Friday, March 11, 2016

Beer Dinner with Art & Soul and Ocelot Brewing Company

Craft beer is a passion, an obsession and a journey. Art and Soul, a restaurant in Capitol Hill that provides Southern comfort food with the same passion, recently teamed up with the Ocelot Brewing Company for a beer dinner on Friday, March 11.  Ocelot Brewing Company is located out near Dulles airport in VA and has been open for only 11 months now.  From hoppy, to malty, to sour, we took a trip through all the flavors of Ocelot beer accompanied by Executive Chef Douglas Alexander's comfort cuisine.

First, we enjoyed a welcome reception with house made charcuterie and Hog Island oysters paired with a glass of Crimson Tears, Farmhouse Saison, 7.4% abv.  The French-style saison was very drinkable and brought out the sweetness in the oysters.  It also balanced well with the salty cured meats.

Then we moved to a seated dinner featuring four brews and four courses from Chef Doug.
Marbles, IPA, Dry-Hopped with Waimea and Wai-iti Hops, 6.4% abv, was paired with Halibut Ceviche seasoned with Thai chilies, mango, cilantro, and lime.  The sour beer was offset by the sweet and spicy ceviche.  This was a refreshing light course that really set the tone for the rest of the meal.

My favorite pairing of the evening was the Space Cadet, IPA, Dry-Hopped with Galaxy and Amarillo Hops, 6.8% abv, paired with Cornmeal Crusted Fried Skatewing and a confit potato and bacon salad with pickled ramp aioli.  The IPA had forward notes of peach and passion fruit, and was a classic Californian-style beer.

The Gallows, Imperial Red Ale, 9.3% abv, paired with Corned Pork Belly & Pastrami Beef Tongue served with kimchi and soft boiled marinated quail egg.  Keith ate this, while I had a substitute of Salmon with the same sides.  This malty ale was very strong and cut through the fatty meat of Keith's course.  I liked the subtle spice from the kimchi and the creamy quail egg.

For dessert we drank the Plasticine, Imperial Porter, 9.4% abv, paired with Dark Chocolate Pudding layered with a decadent coconut mousse, topped with caramelized banana and salted graham crumble.  This dessert was a huge hit with the crowd, and everyone suggested it needed to be added to the regular menu.

In all, we had a superb beer dinner hosted by Ocelot Brewing Company at Art & Soul.  You could tell the Ocelot team were proud of their craft, and truly committed to creating distinct flavors and profiles without compromising quality.  They are not bottling yet, but you can visit their facility out in Dulles any day of the week.

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