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Beer Flights & Small Bites from Saint Arnold & The Grove at Sundown at The Grove

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Texas-brewed beers paired with delectable bites from chefs at The Grove is a wonderful way to spend a Wednesday evening after work. Every Wednesday night until September 17 from 5:30 to 8 p.m., you can enjoy a flight of four 6-ounce pours of beers from the featured Texas brewery of the evening with specially paired bites prepared by the chefs at The Grove.

For just $15, you get samplings of the tiny bites specifically paired with a certain beer from the beer flight while enjoying the gorgeous view of downtown and Discovery Green.

Wednesday, July 17, was the first night of Sundown at The Grove and what better way to kick off the beer flights and crafty bites event with none other than Saint Arnold Brewery. The fact that it was not blazing hot outside made it an even more enjoyable evening to sit on the deck.

At the entrance and at the food station, you are instructed as to which food you should pair with each beer. The flight of beers progressed in alphabetical order: Amber, Elissa, Icon and Lawnmower, which practically progressed dark to light.

I have to admit, I have not tried that many different types of beer, but getting the chance to sample four different craft beers helped expand my palate. If you're a beer novice, this event is perfect for you.

Since the bites were small, I felt it necessary to sample each bite-and-beer pairing to find the one I liked the best. The Amber paired perfectly with the spicy black been chili bread bowl topped with finely shredded Brazos Valley white cheddar cheese and tiny chive shavings. The slight fruitiness and sweetness from the Amber Ale balanced with the spiciness from the chili. Each bite and sip went hand-in-hand ‑- this was definitely my favorite of the night.

Next I sampled the Elissa IPA with the chopped burnt end brisket and a creamy potato salad topped with green onions. The bitterness from the IPA paired with the sweetness of the potato salad created an excellent and delicious combination. Normally I don't enjoy beer with a lot of hops, but the strong hops added to the Elissa IPA were settled down by the sweet and salty blend of brisket and potato salad. While this is not my favorite beer from Saint Arnold, I enjoyed it more with the potato salad. Too bad I only had a small sampling of it.

Third in the flight was the Amarillo Hefe from the Icon series, which is not sold in stores but only three months out of every year. Known for its citrus flavors from Amarillo hops, this Icon beer was brilliantly paired with a basil pesto goat cheese with a light squash and zucchini salad on a house baked cracker. The topping of red chile dust enhanced the refreshing sweetness from the goat cheese and the natural citrus from the hops in the beer.

Finally, the light and pale Lawnmower was paired with a spicy Kobe beef hot dog with chow chow and jalapeño mustard. The beer is clean and crisp and lets the spicy hot dog be the star in this pairing.

Next week on July 24, Karbach Brewing Company will be the featured brewery, so make plans to enjoy samplings of beer flights and specially paired bites after work. If you're still hungry, you can walk downstairs to The Grove and order off the happy hour menu until 7 p.m.

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