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Recap: Brooklyn Brewery MASH Dinner

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Call me a faux hipster or one of the masses, but, I’ll say it: I love Brooklyn. I love the style, the food, the boutiques, the people, the vibe—I’d live there if I could.

I’m also quite fond of the Brooklyn Brewery. A day spent at the brewery is a good one; there are brewery tours, beer tastings, great food, and board games. You can spend the day with your friends outside of Manhattan drinking great beer made in ‘Merica. Brooklyn Brewery recently decided to share the love by going national with its MASH.

MASH by Brooklyn Brewery is a national tour of food, music, comedy, literature and beer taking place in 11 cities from March through December of 2013. The Brooklyn Brewery Team stopped by Washington for a serious of events mid-September, and the Brooklyn Brewery team invited me to join in on the fun at their Local 2 Ways dinner at Matchbox.

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This multi-course dinner with beer pairings brought together Matchbox’s Chef Shannan Tronsoso and Brooklyn Brewery’s House Chef, Andrew Gerson, a jovial, rotund chap who walked us through the meal. Now, Matchbox serves good food—pizza, appetizers, salads and the like—but it is by no means gourmet or life-changing. Matchbox is a great place for a fun, casual hit-the-spot meal with friends, but it’s not one for the

Well, Matchbox Chef Troncoso pulled out all the stops, and I have to believe that Chef Gerson is a talented culinary mind, because the two game together for something really spectacular. This dinner was one of the better, more satisfying meals I’ve had to date. I left incredibly content, incredibly buzzed on delicious Brooklyn beer, and filled to the brim with a tummy full of delicious food.

The meal was American fare with a twist sourced from local ingredients and made to pair with an assortment of Brooklyn Brewery’s ales.

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I invited my lovely friend Brittney Ann, the Southern belle behind Hosting & Toasting, to join me. After I e-mailed her the invitation, I realized she was gluten free. “Moron,” I thought to myself, “Who invites a girl who can’t eat gluten to a beer dinner. So rude.” I was embarrassed. “It’s fine,” she said, “We’ll figure it out!” Well, it turns out that three out of the four beers Brooklyn Brewery served were gluten-free so Brittany could imbibe with ease. Voila, problem solved!

The meal began with an amuse bouche of crab avocado dip served on a buttery, crispy crostini alongside a large glass of Brooklyn Brewery Sorachi Ace, a light golden ale with a light, lemon aroma. As I am a huge fan of light, Belgian style beers this one was my hands-down favorite brew.

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The Sorachi ale was meant to pair with—and lasted me through—the appetizer, a scallop ceviche with some of the largest scallops I’ve ever seen. The scallops were served with pickled cucumber, shallots, melon, radishes, cilantro, corn chips and accented with a citrus gel. While I love scallops, I tend to prefer them cooked and opt for my ceviche to be tuna or white fish. However, I was surprised by how easily edible and pleasing to the palate this dish was.

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Then, they brought out Matchbox breadsticks, served hot with garlic butter on the side. As I’m a sucker for both British men and carbs, I ate my share of breadsticks—and gluten-free Brittney’s share, too. By then, I was full and we had yet to receive the second course.

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The second course was a platter cheese, my third love (after British men and carbs). The platter provided a great selection of decadent, gourmet hard-and-soft cheeses alongside local honey and foie gras torchon. Unfortunately, we barely made a dent. It was paired with the Brooklyn Local 1, a full golden beer with a Belgian flair, but a bit darker and richer than the first. It was served in a lovely little chalice and very drinkable.

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The entrée was where I was truly impressed by Chef Troncoso and Chef Gerson’s skills. When it arrived, I thought “Ugh, not more salmon.” As a pescetarian who struggles to cook, I eat salmon at least four times a week—I need the protein and it’s one of the only things I don’t muck up in the kitchen. Thus, the last thing I wanted was salmon. But, this salmon was to-die-for. It was a smooth, rich smoked coho salmon with a heavenly blood orange demi glace. The blood orange glace really made the dish and now I will be perpetually disappointed with the salmon I make at home. It was served over wild mushroom barley risotto—no doubt a nod to the brewery dinner—which was rich and yummy without being overbearing.  It was paired with the Brooklyn Local 2.

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Finally, the dessert hit home by combining three of my favorite things: chocolate, pumpkin, and salted caramel gelato. The chocolate torte with a molten gooey inside was served with a light salted caramel gelato and accented by a gooey pumpkin reduction and pumpkin seeds. Amazing.

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The torte was served with the Brooklyn Brown Ale, which was much too dark and I was much too full. I took a few sips to enjoy the flavor and later rolled myself home, contented and far too drunk for a Tuesday.

Read more about the Brooklyn Brewery Mash.

Visit Matchbox at  1901 14th St. N.W., Washington, D.C.

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