Last month, my friend Brandon invited a group to another beer dinner at Bernie's Tap Room. I couldn't pass it up because the last one was so great. Our friend Jimmy and his friends joined us.
We started by grabbing a beer (yup a beer before a beer dinner) at Fixture Brewing Co. on Clinton Street in the old Beer Goggles/Klub Kaboom/Main Stage/Shepard's (depending how far back you go). Shepard's was where I went in college for $.50 tap nights. They had pool, darts and a DJ but the cheap beer is what brought us in and kept us coming back. When it became Main Stage, more live entertainment was added. I never went in when it was either Klub Kaboom or Beer Goggles, but I was happy to return and see it turned into a beer bar.
They are still working on the brewing room, but they will be brewing and serving their own beers in about a month. The tap selection was nice and a chalk board behind the bar explained the beers a bit more as well as the bottled selection.
The place hadn't changed a ton but they did add church pew seats and a VIP'ish area in the middle of the bar. I think that was like that from a former location. The back of the bar that was the dance floor and stage (formerly a small bowling alley) has been turned into the brewing room.
The bartender was very nice and beside Brandon and I there were two guys playing pool, but it was only 5:30 :) I will definitely return when they have their beers up and going on tap and because I am such a fan of beer, will probably add this to my downtown hotspots list.
We then headed over to Bernie's to begin the Lakefront Beer dinner. The menu again looked amazing and I was starving!
Course one was a wedge salad with apple, bacon, goat cheese and a raspberry dressing. The bacon was sliced lengthwise, matching the onion slices and made it a very sweet/salty combo. The wedge reminded me of Mad Men (returning on April 1!) and the lunch salads they typically received. I love goat cheese so this salad ranked very high in my list.
It was served with the Pilsner (5.6% ABV). It was a light beer pairing well with the light salad.
Good Friend Inc. and I could see the resemblance in style. I think it is a great addition to a very large blank wall and makes for nice focal piece. Christine was at the dinner as well.
The second course was a shrimp taco with lime creme and salsa. This was an amazing flavor explosion in my mouth. The shrimp had great flavor but didn't overpower the other ingredients. It was served with Big Easy, Lakefront's Mardi Gras beer (7.6% ABV). It wasn't my favorite beer but the taco was sooo good, I didn't mind.
Course three was a flatbread (my new obsession!) with fried chicken, black beans, corn, cilantro and parmesan drizzled with a tangy remoulade. I would have never thought to put fried chicken on a flatbread, but it was really savory. I noticed the so-cal/tex-mex theme by this course, but didn't remember the last dinner having a theme per say. I am a big fan of so-cal food.
This was served with Fixed Gear, an amber beer (6.5% ABV). "This is so much better than Jacks," was a comment by someone at our table which in turn made us bust out laughing. I mentioned my love of flatbread and how easy this was and had all the guys I was with ask for me to cook for them :)
The next course was a little harder to eat but it was like thick cut bacon on a bun and I was in heaven! The sandwich was a pork belly po'boy with onion lettuce and a sweet pickle stabbed into the top. It had a bit of cajun mayo on it and it was the perfect amount of spice (when I usually shy away from cajun spices.
It was served with an IPA (6.6% ABV) and was pretty hoppy, but that completely killed the bite of the mayo, which in my book is a win-win.
By this course, we had collected quite a few glasses at our table and needed a clearing before dessert. The staff was right on top of this, bringing me more water and getting things out of our way right away when we were done with it.
Dessert was another flatbread!!!! Unfortunately it had pecans on top so my friend Jimmy had to pass due to his nut allergy, but he enjoyed the beer! It was a spiced apple cinnamon cream cheese flatbread with pecans and bourbon caramel drizzle. I don't know if this was the same drizzle as last time, but it again was amazing. It was paired with Fuel Cafe (6.4% ABV). I am not a huge coffee fan, but I love coffee beers now! This one is now a nitrogen beer, so it holds a creamy head for almost the whole glass. There are 10 lbs of Alterra coffee in 50 barrels.
Another successful beer dinner and a tradition that Bernie's plans to continue with the amazing success they are having with them. Each one has been a complete sell out and for the price, you can't beat it. The chef gets to have fun at the same time in the kitchen and boy is she talented.
I highly recommend attending a beer dinner or even just going to Bernie's for their flatbreads or sandwiches. So far I have no complaints and recommend everything :)