The official Oktoberfest kicked off in Munich, Germany on Sept. 21 and similar parties celebrating food, fun, and beer are being held around the globe. One such event was Angry Scotsman Brewing’s Oktoberfest Dinner and yours truly was fortunate enough to attend. Five courses, prepared by the Kam’s Kookery team of Kamala Gamble and Barbara Mock), with five beer pairings, served in ASB’s taproom.
I took my wife to the event and, seeing as she’s a big-time foodie and beer aficionado, I asked her to help me with this review. (Yes, I realize I am a lucky man to have a wife who likes to do this stuff.)
First Course - appetizers with Doppelbock
Mr. B - I thought offering a doppelbock as the first beer was a bold choice. These beers are strong, rich, and have a malty sweetness, and this offering paired nicely with what was presented. The apps consisted of pretzel bites with beer cheese, grilled brats with spicy mustard, a beet salad, and shrimp with a sweet sauce. This was also the first course where we realized the menu was a little different than what was being offered. This was Angry Scotsman Brewing's first attempt at this and they mentioned there were a couple of substitutions.
Mrs. B - Let me just say I am a huge fan of beets. I thought that sweetness from the doppelbock paired well with the sweet earthiness of the beets. Also I really enjoyed the microgreens. So fancy!
Mr. B - The pretzel bites were a big winner here with the saltiness pairing well with the malt sweetness. I also did go back for seconds on these, which was probably a bad idea during a five-course meal.
Second Course - potato and cabbage soup with Festbier
Mrs. B - Another thing I love: cabbage! This soup was like a hug for my tummy with a little spice at the end to warm things up. The buttery taste and feel the cooked cabbage lent to the soup went well with the sweetness of the beer
Mr. B - This was a very cozy soup and I liked the bread pieces that were added. It was as if all the buttery flavor in the soup became concentrated in each little bread cube. The soup was served in a mug, but I could have easily cleared an entire liter-sized dimple stein of it. For me this was the weakest of the beers offered, but everyone eating at our table loved it, so what do I know? (Editor’s note: John knows a lot, actually. He’s a certified beer judge.)
Third - arugula salad with shaved fennel with Blood Orange Hefeweizen
Mr. B - I think this was my favorite pairing of the night. The salad had a nice, peppery bite from the arugula and a good acidity from the vinaigrette, and these flavors played really nicely with the phenols and esters in the hefeweizen.
Mrs. B - Bring on the fennel! Yes, I support a lot of highly under-rated vegetables. This course was yummy and bright. The grassiness of the arugula was matched with an initial sharpness of the hefeweizen, which smoothed out and helped this pairing marry well.
Fourth - short rib sauerbraten, potato Salad, and Brussels sprouts with Oktoberfest
Mrs. B - I love an Oktoberfest in a dimple stein! And, I love Brussels sprouts! Also, that meat: holy cow it was like candy! It was so tender you could have eaten it with a spoon, and I am not a huge meat eater. This meal was all things Germany to me and all things good.
Mr. B - The short rib sauerbraten was the show-stopper for me. Aside from being incredibly tender, there was a nice little tartness that added a layer of complexity. This was matched by the acidity of the potato salad, and just made for a well-thought-out course. I also loved that the Brussels had thinly sliced apples and leeks with them, that was just really well done. The Oktoberfest was very good and I loved that we got to keep the dimple steins. We have about two dozen too many beer glasses, but hey, why not add two more?
Fifth - apple dutch baby with German pilsner
Mr. B - This course had the best beer, in my opinion. I really liked this pilsner and I felt like it paired well with the dessert course. The sharp crispness acted as a great palate cleanser between bites. I could have used a little scoop of vanilla ice cream with this course, but I realize the chefs were operating out of a brewery and not a professional kitchen. Either way it was a great finish to a great meal.
Mrs. B - Nothing says love to me like baked apples. It was cozy but not too heavy after all the other food and it paired well with a nice light, crisp beer. I thought this was a very nice ending to an incredible meal. Thanks, Angry Scotsman.
This was the first time Angry Scotsman Brewing put one of these events on and there were a few hiccups. Several things were on the menu that were not served, and vice versa. That said, the gracious hosts told us this would be the case, and we were all understanding.
Regardless, the food was excellent and it was a very fun evening. Now you may be saying “Thanks for recapping your date with your wife, but why should I care?” Well, this was ASB’s first beer dinner, but it won’t be their last. My wife and I have attended similar dinners over the years and this meal was one of the better ones. I would encourage all of you to follow the local breweries on social media and the next time an event like this pops up, jump on it. You will likely see us there as well.