding flavor, aroma, and hue with (hibiscus and pomegranate), they produced a brisk saison. Pink, slightly tart with subtle fruit-esters and hints of spice. 5.8% abv.

2nd course: Carrot salad

3rd Course

Pan roasted Artic Char, served with red cabbage, salsify emulsion, and bitter chocolate.
Allagash Tripel vs. Petrus Aged Pale Ale
Allagash Tripel is strong golden ale, marked by passion fruit and herbal notes in the aroma, with suggestions of banana and honey in the complex palate. The Tripel has a long and smooth finish.9% alcohol-by-volume. 9% alcohol-by-volume.

From Brouwerij Bavik (Belgium), Petrus Aged Pale Ale is matured 3 years in oak barrels. Deep golden in hue, tart in flavor. 7.3% abv

4th Course

Glazed short ribs, served with Brussels sprouts kimchi and smoked pineapple jus.
Allagash Dubbel vs. Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter
Allagash Dubbel boasts a deep red color and a complex malty taste. The finish is dry with subtle hints of chocolate and nuts. The yeast asserts itself by lending a classic Belgian fruitiness. 7% alcohol-by-volume.

From Great Lakes Brewing (in Cleveland, Ohio), Edmund Fitzgerald Porter has a complex, roasty aroma with a bittersweet, chocolate-coffee taste and a bold hop presence. 5.8% abv.

5th Course

House made Camembert and apple panna cotta, with chestnut honey and celery salad.
Allagash Interlude  vs. Brouwerij Bosteels Deus
Two yeast strains were used to create Allagash Interlude. The first, a Belgian farmhouse yeast, establishes the flavor foundations of a classic Belgian-style ale. The second, a house strain of Brettanomyces yeast, brings it to the next level contributing a myriad of flavors including pear, apricot, graham cracker, and bread crust. Finally, a portion of the Interlude is aged in French Merlot and Syrah oak barrels, which impart a vinous plum character and a drying, almost tannic finish. 9.5% alcohol-by-volume.

Brewed at Brouerij Bosteels in Belgium, Deus Brut des Flandres is transferred, after fermentation, to the Champagne region of France, were it is treated much like a champagne, with the bottles inverted and the yeast expunged and bottle re-corked. 11.5% abv.


The facts: 

5 courses/10 beers: $60 per guest (plus tax and gratuity) 
Tuesday, January 8th at 6:30 pm 
Call Lyon Hall @ 703.741.7636 for reservations.

  • UPDATE. By a narrow margin, Allagash 'won' the vote. Photos from the dinner: here.
  • Caveat lector: As a representative for Select Wines, Inc. —a wine and beer wholesaler in northern Virginia— I sell the beers of Allagash.     
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