CRISP AND DIVINE

A look at a special event at Taste wine-beer-kitchen

Story and photos by Peter R. Clark 

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit an event hosted by Taste and Phantom Carriage. This event was hosted at Taste wine-beer-kitchen, a restaurant located on Broadway in Long Beach. Phantom Carriage is a brewery in Carson that specializes in sour and wild beers.

The event started at 6:30 p.m. Dinner was $55 a person, and consisted of four courses. Each course was paired with a beer brewed by Phantom Carriage. When I arrived, I was seated at an assigned seat. I was fortunate to be seated right across from the founder of Phantom Carriage, Martin Šváb. We spoke about many things throughout the night, and I gained a better understanding of Phantom Carriage’s mission and his passion behind providing great beer. It was an awesome experience.

Vegetarian options were available, however they were not listed on the menu and I did not have an opportunity to try them.

The first course was a Winter Mesclun Salad. It had an earthy taste, like plants, which was probably from the diverse amounts of greens. The chevre cheese in the salad offered an interesting saltiness and the tangerines provided a nice sweetness. The pistachio nuts added a great crunch. The acidic dressing paired well with the beer on offer, a wild berliner-weisse, a sour German-style wheat beer, called Broadacres. The beer was nice and slightly sour, and tart. 

The second course was a North African Style Mussels. This dish had a charmoula broth that provided a nice sauciness to the dish. The sausages provided a little spiciness, and were perfectly cooked and swimming in the broth. I wished that I didn’t have to deal with the mussel shells in this dish, but they were cooked quite well and tasted fresh. The bread was toasted and provided a nice way to sop up the broth. 

The beer paired with this course was a hoppy grisette-style farmhouse ale called Annalee. It is their attempt on a Belgium-style pale ale. This beer paired well with the spiciness of the sausage, and it tasted very light and refreshing. It was a little hoppy and funky.

The third course was the main course which was called Grilled Mary’s Chicken. The chicken was perfectly cooked, tender, charred in a few areas, and surround by beurre blanc a white butter. It was over a bed of rice, which had a small hint of coconut. The mangos and passion fruit added a nice air of sweetness to the dish. Macadamia nuts added a nice crunch to the dish. 

The beer that was paired with this dish was a wild Belgian blonde called Muis. It cut well through the sweetness of it. The beer had a grassy taste and complemented the chicken very well.

The fourth course was dessert and it was called a Funky Banana Split. It had pepper ice cream which added a bit of spiciness, but it was tamed by the cherry ice cream. The pepper ice cream was surprisingly good. Overall the majority of the sweetness in this dish came from the banana, and even with it, the dish wasn’t as sweet as I expected. The banana was sliced and the entire dish was drizzled with chocolate sauce. As with the other dishes, pecans added a nice crunch to the dessert. 

The beer that was paired with this dish was a dark farmhouse ale called Dolores. It was stout-like, but also had some notes of spices. It was very light for a stout beer, with some tastes of cloves. 

To close the night, the people from Phantom Carriage provided everyone with a bonus beer. It was an imperial stout that was very boozy. It was aged for six months in Heaven Hill whiskey barrels. It was about 12 percent alcohol by volume and you could taste it. This was a slow drinker. It was very good and heavy, and had a taste similar to what I expected with a barrel aged stout.

This was great event to attend and I enjoyed every second of it. I hope to go to more events like these in the future.

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