Rocks: A Night of Burgers & Stone Brews

June 14 2011 - 9:43 PM

100_0184 Rocks in Lincoln Park hosted a burger dinner with a Stone brewery pairing on Monday, June 6. The four-course meal featured special dishes that also incorporated Stone beer in their recipes. Their mid-west representative, Aaron Tyrell, guided us through the different beers and dishes.

Stone Brewing Company is based in San Diego county in California but their following is continuing to grow in the Chicagoland area. Their claim-to-fame is Arrogant Bastard, an IPA with lots of attitude.

The dinner began with a Stone IPA to refresh the palate. The IPA is smooth, yet hoppy. It's on the top of most IPA lover's lists because it is full of flavor and extremely refreshing.

The first course was a beer cheese dip made with a smoked porter that's made with beechwood smoked malt, similar to a scotch. The porter introduces chocolate and espresso flavors and pairs well with tangy barbecue dishes and chocolate. It's a heavier beer, but very drinkable.
The cheese dip, served with garlic bread for dipping was hard to stop eating. Not only was it made with the porter, it was also paired with the porter. The smoky flavor worked against itself nicely.

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The second dish was the Arrogant Bastard buffalo wings. The wings were covered in a sauce made with Thai chili peppers, garlic, onions, and Arrogant Bastard ale. These were very spicy, but paired with the IPA which, like any IPA, pairs well with spicier dishes. The bitterness actually cools down your palate. An IPA can be a much better option than say a pilsner if you need to more effectively get rid of spice.

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Next came the main course, the Stone burger. Made with a half pound steak burger and topped with chorizo, avocado, grilled jalapeno, and onion strings. This burger was very flavorful and semi-spicy. With the two prior dishes being hot and spicy, this was a nice change of pace. The burger was delicious!

Arrogant Bastard ale battered onion rings were served on the side. Aaron explained that when these were served at a local festival in California, people waited in line for hours to try them. They were great. They had a unique flavor and a hearty texture.

The burger was paired with Stone's Levitation ale. This was first brewed in 2002, and has since been tweeked by their new brewer, Mitch Steele. Levitation has a big flavor and expresses herbal tea notes, but is only 4.4% alcohol. It's a great session ale.

100_0196 The final dessert course was Bavarian chocolate cheesecake. This little dish, topped with whipped cream and drizzled with a Levitation caramel sauce, presented flavors that were just right, perfectly rich and creamy.

The pairing, Black Double IPA, Basah is a collaboration with the Scottish brewery, Brew Dog. The beer was aged for three years and with it's sweet chocolatey flavor went perfectly with dessert.

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The last beer of the night is one of the highest rated beers in the world. The 2008 Stone Imperial Russian Stout. At 11.3% this beer was surprisingly drinkable. This beer was aged with cocoa. Russian stouts have been favorites of Rasputin as well as the Czar. While you can get many good imperial stouts, this one is not available in stores and only released for special occasions.

The night was very enjoyable and delicious. If you haven't checked out Stone's beers, go to Binny's and pick up a liter or six pack. Or check out Rock's in Lincoln Park and Lakeview to try Stone and their great burgers.

–Ashley Streichert

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