Monday, February 8, 2010
Harpoon Beer Dinner at Kitty Hoynes
We recently enjoyed a fine evening of food and drink at Kitty Hoynes, a pub and eatery located in the Armory Square area of Syracuse, NY. Periodically, Kitty Hoynes puts on beer pairings dinners which highlight a particular brewery (not to mention the tasty offerings by Chef Damien Brownlow). January 26th saw Ed Valenta of Harpoon Brewery out of Boston come to town with several of their excellent brews in tow.
Kitty Hoynes Irish Pub located at 301 West Fayette Street in Syracuse is a great place to eat or drink whether or not there's a beer dinner. The pub area is dominated by a massive oval bar with the requisite Irish themed decor. While their selection of beers can't rival nearby Clarkes' Ale House or the Blue Tusk, they always have a nice variety on tap. Guinness, Bass, Harp, Boddington's and Smithwick's are always available (as well as the usual yellow fizzy beer if you so choose), but they also have a rotating selection of excellent craft beers. On this particular night they had Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale and the featured brew was Harpoon's Celtic Ale. Their drafts are served in generous 20 oz. "pint" glasses. We arrived early and were able to imbibe in a couple of pints before the main event.
Kitty Hoynes' food is always excellent and on this night the choices were superb.
We started the evening off with Potato Croquettes with honey mustard horseradish sauce. This was paired with Harpoon's wheat beer, UFO White. This beer is a light Belgian wheat beer with a citrusy tang. While I must admit citrusy wheat beers are not my favorite, it was a decent beer to start off with.
Next came the appetizer course: Pan roasted apricot glazed Cornish hen atop a zucchini nest (again, delish). With this we had Celtic Ale. Like most Irish Ales it is a malty brew, medium bodied with a bit of a hop finish. Very good beer - nice nose, rich amber color with a bold yet balanced taste.
The salad course (arugula, radishes, tomatoes, onions, spicy almonds and goat cheese in white balsamic vinaigrette) brought with it Harpoon IPA. We hopheads smiled. At 42 IBU's it is a nicely hopped beer (consider a typical American Lager such as Bud or Miller is around 10-15 IBU's). Wonderful hop aroma jumps right out at you. Real nice bitter finish that lingers nicely on the palate. This is Harpoon's flagship brew and it shows. There's a nice toasty maltiness that works nicely with the hops. An excellent all-round beer.
Next was the soup course, a delicious Irish Seafood Coddle. With this we had Harpoon's UFO Pale Ale. This is an unfiltered pale ale in the style of English Pale Ales. While not as hoppy as the IPA of course (34 IBU) it nonetheless retains a nice bitter finish. Overall a lighter, more balanced beer. Very pleasant nose - floral, hoppy.
The entree for the evening was beer brined pork chop topped with a poblano and tomato chutney served with mapel yams and a vegetable bundle (yum!) For the beer, Ed brought out the big guns. From their Leviathan series of big, strong beers we had Leviathan Baltic Porter. At 9.5% ABV it is a solid take-no-prisoners brew. This is a full-bodied beer with dark chocolate notes. We will visit it further at our next beer club as it goes head to head with selected Porters.
We ended the evening with Sweet n tart Apple Surprise paired with Harpoon's Apple Cider. The cider was nicely dry and made for a pleasant complement to Kitty Hoyne's excellent dessert.