Cook Hall at the W Hotel in Dallas recently partnered with the still-new Grapevine Craft Brewery for the restaurant’s monthly beer dinner.
The menu, created by Executive Chef Nick Jimenez, featured five courses designed to be paired with each of Grapevine’s signature brews. Each course perfectly complemented the beer pairing, and gradually took you from a light appetizer to a rich and decadent dessert.
Gary Humble, the founder and owner of Grapevine Craft Brewery, spoke at length about his desire to create incredibly drinkable, casual beers. Smooth finishes and lower alcohol contents allow the drinker to have more than one or two beers while still being coherent enough to host a pool party or barbecue.
As a starter, IÂ tried the pork rillette with plantain chips, paired with Grapevine’s Monarch Classic American Wheat Ale. What I really enjoyed about this was the contrast between the meaty rillette and the lightness and slight acidity of the beer. Tasting both together highlighted the pleasant notes in each – exactly what a good pairing should do.
The second course was a red and white endive salad with candied pecans and blue cheese dressing, paired with Grapevineâ€™s Saison Festival. The Saison was light and bubbly, thanks to the special bottle conditioning process. This gave it a champagne-like feel and a really nice light taste that paired well with a light salad.
Third was a roasted chicken with fall vegetables and a light mustard horseradish sauce, paired with the Lakefire Rye Pale Ale. This was probably my favorite beer, as it was both malty and finished slightly hoppy, which I like in a beer. The chicken was moist, delicious and hearty. The whole entreeÂ felt like a dressed up version of something I would make for a Sunday night dinner at home in the best way possible. It was comforting, filling and very satisfying.
The fourth course (and my favorite) was the roasted venison served with horseradish spaetzle and a poached pear. This was accompanied by Grapevineâ€™s Ten Guage Belgian IPA. As a proclaimed lover of all things venison, this meal was exactly what I hoped it would be. The meatÂ was cooked rare, with solid red in the center, and the spaetzle was swimming in a delicious pool of the juice from the roasting process. The wheat aspects of the Ten Guage helped balance out the leanness of the meat and the small kick from the horseradish in the speatzle. Again, this was definitelyÂ my favorite course of the night right here!
But that doesnâ€™t mean I didnâ€™t partake in dessert. For dessert I tasted an apple and pecan sticky bun with brown butter ice cream, paired with Grapevineâ€™s Sir William Brown Ale. I love subtly flavored ice creams, so of course I devoured the brown butter ice cream. The sticky bun was sweet and soft with little bites of crunch from the apple and pecans. Letâ€™s just say that my guest Adam, a long time member of the no-nuts-please club, kept picking the extra pecans off the plate. The Sir Williamâ€™s Brown Ale rounded out the course nicely with a smooth finish full of coffee notes.
The dinner was everything you would expect from a W hotel…upscale and refined, but not overly fancy. The restaurant has aÂ casual atmosphere with incredible food. The dinner was a great way to try out a new brewery that can be found around the DFW metroplex. Lakefire, Monarch and Sir Williams are available at your local retailer. Cheers!
(Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary ticket to attend the dinner, and all thoughts are my own.)