This past weekend, I was privileged to be invited back to Shooters Waterfront in Fort Lauderdale (after a previous review of their house beer) for a beer dinner paired with beers from Biscayne Bay Brewing Company of Doral. This five course paired event took place in the open May air dockside, a unique feature that Shooters has to offer guests. It was also the first dockside beer dinner I’ve ever attended. Very South Florida!
We were joined at this dinner by Biscayne Bay Brewing’s founder Jose Mallea, head brewer Andrew Guthrie, and Shooters Waterfront head chef Brian Cornelius, who spoke about the dishes and the dinner as a whole as the night began. With a sell-out crowd of almost 50 people, the dinner began close to 8 p.m.
Our first course began with a serving of Kapitan Kolsch, a hoppy kolsch, with a passed plate of seared scallop, lemon thyme arancini, sorrel nage, and pear caviar. Plates arrived table-side family style, with whomever it was placed in front of dutifully dishing each portion to his or her immediate vicinity. It kept things light. For the heat of the end of the South Florida spring, the kolsch was the perfect accompaniment: bready and slightly malty sweet with a touch of earthy hops to bring out a slight balance of flavors.
The second course consisted of fried green tomato caprese salad, arugula walnut pesto, and vincotto, paired up with one of the brewery’s core beers: the Miami Pale Ale. It’s a hop-forward, piney, California-like pale ale that oozes characteristics of your typical San Diego hoppy beer.
Next up was cherrywood smoked lamb, farro risotto, exotic mushrooms, pomegranate demi. This came as individual chops full of delicious grilled char and wonderfully seasoned fat. The restaurant put this together with Shooters Ale, the red ale that Biscayne Bay Brewing created especially for the restaurant. It’s full of American 2-Row malt and Best Red X, a unique red-hued malt from Germany, and Cascade hops, which lend it a little bit of fruitiness. This bright and almost Maillard-heavy package lends itself well to grilled meats, so it’s without saying here that the duo went together very well.
The fourth course arrived as a duck confit tamale with mole negro and grilled spring onions, paired with El Roble, the brewery’s barrel aged Scotch ale. El Roble, meaning “The Oak,” uses quite a bit of Maris Otter malt, and I was told a single hop as well. The beer was aged in Stranahan Whiskey barrels from Colorado for a period of four months. It’s an 8.5% ABV beer, lending itself to enjoyment without overindulgence. I was pleased to find no smoked malt character in this Scotch ale, and it lent itself to showcasing all of its Maris Otter goodness… there’s something about those UK malts that will produce outrageously complex malt profiles from a single grain.
Finally, we came to dessert. Shooters baked up wonderfully rolled chocolate cake roulade, filled with coffee buttercream and topped with white chocolate ganash. This allowed Biscayne the opportunity to bring more coffee with their La Colada Coffee Porter, an English style porter with Cuban coffee. Mild as a traditional porter should be, with a few notes of coffee sharpness coming through, La Colada was the perfect beer with which to end the night.
As I like to leave my disclaimers for posts like this, I was invited out to this beer dinner as a guest of the restaurant. A special thank you goes out to Gus and Tatiana for being gracious representatives.