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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Rob Tod, Allagash, and Monk's Cafe

Just a quick note about last night's Allagash dinner at Monk's Cafe. Tom invited me to come down, which I wanted to do: Rob's a great guy, and a good friend, and Heaven knows his beers are excellent, but I was meeting with another friend last night to help pick out music for her wedding. So Cathy and I left late, and got to Monk's at about 8 (after an amazingly fast run down to Philly; where was the traffic?).

Matt "Beer Yard" Guyer graciously made a place for us at the infamous "press ghetto" table in the front window, and I plonked down beside Don Russell just in time to catch a glass of Allagash Triple, which was tasting fine, better than I remember: clean, crisp, and drinkable. (Yes, I know, those are the classic adjectives for describing Budweiser; this stuff isn't Budweiser.) We also got a retrograde glass of White, which I enjoyed and should have kept to have refreshed through the night as a calibration tool.

We'd already eaten, not knowing how long the music selection would take, so we passed on Tom's gracious offer to feed us. Although...when he urged me to try a bite of the salmon with a Curieux mole, I did, and I was glad; the Curieux was tasting just a bit top-heavy on its own, and the fish and heat-kissed sauce knocked that top-hamper right off, making it a delightful mouthful.

I talked a little New Jersey Breweries business with co-author Mark Haynie, who was in for the dinner. He's making brewery visits next week, I'm going to start hitting bars -- tough work, but some poor sucker's gotta do it (You got any good NJ bar suggestions, particularly in the vicinity of a New Jersey brewery, send 'em in!).

We got Musette (Rob's take on the Belgian take on Scotch ale) and barrel-aged Four with dinner (dinner was a 'barbequed' brisket (the 'quotes' are there for the barbeque fanatic who wrote a comment recently on my post about Clem's in Port Matilda; fanatic, I didn't put the post up because it was too long and a bit too vicious, not because I want to censor anyone who disagrees with me), mashed yams, and collard greens). The Musette was nice, malty with an edge, and the Four was just huge, bourbony, and deep, lots going on once you dove deep under the bourbon layer.

We did eat dessert, a chocolate fig cake with Allagash Double. It had been quite a while since I'd had Double, and it was great, flavorful, but not huge, and good at picking up the fig notes in the cake. Pretty much general lusciousness.

After that, we hung around a while, helping Bryan Kolesar and his wife celebrate their 9th anniversary (Congratulations!), talking about the Michael Jackson toast plans with Tom, and introducing Cathy to Rob. Rob Tod's talk, by the way, was one of the most fact-filled yet engaging talks I've ever heard at Monk's: focused, but fun, in his self-deprecating way. His passion for his beers, and for the thrill of trying new techniques, has always been exciting, and it came across clearly last night.

Thanks to Tom for the invite: another great time at Monk's Cafe.


Anonymous said...

Any word on when Fluxus (12th Anniversary) will see the light of store shelving?

Rob is indeed a class brewing act.


Lew Bryson said...

If anything was said, I missed it. Which is possible, when I'm there with Cathy.