Stone at the Steer — We’re not worthy!

Posted: June 24, 2014 by Franz Solo in ABQ Beer Week 2014
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Editor’s note: Franz Solo has been battling a hell of a virus recently, so this belated story from ABQ Beer Week has been on the back burner for a while. But we figured it’s still a good story about delicious beer and food, so we’re running it as a timeless feature. Because beer is timeless. — Stoutmeister

The Stone Beer Dinner at The Stumbling Steer was one of Franz Solo's favorite Beer Week events.

The Stone Beer Dinner at The Stumbling Steer was one of Franz Solo’s favorite Beer Week events.

Mrs. Solo and I had the privilege of being one of just 40 lucky patrons to enjoy The Stumbling Steer’s Stone Dinner during ABQ Beer Week. I have been a fan of Stone Brewing since my first bomber of IPA back in 2001 while a college freshman. Many, many bombers of Stone beer later, and having thoroughly enjoyed everything that I have consumed at the Steer, this was a dinner I was extremely excited for!

We lucky few dinner-goers were ensconced in the private dining room at the Steer and were greeted with a table filled with swag from Stone and a pint of Go To IPA. Given that we live in a reasonably hot climate, I am definitely a fan of session IPAs since I can have more than one while working on my yard or enjoying some sun without getting overly dehydrated or inebriated. This was my first taste of Go To IPA from the tap rather than the bottle and it was a very good starter to whet the palate, crisp and refreshing.

For our first course we were given glasses of Stone Saison, which were then followed with grilled cheese minis as an appetizer. The grilled cheese mini had a crispness like potato chips and the combination of brussel sprouts, mushroom and cheeses with the Saison made for something really delicious. The Saison had good fruity qualities and a healthy dose of Belgian funk which went really well with the basalmic dressing on the mini.

The grilled cheese was an early highlight.

The grilled cheese was an early highlight.

Our second course began with a glass of Stone IPA, which was followed with the Steer’s take on bangers and mash. The bangers and mash consisted of nitrogen-infused potatoes with mustard and roasted pepper sauces enveloped with pea gravy. The sausage was delicious, mild and paired really well with the standard IPA.

Our third course was, in my opinion, the show stopper, the creme de la creme of an outstanding drinking and gastronomic adventure. Stone’s Smoked Chipotle Porter was the beer for this round and the course was “green eggs and ham.” Gnocci has never tasted so good as this bacon-infused version which rested on a bed of pork belly and drowned in a truffle carbonara sauce fit for the gods. The strong flavors of the dish went perfectly with the Chipotle Porter, whose strong hints of chile and smoke melded with bacon and truffle for a simply divine eating experience.

Between the third and fourth courses we ordered a pint of the cask Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean. This was a real treat, the first cask Stone beer to make it to New Mexico, and it was wonderfully smooth with the vanilla really coming out under a more velvet smoke than in the bottled counterpart.

Our fourth course was chipotle maple marinated steak and roasted cauliflower paired with Arrogant Bastard ale. The steak had a wonderfully caramelized crust from the sear and the harrisa and sorrel sauces were a delicious accompaniment. The Bastard held up its burly and bitter end as a wonderful cleanser between flavor-packed bites of steak.

Steak. Beer. Everyone wins.

Steak. Beer. Everyone wins.

Our fifth (dessert) course was a well-over-the-top sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel sauce and house-made vanilla ice cream. To say that this was sweet would be a gross negligence to an epic sugary dessert. Our pairing for this delicious monstrosity was Stone’s Russian Imperial Stout ’14 edition. The beer was excellent as always, but a tad bitter when consumed next to the pudding. I would personally have liked a glass of Stone’s Punishment (Chile beer extraordinaire), which would have certainly held up in terms of flavor and fire, but alas.

Following this smorgasbord of delicious brews and cuisine, we got a pint of Tiger Cub Saison at the bar. This was a real treat indeed, a true miracle that we even had a keg of this beer at the dinner, and man alive it was tasty as hell! Layers of delicious citrus and tangerine qualities abound with a great funk in the middle and a clear finish. This is, in my opinion, what saisons should be, sweet and tangy and luscious with Belgian yeasts.

A big thanks to the Steer staff, including Sonny (far left) and Chef T (standing next to him).

A big thanks to the Steer staff, including Sonny (far left) and Chef T (standing next to him).

We chatted a bit with Karl (New Mexico’s Stone rep) over this delicious pint and I am pleased to report that RuinTen will be returning this summer along with another edition of the Enjoy By series. In summation, I called this event an amazing experience all around, thoroughly enjoyable, and I certainly hope we will see another of its kind.

A huge thanks to The Stumbling Steer and Stone Brewing for making this possible and also to Sonny from the Steer and Karl from Stone for putting together a grand evening all around. One final shout out to Chef T of the Steer for concocting a dinner like none I have ever had the pleasure of eating, truly unique and bold. So until next year’s ABQ Beer Week, this is Mr. and Mrs. Solo signing off.

Prost!

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