The Community Table Series - Avery Brewing Company
Barley & Board, Denton’s first gastropub known for its New American flare and wide variety of craft beer, hosted their latest installment in the Community Table Series this past Tuesday. Every dinner has two key elements: a five-course dinner menu curated by Daniel Thomas, Barley & Board’s sous chef, and a craft brewery that showcases their beers throughout the night (1 beer to complement each course). Each pairing works together to provide the optimal tastebud experience. Every entrée is determined with the brewer's beers in mind.
Upon entering, we were welcomed and seated at a long “community” table in front of the bar. The first course appetizers arrived from the kitchen shortly after.
Hummus fritters with herbed crema, garnished with parsley. These appetizers were shared (appropriately) among the community table. The body of the fritter resembled the texture of a hushpuppy – lightly breaded and soft at first bite. Fritters were filled with creamy and flavorful hummus. The herbed crema paired well with the spices from one of Avery's core beers, the “White Rascal.” “White Rascal” is a flagship Avery beer, based on a traditional Belgian witbier that stays true to form. Full of orange peel and coriander flavors. Zesty, crisp, and smooth.
After the first course, we were escorted upstairs to a more private area, a transition that created a lax atmosphere. We were seated at a U-shaped table, which was multi-purposeful, providing easy access in and out for the servers, while simultaneously giving the guests enough room to eat and converse comfortably. This table was our final location for the remainder of the dinner.
White shrimp ceviche with wonton crisps, atop a base of braided cucumber slivers. The beer accompanying this course was “Bug Zapper”, Avery's new and limited seasonal sour ale. “Bug Zapper” is a great sour ale for the summer, with a flavor profile that resembles that of a mojito. Each sip had mint, ginger, and lime flavors on a light, refreshing, and tart body. The beer was extremely easy to drink, making it ideal for a beer drinker new to sour ales. The fresh cucumbers in the dish really made me wish there was a cucumber note in the mix of the beer…it would’ve been a great addition.
Bergamot tea-steamed cobia, on top of a foundation of white bean farro. The cobia arrived in front of each dinner guest encapsulated in parchment paper. Once cut open, steam and the strong aromas of bergamot tea were immediately very appetizing. The cobia rested on top of a white bean farro, topped with thin slices of grapefruit peel that were almost melted into the cobia. The tangy citrus contributed by the grapefruit was a perfect match for the hoppy, bitter citrus of the imperial IPA. It really brought out the grapefruit of “The Maharaja.” “The Maharaja,” part of Avery's Dictator series, is the last remaining that is still produced regularly in this reputable series. The series ended last year, creating confusion, as it was an Avery fan favorite. The beer is a strong, caramelized, malty imperial IPA. The malt is sweet, paired with citrusy, tangy hops. It's smooth and more well balanced than most imperial IPAs, making it a great introduction to the style.
Tamarind braised short ribs with a hominy polenta base. The meat was extremely soft and tender, coming right off the bone. The short ribs were excellent and cooked to perfection. The sweet, creamy hominy paired well with the ribs. The beer for this course was Avery's “Vanilla Bean Stout,” part of their Botanical and Barrel Series. “Vanilla Bean Stout” is an imperial stout, composed of 3 different vanilla beans: Tongan, Ugandan, and Mexican. The aging process then takes place in bourbon barrels. There were a lot of chocolate and coffee flavors to be found, with notes of caramel - but vanilla is the real star here. This course was my personal favorite of the evening.
Dessert! Dundee cake with a rye whiskey cream with pistachios accented throughout. This traditional Scottish fruit cake was rich and flavorful, full of currants and sultanas. You could really taste the whiskey in the cream itself. The dish was sweet and boozy, but not as sweet as one would imagine based on description alone. I overheard someone jokingly ask, “what's the ABV of the cream?" The Dundee cake paired well with Avery's “Reverend,” which is part of their Holy Trinity of Ales series. “The Reverend” is a sweet and strong Belgian quad with toffee, caramel, and some dark fruit tones. Plum stands out, which pairs well with the currants and sultanas in the cake. This was a great dessert beer pairing for the fifth and final course.
Executive chef and general manager Danny Bays and North Texas Avery Brewing Company representative Noah Magryta prefaced every course, explaining not only the origins of the beer and course but also why they felt the selections would pair well together.
Something I observed during the meal really amazed me. Not only did Danny Bays help serve dinner guests, but he picked up dishes too and helped out wherever he saw opportunity. This is something that is rarely seen at dinners or in fine dining in general. This gave me new-founded respect for him and the restaurant.
Before dismissal, Magryta announced takeaways. Every guest left dinner with an Avery Brewing Company glass, sticker, and beer koozie. Avery Brewing Company is an outstanding brewery that has set the precedent for craft breweries around the world for the past 25 years. Many of their beers were ahead of their time at the point of conception, pushing the limit on what exactly a beer could be. These are just a few of the many reasons that made Avery Brewing Company a top-notch brewery to host at Barley and Board for the Community Table Series.
Photos by Sierra Johnson.
Header design by Kylie Phillips.