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foodie event # 15: Tasting Menu & Beer Course @ Hinge Cafe!

Sunday, Feb 20th, 6pm.
Dean Browne, a master brewer at Philadelphia Brewing  Co. (PBC) also known as "Yeast Life-Coach" and "Professor of Fermentation" and Brew-master and former Senior Instructor at the Philly Beer School paired 6 great beers to accompany the 4 course meal offered at the Hinge Cafe.  

His concise beer course made this food-ie event so special and unique and needless to say, a lot of fun for everyone.

Our group of 30 enjoyed the informative explanations of our pairings.  Some students were happy to take notes, while I noticed plenty just soaking up the experience... literally.
Dean started off with a donated pre-dinner offering of a case of Kenzinger, from Philadelphia Brewing Co. This seemed to get the group in an appropriate learning mind-set.  

As the first course was to arrive, he informed us of how acidic can compliment acidic and explained how he had paired Phila. Brewing Co.'s Walt Wit with the salads.  Everyone seemed convinced of his wisdom, instantly.  What good students we were.

The 2nd course was paired with a mild, somewhat sweeter Einbecker, Mai-Ur-Bock.  I had the pleasure of trying the Pirogies, which Chef T admitted she hadn't previously made.  She was wise, however, to consult with a Czech republic native for this dish, because they came out PERFECTLY!    I sure hope the Hinge offers Pirogies on their regular menu now (hint, hint) since it's one of my favorite local restaurants.

For the 3rd course which included meat and veggie main options,  PBC's Newbold, a hoppy (yet less so than typical American IPA's) ale was paired.  I'm not normally into hoppy beers and the newbold is in a way, the polar opposite of my usual preference.  I did, however, discover it is delicious with food, especially the exceptionally prepared Lamb Lollipops and the Beef Bruschetta with this beer.

Though all the food throughout this meal was really great, the dessert course was my favorite.  Perhaps that was a result of trying three desserts or ... trying three great dessert beers with them.  I think it's safe to say most people do not often consider beer with their desserts but I am now a big fan of this concept.  Dean paired a diverse set to match the different dessert tastings.  
They were kind of color coordinated, even.  I over-heard one person say that it was recommended to go light to dark, and that order certainly worked wonders for me.  The Lemon Curd was perfectly complimented with the Wiezenbock.  The upside Down Pear and Cherry Tart was paired perfectly with the Samuel Smiths Cherry Ale.  And the rich Chocolate Truffle's bitter sweet pairing of Foreign Extra Stout by Guinness was a great way to end the course (and sadly, the evening).

Here's the complete menu we enjoyed for $40 per person!

COURSE 1: Walt Wit
Neapolitan Salad
A light, savory blend of mixed greens, asparagus, zucchini, peas and roasted tomatoes
tossed in a citrus basil vinaigrette with sharp parmesan cheese
Greek Salad
Fresh Romaine lettuce tossed in a red wine vinaigrette with sundried tomatoes, cucumbers,
kalamata olives, red onions, feta cheese and pita chip crumbles

COURSE 2: Mai Ur Bock
Hinge-Made Pierogies  
Polish style potato and cheese pierogies served with sautéed onions and sour cream
Buffalo Chicken Bites
Fiery buffalo seasoned cuts of chicken battered in crispy bread coating
accompanied with a cool blue cheese dressing and celery sticks
Thai Peanut Chicken Satay
Skewered strips of chicken marinated in a spicy Thai chili peanut glaze finished with toasted sesame seeds accompanied with a peanut dipping sauce

COURSE 3: Newbold IPA
Beef Bruschetta
Open face seasoned beef steak served a top herb infused toasted crostini finished with a tomato bruschetta
Lamb Lollipops
Savory lamb racks dredged in a fresh herb medley finished in a rosemary and garlic Chermoula glaze
Grilled Vegetable Bruschetta
Toasted herb crostini topped with an array of seasoned and grilled
eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash

COURSE 4 (a sampler plate of all three, each paired with a different beer)
Chocolate Truffle: Foreign Extra Stout
A duo of Chocolate truffles infused with Grand Marnier Liquor and Amaretto
Upside Down Pear and Cherry Tart: Samual Smiths Cherry
Sweet pears baked into a puff pastry adorned with a hint of tart cherries, slivered almonds and coconut finished in a brown sugar and brandy caramel sauce
Lemon Curd: Weizenbock
A smooth pallet pleaser. Tart yet refreshing lemon curd served chilled
with a hint of creamy mascarpone mouse
Chef T did a great job making us so happy.

Upstairs at the Hinge is a really great room for group events!

(click on any image to view full size)
The after-buzz of this seemed to go well beyond the evening.  Days following this event numerous members of the group contacted me with great appreciation for the Hinge's food and also a very emphatic thanks for Dean Brown.  
Thanks Dean, for your generosity!

*disclaimer:  being caught up in the fun, or the beer, I truly missed our talented and more often sober foodie photographer, Cho.  Alas, I forgot to take the group photo at the end of this meal!!  I suppose that's just another thing to set this great event apart from all the other great events. (sigh) Next time I guess ;)

And, a special thanks to PBC for donating three great beers:

email: foodie.mike@gmail.com to get on the email list or evite for this event!