At Barrel of Monks in Boca Raton, they strive to pay homage to the great beers of Belgium. While the use of European malts and hops helps keep these authentic, it is Belgian yeast that really gives Belgian beers their unique flavor. All of their beers are made with the finest European malts and hops with recipes designed to as true to the Belgians as possible, while putting their own twist on the style.
As unique and different as their beer selection is….so are the events they put on at the brewery in Boca Raton, Florida. On the fourth Monday of every month, Barrel of Monks Brewing opens its doors to host the Brewery Throwdown! This is a 12-month long, brewery vs. brewery event, which pits Barrel of Monks food pairing abilities up against some of the best local breweries in town!
Each event has a guest chef who will prepare a delicious and adventurous tasting menu that the breweries have to pair beer with. This month was the local favorite, Chef Ryan Lorenzo of The Foxy Brown in Fort Lauderdale. If you haven’t tried this man’s food, you are missing out! Check out his awesome restaurant in Fort Lauderdale as soon as you can!
Here is how it works:
1. This is a secret menu. Aside from the chef, no one will know what is going to be served. (We do mean secret – top secret as a matter of fact! We cannot give you a heads up or accommodate dietary restrictions).
2. Each brewery comes prepared with 4 pre-selected beers with no knowledge of the 4 course menu for the night.
3. Each side is given two minutes to sample the surprise dish, think about which beer of the four they brought would work best, and then execute that decision.
4. After each dish, diners will cast their vote for which beer paired best with the food. At the end, the brewery with the most pairings voted for wins!
The first course was a watermelon summer salad topped with feta cheese and fresh jalapeños and sunflower seeds.
Due South jumped right in when they selected one of their many flagship brews, the Category 5 double IPA. It worked really well as the hops killed the heat from the jalapenos and paired great with the fruity flavors. Barrel of Monks chose the Nuance Saison, which also helped to calm the heat and paired well with the sunflower seeds. With a score of 22-13, Barrel of Monks took the round!
The next course was a local wahoo tartar. My favorite dish of the night and maybe favorite tartar ever as it included fresh and locally caught wahoo, cucumber, avocado topped with a lemongrass glaze, crispy wontons and a healthy serving of sriracha. This was another dish that brought the heat!
Barrel of Monks paired this dish with their Single in Havana, a guava variation of their Belgian pale ale, which was a special release just for the event! The fruity flavor of the beer helped to counter the heat and was a great pairing. Due South choose to pair this dish with their Summerland Saison, which also did a nice job of covering up the heat. Both beers seemed to work well but the winner of this round was Due South, with a score of 25-10!
For the entree, Chef Lorenzo whipped up a Korean BBQ roasted pork belly paired with a shaved Brussels sprout slaw topped with peanuts and radish. This was another crowd pleaser for sure! Chef Ryan is a god in the kitchen! Due South picked their flagship, #1 seller, the Caramel Cream ale and everyone was assuming they had this round locked down as it seemed to pair perfectly. However, Barrel of Monks won this round with the crowd pleaser, Tartan Monk which is a little sour and has a roasted flavor to it. Barrel wins this round 23-12!
Last, but most definitely not least was the final course, a chocolate stout beer pudding. It was topped with a homemade vanilla bean whipped cream and hand toasted coconut flakes. This round lined up perfectly for Due South because all they had left in their beer arsenal was the Café Ole espresso porter. Due South hires Argyle Coffee Roasters to roast a special bean for them, only to be used for this beer. Barrel of Monks was left with their delicious Toccata, a Belgian style amber ale. I actually thought that Barrel of Monks beer paired quite nicely, and maybe if Due South didn’t have the beer they had, could have won this round and the whole competition. But the right cards came out at the perfect time for the Due South team as it was an almost unanimous decision the Café Ole was the best pairing!
The team at Barrel of Monks was outstanding. They are an extremely knowledgeable, friendly and accommodating staff and I see a really bright future for them in the local beer scene. Due South team is also a big commodity for the local beer scene and they continue to make amazing beer!
Do yourself a favor and plan on attending this event as soon as you can. These events have a tendency to sell out and sell out quick! So check out their calendar and make plans to come out soon (http://barrelofmonks.com/calendar/)!
Address: 1141 S Rogers Circle, Boca Raton, FL 33487
Phone: (561) 510-1253
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