Restaurant Roundup: Bourbon, brandy, beer and wine confirms it’s still wintertime

In my email box is a concerning number of events centered on adult beverages. Sure, most of these are paired with food, but of late, bourbon, beer, wine, brandy, beer — even brandy aged in beer barrels — are the headliners of these functions.

Is this a sign of trouble for Louisvillians? Will some check liver lights come on soon?

Nah. Just people coping with cabin fever and the wintertime blahs, right? Right?

This weekend’s Bourbon Classic tops the list. Click that link if you want to read the details, but if you’re a bourbon fan with a C-note-and-a-half burning a hole in your wallet, just know you won’t regret spending it on tickets for Friday or Saturday’s festivities. Some tickets are still available, so click here to get yours.

Speaking of bourbon, I learned last night that 37 local chefs have asked to be included in this year’s Bourbon & Bowties — which isn’t even scheduled until June. The first one featured 13 and they had to be asked to help out, but now nearly triple that amount are asking to volunteer. That Louisville chefs want to be included before they’re asked proves there’s something truly special about that event.

Butchertown-CraftwerksNext Monday, Feb. 29, Copper & Kings is hosting a launch party at Against the Grain for its new line of CR&FTWERK American brandies. These dandies are aged in American craft beer barrels for 12 months and bottled at 111 proof.

The barrels used for this once held Against the Grain’s Mac Fanny Baw, 3 Floyds Dark Lord, Osakar Blues G’Knight & Deviant Dale’s, and Sierra Nevada’s Smoked Imperial Porter.

Lucky me, I got a press pack with samples of these, and I’m telling you they’re incredible, my favorite C&K product since Butchertown Brandy. The way the beer barrels soften the edges of this high-proof brandy was — to me at least — totally unexpected. The brandy’s fruitiness is drastically different with each of the four expressions as malt, hops and wood come to play together. These are incredibly easy to sip neat or on the rocks.

The launch party will see representatives of each brewery and their beers paired with a respective CR&FTWERK brandy. Each pairing costs $6.

Like paired dinners? Have a look at this lineup. Due to the sheer volume of these coming our way, we thought the best way to let you see what’s going on was to list them and give you the option to click through.

  • Varanese: Tradition vs. Innovation Wine Dinner, Feb. 24-25
  • Porcini: French and Italian Wine Dinner, Feb. 29
  • Varanese: Buffalo Trace Bourbon Dinner, March 3
  • Harvest: Harvest Visits Catalonia, March 6
  • Equus/Jack’s Lounge: APRON Maker’s Mark Tasting Dinner, March 7
  • Brasserie Provence: Gabriel Meffre Wine Dinner, March 8
  • Lilly’s Bistro: Franciscan Wine Dinner, March 9
  • Varanese: Guinness Beer Dinner, March 15
  • Varanese: H. Mumm Champagne Dinner, March 22
  • Bistro 1860: Slo Down Wines Dinner, March 24
Monica beer | Photo by Kevin Gibson

Monica beer | Photo by Kevin Gibson

One standout is a LocalsOnly pop-up dinner set for next Monday, Feb. 29, at Monnik Brewing Co. Why is it a stand out? Because we love brewpubs, we love pop-up dinners and we love local charcuterie, which, in this case, is coming from Commonwealth Cure. Also, Germantown’s restaurant and pub scene is still underappreciated, so a shout out is deserved here.

The welcome reception will see passed pork and rabbit rillette, country-style pate, smoked basil and pesto sausage, 100-acre hog salami and various pickles. First course is beef cheek Elvis (sorghum and porter braised beef cheek, pecan and banana butter spread on puff pastry disk). Second course is porchetta served with mixed vegetable ragout with fennel and squash, apricot glaze and kale chips. Third course, dubbed Who Spilled the Beer, is a chocolate-pretzel cake with old ale beer anglaise, white chocolate foam, peanut meringue and smoked cocoa nibs.

Dinner with beer pairings costs $75.90; without pairings is $60.07. A limited number of tickets is available. Get tix by clicking here.

A tasty asparagus and onion ring salad at Cheddar Box Too | Photo by Steve Coomes

Asparagus and onion ring salad | Photo by Steve Coomes

Dinner now served at Cheddar Box Too: There’s never a shortage of customers at Cheddar Box Too for breakfast and lunch. So it seems logical to add dinner service, right? They did just that in January by rolling out a fairly substantial and moderately priced ($7 to $39) menu featuring classics like grilled lamb chops, filet mignon, stuffed basa, a grilled asparagus salad, blackened shrimp and more. The bar has a modest selection of wines, beers and spirits.

Unlike the bustle at lunch, the pace at dinner — so far anyway — is relaxed. Service is friendly and efficient. Even the silverware rattling vibration of trains passing close by adds to a unique experience.

Dinner begins at 5 p.m. and reservations are accepted. Call 896-1133 for more info.