Last week I saw on Twitter that Rooster’s was hosting a Highland Brewery Beer Dinner. Brandon and I are big fans of both Rooster’s and Highland Brewery so I immediately called and made reservations. Brandon was thrilled when I sent a link to the menu and told him we were going. I’m pretty sure I earned major brownie points that I will be cashing in next time I want to drag him along to a yoga class or a girlie movie. 😉
We have loved Highland beer since we worked in the Asheville area during our college summer breaks and we discovered Rooster’s when we moved to Charlotte last year and Chef Noble reached out to me through my food blog about trying the restaurant. The dinner was pretty much a match made in heaven for us.
I got delayed at work so we missed most of the pre-dinner reception but we arrived just in time to sample a few house made chips and sweet potato fries with a selection of aiolis and enjoy a few sips of the St. Therese’s Pale Ale.
We were seated at a table with two other couples who were both fabulous dinner company. There was never a lull in the conversation. On one side we had two beer dinner aficionados who filled us in on the local beer scene and all the great events they’d attended in the past. On the other side we had the executive chef’s sister and her husband. And then there was me taking pictures of all of the food (I did the best I could with the low light – go easy on me!). We had quite the foodie table going!
The first course was my favorite of the night.
Local apple tart with blue cheese mousse, spiced pecans and arugula. We spoke with the chef after the dinner and discovered that this was the dish that he was most worried about but it was perfect. The tart dough had an unexpected slight sweetness to it and along with the apples it played perfectly with the sharpness of the blue cheese and bitterness of the arugula. I could eat one of these tarts every day this Fall and never tire of it. Amazing.
The course was paired with Highland Gaelic Ale which is our all-time favorite Highland beer.
The second course was served alongside the Kashmir Indian Pale Ale. I have just acquired a taste for IPAs this past year and loved this one.
Seared Carolina scallop with Fisher Farms butternut squash and sage brown butter. Seared scallops are one of my favorite things to order at restaurants so I was happy that this was included in the evening’s menu. The crispy sage leaf on top was a fun touch!
Things really got fun during the third course when a firkin of unfiltered oatmeal porter was tapped.
Highland allows their brewers to play around with small batches of test beers. They only had 6-7 kegs of this unfiltered oatmeal porter and we were lucky that they brought one along to the dinner. It was surprisingly smooth and easy to drink. Everyone in the room loved this beer.
I got my game face on and got ready to tackle the third course.
Wood grilled lamb rack, marscapone polenta and fig infused porter sauce. Topped with a little sautéed spinach. This was such a well thought out dish. All of the flavors came together beautifully and the sauce was just incredible. My favorite part was that it included fresh figs!
I didn’t know if I had it in me but somehow I managed to tackle dessert. Well, let’s be honest. I always find a way to tackle dessert.
Spiced tiramisu paired with Black Mocha Stout. After the full glass of the Oatmeal Porter I was feeling done with beer but I had a few sips of the Stout for the pairing and it was great. It reminded me of something you would drink on the cold nights that are soon to come.
We had a wonderful night at Rooster’s full of fabulous food, fun company and tasty beers. Brandon asked on the way out if we could go to beer dinners every Tuesday night! While this might not become a weekly occurrence, we will be keeping an eye on the Rooster’s special event schedule and attending more wine and beer dinners in the future.