Thursday, May 19, 2011

Four More Beers, Uh, Years!

You have to click on that menu to make it bigger, but you know you want to, and trust me, the menu made me bigger as it was wonderful through and through. But what else might one expect from the dynamic duo of brewer Eric Rose and Chef Dylan Fultineer at HBC? I won't take you through it course by course simply because I don't have the time, but I did want to point out a few things:

1) I could get very used to eating local ridgeback shrimp whole, like little softshell crabs, especially if I had Dylan's killer peanut sauce to drizzle atop.

2) I never order salmon out because it's one dish I nail at home, so why pay someone to do what I can do? This salmon, however, well, I would order it again. The slow poaching keeps it moist with all its lovely fattiness (admit it, that's why salmon is everyone's favorite fish--you get the good fat you want from a steak but get to feel virtuous eating it) but the real secret is getting a bite of everything on the extremely well-conceived plate at once, so the zip of the Meyer lemon, shaved just thin enough, cuts that fat a bit, and then the tabbouleh, made from actual malted wheat (it's a brewery after all), is a comforting sweet (that's what malt in your beer does, after all, besides process the alcohol), but then there's the parsley and Persian mint doing the great countering, centering things herbal greens do, and it's all in your mouth. At once. Which you get to follow with a healthy swig of the 4th anniversary ale, which is billed as an "American style sour ale brewed with Brettanomyces and lactobacillus," that reminds you of the old aphorism "Brett in wine, say nein, Brett in beer is the sour you'll find dear." Or something like that.

3) If a version of the red rock crab chowder doesn't end up on the menu someday, I'll be the crab. OK, having lived in Baltimore for awhile and doing my time with a bushel of crabs, I understand picking out the meat from the shell is a chore, and I only had to pick it out and feed myself, and drink lots of beer while doing it. So the kitchen prep is a bitch. But surely some other fish might work in a chowder that good. Red curry. Yum. And vegetables still with a bit of bite in them, tasting like potato and carrot and whatever they actually were, not just soup ballast. The giant hunks of crabmeat didn't hurt none neither, of course.

And then there's the one new beer of the evening, and a delightful surprise it was, the cask conditioned Pocket Full o' Green.  An India Pale Wheat, it makes me say junk all those Belgian-IPA crosses that sort of seem the platypi of brewing, and go for the wheat-IPA combo instead. Rich and full in the mouth (the cask helped that, of course, and Eric warned it will be a different beer off cask), but still, so so good.

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