What do you get when you mix a five-course dinner at the W Dallas - Victory Hotel's Cook Hall along with Real Ale Brewing Co.?
Lots of happy people. I mean, really, really happy people. And, I was one of them.
Last weekend, Cook Hall kicked off their inaugural beer dinner, complete with local Texas craft beers from Real Ale Brewing Co. to accompany the 5-course meal.
I was lucky to have Gamma and G-Pa in town so I could sneak out for a dinner date with my hubby. What a fantastic evening, we had.
Cook Hall & Real Ale Beer Dinner
The starter was a mild but delicious East Coast oyster with a tart and refreshing cucumber mignonette. The beer pairing was Real Ale's Hans Pils (pictured above), a hoppy lager that just might have been my favorite beer all night.
Looks like I enjoyed the oysters, huh? Couldn't even stop long enough to get a shot of them still in their shell.
First course, was a cheese & charcuterie plate with aged goat cheese, prosciutto de parma, Texas cotton honey, spicy pecans, cornichons and toast.
The toast came in a no-nonsense paper bag and sang when spread with the aged goat cheese and Texas honey. I remember mentioning to my dinner date that the prosciutto was some of the best I've had - literally melting in my mouth instead of being super chewy like a lot of prosciutto's are.
The beer pairing with this course was the Rio Blanco Pale Ale - which Real Ale Brewing Co. dubs a well balanced "Texas interpretation of an English-style pale ale." I thought the pairing went well with the spicy pecans and honey.
Second course, a finely grilled red snapper with fennel citrus salad. I was impressed at the lovely char the chef was able to get on the fish. The citrus and fennel salad atop the snapper was a perfect match to the grapefruit notes of Real Ale's Lost Gold IPA.
Unfortunately, this dish while beautiful, was lacking in seasoning and just needed a touch of salt to round out what I believe the intended flavor was for the plate.
The third course was a savory grilled rib-eye with herb, avocado sauce and pickled sweet peppers. The pickled sweet peppers gave a nice pop of flavor and snap to the dish. The rib-eye was cooked perfectly and the creamy avocado sauce a great addition for summer fare.
The beer pairing, Devil's Back Bone, was a strong (8.10%) Belgian-style tripel without the overwhelming alcohol taste you'd expect from a beer with that percentage. Nice, smooth and not too sweet even though it's brewed with REal Ale's own house-made candy sugar.
And for the grand finale?
Cook Hall's butterscotch pudding took the cake, or uh, pudding. Let me start by saying I'm not a pudding fan. However, I'm a total wanna-be groupie of this butterscotch pudding. Not sickeningly sweet, rather, the perfect balance of rich, caramel, buttery and deliciousness that feels comforting yet classy.
Paired with Real Ale Brewing Co's Sisyphus Barleywine Ale, served in a wine glass with a warming charm as it goes down. This 10% ale is more like a wine than the ales I'm used to. The toffee undertones of this barleywine work great with the butterscotch pudding.
Kudos to chef, Rick Graff for coming up with the very well suited parings of Cook Hall's gastropub goods alongside Real Ale Brewing Co's craft beers.
I have to say that I'm a bit timid to try a beer dinner in the future for fear it may disappoint compared to my excellent experience at Cook Hall.
If you'd like to take a seat at their next beer dinner (which I would totally recommend), sign up for Cook Hall's email list and be one of the first to know about upcoming events!
W Dallas - Victory
2440 Victory Park Lane
Dallas, TX 75219
* Disclosure: I was not paid for this post, however I was given complimentary tickets to attend this event to facilitate this article. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and may not reflect the viewpoint of the companies mentioned.