Midtown's Sustain Restaurant + Bar sure likes its booze. Beverage Director Daniel Toral creates and crafts unusual cocktails with handmade elixirs extracted from rare herbs and flowers with names like Pickpocket, The Minister, Old Smuggler, and The Flapper.
Beers are curated with the same care. Almost two dozen beers on the menu are hand-picked for taste and the ability to pair well with the restaurant's sustainable fare, including Cigar City Brewing Company's Jai Alai IPA. Cigar City Brewing in Tampa is one of Florida's only breweries and is certainly the most intriguing. When Sustain announced a dinner pairing Cigar City's beers, ales and stouts to a special menu, we got hungry.
The evening consisted of almost three hours of beer, food and good times. Like beer, the event was relaxed, social and included a few surprises. The sleeper hit of the evening? Cigar City's cucumber saison draft, of which only 10 gallons were made, was crisp and dry on the palate, with a fresh cucumber scent and taste - perfect for a balmy Miami evening.
Taylor bay scallops with preserved lemon/mustard oil and cucumber was paired with Cigar City's cucumber saison (draft). The saison was inspired by a cucumber gimlet. Only 10 gallons are in existence, making this one rare ale.
Chile-rubbed quail with fava bean, mint and horseradish was paired with Tacobaga red ale (draft). Its name is derived from the pre-Colombian native inhabitants of Tampa.
A generous (and gorgeous) braised pork shank was served family-style with sweet and sour cabbage and corn bread. The shank was paired with a bold maduro brown ale (bottle).
Finger Lakes "bier meck" washed rind cheese with guava marmalade was paired with a guava grove saison (large format bottle) that sang of flowery guava notes.
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An assortment of truffles were served with Cuban espresso.....ale (draft).