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Monday, March 17, 2008

Philly Beer Week: the Fork brunch

More a quick note than anything else... The dim sum brunch I hosted at Fork was a very good time. We sold out (43 guests in the private back room), and, well, somewhere along the way, things changed, and beer was included in the price.

We all sat at long, communal tables, the food was on large plates we served ourselves from, and the beers were all set in the middle of the table. I encouraged folks to try anything they wanted with anything they wanted, and to pass the word on good and bad pairings. My first discovery: Weyerbacher Merry Monks Ale went very well with the pickled soy sprouts, it really picked up the sweetness in the vinegar-laced greens. Tröegs Nut Brown Ale, as suspected, was beautiful with the braised ribs (and the braised chicken feet as well).

We had two pitchers of draft: PBC Kenzinger and Dock Street Rye IPA were both quite well-received by the diners. The surprise hit was a late addition: Reading Premium! Their Bucks County distributor, Banko, dropped off a case at Centre Beer in Newtown, I picked it up and hand-carried it to Fork because I thought there might be some less beer-savvy folks at the brunch who might appreciate something that wasn't quite as assertive, and I like the stuff, it's a well-made American lager with some guts to it. They loved it! And it went really well with the Chinese Broccoli and Oyster Sauce.

The food was exciting, plentiful, and delicious. Well...okay, the tripe was maybe a little too exciting for me. I was iffy on the tripe. But the rest of it: velvety fish congee, silky rice noodles with shrimp, the puffy chicken buns, braised ribs, pickled soy sprouts, crispy Shanghai spring rolls... excellent, and plenty to eat. Working with Ellen Yin was a delight, an energetic and cheerful woman who had a beautiful rapport with her customers.

Good time had by all, I think I can say. There were a lot of nice compliments from the guests (which included Scott Bowser and his wife, the man who owns and runs Swashbuckler Brewing at the PA RenFaire, which I understand he also now owns...I think I got that right...I'll be doing beer presentations for them at a food event they're doing at the Faire Memorial Day weekend; more on that soon). And I did walk over to the Real Ale Festival at Triumph afterwards, which was excellent.


Pete LaVerghetta said...

Like I said in the other thread, possibly the best bang-for-the-buck not just of the Beer Week, but in a long, long time.

We loved the Dock Street Rye IPA as pickled ginger gari-like palate cleanser between courses. The floral nose was great, the just enough hoppy bite to wake one's mouth up.

My buddy Jay commented that 60 minute IPA used to be hoppy, now doesn't seem so crazy hoppy bust still good and great with a Sriracha type sauce.

The Troegs Nut Brown and the Weyerbacher Merry Minks both cut right through and soy/salty flavors, bringing a refreshing sweetness to the proceedings.

This was a home run, thanks Lew and Ellen.

Kevin said...

My father and I were sitting in Campo's on Market enjoying a bite to eat before the Real Ale Fest when my dad said " now thats the spirit" and pointed to a guy carrying a case of beer over his shoulder. I said that looks like Lew Bryson and he is scheduled to host an event at Fork but I don't ever remember seing Reading on the beer list. I read this and just had to shake my head and smile. Thought I would share.

Lew Bryson said...

Busted. That was me, all right. Hey, you know, gotta get the beer to the people!