Sebago Beer Dinner at Blue Mermaid
This was definitely the coolest thing I have done since becoming a beer blogger. Last night the Blue Mermaid hosted a beer dinner highlighting their food paired with the brews of Sebago Brewing Company of Maine. I was invited by owners Scott and Karen who saw my writeup on my lovely experience at restaurant week. Needless to say I was pumped to be invited as a ‘special’ guest. I brought Lisa along with me because the menu looked great and I would have been guilty going alone. Anyway, on to the writeup.
It was a very family-style casual setting on the second floor. About 25 people were there which was personal enough to have a chat with head brewer Kai as he walked around from table to table. To kick things off Scott introduced Kai and the chef (who’s name escapes me even though we chanted his name every time he came out). Kai gave a little back story of Sebago and his journey through beer to which he has quite the resume.
For the first course we had Sugar Pumpkin Bisque with an Allspice crema, paired with Sebgo Saddleback Ale. As far as the pairing is concerned I think it went really well. I am getting used to choosing beers that go with meals more often as I learn more about beer. This was a very light beer brewed with Czech hops. The pumpkin soup was really good too!
The second course was Seared Duck Breast with a pomegranate chile glaze over creamy goat cheese polenta paired with Sebago Frye’s Leap IPA. This was my favorite brew of the night. Kai began by giving the back story of the beer and mentioning how their brewery, much like Smuttynose, pride themselves on putting out the freshest beer and that you should drink the freshest beer. The beer we had was bottled on Novemeber 4 and the smell was extremely floral and although it was hoppy it didn’t hit you as hard as most IPAs. The duck was cooked well and I forgot to read the ‘chile’ part of the menu. This hit me at the end leaving me confused until I read the menu again. The polenta was the star of this dish for me.
Course 3 was Roasted Lamb Racks with aromatic herbs over porcini mushroom and roasted pine nut risotto. Let me pause for a second because you may be thinking “holy moly, you ate all of that??”. While these weren’t full racks of lamb or whole ducks, the portions as you can see were the right size for a pairing. The lamb was really good and I loved the risotto. I knew this would be Lisa’s kryptonite as she hates mushrooms but she did enjoy the lamb (which was the first time she had EVER tried lamb…wow). The beer paired with this was Sebago Boathouse Brown and I think it went really well together. It was a really light brown which reminded me a little of Eddie’s Brick Oven Brown from Gas Light.
Last but not least came desert which was Tangerine Semifreddo Torta with almond brittle. This was paried with the most excellent Sebago Lake Trout Stout. It doesn’t take much to please me with stouts but I can honestly say this is a top stout in my book. Kai encouraged us to try a bite of the brittle then a sip of the stout which concluded in a party in you mouth, a great combo.
Throughout the night they were raffling off prizes and although it was rigged for a round or two (people’s names somehow winding back up in the bucket 🙂 ) I won a sweet sweatshirt! As Kai was coming around during the meals to talk to everyone he noticed me from my tweets promoting the event. “Seacoast Bev Lab!”, he said and we raised a glass. Another extremely unexpected but totally awesome part of the night was when they made me do a mini speech! Karen told the crowd they had a special guest and told me to speak a little about my blog. I wasn’t expecting to speak at all so I made it short and sweet. I gave a big nod to Kai during my short speech as being a big influential beer of the Seacoast. After I spoke I talked to a couple other people and left for the evening.
Big thanks to Karen and Scott for having the event and thanks to Kai for coming down to showcase your awesome brews. You can see me more often at the Blue Mermaid after noticing they have a really good tap list and the friendliest staff. You can follow both Sebago and Blue Mermaid on their twitter accounts (@sebagobrewing and @thebluemermaid)