At last night's Oaktoberfest, Oak Tavern executive chef David Bracha and Esquire beer writer Evan Benn hosted a four-course, beer dinner.
Some dishes were Oak Tavern staples, such as the deviled eggs, pork belly banh mi, and duck pizza. Other offerings were made especially for this brewtastic event: house-made pretzels, cider-brined pork shoulder, and pumpkin-maple cheesecake.
The meal started with caviar-topped deviled eggs and pork belly banh mi with foie gras mousse. They were paired with Hitachino Nest, a Japanese white ale.
Then Bracha served house-made pretzels with a creamy, decadent cambozola cheese. (It tastes like bleu cheese meets brie.) Its richness was balanced by a sour beer, Duchesse de Bourgogne.
Oak Tavern's duck pizza is something worth quacking about. It boasts roasted garlic, mushrooms, truffles, and fontina cheese.
It was paired with the the first American beer of the evening, Full Sail E.S.B. During the meal, Benn said the acronym, which normally stands for extra-strong-bitter, were also his initials. It's actually a misnomer, too. This beer was not particularly bitter.
Benn regularly contributes to Esquire's Eat Like A Man blog, so the main course was all meat and potatoes.
Roasted, cider-brined pork shoulder was topped with caramelized kraut semmelknoedel (an eggy bread dumpling), roasted potatoes, and pan-gravy.
It was proffered with two German beers. The Aecht Schlenkerla was smoky. Its aroma was described with words like: bacon, band-aids, and roasted almonds. The Ayinger Oktoberfest Marzen was approachable and easy to sip.
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For dessert, Bracha served a pumpkin and maple cheesecake dressed with whipped cream. It was paired with a Left Hand Milk Stout, a beer with lactose sugar and sweet, creamy flavor.
It was worth every calorie. The dessert was the quintessential fall treat, and it paired perfectly with the stout.
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