Recently a fantastic local establishment, Sconni’s Alehouse and Eatery partnered up with Central Waters for a special release of a new Imperial Stout that is likely to become highly sought after, Maple Bourbon Stout.
The chefs at Sconni’s are absolutely top notch as you will see and read. In partnership with Central Waters they knew this was a super special, never before attempted release and wanted to knock it out of the park. Chef Joe, Chef Cody and their right hand man “Big John” delivered a dynamite five course meal that was paired to perfection with 5 Central Waters beers for sixty guests. The goal of this event, beyond the Maple Bourbon Stout release, was to showcase how well beer and food can be paired together, and, to quote Anello “1+1 can equal 3”.
Here is a shot of the menu for the evening an the pairings:
First Course: Central Waters Hone Blonde Ale with Goat Cheese Croquettes
The first course of the evening was a lighter affair. Paired with Central Waters Honey Blonde Ale the Goat cheese croquettes were a very flavorful delight to get the evening started. There was great texture differences on in this dish ans quite bit of flavor. The pairing was quite good overall and they complemented each other well. Everything worked well in this dish.
Second Course: Central Waters Rift IPA with Crazy Crab Watermelon Salad
The second course of the evening began to show case a bit more of Chef Joe & Cody’s creativity. Everything in the salad worked together despite what one would think about it reading all the different items used. I really enjoyed this pairing as it started to better show how the two (beer & food) work together for a better experience. The bitterness and hops of the Rift IPA balanced out the sweetness present in the salad. If anything, the salad was a tad too sweet, thankfully we had the Rift to balance out. That evening was my first experience with the Rift IPA. It offers a nice aromatic nose of tropical fruit and floral and still maintains a slight hint of that hoppiness you would expect. It finishes with a slight bitter edge but not overly so. Overall a nice drinking IPA.
Third Course: Central Waters Bloody Sunrise paired with Ancho Waffles & Quail
Now we are getting into the part of the menu (beer) that I was looking forward to. The creativity on this dish was everywhere, and, the beer was an excellent pairing. The waffle in this dish by itself was fantastic, coupled with the quail, it was a higher end take on chicken and waffles that I will soon not forget. The jalapeno syrup added a touch of sweet and heat that tied the whole thing together. The dish worked extremely well. The Bloody Sunrise is a tequila barrel aged beer that I would classify between a sour and a tart beer. Using blood oranges in the brewing process it is very interesting on the palate. I first sampled this one at the Central Waters Anniversary event earlier this year. At that time it was rather tart and almost sour, the barrel character was not well defined. This time around it was as if I had a different beer. The barrel notes were much more pronounced, though the tequila flavor itself tends to come in real late after exhaling and is very subtle. All in all much like this dish, the beer has many things going on that you would think may not go together but it pulls it off in spades.
Fourth Course: Central Waters Maple Barrel Bourbon Stout paired with Bourbon Barrel Porkbelly
Onto the course I had been waiting for. Since I had heard about this beer during my brief conversation with Anello at the Northern Lights Rare Beer Fest I had been looking forward to it. First we will touch base on the food. The pork belly was very well executed. Braised and pressed it delivered some great well balanced sweet, salty flavors that paired amazingly well with the beer.
Now the beer. Simply Amazing. This is an absolute five star rated stout. Using freshly dumped bourbon barrels that then held B & E’s Trees Forest Foraged Foods & Farm maple syrup for a year, Anello and team crafted a heavy bodied, velvety stout that was then aged for another year in the barrels. Two years in the making, this stout is most everything you could want, bold, complex, yet smooth and amazingly flavorful. In all honesty, this is probably one of, if not the best beer, I have ever had. If you get the chance, you have to try it.
Fifth Course: Central Waters Rye Barrel Chocolate Porter paired with Black Gold Smoked vanilla chocolate bar
Talk about an amazing over the top desert course! A house made Black Gold Stout chocolate mouse filled chocolate bar combined with a vanilla bean ice cream that was quite amazing. A sweet decadent arrangement that worked amazingly well with the Rye Barrel Chocolate Porter. The beer was the star of the dessert mainly because it helped cut the sweetness a bit, though it is a tad sweet on it’s own but not overly so in anyway. The amazing part of this presentation was how the toasted meringue sealed some charred bourbon barrel smoke inside the glass! Take of the glass and the Rye Barrel Chocolate Porter was then poured in. The smokiness was present with the stout for an amazing touch. Top notch!!
In closing, I have been fortunate enough to eat at many fine restaurants not only in Wisconsin but also in New York, New Jersey, Minneapolis, and Chicago. What Chef Joe, Cody, working with Anello, and of course Ben put together at Sconni’s was truly world class. It is one of the best meals I have been able to enjoy coupled with some of the best beer out. If you find yourself in the Wausau area, you owe it to yourself to stop in and sample some of the food and of course the wonderful selection of great craft beer.