Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Beer Dinner at the Pig & Fiddle – Minneapolis, MN

M.Giant asked me if I’d like to accompany him to a beer dinner, now that I drink beer. Obviously, any chance I get to hang with him is a bonus for me, so I agreed. I had heard good things about Pig & Fiddle, so I was really looking forward to it. There wasn’t any point at looking at the menu, since it was a special dinner made by the chef, but I looked anyway. The food on the menu looks really good to me, so I’m assuming I’ll be back.

While waiting for M.Giant, I grabbed a beer – Indeed Brewery’s Summer Shenanigans – thinking dinner would just be smaller sample portions. I was wrong about that.

The dinner was being hosted by Lagunitas Brewery from California. So there was a rep there discussing the brewery and the beer, and the chef from Pig & Fiddle came out and discussed the food she was serving us. She had lost her voice, so she had an interpreter, which was a pretty amusing phenomenon – but honestly, it worked out well.

I’ll give you a run-down of each course:

Amouse Bouche – Iowa Le Quercia Prosciutto and shell pea salad. Paired with Lagunitas Pils.
Nice piece of prosciutto (and I had just read about the new trend being Iowa prosciutto) with a splash of olive oil and lemon juice. The peas were a nice touch and I was good with this small amount of food. The Pils was also a different flavor than many pils’ I’ve had, but still very good accompaniment. I decided then and there to only drink half of the beers when I realized they were full portions.

1st Course: Red Curry Shellfish, steamed mussels, shrimp, and manila clams with spicy red curry broth. Paired with Lagunitas IPA.
I’m not much on mussels, but I saw how other people were eating this and joined in. They’re not my favorite thing, but I actually enjoyed these, especially in the curry broth. The broth had a nice slow-build heat and went well with the shrimp and clams, as well as the mussels. The IPA was pretty close to being too hoppy for me, but I was able to get through my pre-decided half glass.

Entrée: Pan-roasted pork tenderloin with plum salsa, baby bok choy, and potato puree. Paired with Lagunitas Fusion 15.
The pork tenderloin was really a fantastic dish and there was plenty of it – more than I expected for a multi-course meal. The plum salsa was a surprising treat and I enjoyed this entire plate. The beer was explained as a Minnesota-based home brewer that won a contest and was flown out to Lagunitas, where they replicated it in bulk and threw it into some kegs for distribution. That brewer, as it turns out, is my good friend TheDoctor. He brewed a seriously hoppy India Black Ale that suited the pork tenderloin nicely (it might even be better with a beef dish or steak, since it is so heavy).

Cheese course: Milton Creamery Prairie Rose with buckwheat honey and pickled blackberries on a grilled baguette. Paired with Lagunitas Lucky 13 (red ale).
A pretty straight forward plate presentation. The cheese was rich and nutty and went nicely with the uniquely pickled blackberries. The baguette added some crunch, but could have been buttered – just a personal preference. The Lucky 13 was served in a smaller glass since the ABV is getting up there close to 9% and overall it was pretty hoppy and bitter for my palate. I managed to get through my half glass.

Dessert: a Salted Pecan Tart with grapefruit caramel and shortbread crust. Paired with Undercover Shut-Down Ale.
The tart was surprising winner. I didn’t expect much out of it, but it honestly made my face happy at the end of this meal. Even M.Giant who is suspicious of weird foods was pleasantly surprised. Soft and moist and delicious (the tart, not M.Giant). The Undercover Shut-Down Ale was a result of a police raid and subsequent shutdown of the brewery. To commemorate the event, the brewer dedicated it to the investigators and turned up the ABV to 9.75%. Well played. It was REALLY bitter, this one. I guess they’re still angry about being shut down for a couple of weeks.

This was a really good event. The owner of the restaurant came over and chatted with us, as did the brewery rep, and the chef. I’m glad I decided to just drink half glasses of beer since some people looked like they might be sticking around drinking water for a while. Now that I know the chef can make some amazing food, I’m very interested in coming back to try some of the regular menu items here.

Great work, Pig & Fiddle!

Top 5 things about Pig & Fiddle
1. Pan roasted pork tenderloin
2. Salted pecan tart
3. Tons of beers on tap
4. Lagunitas Pils
5. Staff here are incredibly nice

Bottom 5 things
1. It was difficult to hear the explanations of everything with everyone talking. I would have loved to hear more about the food, but then again, I’m more of a food guy then a beer guy
2. Super hoppy and bitter beers, but people were raving about them, so don’t take my opinion
3. They didn’t mention TheDoctor’s name in the explanation of the contest winner for Fusion 15
4. The amount of beer people drank was pretty impressive, but I wished I had heard more people talking about designated drivers than I actually did
5. I wish I was able to order all the OTHER awesome things people have told me about the regular menu!

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Gimme that pecan tart!