1st Beer Tasting at the Tam (O’Shanter)

on 22/04/11 at 4:57 pm

Beer, BoozeBlog

This past Saturday, the venerable Tam O’Shanter hosted its first beer tasting. These people know a thing or two about putting on a well-run event, not to mention, being the perfect hospitality hosts. When was the last time you even thought of a restaurant ‘engaging in hospitality’?! I mention the hospitality because it was the ‘old school’ variety with pride in the way things are served – the waitresses in crisp, charming Scottish themed uniforms, round tables properly set with a glass for every beer, trays delivered to each table in unison…and this was just a beer tasting! You are never in doubt that they want you to enjoy the food and beer, and the service was choreographed like a ballet.

There were about forty of us and every one of us had personal time with the talented Executive Chef, Teri McLeod, the knowledgeable General Manager John Lindquist, and the ubiquitous and charming Restaurant Wine Manager, Brien McNally.

Brien opened the tasting with an overview of the tasting and John Lundquist took over to introduce each of the four beers which were accompanied by no less than eight dishes. The event was not labeled as a food pairing but with eight dishes what else could you call it? The pours were generous and many of us enjoyed refills.

The beers were served from a low ABV to a final 9.5% and we appreciated the fact that there were only four beers instead of a palette fatiguing eight or nine. The food also made an immense difference and we actually felt as if we were experiencing the flavors instead of racing towards a goal.

We started the afternoon with a North Coast Brewing “Scrimshaw” Pilsner Paired with Crab Rangoon and a Cavatappi and smoked sausage salad. The beer is light with 4.4% ABV. A perfect starter beer for this kind of occasion and perhaps for breakfast as well. Light body, pale straw color, and a citrus finish.

Next Up: Eagle Rock Brewery “Revolution” XPA paired with IPA Pretzels and Scotch Rarebit, Beef Chorizo and Smoked Gouda Arancini.  The “Revolution” IPA is a solid beer with a nice hoppy taste.

Brasserie D’Achouffe “Mc Chouffe” Belgian Scottish Ale was served with terrific Beer and Wisconsin Cheese Soup and Stout Yam waffles. The beer was dark, aromatic, reeked of caramel, burnt sugar and nutmeg and was delicious.

A short reference on the progression of these beers. Our first was a 4.4% ABV, Eagle’s Rocks contribution was 5.6% and the McChouffe was an 8.0% and so we would end with Great Divide Brewing “Oaked Aged Yeti” Imperial Stout 2010 coming in at 9.5% ABV. More than double the ABV of our first beer. Here you see the fine but not so subtle hand of our choir leader Brien McNally. By gradually increasing the amount of alcohol in our beverages he brought everyone along for the same ride at the same speed and it worked. Needless to say we were all happy as clams by the time we drained our last drop.

The “Oak Aged Yeti” was wonderful; dark, musty, almost chocolate flavor. This was served with Barbecued Angus Beef followed by a desert of heavenly chocolate pecan bars.

All of this for $40.00.  All eight dishes were served family-style. No one left either hungry or thirsty.

At this point you made wonder what the point of this review is in that the event has already taken place and you can no longer attend. Well, citizens, good news lies ahead; Saturday, May 7 at 3:00 pm sharp, the Tam O’Shanter is holding a tasting of Spanish wines following the same food pairing format and at the same price $40.00. Our confidence in this team is of the highest order. Call now to make your reservation at (323)664-0228. If you can’t wait till then to sample the genuine hospitality of the Tam O’Shanter make a lunch or dinner reservation. Brien has made the Tam a serious craft beer location, offering 11 beers on tap and 27 bottled beers. Not to mention a seductive bar and wine list.

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