by Melissa Robert
With over 100 chairs filled with anxious patrons, The Gin Mill threw quite a dinner to help locals revel in their food and beer loving ways. The true guests of honor would have to be Franconia and Stone; breweries that is. I was lucky enough to be directed to one of the last parking spots by none other than owner, Peter Kenny. When we got a chance to chat inside, he was excited to be commemorating the one year mark for The Gin Mill, located on Henderson Avenue. Kenny, who also owns Capitol Pub and The Dubliner, has added reason to celebrate given the successful run of 5 and 18 years respectively.
So, what did I expect from a beer dinner at The Gin Mill? If you said a balanced and tasty four course meal with beers that were rich and satisfying you’d be correct. The meal began with roasted bock braised duck wings with morello cherry sauce. The wings were tender and the sauce was subtle with a pleasant Asian inspired flavor. The first course was paired with the Franconia Oak Aged Fall’n Bock. The Fall’n Bock, with a roasted aroma of caramel malt, was a hit with the diners at our table.
Course two was a delicious salad which had me sensing a theme. The organic baby spinach was lightly tossed with a Stone Saison du Buff & shallot vinaigrette. Crispy bacon, sweet roasted pecans, crumbled goat cheese and dried cherries adorned the dish and added the complex yet light flavor profile I enjoyed. Nothing could have complemented the salad more than the Stone Saison Du Buff; rosemary, sage, thyme and parsley were ideal companions for the spinach salad.
The third course was preceded by the Stone Russian Imperial Stout. This Ruskie was a dark rich brew with notes of sweet molasses, roasted malts and dark chocolate. My entrée arrived, theme broken (I’ll let you guess what I thought it was), unless the theme was beer of course. Or if the theme was, would-like-to-eat-all-of-this-again-tomorrow, or maybe I’m-dining-with-interesting-people-who-also-enjoy-tasty-food-and-delightful-ambiance… ok, ok I’ll stop.
We were served stout braised beef short rib, braised in the Stone pairing, with smashed potatoes and green beans. I found this to be the right dish at the right time; I couldn’t put my fork down. The short rib was very moist and the stout braise lent a depth that made me want the combine the meat with every bite of smashed potatoes and green beans.
Dessert consisted of Franconia Dunkel ice cream with bourbon brownies and a glass of Franconia Dunkel. The Dunkel has a malt sweetness with a nice finish of balanced hops and a little hint of chocolate. The dessert was polished off by most everyone, I even saw some diners partaking of their neighbors not yet empty plates. Punishment for such offenses would be a fork to the hand in my parent’s house, but this was acceptable to the satisfied and very full diners in attendance this night.
Check out Gin Mill’s for events like this one as well as full menus and happy hour specials.