On Thursday of this past week I attended a beer dinner at Farmers’ Cabinet in Philadelphia. The dinner was based around two things: a 300lbs pig that would be the centerpiece of the food and the wonderful beers of De Struise Brouwers. All of this was hosted by head brewer and owner of De Struise – Urbain Coutteau and head chef at FC – Steven Forte.
I arrived at Farmers’ Cabinet around 5:30 (the dinner was slated to start at 7) so I found a few familiar faces and ordered a Struise Witte — a fantastic witbier with some really neat spiciness to it. Thirst quenching and relatively low in abv to start things off.
I then decided to sample some of the house beers from their Joy Division Series: No Love Lost and New Dawn (Jawn, as it was written on the board) Fades. Both were really unique beers brewed with Saison yeast. I can say that I preferred the No Love Lost due to the aggressive hopping. The house beers are improving constantly at Farmers’ Cabinet and I would definitely recommend you stop in to taste them.
After the pre-dinner beers we ambled up to the separate dining hall and took our seats. I ordered a Pannepeut because I saw that it wasn’t going to be included in the dinner and if you know anything about me, Pannepeut is one of my all-time favorite beers. We waited, chatted, met new friends all in anticipation of an excellent dinner.
Now, I’m not going to go into a description of each course because that would be too long and frankly, probably pretty boring if you weren’t there. Here is a copy of the actual menu though: StruiseDinner
I can tell you, however, that everything was absolutely delicious. The standouts in my opinion was the head cheese and the belly. Both were perfectly cooked and the food just melted in your mouth. The beer’s were perfectly paired with each dish – there was a collective “ooh” at the table when the 2010 Tjeeses Reserva was served. The 2010 reserva was actually aged in port barrels and brought a beautiful balance to the beer.
We ended the dinner enjoying one of only 216 bottles of the De Struise Five Squared — a ridiculous quad that was iced down to 25% abv. We all were poured maybe 3 ounces of it and believe me, it was more than enough. The alcohol and banana notes dominated the beer and I would have actually liked to have seen it paired with some hearty cheese but, beggars can’t be choosers.
All-in-all the beer dinner was fantastic and one of the best that I have ever personally attended. The number of people was perfect, the food artfully and thoughtfully crafted, and the beer… well I mean the beer is De Struise so it’s all delicious. I definitely recommend going to another dinner at Farmers’ Cabinet if you have the chance. I know I will be.