PDA

View Full Version : Review - International Beer Pairing Dinner (LONG)


luvpooh
11-12-2003, 12:04 PM
Sorry I'm posting this so late! Be warned, long!
We went on our arrival day, October 22, to the International Beer Pairings dinner at the Rose and Crown restaurant in Epcot. This is the first year this has been offered. We walked up to the podium and said we were there for the beer pairings and that we had a reservation and they tried to lead us to the seminar that was being held outside. I then explained that we were there for the dinner and they quickly turned around and led us inside to a dining room.
*Strange thing* they never asked us our name or for a priority seating number. Since this was a prepaid event, I thought this to be a bit odd, because anyone could have walked up and said they were there for it, and seeing how we were misdirected at first, anyone could have been looking for the seminar and led into the dinner!
Anyway, we were greeted by about 6 waiters and waitresses at the door, each holding a tray full of glasses of beer. We were directed to each take a glass and seat ourselves. We did so and sat at one of the remaining tables that was empty. It was about 5 minutes before 4 at this time, and about 16 seats were still open when we sat.
Waiters brought around bread and butter, a piece of Irish Potato bread and a piece of Guinness bread with buckwheat honey-ale butter. The potato bread was very good, the Guinness was hearty, dark and grainy. I liked it (I love bread!) but my boyfriend did not. The butter was a sweet, honey butter and it was good.
We drained our beers, as did most of the others around us. However, we were supposed to save it for the first course! Oops!:o
At this time, our hosts for the night, Cathy Young, the restaurant manager, and Chef Mark Norberg arrived to greet us. They welcomed us and briefly explained what would be taking place over the next 2 hours. While they were talking, the waiters put a glass of the Tennents at each empty seat. At this time, others began arriving (it was around 4:15ish) and complaining that it had started, as they were told by Disney Dining that the dinner began at 4:30. I have to say, I was also told this when I made the reservation, but had since confirmed that it was to begin at 4. These people were very upset, especially this one family(?) of 3 that came in. The daughter did not look old enough to be drinking and she was the loudest complainer, stating that "I guess we won't be sitting together!" since there were only 2 seats available per table at that point. The brother and mother looked mortified! All of the other people, I must say, were not complaining as much as trying to defend themselves by saying they were told 4:30.
At any rate, my BF and I managed to get an extra glass of the Tennents to share (hee hee!) since the woman who sat with us got a glass from the waiter at the door, and they had also placed one at her place on the table! She asked if it was ours and my BF quickly said yes and grabbed it!:p
OK, back to the food. The first course was the "Tour of UK Pub Cheeses and Seasonal Fruit". It contained a Whiskey Malt Cheddar, Red Dragon, Tintern, Boilie, Stilton Blue Cheese and fresh honeycomb. There was also a couple of blueberries, a cheddar cracker (on which the honeycomb was placed) and a fruity sauce on the plate. The cheddar was very strong, but good. The Stilton was very good, I love Stilton! I couldn't tell you one of the other 3 from the other, but one was a mustard seed cheese, one was an herbed cheese, and one was a small ball of a goat cheese. The mustard seed one was strong! They were all very good, and as suggested by the Chef (he gave a small description before each course) the stilton paired well with the fresh honeycomb. My boyfriend ate most of the cheese, but he thought there was too much.
The waiters then brought out the next beer, Hoegaarden. Shortly followed by that was the Starter, Fried Oysters with a smoked tomato jam, served on seaweed salad. It was presented with the oysters on top of the seaweed salad in the oyster shell, and the 2 shells on top of a plate full of sea salt. My boyfriend was very hesitant to try the oysters, as he is allergic to shrimp and is always worried about trying new shellfish, but he tried them and loved them. I did too, and as well as eating my portion, I also gobbled up his seaweed salad (the kind you get in any sushi joint). The beer was not a favorite of either of us. It kind of tasted like soap and was kinda foggy. It did pair well with the oysters, which was its purpose, but I would never drink it again!
The next course, a soup course, was Potato Ale soup garnished with creme fraiche. It was served lukewarm, and was kind of congealed on the top, but my bf and I were the only ones who seemed to notice, and we were afraid to say anything (I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be hot or cold)! It was accompanied by Stella Artois beer, which seemed to be sold in several places throughout the food and wine festival. It was okay, nothing memorable. The soup, even though not hot, was delicious. It was garnished by caramelized shallots and something else (maybe bacon?). Very creamy with a taste of the beer in it, and not too heavy.
I should mention that throughout the dinner, Cathy was giving a short history of beer and how it was produced, used, etc. She was very informative and very funny as well. The Chef seemed very nice, but seemed as if he wasn't used to talking to the patrons, he seemed shy.
The entree was served next. It was a Grilled Wild Boar chop with a cherry demi upon horseradish mashed potatoes and asparagus, accompanied with Bass Ale. The boar was a big hit with my boyfriend and the others at my table, I didn't care for it that much, it was a very fatty piece of meat. I don't care for red meat in general though. It was presented very nicely, on a bed of the horseradish mashed potatoes, which didn't have as much of a kick as I had expected and with excellent white asparagus. I love asparagus, but did not indulge in my boyfriend's portion due to the unfortunate after effects that asparagus has (if you've eaten it, you know what I mean!). The cherry sauce that accompanied the boar was very good. I am not a big fan of Bass Ale, but it was ok (it was also my 4 1/2 glass of beer at this point!) :crazy:
The next course was a palate cleanser, a fresh apple sorbet. It tasted like pureed granny smith apple that was frozen. They served it with Boddingtons, which is a great beer. I loved the sorbet, my bf, was so-so.
Finally, dessert! Yes, beer was served with dessert, in fact it was in the dessert. It was a walnut-caramel ice cream float with Belle-Vue Framboise Lambic. This is a sweet, dessert like beer that is raspberry flavored. The ice cream was homemade and delicous. There were also 2 of those round cigar like cookie things served with this. Yummy! The waiters also passed out glasses of the beer, and at this time, served coffee and tea to anyone who wanted it.
We were then thanked for coming and presented with souvenir glasses (they said there was a variety but we both got Bass Ale). They were presented by the beer company rep. The servers and cooks then came out and we thanked them.
My boyfriend really surprised me at this dinner, when we sat down and saw the foods offered, I thought we were in trouble (he's a very straightforward eater). But he surprised me (and himself) by trying everything, eating almost all of it, and most importantly enjoying it!
All in all, it was a great experience and one I would repeat. There were a couple of kinks, but it was the first time they did this, so it was forgivable. I was happy they did more stuff this year at the food and wine fest to cater to beer drinkers. I love good food, but am not too big on wine (can't drink red wine at all). Hope this was informative, and if anyone has any questions, feel free to ask! :wave:

webray
11-12-2003, 02:49 PM
Wow, Hoegaarden and Stella Atois...two of the most outstanding beers.

Sounds like a great time!

betterlatethannever
11-12-2003, 05:00 PM
Thanks for the review.

I'm not much of a beer drinker but this sounds like something I could really enjoy.

The problem is how to fit everything in - food & wine pairings, wine seminars,etc.;)

Ed

Rexfan
11-12-2003, 06:37 PM
Oh wow! I am such a beer lover. My Dad is opening a brewery. I will have to check that out next year!

madcoco
11-13-2003, 01:55 AM
Thanks for a great review even though you wern't impressed with Stella Artois one of my favorite beers.;) Hope to catch it next time Sounds like a great time.pirate:

Uncleromulus
11-13-2003, 05:12 AM
Enjoyed the review!!

Oh how I wish some of the hotel restaurants could obtain Stella Artois---

luvpooh
11-13-2003, 09:54 AM
maybe I was wrong about the Stella Artois, like I said, things were a little foggy at that point...I just don't recall it making a lasting impression on me, perhaps if I tried it alone, it would be better?
Sorry, though, webray, Hoegaarden I DO remember being yucky! Perhaps an acquired taste? ;)
Like I said, I'm definitely glad we tried this one out, worth repeating too!

UniversalAddict
12-09-2003, 03:09 PM
If you don't mind me asking - How much did all this cost you? It sounds like you think it was worth it.

da disney fans
12-09-2003, 04:00 PM
Wow!! :earseek: This sounds like something my husband and I would loooooove to do.

Where can I find info/dates/prices??

HumphreyBear
12-09-2003, 04:22 PM
I think its funny that they served 3 belgians in the UK! I really like Hoegarden quite a bit - not my favorite by any means, but a nice white beer. Haven't tried Stella yet - am curious about it. Never had Bellvue lambics, but Lindemans lambics are incredible!

Belgians tend to have a pretty distinct flavor. (and usually 3 times the alcohol!)

d-r
12-09-2003, 05:13 PM
I can't believe it! I just posted yesterday that it would be crazy if the R & C had hoegarden. And I said "Lindemans" but any lambic framboise would do ;) I see that hoegarden and belle-vue are both part of the interbrew conglomerate...they also have boddingtons, tennets, and bass (the guinness and harp being the non-interbrew labels at r & C). Was this only for the food and wine festival?? ANY chance they will keep the Belgians around the rest of the year? Epcot could really use a Belgium pavillion, but a few more good beers like that at rose and crown and we won't have to walk all the way around to drink around the world anymore, just go to rose and crown and spend the day.

Hoegarden is a wheat beer (white) Humphrey bear, it doesn't have as much alcohol as a tripel.

Man, I would love this. I hope they have this still.

DR