Thursday, June 07, 2012

Recap of Short's Beer Dinner at The State Room

Written by  Tammie Wahl
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Sean speaking at The State Room Beer Dinner

Every year The State Room inside the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing hosts a beer dinner. This year Paul and I were lucky enough to attend and represent I'm a Beer Hound at this wonderful event. I had never been to The State Room before; I always thought of it as a place that was just for special occasions. You all know the type of place I'm talking about. The kind of place you only go for wedding anniversaries or a expensive Valentines Day dinners. Don't get me wrong, this is a beautiful restaurant and it is certainly the type of place you can take someone special for an amazing meal but it is also the kind of place you can go and have a reasonable dinner out with friends. The State Room has recently been renovated and has a wonderful, classy and trendy atmosphere. There are a few different dining areas to accommodate the type of atmosphere you are going for. There is a romantic, dimly lit area, an area with lots of windows, and a fantastic bar area if you are out with friends for a nice bite to eat and a couple drinks.
Paul and I were very excited for this dinner because we had heard that The State Room has wonderful food. We also love a good beer dinner. This dinner was set to have 5 amazing courses all paired with 1 or 2 Short's beers. Short's is a great brewery to do a beer dinner with because they have so many wonderful unique beers to work with. They were featuring a couple beers that we had never had before, so we got extra excited once we saw the menu for the night.
Course #1
Firecracker Shrimp with Fiery Almond  Pesto and Micro Cilantro

We started off the evening with Firecracker Shrimp with Fiery Almond Pesto and Micro Cilantro. This course was paired with the ContoversiALE (formerly known as the Hangin Frank) and the Freedom of '78. I have not had a Pesto that I really loved until I tried this one. It paired perfectly with each of the beers as well. I don't care for Shrimp at all so lucky for Paul, he got to eat mine too! He also agreed with me that the Pesto was fantastic and he could not stop raving about the Shrimp after every bite he ate!

Course #2

Smoked Corn Chowder Pecan Smoked Yellow Corn Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Red Pepper

I could not wait for the second course to come out because I love a good corn chowder. It was a Smoked Corn Chowder with Smoked Pecans, Sweet Potatoes, and Roasted Red Pepper. This course was paired with the Short's flagship beer, Bellaire Brown. The Corn Chowder was awesome, and the sweet,  warming quality of the chowder went great with the warming sweetness of the Bellaire Brown.

Course #3

Mediterranean Style Bulgar Salad Teardrop Tomato Crumbled Goat Cheese Red Wine Vinegar

The third course was a Mediterranean-Style Bulgur Salad paired with the Anniversary Ale. This salad had Teardrop Tomato, Crumbled Goat Cheese, and Red Wine Vinegar. Paul and I weren't sure what to expect with this salad but after the first couple courses we knew that it would taste amazing. We were right! I am not a goat cheese fan but I guess it was because I had never had good goat cheese before. The salad was slightly sweet which paired wonderfully with the fruitiness of the Anniversary Ale.

Course #4

Slow Cooked Beer Braised Short Ribs Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes Sesame Snow Peas Hoisin Ginger

The Main Course was a Slow Cooked Beer Braised Short Ribs dish served with Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes, Sesame Snow Peas, Hoisin, and Ginger. This hearty course was paired perfectly with the Publican Porter. In my opinion, this course was the best of all. The meat was falling off the bone and had an amazing, sweet flavor and the snow peas were a great vegetable to complement the dish. The food was so tasty that I almost forgot to taste the beer with it because I just wanted to keep eating! I'm glad I paused to taste the beer with the food because it just enhanced the experience.

Course #5

Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Dark Chocolate Maple Syrup Spicy Pepper

The final course was a Peanut Butter Cup with Peanut Butter, White Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Maple Syrup, and Spicy Pepper. This amazingly rich dessert was paired with the Cornholio and Captain Fantasy. We knew that the Cornholio would be a great pairing for his course but we were curious to see how the Captain Fantasy would work because it is a Saison style beer. A Saison can be sweet but also a little sour so we couldn't wait to see how well they worked together. I must say, I can barely choke down sour beers but paired with the sweetness of the dessert, I almost liked it! The sweetness of the dessert cut the sour right out of the beer which made my taste buds happy.

This is one of the best dinners we have been to. The chef did a fantastic job at making sure the pairings were spot on and the staff of The State Room did a fantastic job keeping the evening flowing and making sure everyone was taken care of. Paul and I were pleasantly surprised by our experience at The State Room and have discusses several times about when we are going to go back. We both highly recommend checking it out. Whether you are looking for a place to go for a beautiful evening or somewhere to meet up with friends for a couple drinks, The State Room is the place to go.