Friday, August 17, 2012
Learning on tap
Students in Bruno's Sunday School get a chance to sample craft beers and the foods they complement.
Standing before the group of eager students, Bruno Silva rang a bell, bringing the class to order.
Sunday School at Bruno's GastroPub is now in session.
The lesson plan: for $25 per person, enlighten the masses on the diversity of malt beverages by having "students" sample six craft beers that are partnered with food chosen to highlight the flavor of the drafts.
There are no Budweisers or Miller Lites on this syllabus. Those drafts are exiled to the section of the menu reserved for bottled water, said Silva. Instead, the brews featured during the weekly Sunday Schools will primarily hail from The Landing Restaurant's beer list, an assemblage of about 80 imported and domestic craft beers with names such as Wells Banana Bread, Mad Hatter, Old Engine Oil and Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale.
"This is a chance for people to try out beer they wouldn't try anywhere else," said Silva. "Or was afraid to try on the menu."
Lesson No.1: The pupils sample the Festina Peche, offered by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Inc., a beer paired with a light salad of locally grown heirloom tomatoes mixed with hard-boiled quail eggs and pickled onions, and drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar.
"You are going to hate this beer," Silva warned. "But at the end of one you're going to order another."
Trailing after the Peche was the fruity Kolsch produced by The Saint Louis Brewery, a draft that hints to its central European origins, according to patron Tony Puccinelli.
"The initial taste is of a good old German beer," he said.
The darker, spicy Righteous Ale from Sixpoint Brewery was next, accompanied by a dish of Prince Edward Island mussels in a coconut, lemongrass and ginger broth. The ale was a taste difficult to master for Laura Goradia of Moneta, an impression not shared by Silva.
"It's one of my favorites right now," he said. "It grows on you."
Red Nectar produced by the Firestone Walker Brewing Company followed. In homage to Silva's Peruvian origins, the dark liquid was paired with beef anticucho: wedges of ciabatta bread topped with beef and sliced onions smothered with blue cheese sauce. While the Red Nectar was "a little bitter" to Foiz Ahmed of New York City, "it went very well with the food."
The elusive Allagash Tripel prepared by the Allagash Brewing Company was the penultimate draft.
"It's a great beer. It doesn't taste like a nine percent [alcohol by volume], so be careful," Silva cautioned. "Very deceiving."
A warning well taken by Jim Flynn of Indianapolis, Ind.
"I like his words. It is very deceiving," Flynn said. "Very soft tasting, you know you can't drink a lot of it."
The final beer of the day was an India Pale Ale prepared by the Lagunitas Brewing Company.
"This is a great beer," instructed Silva. "Some people don't like IPAs. Some people love IPAs. You either love them or hate them."
A Thai rice bowl consisting of chicken, rice and peppers in a homemade pad thai sauce is the final dish.
"It's got a nice finish," said Kim Smart of Moneta.
School's out but should continue until October, said Tiffany Silva. And for those disinterested in specialty beers, there's always bottled water.
The Landing Restaurant, 773 Ashmeade Road, Moneta, 721-3028, thelandingsml.com