Monday, December 2, 2019

The Perfect Partner

For the best part of a decade my Black Friday tradition of walking 7 miles to the Columbia Flying Saucer and spending the afternoon on the bevvy has been something I looked forward to immensely. This year though Mrs V and I decided to leave the twins in the care of her parents and sister overnight and head down to Charleston for a night out. It was the first night in just over 2 years that both of us slept away from the kids.

The highlight of the trip was having dinner reservations at a restaurant called The Grocery. When I was in the city last year for a conference, I went there twice as a result of my bosses making arrangements without consulting each other, though given the wonderful food, especially the bone marrow brûlée, I really wasn't complaining.

Rather than having the standard 3 course meal of starter, main, and dessert, we picked and chose from various dishes, and ended up sharing between us, among other dishes:
  • bone marrow brûlée
  • roasted autumn roots
  • South Carolina Yellowfin tuna crudo
  • churros with salted caramel, chili chocolate, and creme anglaise sauces
Every dish was an absolute delight, especially the tuna crudo and bone marrow brûlée, rounding out the meal with the churros and a nice glass of calvados was just the icing on the cake. What though has this to do with beer, after all Fuggled is a blog about beer. Fear not dear reader, I haven't become a wine drinker, and my meal at The Grocery was certainly accompanied by beer, Fullsteam's Paycheck Pilsner to be precise.

Paycheck is, having actually only just now checked the Fullsteam website for details, an American style pilsner, made with, horror of horrors, flaked corn as well as 2-row malt. Side question, why is it ok for craft brewers to use "cheap adjuncts" like corn in their beer but not the likes of Miller and Coors, in whatever configuration they are this week?

Anyway, the beer, it was just what I wanted to drink, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Knowing that it uses corn will in no way affect the fact that I will drink it again in the future, in fact I'll probably hunt it out. It's a good beer, end of story.

The corn discovery though makes no difference to the thoughts behind this post. Driving home to Virginia yesterday I said to Mrs V that my experience of drinking Paycheck with all these fantastic dishes on Friday made me think that celebrity chefs who own that they drink American style pale lagers rather than whatever is this week's rage in the tasting rooms of the US might actually be on to something.

Dinner at a place like The Grocery is always going to be primarily about the food, as it should be, and so I want the beer to take a back seat, but still be an enjoyable experience in its own right. Enter pilsner, German, Bohemian, or American. Give me a glass of well brewed pale lager, reasonably well hopped, showcasing the clean snap of a good lager fermentation, and you have a beer that complements almost any food you have it with.

I am fairly sure that had the pilsner in question been Rothaus or Albrecht 10° the overall experience would have been similar, great food, supported by good beer, in supreme company, making for a wonderful night out with the inestimable Mrs V.

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The Perfect Partner

For the best part of a decade my Black Friday tradition of walking 7 miles to the Columbia Flying Saucer and spending the afternoon on the b...