On Wednesday July 19, Luna had their first and very solid convergence with Junkyard Brewing. The beer dinner was comprised of five killer Luna courses with five stellar Junkyard beers.
The results were extraordinary. Initially I didn’t know what to expect from this pairing. A few of the courses had titles with which I was unfamiliar, but I had no reason to worry. Ryan and Shea are an amazing team, and the pairings were superb and intelligently executed.
A cheese social started the evening. Plates were readily available, and the patrons could choose from a array of cheeses, dried fruits, bread, and nuts. The beer paired with this course was the Steel Roots – Kölsch. The light drinkability of this beer went well with the cheese and was easily consumed. After the social, we found our seats and prepared for courses to come.
I must mention the concept of seating for this event. The guests were seated at three long tables. If your reservation was for two you were then seated across from the person who was accompanying you. On your left and right were strangers.
I was enamored of this concept. It was like being at a wedding party of strangers, minus the bad DJ and the chicken dance. It provided the ability to meet people that held the same interests, and that I would not normally meet in another setting.
The parties sitting adjacent to me were quirky, intelligent, and extremely enjoyable. The conversations had by all were fantastic and fresh. This is something that should be observed thoroughly in a time so heavily reliant on social media and asynchronous communication.
As the evening continued we received our first course. This was a Gulf Shrimp Poke. It was comprised of orange fatty marlin, mangos, chilis, scallions and seaweed. It was delicious.
This was paired with the Galactic Falconer, a New England-style IPA. The Falconer has a citrusy orange note due to hop utilization and a low IBU for the class. It also contains lactose, so along with the almost orange juice-like flavor was a creamy mouth feel. Lactose isn’t fermentable by yeast, so It remains in the wort, giving the beer a creamy smoothness.
Our next course and the second was my favorite. The chicken-fried duck nuggets were absurdly good. I will pretty much eat anything that is chicken fried, and this was one of the best I’ve had. The nuggets were very tender on the inside, and crispy on the exterior. The use of sheep’s milk cheese, red wine mushrooms and greens was fantastic. The greens used were a mixture of traditional greens and edible flowering plants. The nasturtium worked fantastically.
This course was accompanied by the Bordeaux Barrel-Aged Gose. The brew was a sour, and on first tasting I was not a fan. As soon as I started eating and drinking the beer with the food I truly enjoyed it. The combination of flavors was superb.
The third course was a Sweet Corn Polenta with pork belly, Kalamata olives, honey and saffron. All I can say is yum! The combination of the sweet, salty, and savory was fantastic. The honey with the pork belly and corn flavor was exquisite.
The pairing with the Blueberry Shake-o-matic was extremely favorable. The Shake-o-matic also contains lactose, and it’s extremely creamy; and with a low IBU the New England-style IPA has excellent flavor and drinkability. My favorite beer of the night.
The fourth course was a Beef Neck Bulgogi. This dish was comprised of smoked potatoes, bone marrow, black garlic and shishito peppers. The peppers were delicate and interesting. The individual elements of this dish had unique flavor, and considered separately, many of the guests were questioning them. When combined though, the flavor of the dish was well-rounded and balanced.
Much like the Gose the beer had a similar effect. The dish was paired with the Estonia 10-30 which is an Imperial Smoked Baltic Porter. The smoky characteristic of this brew comes from process of smoking the malt in contrast to malting it. It was incendiary.
The fifth and final course was dessert. This was a peanut butter bar dipped in dark chocolate, garnished with caramel corn and buttered popcorn ice cream and finished with the notorious Peanut Butter Bandit. The crunch of the caramel corn was nice with the buttered popcorn flavoring, and the bitterness of the stout and ice cream gave a flavor reminiscent of a root beer float but better, because of the alcohol.
This was the first event of this type that I have attended at Luna or anywhere. It was a combination of many of my loves. People, beer and food. Not one outranked the other as a synchronous social experiment, drink and deliciousness rocked my world.
by C.S. Hagen
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