CBX and Oak curate an epic gypsy beer dinner experience (update: City Paper coverage)

Image by Flickr user bittermelon Immaculate prep work for a Stillwater beer dinner at San Francisco Beer Week

Update August 11: The City Paper has picked up the story, along with a more fleshed out menu, here.

First reporting:

The Charleston Beer Exchange squad is collaborating with Oak Steakhouse to present a truly monumental beer dinner featuring the brews and brewers of Stillwater Artisanal Ales and Evil Twin Brewing.

This event is choked with awesomeness.  This is the first beer dinner held at Oak Steakhouse, a long-standing feather in the cap of Charleston's food scene.  Now that Jeremiah Bacon has taken the reins as Executive Chef, it makes sense.  He has extensive experience collaborating with CBX on beer dinners at his old stomping grounds, Carolina's, and a true appreciation for craft beer.

The featured brewer(ie)s have a few things in common.  Both ascribe to the "gypsy brewer" business model, whereby a brewer travels to different breweries to create his-or-her wares as opposed to having a brewery of her-or-his own.  They are also both represented in the U.S. by 12% Imports, who exist only to bring the finest in European craft beers to market here.  12%'s founder and owner, Brian Ewing, will be on hand for the event.

One semi-exception to 12% Imports' moniker is Stillwater Artisanal Ales.  American-born brewer Brian Strumke found his calling in hand-crafting exceptional Belgian ales, mainly saisons thus far, after a stint as an electronic music DJ spinning all over Europe.  His "brewery" is officially out of Baltimore, but a large chunk of his portfolio was brewed in Belgium and then imported.  He will, naturally, be on hand to guide diners through some pairings and talk shop.

Evil Twin Brewing is a gypsy operation based out of Denmark by brewer Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø (first name pronounced "yep," my Southern brethren).  Jeppe established huge beer cred as owner of Ølbutikken, a Copenhagen beer store ranked top 5 in the world by Ratebeer (along with CBX), and a collaborator on Cantillon Blåbær Lambik (5% ABV, A+, 100).  Evil Twin makes some incredible beers with very unusual names like Cat Piss, Disco Beer, and Before, During, and After Christmas Ale.  His brewery's name is a play on his own twindom - his brother is Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, the man behind the gypsy brewing giant that is Mikkeller.  Jeppe will also be in attendance for the dinner.

The guest list should be enough to get you there, but I knew there would be skeptics.  That's why I employed unsavory methods to get this rough sketch of the unannounced, subject-to-change, 8-course, 9-beer menu:

  • Reception: Passed appetizers vs. Stillwater Stateside Saison (6.8% ABV, A-, 98) on draft
  • I: Salad course with octopus, orange, and radishes vs. Evil Twin Ryan and the Beaster Bunny (7% ABV, B+, 94)
  • II: Goat cheese ravioli with brown butter emulsion and pine nuts vs. Stillwater Cellar Door (6.6% ABV, A-, 98)
  • III: Braised pork belly with pickled honeydew vs. Stillwater/Mikkeller Two Gypsies - Our Side (7.5% ABV, A-, 96)
  • IV: Capers Island clams with pastina vs. Chardonnay Barrel-Aged Stillwater Stateside (7.2% ABV, A)
  • V: Glazed venison with parsnip vs. Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stillwater Existent
  • VI: Braised Niman Ranch short ribs, miso butter, and grilled C.A.B. steak vs. Evil Twin Yin (10% ABV, B+, 99) and Yang (10% ABV, B+, 98)
  • VII: Chocolate petit fours, some of which will be smoked, vs. Evil Twin Ashtray Heart (8.9% ABV, A-, 94)

The Monday, August 15th beer-dinner-to-end-all-beer-dinners will start with the reception at 6:30 p.m.  A seat will run you $125 plus gratuity, and reservations can be made by calling Oak at (843) 722-4220.  Space is extremely limited for this most intimate of events, so reserve now or forever hold your peace.  Oak Steakhouse is located at 17 Broad Street downtown.