Off Centered Film Fest

Last night I got the chance to finally attend an event that groups two of my favorite things -beer made by an awesome entrepreneur and a film festival.  Each year Sam Caligione brings his Dogfish Head brew crew down to Austin, Texas, to the Alamo Drafthouse to party.  Last night the party involved a 7 course feast paired with rare beers and a screening of 3 classic films including Laurel & Hardy.  Here’s the skinny:

Out first was a seared scallop with mussuman curry, lotus root, chard and kale paired with the Belgian white Namaste.  The pairing was excellent and the scallop was the shining star.  Perfectly seared and so delicious you’d easily mistake it for butter.  This was by far the highlight of the evening.

Second was a smoked trout mousse with meyer lemon, cucumber, fennel, english thyme, spring garlic on a cumin cracker.  Expertly blended there was only the faintest taste of fish mellowed by a perfect spice balance. And it teamed up nicely with Aprihop which tasted pretty much just like the title suggests.

Up next was a bulgar wheat shell stuffed with roasted eggplant steamed in mushroom broth with spiced pepper and oregano yoghurt sauce.  On this course the difficulty in feeding 200+ people began to show as the plate was nearly cold though it was supposed to be served warm.  It was good but I couldn’t help but wonder how much better it could be served at the proper temperature.  Midas Touch the 2700 year old beer recipe shown brilliantly and is quickly becoming one of my all time favorites.

Our fourth course brought the protein.  An empanada stuffed with quail, ramps and wild mushroom served with avacado crema and carrot escabeche.  Pangea, the beer with ingredients from all over the world, was teamed awesomely.

The fifth course was my least favorite of the evening.  Seared bison with chimayo chile posale.  The bison was from a local Austin farm but my piece was completely all fat.  I tried cutting it but it wasn’t happening.  In the end I just gave up and left the glob of fat on my plate.  But I did greatly enjoy the Raison D’Etre beer made from green raisons.

Sixth was my second favorite.  A cherry duck confit with barley risotta and fried shallot.  I wish there had been more duck and less barley but it was delicious and hot!  This was served with Immort.  I think this was the first time I’d had Immort and it was delicious.  Made from Vermont maple syrup it tastes amazing and at 11% will get your engine running even in the 4 oz portion we obtained.

The night came to an amazing end with a bittersweet chocolate ganache in a ginger caramel crisp with candied grapefruit.  Rich chocolate paired perfectly with the light sourness of the grapefruit.  And finishing it off with a delicious vintage Fort was the perfect close to an amazing time.

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