Saturday, November 19, 2011

Maloney's Pub 3rd Annual American Ales Dinner Review

Fun past two nights. After the Weyerbacher Idiot's Drool madness, my wife and I headed to Maloney's Pub in Matawan, NJ for their 3rd Annual American Ales Dinner. We just discovered Maloney's this summer after attending another dinner there. The place is great. Over 60 beers on tap, constant tap rotations, friendly knowledgeable staff, and a cool place to just hang out. Some craft beer places can be packed with people with their noses in the air, not here. It's a welcoming establishment I wish was closer to home.

Tonight's line up featured 4 beers paired with 4 dishes. Each beer was meant to compliment the course it came with and the course did the same for each beer. The line up was attractive on paper and more so in person,

***Harvest Mushrooms- cornbread and sausage stuffed mushrooms paired with Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale (6.5%, American Brown Ale).

***Roasted Autumn Vegetable Bisque paired with Ommegang 2011 Independence Day Ale (6.5%, Farmhouse Ale).
***Turkey Pot Pie- tender turkey, pearl onions, baby carrots and peas in a savory gravy, topped with puff pastry and baked to perfection with Allagash Fluxus 2011 (8% Biere de Garde)
***Pumpkin-Spice Cake topped with crème fraiche and drizzled with a cranberry-orange coulis …..paired with  Dogfish Punkin’ Ale (7%, Pumpkin Ale)
Starting off with the Smuttynose Old Dog Brown Ale was a great call. This may of been my favorite pairing of the night. This beer has been awarded different medals in it's history and you could taste why. A very nice mouthfeel, not overwhelming on the malts or hops, and a great beer to hang out with in any situation. The dish it came with did wonderful things to the flavor characteristics of the beer. Take a bite and sip, you pick up more hops. Sip beer and take a bite, you taste a different herb in the dish or the earthiness of the mushroom explodes on your palate. The chef at Maloney's is amazing at doing this judging by the two dinners we've attended. 
Second course featured Ommegang Independence Day Ale with a wonderful earthy bisque that spoke to almost everyone at the table. This was my least favorite beer of the evening. I found it more suited for the summer with a much lighter body and floral and honey characteristics. Although it did compliment the bisque nicely i found myself just concentrating on the bowl of food and ignoring the glass of Ommegang. I let this one sit to the side and eventually it was replaced with an extraordinary brew by Allagash
Third and main course was a tasty turkey pot pie paired with Allagash Fluxus. What a wonderful complex beer! Allagash is starting to become one of my top breweries. Everything I try from there ends up being incredible. From their White Ale, to their Curioux, Allagash knows how to hit the nail on the head with the brewing hammer every time. The gentleman from Maloney's touted this beer as being delivered to us from the only keg existing in the state. Maloney's has pull, you can see by their tap run, and this was another beer I was amazed they were serving. 
Although the turkey pot pie was a good course, the beer stole the show on this one. Eating the pie mainly to fill me up a bit to avoid complete intoxication, I was focused on absorbing all the flavors of this beer. The Fluxus had so many different flavor characteristics that naming them all would be hard to do by memory. Balanced, with maltiness, slight hops, and features of grapes with some almost wine like qualities to it. Amazing beer!
Last course, and hit with everyone on the table, was pumpkin spice cake. This was another achievement by the chef and their staff for being able to deliver the flavors of fall on a plate to you. A perfect pairing with this was any pumpkin ale you could think of. Dogfish Head Punkin Ale was the chosen beverage. Palate burn out could have been the culprit, or possibly the sugar and cinnamon coated rim on the glass, something I wasn't a fan of, but this beer didn't do anything for me. It lacked the body of most pumpkin ales enjoyed throughout the season, and generally lacked any distinct flavor. I had tried a large run of Dogfish Head beers a few years back and none of them really hit it off with me. This gave me another hint that Dogfish head just isn't for me. The Fluxus was still fresh on my mind, so the Punkin was just something to drink next to the delicious pumpkin cake. 
At the end of the meal, my wife and I were given a complimentary pint of the Anderson Valley Brewing Company's Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale while we hung out with the couple sitting next to us who were regulars enjoying the same. This was the perfect end to a wonderful night of great food and great beer. The description of the Winter Solstice on their website describes this beer as well and better than I can. It was enjoyed to the last sip nice and slowly. 
Thanks Maloney's for putting on another great dinner. We will be seeing you again soon!

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