Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Beer Four All Seasons

Yesterday, I was invited to a press tasting for the collaboration between Dock Street and the Four Seasons hotel. The overall series is named "A Beer Four All Seasons" as there will be four beers this year, one basically in each season. The gist is that the Four Seasons is providing the ingredients and various ideas and then Dock Street works with them to create something unique. For the first beer, they created a Truffled Old Ale, an old ale aged in Chardonnay barrels and then blended with black truffles. Sounds bizarre, yes, but it turned out to be tasty.

When I got the invite I honestly didn't know what to expect as I've never been to anything resembling a press event. I arrived at the hotel and walked back to the Swann Lounge where they were holding the event. I didn't recognize anyone at first, but then saw Bryan Kolesar and Lew Bryson so at least I knew a couple people. After a few minutes, they started opening some bottles for us to try.
At that point we were the first (well, mostly the first) people to be able to try the Truffled Old Ale and I was pretty excited to check it out.
You can see I wasn't the only one taking pictures as everyone in the background is doing so too. Nice color to the beer and nice head formation. The nose was full of malty sweetness, a little earthiness, and a bit of fruitiness. Quite inviting. The flavors followed the nose with a slight mustiness, some sweetness, and then a lot of fruitiness, reminding me of fig and raisin mostly. Slightly bitter finish which I think may have come from the Chardonnay barrels. As I drank more and it warmed up, the fruitiness became the major component with a bit of earthiness along with it. That and the Chardonnay flavors began appearing a bit more prominently. All in all, I thought it was quite unique and well worth trying.

After pouring the first few glasses people mingled and I spent some time talking to Lew and the head brewer at Dock Street, Scott Morrison.
I drank a few more glasses over the next hour and a half and got to meet a few more people. They explained the thoughts behind "A Beer Four All Seasons" and what they expect from the next beers though no decisions have been made about what they will be.

Here's a picture of the Dock Street owner, brewers, their head of marketing (I think that's her title) and the employee at the Four Seasons responsible for starting the whole idea.
Going from right to left then in back: Dock Street Assistant brewer, Marilyn (marketing), Rosemarie (Dock Street owner), Four Seasons employee, and then Scott Morrison (head brewer) in the back though you can only really see his head.

Along with the beer, the Four Seasons has also created a menu to pair with it in the Swann Lounge. The two items are: a truffle burger with caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms and sottocenere truffle cheese and truffle French fries with truffle salt and truffle aioli. (I copied that from the press release which makes sense since I've never heard of sottocenere truffle cheese and wouldn't have been able to spell it.)
And let me say, that food was delicious. The truffle fries were just amazing and the aioli was super good.

So quite a fun little event and they've really hit on a neat idea. The Truffled Old Ale was quite tasty as was the food the Four Seasons paired with it. I would definitely recommend hitting up the Swann Lounge in the next month or two to give it all a try. While I enjoyed the beer, I can see it being a bit much for some people but I still think it's worth a try regardless as it's a pretty unique plus the food is a great reason to go anyway. Not everyday you can say you drank truffles. Even with getting to try it yesterday, I'll probably head back again just so I can bring my wife. I'll end with a so-so picture of the bottle just to make you need to go to see it for yourself.
Also, if anyone wants me to forward them the official press release, I'd be happy to do so. It has a little more information about everything going on here. Actually, I forgot the most important part. The beer and new menu will be available starting next Monday, January 30th. On the first day, I believe the beer will be around $17 a bottle that day and then $19.85 every day after.

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