Photos: Alex Thompson
Photos: Alex Thompson

Heritage Brewing Co. Brewpub Masters the Beer Dinner

The perfect marriage is something few, if any, can say they’ve achieved, but for Heritage Brewing Co. Market Common Brewpub and Roastery, their carefully planned, seasonal menu from renowned NYC chef Donal Crosbie and wide variety of expertly crafted beers from Heritage’s flagship brewery in Manassas (and brewhouse onsite) showcase a seamless partnership.

And while guests can experience this collaboration daily at the Clarendon taproom and bar, to get an even better idea of the true harmony between the beer and food, Heritage is holding its first (of hopefully many) beer dinners on Tuesday, October 24. On Tap Magazine attended a preview of the four-course meal and beer pairing, and I can certainly speak for all at the event when I say, sign me up for October and every beer dinner after.

Head Chef Josh Ber, an old friend of Crosbie (both worked under legendary Chef David Bouley), delivered with a menu that ingeniously utilized the beers not just in the pairing of flavors with the dishes, but also as ingredients in the dishes themselves. From glazes to braising to dessert components, guests were able to experience the full spectrum of flavors each incredible beer offered, while also drinking the beer on its own with the dish, coming full circle.

The result was a meal that was by far more elevated than I think anyone walking into the brewpub and roastery expected, and better than any fancy wine dinner or other pairing event I have been to (and I’ve been to quite a few).

“This is the culmination of what we wanted to build for a very long time – showcasing the brewery and the food,” Heritage Brewing Co. CEO Sean Arroyo said at the preview. “Everything here – the food and the beer – is made from scratch. And this was the way to merge two things together and create a unique experience.”

The evening started off strong with two perfect bites showcasing the versatility of beer immediately – a sesame crusted ahi tuna with a spicy glaze made with Heritage’s American Expedition Honey Ginger Wheat Ale, and a brat braised in Heritage’s Freedom Isn’t Free IPA atop a fresh pretzel with sauerkraut and beer mustard. Both bites had the respective beers within the dishes served alongside as well, with all wiping their plates clean, ready for the next pairing.

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Next up, octopus braised in Heritage’s Teddy East Coast Pale Ale, one of the brewery’s flagship beers, and then charred and served with fingerling potatoes, frisée, and sweet and sour pumpkin puree. The tang from the braising of the octopus in the pale ale was incredible and the dish was well-paired with the pale ale, along with Heritage’s Barrel Aged Wild Belgian Ale.

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Next up, the entrée and something I was looking quite forward to: a duo of lamb, with a shoulder braised in Heritage’s Revolution Amber Ale, and a spent grain-crusted loin served over pearl barley risotto and wild mushroom. The dish was paired with Heritage’s Revolution Amber Ale (hundreds of oranges are squeezed by hand to make this beer) and Heritage’s Legado Hispanic Lager, meant to cleanse the palate and get you ready for the dish ahead.

This was without a doubt the best lamb dish I have had since my travels to New Zealand. The dish was so rich and full of layers of flavor thanks to the earthiness of the Revolution Amber Ale it was braised in, and combined with the rich sauce, everything just melted in your mouth.

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While the entire crowd would have welcomed another plate of lamb for our dessert, the menu provided a perfect finishing touch with delicate, rich flavors in the food, as well as the beer.

Guest were served a vanilla panna cotta, topped with peach compote made with Heritage’s Kings Mountain Scotch Ale, served with madeleines and the 2014 Barrel Aged King’s Mountain Scotch Ale. I’m a stickler for a perfectly textured panna cotta and this dish did not mix, while the peach compote had an extra depth of flavor from the Scotch ale – a welcome theme throughout this menu.

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The final dish we received was truly for both chocoholics and beer lovers alike, as two, delicate chocolate truffles made with Heritage’s Sovereign Imperial Stout were placed before us. These tiny little treats packed a heavenly punch with the richness from the chocolate and the stout, creating the most perfect pairing.

We enjoyed this last bite with Heritage’s Barrel Aged Grand Cru, which along with the stout used Heritage’s own Veritas Coffee in the crafting process. Noteworthy on the coffee: the brewpub and roastery has two permanent draft coffee lines, including a traditional cold brew and a draft latte that rotates weekly with new flavors.

For tickets and more information on the October 24 beer dinner at Heritage Brewing Co. Brewpub and Roastery, go here. Tickets for the beer dinner are $65 each and include the four-course menu, beer pairings, tax and gratuity, along with a heavy dose of flavor combination perfection.

Heritage Brew Co. Market Common Brewpub & Roastery: 1300-1398 N. Fillmore St. Arlington, VA; 571-319-0024; www.hbcmarketcommon.com

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Alex Thompson

Alex is a fan of all things food and sports, as well as a writer. By day she is a nonprofit communications manager, and by night she is searching the District for the best cocktails, whiskey selection and cuisine. Check out her blog at hellofoodgirl.com and follow her on twitter at @sportsfoodalex.