The Marsh House Spring Beer Dinner
Grabbing a beer - a simple activity symbolizing friendship, comradery, and relaxation. The spring beer dinner at The Marsh House was just that. Held on May 1st during The Craft Brewers Conference, this dinner drew brewers and amature beer connoisseurs to the same table. After filing through the industrially trendy dining room, guests were led outdoors to an inviting, enclosed patio space. Samples were poured from Mantra tap handles while little glass bottles of Roadhouse Brewing Company offerings were displayed for guests to grab. Eager waiters began passing perfect plates of expertly prepared shrimp toast (available at any time on The Marsh House menu), spinach and mushroom hand pies with boursin, and tangy venison poppers. As everyone settled into their seats and introductions were made, a cold appetizer bar opened, offering ceviche, creamy crawfish tails, and freshly shucked oysters- a Marsh House staple.
Once settled, Mantra Brewing Company reminded us: "Drinking beer should be a curated experience that provokes a conversation." That sentiment, along with the scallop dish that arrived soon after, set the tone for the entire meal. Perfectly seared, the scallops rested on watercress and were topped with a luscious ginger soy butter and spicy tobiko. They were the perfect accompaniement to Roadhouse Brewing Co.'s citrusy Wilson West Coast Style IPA. Chef Sean McTiernan of Adele's followed closely after with his crispy smoked octopus with fennel sopprasata, dehydrated capers and olives, cured lemon, red frill mustard, and smoked garlic yogurt. Once presented, the tables erupted with excitement and curiosity.
Next up, Chef Tony Galzin of Nicky's Coal Fired presented his risotto, with fava beans, english peas, parmesan and lime. Rich yet bright, the surprising citrus note prepped the palate perfectly for each sip of Country Boy Brewing's Cliff Jumper IPA. As plates were cleared away, a classic Saison from Blackberry Farm Brewing was poured. We were given a minute to sip and savor before The Marsh House's own Chef Nathan Duensing presented his crispy snapper. Served over charred eggplant puree and taktouka with crispy chickpeas and harissa oil, the warming heat and texture layered seamlessly with the Saison.
Mantra Artisan Ales of Franklin collaborated on multiple brews for the evening. For the next course, they showcased a brew called Lola with Roadhouse Brewing Co. out of Wyoming. A Belgian Dark Strong Ale with cherries, Lola is a smooth, easy drinking thing of beauty that seemed it couldn't get any better. Enter: Chef Kyle Mendenhall and Chef Adam Dulye's perfect New York sugar steak with asparagus, pickled onions, green garlic, and smoked root vegetable puree. This course was the definition of a pairing; each bite leaving your palate begging for another sip; each sip begging for another bite. Plates were cleaned, and guests began to lean back in anticipation of the sweet final course.
In Mantra's final collaboration of the evening, they once again teamed up with Bhramari of Asheville. Their Triangular Optics Milkshake IPA with Thai tea, plum, and vanilla served as the perfect close to the evening's libations and added delightful notes of spices to Chef Lisa Marie White of Marsh House's carrot cake with ginger caramel and spiced meringues. The meringues and creamy internal frosting of the cake specifically matched the beer's expression.
As the final plates were cleared, glasses were emptied, and chefs and brewers alike were applauded, Roadhouse Brewing Co's head brewer Max observed, "the food... the beer... it makes an experience. It makes life wonderful and joyous." That it does.