Dark Horse Beefsteak Dinner at McGreivey’s

Thursday night was the latest of Jared Kingsley of Remarkable Liquids’ beer dinners, this time at McGreivey’s in Waterford, featuring the beers from Dark Horse Brewing Company. Dark Horse, out of Marshall, MI, is known in the craft beer circles for their citrusy IPAs and big, roasty stouts. Oh, and turning down having their beer featured in a Nickleback video because “It’s shit rock and roll that doesn’t deserve to be on the radio”. Just awesome.

We started out the dinner with an appetizer hour and some of Dark Horse’s Crooked Tree IPA. Finger foods were served in the bar buffet style and quesadillas, pinwheels, jalapeno poppers, tempura yellow fin perch, and mussels were the name of the game. Crooked Tree is a balanced, crushable 6% ABV IPA with tons of grapefruit notes and a bit of pine. It finishes crisp and easily helped wash things down and loosened everyone up before dinner. The imperial version of this, Double Crooked Tree, takes the term “Double” literally and doubles the malt bill and hops of Crooked Tree to make the beer. Seek this out if and when it hits our area.

The next course was French Onion Soup paired with Dark Horse’s Boffo Brown Ale. The onions were braised in the brown ale and accompanied a veal stock, with the ramekins topped with gruyere and provolone before being toasted up in the oven. French onion soup is one of those dishes that I absolutely love every time I try it but I just do not order it enough when I see it on a menu. McGreivey’s version was outstanding and I’ll definitely grab a cup the next time I visit there. Boffo Brown Ale’s malty, caramel flavor and earthy finish paired with the dish well.

The spinach salad was served with warm bacon vinaigrette, roasted sweet potatoes, spicy pecans and raspberry crunchies. It was paired with Dark Horse’s Raspberry ale. No offense to the chef, but I’ll admit, with the thought of the main course just around the corner, I was saved a bit of room with this course before moving to the next.

Some of the folks who I mentioned “All you can eat filet mignon” to in the weeks leading up to this dinner were, rightfully, a bit skeptical. There aren’t too many restaurants in the area that do beefsteak dinner and you might not be familiar with the concept so let’s dive into a little background here. Beefsteaks are a type of banquet traditionally held as a celebration meal, done by the working class back in the mid-1800s. It was a men-only, completely informal affair. They ate meat with their hands on slices of bread, ranging from steak, to pork chops, meat trimming hamburgers and bacon wrapped kidneys. Diners donned aprons to wipe their hands on in lieu of napkins, and they ate until they could not take another bite.

Thursday’s dinner was a nice throwback to those banquets with platter after platter of beef tenderloin showing up at our table until we can eat no more. Aprons and hats were provided for guests if they chose to use them. Each plate was served medium rare and perfectly seasoned. Bearnaise and bordelaise were served on the side but the filets definitely did not need it. Art worried there would not be enough meat to satiate all of us, but there was no way the restaurant full of diners were going to go through all of the tenderloins he had lined up for us. As for the beer, the Scotty Karate Scotch Ale’s stands up to some of the best scotch ales we have in this area, like Founder’s Dirty Bastard, AleSmith’s Wee Heavy, and Oskar Blues Old Chub. It’s big malty flavor with a hint of smoke worked well the insane amount of meat we consumed.

The final course was a Whiskey Roll with Irish Creme Anglaise prepared by Art’s mom. This dish had a bit more booze than I expected, but was rich and chocolatey and not too overly sweet as can happen with these desserts at times. I’ll admit some of the dark chocolate and coffee roast of the Thirsty Trout Porter got lost in this pairing, but those notes came back after the beer warmed up a bit. Dark Horse’s Plead The 5th Imperial Stout would have been an ideal pairing here.

McGreivey’s offered a whole different take on the beer dinner than Creo did last month. Where Creo was a quiet setting in a small group sectioned off from the rest of their guests featuring small, but well executed pairings, McGreivey’s was a completely different vibe. The dinner took over literally the entire restaurant, everything was done homestyle where you were encouraged to eat beyond your fill (like your grandmother would encourage you to do), funk played in the background, and there was raucous celebration, much like the Beefsteak banquets of old Art and Jared were trying to emulate, and they did so extremely well. Thank you to Jared, Art and all of the McGreivey’s staff for making this amazing dinner happen. Looking forward to your next one!

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