Beer Dinner – Homefield Grill January 2012

Homefield Grill in Round Rock, TX hosts a new and original beer dinner every month.  General Manager Walt Powell selects five different beers while Executive Chef Scott Reed creates a dish to pair with each selection.  I attended my first beer dinner at Homefield last March and haven’t missed one since.  I shape my schedule around the beer dinners to ensure that I can attend.  They are spectacular meals that introduce new beers and dishes to an ever increasing number of excited diners.

Walking into Homefield Grill the first thing I noticed was the strong family-friendly vibe that exuded.  An arcade occupies the back right and a large dining area sits directly in front of the door.  The bar is on the right and has over 20 taps, very impressive!  The beer dinner takes place in a secluded nook in the middle of the restaurant.  Since I live an hour away and have to leave work early-ish to get there, I am either the first or the last person to show up.  Luckily, JoAnna and I have good friends who save us seats.

The meal begins with an appetizer and usually a lighter beer to get started.  Lighter in this instance doesn’t mean a “Light Beer” but simply a more subtle style with a lower ABV (Alcohol by Volume).  The January beer dinner started with Le Petit Prince by Jester King, an Austin-based brewery and a personal favorite.  Jester King Co-Founder and brewer Jeff Stuffings attended and taught us a little about his beer and the history behind it.

Le Petit Prince

LPP is a Farmhouse Table Beer with an ABV of 2.9%.  A Table Beer is a style of beer that originated in the Middle Ages.  Water was a precious commodity and was often dangerous to drink due to bacteria and other nasty floaties.  People brewed beer in order to have a safe drink for hydration.  Table Beer has a very low ABV and became the beverage of families so that children could have something safe to drink.

First Course- Gravlox

Jester King uses their own yeast strain on Le Petit Prince, cultivated on the farm at the brewery.  The wild yeast lends an earthy spiciness to LPP.  Scott served Gravlox with a lemon honey spread on toasted herb focaccia with the beer.  The salmon had a very rich, buttery flavor and LPP’s earthiness cut the dish brilliantly.

 

Chimay Premiere

 

Second Course- Lentil and Peppered Bacon Soup

Our second course paired a lentil and peppered bacon soup with Chimay Premiere, affectionately known as Red.  Red is a Belgian Dubbel brewed by trappist monks.  The pepper in the soup really brought out the sweetness of the beer.  As always at Homefield, the soup was out of this world good.  I am not usually a fan of soup but Scott continually creates the most delicious I’ve ever had and this one was no exception.  This was my favorite course.

New Belgium Prickly Passion Saison

 

The salad course saw New Belgium’s Prickly Passion Saison paired with a roasted parsnip salad coated with a grapefruit vinaigrette over frisse lettuce.  The citrus in the vinaigrette brought out an interesting bouquet in the beer.  I’d never tried prickly pear or passionfruit prior to this but I found the beer to have a tart earthiness which went really nicely with the sweet vinaigrette.

Main Course- Slow roasted Sirloin Hash with Red Pepper Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Seasonal Sqaushes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The main course and pairing also offered us an appearance by a local brewery owner, Adelbert’s Brewery founder Scott Hovey.  Scott talked to us about his beer, Scratchin’ Hippo, a Bierre de Garde Ale.  Scott was kind enough to let me interview him after the dinner which will be posted later.  Our entree consisted of a slow roasted sirloin hash over red pepper garlic mushroom mashed potatoes and seasonal squashes.  The malty sweetness of the Scratchin’ Hippo proved an excellent pairing for the heavy, rich dish as it was able to stand up to the strong flavors on the food.

Adelbert's Scratchin' Hippo

Last was our dessert, rum and egg-nog gelato with pumpernickel croutons matched with Stone Vertical Epic 11.11.11.  The beer is a  Belgian Strong Pale Ale brewed with cinnamon and chiles.  The heat from the chiles was pitch-perfect.  The gelato complimented the beer immensely as the gelato cooled the palate after the balanced heat from the chiles.  An absolutely wonderful pairing to close out the meal.

Dessert- Rum and Eggnog Gelato with Stone Vertical Epic 11.11.11

 


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