Four Beers, Four Dishes, Forty Bucks!

“Don’t be Afraid of the Dark”  

Duck Rabbit Beer Dinner, Jan 20, 2011, 7 PM 

 Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen

Very few things excite me more than local food and local beer, unless of course you pair the two together.

On January 20th, Chef Jay Pierce of Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen in Cary is hosting  the “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” beer dinner, featuring the dark beers of Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery.

This will be my third local beer dinner, each of the first two showcasing the restaurants commitment to North Carolina’s local/sustainable food providers, and our ever-growing craft beer industry. This one will be no different.

My first dinner, at Dos Perros, joined Chef Charlie Deal’s never-ending creativity with Lonerider Brewing Company in Raleigh. Chef Deal, being very passionate about beer himself, really focused on the flavor profiles of each beer to create a menu where the beer not only enhanced the flavor of each dish, but the dish also drew out the specific tasting notes of each beer.

My second beer dinner brought me to Zely and Ritz, who’s commitment to using fresh, local and organic ingredients (they own Coon Rock Farm) is immediately apparent upon looking at the menu. Chef/Owner Sarig paired his dishes with beer from Durham’s Fullsteam Brewery.

This was a breakthrough beer dinner for me. As a bartender at Fullsteam’s Tavern since its opening in August 2010, I was already very familiar with Fullsteam’s beers, I just hadn’t been able to get my palate to appreciate Hogwash, a smoked porter. The use of smoked grains adds such a depth of  flavor you think you’re drinking bacon…..really, I mean it!

I don’t remember what the menu was (I really have to remember to keep them), but I do know I walked away that night with a completely new appreciation for the smokey flavor of Hogwash. Whatever magical dish Chef Sarig created to pair with it brought the two together in a way I hadn’t imagined. I now not only had a new appreciation for Hogwash, I liked it! It really opened my eyes to how food and beer, when paired correctly, marries and enhances each flavor component in the most delectable and often surprising way.

My third beer dinner will be the Duck-Rabbit dinner at Lucky 32. Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout was the first dark beer to open my eyes to the dark beer family, add to that my love of Lucky 32 (if you haven’t tried the pork belly sliders, GO RIGHT NOW!), it’s no wonder I am counting down the days with excitement.

As with Chef Deal and Chef Sarig, Lucky 32’s Chef Jay Pierce is also very passionate and committed to using local meats and vegetables. He has written several articles for Edible Piedmont about his sustainable practices in each restaurant and how he went from purchasing only specific cuts of pork, to purchasing whole hogs and using everything but the oink.

Excerpt from “The Chef’s Table” by Jay Pierce  Harvest 2010 Edible Piedmont:

“Being sustainable means more than just buying ingredients from a producer with sustainable practices, it means considering the whole animal in context and not just taking the choicest cuts with no regard for the rest of the animal.”

I had on one occasion the opportunity to sit down to a tasting meal with Chef Pierce to preview his Spring seasonal menu debuting the next day. There we sat tasting away at Springs bountiful offerings, dish after dish,  happily devouring every morsel. It was as obvious then, as it is to me now that Chef Pierce’s culinary talent brings with it a brightness and excitement to each new season.

“Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” will be the first beer dinner at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen in Cary (He has hosted several at their Greensboro location). I am very excited about tasting the dark beers of Duck-Rabbit (after all, they were my first), learn more about the flavor profiles of each one and how they pair with the menu Chef Pierce has created (see menu below).

I am also hosting this event through two Meet-Up groups; SNOB FREE WINE and Tri-Beer. Both offer great opportunities to explore beer, wine and food around the Triangle while meeting new friends or catching up with old ones.

If you RSVP via either Meet-up group, remember you must call Lucky 32 to make your own reservation. Advance reservations are required. $40/person. There is limited seating, so please reserve today by calling 919-233-1632

Information below is from the Lucky 32 newsletter:

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark! Chef Jay Pierce invites you to our first Beer Dinner at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen in Cary on January 20, 2011, featuring the dark beers of Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery. Enjoy four beers and four dishes, for just forty bucks.

Beer Dinner Menu
Sweet Potato “Corn Dogs” with white barbecue sauce
Duck-Rabbit Marzen
Smoked Carolina Trout with baby spinach, butterscotch vinaigrette, ale-macerated figs and chevre
Duck-Rabbit Brown Ale
Braised Grass-Fed Short Ribs with honey-whipped turnips and gremolata
Duck-Rabbit Wee Heavy Scotch Ale
“Grown-Up S’mores” – graham cookies with marshmallow and stout-chocolate fondue
Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout

Duck-Rabbit Brewery is a small packaging microbrewery located in nearby Farmville, selling their first beer in August 2004. They specialize in beautiful, delicious, full flavored dark beers. Here is more about the beers you will enjoy:
The Duck-Rabbit Marzen is a traditional German Fest lager, copper in color with a pleasant malty flavor and a clean finish.
The Duck-Rabbit Brown Ale is an American brown ale brewed with loads of hops from start to finish (it’s hoppy and beautifully bitter). Amarillo hops in the boil provide a spicy citrusy bitterness. Saaz dry hops in the fermentor provide a refined flowery aroma.
The Duck-Rabbit’s Scotch Ale is a full-bodied, deep copper-colored treasure. Bold and malty, this beers’s sweetness comes from a massive quantity of grain complemented by by some serious kettle carmelization. The flavor is rounded out by a warming alcohol sensation.
The Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout is a traditional full-bodied stout brewed with lactose (milk sugar). The subtle sweetness imparted by the lactose balances the sharpness of the highly roasted grains which give this delicious beer its black color.
Advance reservations are required. $40/person. There is limited seating, so please reserve today by calling 919-233-1632. See more details on our web site

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