Pig Out Under The Stars was held on the roof of the Rock Bottom Brewery in Downtown Chicago.  Brewmaster Chris Rafferty and Executive Chef Christopher McCoy worked together to put a meal on the table with each course focused on pork.  The event went off well with some great pairings.  Please see my thoughts on the dishes below.

Like a lot of things in craft beer week execution always seems to be an issue.  A small problem we had at the event was the Chef and the Brewer struggled to make themselves heard over the sounds of the city.  Rock Bottom-please buy a cheap audio system so your Chef and Brewer have a voice the next day.  The other issue is a problem I previously had when scheduling Rock Bottom events.  If you want to attend a special events you have to talk to Dieter.  For some reason Rock Bottom feels their host staff and other managers can not maintain a list of people attending an event.  I had to make multiple phone calls and left several messages before Dieter was available to take my name to attend.  I asked around and I was not the only one to experience this problem.  This was a Craft Beer Week Feature Event and it did not sell out.  I believe there were 65 seats available so not like it should be hard to sell out.  Other establishments entrust the reservation process to any employee happens to answer the phone.  Rock Bottom is doing a disservice to employees, customers and their own bottom line in making it hard for customers to spend money.

Course 1- Junk Food

Dehydrated and fried pork skin seasoned with cayenne pepper and a dash of limon Chicharrones paired with Kölsch.  Personally I liked this dish.  However, there was some grumbling about the fried fatty food.  I think if your going to a beer dinner with pork as the theme you can expect something like this.

Course 2- Couch Potato

Crispy Peruvian purple potato (think chips) with chile-roasted pork butt and tomatillo salsa nachos.  It was paired with Oak-Aged Naughty Scot Scotch Ale which I thought was going to fail.  I was pleasantly surprised how well the beer pulled this together.  I did not think a beer with origins in Scotland where meat and potatoes rule would work so well with the spicy components.

Course 3- Siesta on the Beach

Prosciutto wrapped Hapu’u over arugula and sweet melon paired with Rock-Brau Rauch-Bier.  Hapu’u is a mild fish caught off the Hawaiian islands.  I am not a big fish guy but I devoured this dish.  Beer Bitch said it was because the fish was wrapped in pig, but it had a nice mildness.  The smokiness of the Rauch-Bier was a great complement to both the pork and the fish.

Course 4- Baconfest

Apple braised house-cured bacon, pickled Spanish onion and Habanero slaw with brewhouse bacon chorizo.  The bacon resembled more of a pork belly, but it still paired well with Heller Bock.  Let me say this slaw was spicy, like burn your tongue spicy.  Eaten with the apple and the bacon were scooped up with the slaw delicious.  This dish was amazing at how each of the distinctly different flavors on the plate worked together for a complete experience.  By the way when the flavors melded it was not spicy at all.

Course 5- Listen

Heirloom and roasted Poblano gazpacho garnished with crunchy deep fried pigs ear and paired with IPA.  While the gazpacho was good I could of done without the pigs ear.  I felt the ear was tough and hard to swallow, but I can say I tried it.

Course 6-Gluttonous

Pork belly BBQ glazed baby back ribs over house made frites with sea salt and rosemary alongside Bourbon Barrel Aged Belgo Stout.  The name was fitting because I was getting full as this course came out.  The ribs were good, but the intriguing thing to me was the frites.  I had never tried frites with rosemary before.  The stout complemented the BBQ well and tied the dish together.

Course 7-Chocolate Bourbon Barley Swine

A fried donut alongside chocolate covered bacon with a bourbon anglaise and barley wine soaked berries paired with Old Millenium Barleywine.  This was really like three different deserts in one.  The bacon was literally a piece of thick bacon dipped in chocolate.  I wonder if they did anything more to it.  This seems like an easy enough recipe.  I was concerned the Barleywine would be super sweet and overpower the senses, but was happy this came out to be a balanced experience.




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