After attending a Dogfish Head beer dinner at Bluegrass Tavern last year, I was excited when they announced a Tröegs beer dinner held a few weeks ago.
Even better, Chef Patrick Morrow planned a nose to tail meal using a heritage pig he recently acquired. The breed he used was a Large Black, sourced nearby, which was over 300 pounds.
We started with an assortment of piggy snacks at the bar while enjoying a pint of Tröegs Pale Ale.
Already on the bar were bowls of housemade pork rinds.
Chef then brought a plate of sous vide pork with mustard. I've always been a fan of Chef's skill with sous vide technique, and this pork was exactly why. It was juicy and flavorful, really celebrating the pure taste of the pig. Will a small dollop of mustard, it was just wonderful.
I then tried a few dishes made with the more "nasty bits". On small toothpicks sticking from a small pig, there were chunks of kidney with a pearl onion. I'm still a little neutral to kidney, but these were good.
He also brought out yummy pig heart tacos, using sliced beets in place of the tortilla. This lightened the dish, and good thing, as dinner was really yet to start.
The last bar snack was pork skirt steak marinated in Dr. Pepper. It had a similar consistency to beef, and with the marinade, it was delicious.
We then made it to our tables, and started with a massive charcuterie plate accompanied by some housemade pickles and whole grain mustard.
It included chicken liver mousse, pork rillette, bockwurst, andouille, sopressata, speck ham, tasso ham, bacon jam, and trotter terrine.
My favorite was the chicken liver.
The second course was hog's head ragu with spinach parpadelle, shaved gran queso, and preserved lemon gremolata and accompanied by a glass of Dreamweaver Wheat beer. The lemon contributed a sourness that really elevated the dish.
Course three was a massive slab of crispy pork belly on a bed of Anson Mills blue grits, pickled pear and sauce foyot. Foyot sauce is hollandaise sauce with a meat glaze, which was in this case, bacon. We drank the Hopback Amber with this dish. Chef noted that this breed of pig was particularly fatty, and it showed in the pork belly's marbling.
The fourth course was a sous vide pork loin wrapped in bacon with sunchoke puree, sunchoke chips and a rosemary bruised pineapple. It reminded me of ham with pineapple. We drank Tröeg's Nugget Nectar, which was my favorite beer of the night.
For dessert, we had a Tommenator cheese souffle with brown butter ice cream. This was accomanied by a glass of Tröegenator which was made for this course as the cheese is made using Tröegenator beer's yeast and sediment.