How does drinking a flight of beer with specially paired food while watching the sun set at Discovery Green sound? Pretty nice, right? Well, every Wednesday night until September 17, you can spend your evening sipping on beer from a featured brewery while munching on bites of food crafted by the chefs at The Grove.
Sundown at The Grove kicked off Wednesday, July 9, at 5:30 p.m. with beer flights from Saint Arnold and small plates prepared by The Grove's team of sous chefs led by chef de cuisine Ryan Williams. It was a relaxing evening on the upstairs patio overlooking Discovery Green.
For $15, each person received a flight of four four-ounce pours of Icon, Amber, Elissa and Lawnmower from Saint Arnold Brewery, as well as food. Those who enjoy wine instead of beer may substitute their flight for two glasses of wine (and the pours aren't stingy). Of course, the food is not specifically paired with the white and red house wines, but for the price, it's an excellent deal.
Last year, Sundown at The Grove hosted Saint Arnold and featured the same beer selection, but it was a pleasure to see the food pairings were strikingly different this year.
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The Grove's chefs prepared sweet, fried carrots with mole, pickled raisins, sesame seeds and cilantro; this crunchy, crispy snack paired excellently with the crisp and bitter Elissa. The slightly sweet Amber paired well with the fruity and savory fig-topped focaccia di recco with Texas Crescenza (similar to Mozzarella) and arugula; sipping on the Amber Ale enhanced the sweetness of the fig and balanced the oiliness of the focaccia. While most people would never think to pair a beer with boquerones, an appetizer featuring anchovies, the buttered brioche topped with a thin white rocket anchovy and cannellini bean puree complemented the smooth and creamy Icon, which masked the saltiness of the fish.
One of the most simple, yet successful combinations was the Lawnmower with a chile-roasted pork taco topped with kumquats and cilantro. The bright citrus with the spicy, tender pork and soft tortilla was easily washed down with a swig of the light and fruity brew.
Even though the Chardonnay (white wine available that evening) was not specifically paired with the food, it was a refreshing complement to each item. And, seriously, if you want more bang for your buck, opt for the wine instead of the beer; you get much more, and you'll still have an enjoyable time.
If you missed out on this week's Sundown, you can catch Saint Arnold during the last week (September 17). Other breweries featured over the next ten weeks include Karbach (July 16 and September 10), Goose Island (July 23) and Sierra Nevada (August 27). Don't miss out on special nights, such as August 13, when The Grove will feature ciders from Johnny Apple Seed, Stella Cidre and Wood Chuck during "Cider Night."