The first time I ever did a pairing dinner was in Dallas many years ago; it was a wine dinner at the Green Door in Deep Ellum, and the courses came out so quickly that the co-workers I was with (I was at a Microsoft conference during the dot-bomb era) couldn’t finish their wines and kept pouring their portions into my glass.
The next day at the conference was interesting. But my point is that wine dinners, beer dinners, bourbon dinners — they’re fun and plentiful. Thanks to the proximity of NuLu, there’s a new spin on the concept coming on Saturday, March 19, in the form of a Harvest beer brunch paired with a brewery tour. It’s a beer-unch.
Here’s the deal: Three courses of locally sourced Harvest food are paired with Goodwood Brewing Co. beers, and diners will be led through each course by Goodwood president Phil Dearner, who will describe the beer.
What’s different about this event is that after attendees are finished eating, diners get a private tour of the brewery and barrel rooms with Dearner. As a bonus, each attendee will get a pint of Goodwood beer of his or her choice. Of course, the concept is somewhat unique to the fact that the restaurant and brewery are so closely situated — Harvest is located at 624 E. Market St., while Goodwood is at 636 E. Main St.
And what comes after most beer dinners is an after-dinner mint. Or a nap. Certainly, it’s not a brewery tour.
“This way, they get to cross the street and see the brewery and how the beer is made,” says Goodwood’s Denise Ingle.
The brunch begins with a duck confit and fuji apple crepe, paired with Goodwood’s Red Wine Saison. The second and main course is a “black and tan” corned beef benedict with a Louisville Lager hollandaise, which will be served with a Goodwood black and tan made with Louisville Lager — brewed with Kentucky-grown grains — and Goodwood Bourbon Barrel Stout.
The third course will be a cocoa nib and sea salt granola made with malted fromage blanc, a Belgian white cheese, and chocolate creameaux. That dish comes with Goodwood Walnut Brown Ale.
The decision to collaborate with Goodwood on the beer brunch was an easy one, says chef Patrick Roney, who joined Harvest last year after a stint as chef de cuisine at The Oakroom. Why did it interest him?
“I love beer,” he says. “And they’re in the neighborhood, so we’re buddies. We’re one block down from them, and I love that kind of neighborhood feel and collaboration. It’s just a lot of fun. It’s the best of both worlds.”
Roney will explain each dish to diners while detailing why he thought each pairing would work. And while brunch for most means mimosas or bloody marys, he doesn’t find it odd to drink beer with breakfast.
“On a nice Saturday, I can see myself having a beer with brunch,” he says. “And it’s kind of right around St. Patrick’s Day, so some of that idea just fell right into place.”
Could this concept turn into a series? Roney says he hopes to keep working on such collaborations, especially if his NuLu neighbors are involved. Dearner concurs.
“We’ll have to see how this goes,” Dearner says. “Why not?”
“I think everybody in town is always looking for a fun little thing to come to on a weekend,” Roney adds. And with spring approaching, “Everybody’s looking to get back out. I’m hoping we can keep the ball rolling on this.”
There will be two brunch times from which to choose: 10:30 a.m. or 12:30 p.m., and tickets are $35. Call Harvest at 384-9090 for reservations.