One of the posts that got delayed due to our move was a post about the fantastic Belgian Beer Dinner we had at Millennium restaurant way back on June 24. We’ve posted about dinners at Millennium before; it is a really great vegan restaurant here in San Francisco. Their special dinners and prix fix dinners are the best way to experience the restaurant and the Belgian Beer Dinner was no exception. The Chef invited representatives of three local breweries to bring some of their best beers and the Chef created a menu to go with them.
Before dinner started we had a glass of Eel River Pilsner and some warm olives:
This beer was really light and crisp and was a good way to start the evening. The olives had a great earthy taste.
The first course was a Mushroom Cocktail paired with Firestone 31:
The beer was floral, hoppy and citrusy. I love a beer with a lot of hops flavor.
The Mushroom Cocktail included seared oyster, maitake and king trumpet mushrooms, avocado, horseradish vinaigrette, a crisp plantain chip, and toasted pozole. I scooped everything up on my plantain chip and that was very tasty.
The second course was Stuffed Roasted Morel Mushrooms paired with Russian River Sanctification.
The beer tasted of sour cherry and was very refreshing and tasted very Belgian. We were told that this beer is usually more sour than the one we tasted. I thought the it was about perfect on the sour level.
The Stuffed Roasted Morel Mushrooms were served with white bean sage puree, and a salad of shaved fennel, nectarines and wild arugula with walnut oil. Unfortunately the picture is not so good because I was too distracted by the food. The nectarines really added a nice balance to the smokiness of the mushrooms.
The third course was Pineapple Achiote Grilled Protobello paired with Russian River Consecration.
The beer was very dark and sour (but delicious). It is barrel aged for 6 months in cabernet sauvingion barrels. It was very complex and had notes of miso, wine, fruit, and yeast. The beers got darker as the evening wore on (until the dessert beer).
The grilled Portobello was served with cornmeal crusted tofu, tongue of fire beans, huckleberry potatoes, consecration broth, and chocolate ancho mole. The tofu was amazing. It was so tender and light inside with a nice crunchy crust. The broth had the consecration beer in it and was very delicious. I still had some sauce on my plate when I was done just because I could not get it all off of the plate. The young couple across the table from us had broken their tofu up so that it would absorb all of the sauce and I wished that I had done the same.
The fourth course was a Lentil-Bulgar Burger paired with Firestone 12 year anniversary ale. This course was the best of the whole night.
This beer is the most amazing beer I have ever had in my life. It was really dark and had all kinds of complex yummy flavors. It smelled a little of molasses and had flavors of caramel, mint, molasses and licorice. In fact it was so delicious that I asked for a refill when I had finished the glass (they were going around with another bottle of the beer). I have never had so much beer at one sitting in my life. Unfortunately this beer is a blend of many of the previous year’s beers and will never be available again. Once in a lifetime treat I guess.
The Burger included porcini mushroom confit, caramelized smoked onions, green chile cheese sauce, and pickled romano beans on the side. I must say that this was the most delicious thing I have ever eaten in my life. It went perfectly with the delicious beer and was just so amazingly good, I kept saying “this is so good” over and over (I’m sure the beer didn’t hurt my insane babbling about the wonderful food). This burger was so good that I still have dreams about eating it sometimes—and then I wake up and wish I had one. The “cheese” sauce was a cashew cheese sauce (since they don’t do dairy) and went so amazingly well with the porcini mushrooms. It makes me drool just to think about it. The crisp romano beans were a lovely refreshing side that cut some of the heaviness of the burger.
The last course (dessert) was a Nectarine Filled Almond Galette with Lost Abbey Carnival beer.
This beer was really nice and was almost like a wine. It was very light and crisp and a good note to end on. It smelled of acricots and tasted kind of grapey—almost like a prosecco because of the bubbles. It is a spicey Belgian “saison” style ale (a style of brewing that does not involve refrigeration), but uses American hops.
The nectarine galette was served with a roast apricot-blackberry swirl “ice cream” and honey crème englaise. This was delicious, but at this point, I was getting so full that I needed a little help finishing it.
After this amazing meal, I was a little tipsy from the beer and so full I could not move. We took a cab home and felt a little sluggish the next day, but this was one of the most delicious and amazing meals of my life. I lucked out in that it just happened to coincide with my birthday this year. Next year it will be a day or two off, but we will probably still try to make it.
If anyone reading this had the chance to go to this annual dinner, I highly recommend it. Millennium also has a similar wine tasting dinner that we have never been to, but would like to try at some point.