By Crystal Grobe
If you’ve been to Surly’s beer hall, you know there’s a lot to take in. First, there’s the giant cauldron of fire at the entrance, perfect for keeping folks warm in the winter months, and gives you that kick of heat you need after walking from your car in the cold. Once you get past the gift shop (yes, there is a gift shop), you’re bound to hear and feel the buzz of a packed communal beer hall, reminiscent of the Hofbrauhaus in Munich.
Look beyond the crowd and you’ll notice there are people spilling out onto the patio, into the field, and gathered in small groups wherever space can be found. It’s a fun place to be and a wonderful venue for trying out various Surly creations, taking a brewery tour, and eating some good food. My favorites are the pretzel with pimento cheese, the hog frites, the Surly burger, and Surly Pentagram.
Head upstairs and you’ll find something a little more refined: the Brewer’s Table. Chef Jorge Guzman oversees both upstairs and downstairs restaurants, and you’ll notice Brewer’s Table raises the bar with its four-course tasting menu and beer pairings. Despite winning several awards and receiving great reviews over the last two years, Brewer’s Table is closing on August 5th, following a national trend of fine-dining closures.
As soon as I heard the news, I booked a table with friends and had a wonderful meal with some fun beer pairings infused with fruit, spices, and herbs like dill. A handful of reservations are still available, if you’re open to dining at 8:45 p.m.
Here’s a peek at what we had:
The salsify is similar in taste to parsnips and because of the sugar content, it gets nice and caramelized when cooked. The dish has a few mussels, fresh herbs, crunchy salsify chips, and frozen grapefruit segments. Light yet wholesome, and refreshing thanks to the herbs and grapefruit.
I’ve never eaten a tamale this good. If you take the inside of a mushroom-stuffed tamale and roll it in crunchy cheese dust, you’ll understand why this dish is successful. Of course there’s a lot more to it than that but our table couldn’t help but start a discussion about Cheetos.
Foie Gras Tart
I’m a fan of savory desserts and this foie gras tart is outstanding. A buttery crust surrounds a pairing of earthy foie gras and key lime mousse, dusted with lime powder, and topped with sweet strawberries. Surprisingly, it was my favorite dish of the night.