Sun King Sips at Tastings

Friday, March 18, 2011 - 
In celebration of the upcoming St. Paddy's Day, Tastings invited Sun King to participate in their weekly Wednesday tasting event.  A combination of two of my favorites in Indy (Tastings & Sun King), I immediately knew hubs and I had to participate.  Those who attended drank and ate well that evening - here is what you missed (and be sure to look at the great glasses Sun King served their beer in - love them!):

First Course - Sun Light Cream Ale served with Irish Breakfast in One Bite
Sun Light Cream Ale is the first beer I sampled from Sun King Brewing.  And to this day, it is consistently beautiful.  Clean and smooth, it is always great on the palate.  Couldn't have picked a better beer to pair with the treat Steven served up.  A deviled egg, consisting of a creamy center of yolk, goat cheese and mustard, was wrapped in a smokey and spiced Irish Banger sausage.  The taste was perfect - the seasoning of a great breakfast sausage.  To make it even better, it was wrapped in Rasher bacon - slightly fatty but crispy at the same time.  To calm it all down, an heirloom tomato coulis was the bed and perfectly thinned out sauce to cover the egg in.  The half surely wasn't enough - I could have eaten more of these (and of course, sip on the Sun Light as well).  Hubs doesn't even like deviled eggs and he too said that he wanted more.  A little goat cheese always make it a tasty treat, and with perfectly spiced sausage?  You can't go wrong.

Second Course - Osiris Pale Ale served with Corned Beef and Cabbage
If you like hoppy beer, you will love the hop punch from this Pale Ale.  And if you aren't a hop lover, I still say give it a taste.  You will be surprised on the citrus element you taste.   Definitely give it a sample next time you head to Sun King's tasting room - or buy it in a can at a store near you.  The beer carried a back of the mouth taste with the hops which played well with the beef brisket we were served.  A surprise to me, the beef brisket was infused with citrus elements, and that acid was perfect in the dish.  It gave the expected fatty (but full of flavor) corned beef an extra burst of flavor, which subtly lightened the heavy flavor of the meat.  And it give it an even lighter characteristic, the citrus was carried through in the warm cabbage slaw accented with a variety of herbs.  This isn't your run of the mill heavy with mayo cole slaw, but instead, a delightful citrus salad.  And what is corned beef without mustard?  Bringing it together was the Fermenti Osiris mustard sauce (which you can buy at the Indy Farmer's Market downtown - check out Fermenti Artisan).  A slight touch of honey for some sweetness, a dash of heavy cream for some thickness, and you've got yourself the best accompaniment to this dish you could have possibly asked for.  More mustard please!

Third Course - Dominator Dopplebock served with Shepard's Pie
This strong lager was rich and malty, boasting a strong molasses flavor.  Around 8% ABV, you know you are getting a strong beverage with a simple smell of the rich, deep flavors the glass holds.  I loved this matching as the dopplebock was balanced well with the Shepard's pie.  Duck confit was earthy and fatty on the tongue - delicious all on its own (thank you Maple Leaf Farms!)  But what I really loved about the confit was the sweetness of the golden raisin and fig chutney.  I'm not normally a fan of sweet chutney, but the figs were a great addition to the rich meat.  Figs, carrots, onions, malt vinegar and touch of honey brought a sweet element to the dish as it cut the thick taste of the duck.  On top, an Irish cheddar potato fritter: crisp fried goodness on the outside, slightly salty cheddar cheese with a creamy potato filling on the inside.  I personally like the two separate more than together as I didn't want to mask either flavor.  However, those fritters were great finger food that I could have eaten through the evening.

Fourth Course - Ring of Dingle Dry Irish Stout served with Deconstructed Irish Stout Stew
Now, I love my stouts.  And if you haven't had the opportunity to sip and savor this delicious Irish Stout, you better get out and do so because it will not disappoint.  I was stoked with the taste of cocoa in the Ring of Dingle.  It had a dry cocoa taste to it making it extremely drinkable - glass after glass.  Hubs tasted more coffee than cocoa, but either way, we both tasted something pretty amazing in that glass.  The second best pairing of the evening (see below for the best), it was matched with a coffee-crusted buffalo strip loin.  I didn't get the coffee flavor from the crust, and the Though initially a bit tough to cut into, the buffalo burst in flavor and was perfectly cooked throughout.  I didn't get any coffee tones from the crust, but the piece of meat was slathered in a divine sauce.  Creamy, buttery and rich in all the best ways, the stout gravy was amazing on the meat.  Rutabagas, parsnips, potatoes and carrots were part of the root vegetable confit bed, slightly seasoned with thyme and pepper.  Caramelized onions, rich in sweet flavor, also had a subtle rosemary taste, perfect for the homey stick-to-your-ribs meal.

Fin - Buffalo Fest served with Bread Pudding
Now my friends, remember the fantastic Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale that I sampled at WinterFest?  Or the equally delicious Buffalo Mac from Sun King at the festival?  Though both were delish, Sun King's Buffalo Fest blew it out of the water.  Why was this beer epic you may ask?  Oktoberfest.  My favorite type of beer was aged in a Bourbon barrel.  Best. Thing. Ever. So not only do you have all those great flavors of an Oktoberfest, but now you have these great elements of a bourbon infused into the drink.  So many flavors were expressed (caramel, vanilla, coconut), everyone was loving this beer.  And it was paired to perfection with the toasted croissant bread pudding.  Rich in buttery, yeasty flavor, these croissants were baked in a pecan-brown sugar custard.  Sweet, it was elevated to perfection with a reduced Bourbon-Devon cream sauce.  Heaven.  Steven: must have more.  Sun King: I'll be by to fill my growlers with this beautiful beverage if you will let me.

It was a great evening of fantastic beer and food.  Pairings were great, and all those attending were having a good time.  After two successful tastings together, I look forward to seeing many more in the future.  Congrats for great products to all those involved, especially Dave of Sun King and Steven of Tastings.