American Craft Beer Week kicked off Monday and fine watering holes throughout the city are celebrating with rare keg tappings and tastings. Design District gastropub and beer-nerd destination the Meddlesome Moth is creating special dishes each night this week to complement its beer offerings.
Tuesday night the Moth presented Grand Cru from North Coast Brewing Company out of Fort Bragg, California. The special-edition ale is brewed with Belgian yeast and agave nectar and aged in bourbon barrels. It pours a bright golden orange, with a light fizzy head and an intensely sweet aroma of apples and honey. It's sweeter than I expected with virtually no bitterness, and there's definitely a boozy bite in there to remind you it's 12.5 percent ABV.
That high alcohol content that's so prevalent amongst craft beers gets me every time -- one glass of Grand Cru and I was toasted.
Lead line cook Jessica Devendorf created a Broken Arrow Ranch quail dish to complement the brew. The quail was glazed with agave nectar to echo the sweet notes in the beer, and roasted until rosy pink in the middle -- so luscious and tender there was no actual chewing required. A light pan sauce flavored with orange zest and Champagne had me scraping the remnants from my plate, while an apple and onion gratin on the side was reminiscent of mac and cheese with Gruyere, sage and thyme.
The pairings will continue through Saturday. Tonight they'll debut The Beast, an intensely spiced ale from Avery Brewing Company, and pair it with jerk-seasoned elk ribs served with a fried plantain cake, black bean sauce and pineapple-lime crème fraiche.
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But beware The Beast; that one's a knock-you-on-your-ass 16.8 percent ABV.