On December 19th, 2016, the last and final Brewery Throwdown of 2016 took place at Barrel of Monks Brewing in Boca Raton. Every month, for the past 12 months, Barrel of Monks Brewing (BoM) in Boca Raton has opened its doors to host the Brewery Throwdown, an event that pits its beer-pairing knowledge with that of another guest brewery. The only brewery to win against BoM the entire series this year was Due South back on May 16TH. It only seemed appropriate that a rematch between Due South and BoM would be the final battle of the year!
Each brewery knows only what beers it wants to bring. It doesn’t know what food is being prepared or what beers the other is bringing until about a half-hour before the event. The visiting chef prepares four courses and each side is given two minutes to sample the surprise dish. Once they sample they must think about which beer of the four they brought would work best, and then execute that decision. 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. It’s more about how well they are able to pair the beer with a dish then it is about which beer is the best standalone beer.
Like I mentioned above, every Throwdown had a guest chef preparing the dishes. This week we were lucky to have the eccentric, loud, foul-mouthed, fun-loving, larger-than-life and incredibly talented Chef Brian Cartenuto in the house preparing the food! Chef Brian is the owner/creator/executive chef for Tucker Dukes Lunchbox. Tucker Dukes is located in Niceville (original location and Chef’s hometown), Deerfield Beach and more recently Boca Raton. Chef Brian and his team have their eyes set on expanding the empire, with a new and exciting concept called “Lil Bastardo”, a handmade pasta joint. Set to open sometime next year, somewhere in S. Florida, location and time are top-secret as of now!
Now for the food and beer! When introducing himself, Chef Brian said to expect “weird food” and that there would be “absolutely no burgers served tonight”. Little did we know just how weird it would get!
This was a Thai inspired dish that smelled and tasted very similarly to a Pad Thai……except with fried chicken skins, and without noodles, or peanuts. Ok so maybe it wasn’t Pad Thai, but Chef got some inspiration from for the dish and absolutely let his imagination run wild. It was a home run! Fried chicken skins, fresh cilantro, scallions, jalapeños, cashews and a cranberry mostarda.
BoM: Three Fates Tripel (27 votes)
Due South: Honey Vanilla Wheat (9 votes)
Another Asian inspired dish by Chef. This dish was so tasty and bursting with flavor. To make the “toast”, they take ground up Shrimp and Pork Belly (about a 90/10 mix) and then mix that with white bread. They form the patty of the meat mixture and bread into a small rectangle. Once formed they fry the patty in butter, which becomes a top and bottom for a sandwich. In between the two “slices” of fried toast was a mixture of mint, cilantro, ginger and scallions all tossed in a delicious hoisin sauce. Drizzled on top of all that was a sriracha aioli that was out of this world!
BoM: 2015 Father X-mas Ale (24)
Due South: Maple Orange Imperial Cream Ale (12)
This was a do-or-die round for Due South. They were down 51-21 after two rounds and needed to win this round for any chance of a victory. Chef Brian was the most excited for this dish as he called it his “death row meal”. Some of the best lines of the entire night was during this round. When Chef was first explaining the dish he described the plate as “two fucking sexy pieces of food”. He said the Bone Marrow was “like fucking a hot chick in the back of the club” and the Lobster Empanada was “like how you have sex with your wife” – gentle and delicately! Accompanying the Bone Marrow and Lobster Empanada was a salad of shaved Brussels sprouts, olive oil and homemade jerky.
BoM: Blueberry Wit (27)
Due South: Citrafied Pale Ale (9)
Course #4: “The Brewers Literally Fucking Hate Me”
So in most of these Throwdowns’ the Chef has made a dessert for the final course, making it easy to pair with a porter or stout that every brewery seemed to bring along with them. Chef Brian being the kind of guy he is, brought out a bowl of handmade rigatoni with uni butter. That is where the title of this dish comes from. When he dropped the pasta in front of the brewers he yelled out “they literally fucking hate me!” I am sure they were hoping for a pie or cake since all they had left was porters to serve. Both beers paired really POORLY here but it didn’t matter, the match was already decided. Chef Brian’s self-proclaimed specialty is making handmade pasta, and this was some of the best I’ve ever had. The pasta was topped with uni butter, fried pumpernickel, black pepper, chilies and cheese. World class!
BoM: Chocolate Coconut P.O.S. (13)
Due South: Mexican Standoff (23)
BoM – 91 v. Due South – 53.
Barrel of Monks took home win number 11 on the year and win number 1 against their crosstown rivals and friends at Due South! Next year Brewery Throwdown will be 6 total events, 3 of which will be with out of state breweries. Next year’s Throwdown is set to be even better than this years and I can’t wait! Thank you Barrel of Monks for bringing all these great breweries and chefs together for one of the best events of the year. Till next year, cheers!