It was only their first beer dinner but Cook Hall, at the W Dallas, virtually sold out the event this week. The gastro pub replaces Craft with a lower price option for hotel patrons and Victory Park visitors. The beer dinner offered a four course meal (plus a starter of raw oyster) with each course accompanied by a Real Ale Brewing Company brew. This craft brewery based out of Blanco, TX makes a range of beers inspired by Belgium, Britain, Germany and traditional American styles.
For example, we started with a Pilsner, Hans Pils, named after the winery dog. It was smooth, making it an easy-drinking beer that went well with the East coast oysters.
Then it was on to Rio Blanco Pale Ale, a hoppy British-style beer that was served with a cheese and charcuterie plate that included Texas honey, aged goat cheese and prosciutto de Parma.
Next was Lost Gold IPA, an IPA made with American yeasts that gave it a citrus (specifically orange peel) flavor that was backed up by a firm 6.6% alcohol level. It was paired with grilled red snapper and fennel citrus salad.
The main course of grilled rib-eye with herb, avocado sauce and pickled sweet peppers was paired with Devil’s Back Bone, a formidable Belgian style tripel. This beer might make you give up even something as exhilarating as accountancy to become a trappist monk. The yeasts gave it a drastically different taste from all the earlier beers (more malty and less hoppy). The addition of sugar contributed to the high alcohol level of 8.1%.
Finally an addictive dessert of butterscotch pudding was accompanied by Sisyphus Barleywine Ale weighing in at a massive 10% alcohol. Treat barley wines like wines, they are more alcoholic than many grape wines. A small tulip glass was the right size and shape for this mythically inspired example.
This was a good idea by Cook Hall, pulling off a craft beer dinner. The customer enthusiasm for beer events is evident so call the restaurant at 214.397.4111 to be put on the e-mail list for the next dinner. If down in Blanco, check out the brewery tours on Friday afternoons. With 17 years under their belts, these guys are serious.