Every year, I would read about NYC Beer Week. Every year, I would get insane with jealousy, as I was unable to attend the amazing events put on by the New York City Brewers Guild, due to scheduling conflicts, prior commitments, and the like.
This year was a different story. Other Half Brewing and Underwest Donuts teamed up with The Redhead to host a Fried Chicken & Doughnuts brunch as a part of NYC Beer Week. Lucky for this craft beer-loving Bitch, they were nice enough to invite us in to sample the fare.
The Redhead is a East Village spot with a “locals only” vibe and a dive bar feel. I can totally see myself meeting friends here for a drink late on a Saturday. As we were seated, I could hear the bartenders chatting up regulars, and observed patrons knocking back PBR’s to accompany their meals.
Executive Chef Ben Chiu-Maes was offering a special, one-time only brunch menu that fit the theme. Doughnuts stood out as a main ingredient in the majority of the dishes, and Other Half’s brews had been incorporated into a few dishes, such as the glaze for one of the doughnuts.
We knew we had to start off ordering flights of both the Underwest Donuts & the Other Half beers. I tend to prefer yeast doughnuts, and I knew that Underwest Donuts tend to be cake-based. So I was anticipating not being the biggest fan.
However, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of flavor these little doughnuts packed. The flight included Dark Chocolate with Beer Nuts, Maple Waffle with Beer Nuts, Carwash, and Short, Dark & Round. The Maple Waffle with Beer Nuts was a bit too sugary-sweet for my liking, and I could only manage a few bites. My favorite was the Carwash doughnut–the vanilla lavender glaze offered a really interesting flavor profile, and wasn’t overpowering. The beau loved the Short, Dark & Round, which Underwest Donuts created especially for the occasion. They used some of Other Half’s stout beer to create the glaze!
The beer flight included Other Half IPA, Peachwood Aged Sour, Short, Dark & Handsome Stout, and Stacks on Stacks Double IPA. We had tasted both the IPA and double IPA before, and already knew these were excellent beers. The stout was the perfect pairing for the doughnut tasting, and really balanced out the sweet flavors. The Peachwood Aged was a delicious sour beer, but it paired much better with my brunch entrees than with the sweet treats.
We both decided to keep with the theme of the brunch and order entrees that featured doughnuts as a main ingredient. I went with the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich, which was served on a doughnut bun, while my guy opted for the fried chicken and Maple Waffle doughnut.
Both dishes were presented beautifully, and looked absolutely delicious. My bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich was the perfect size, and the sugary doughnut bun was a great contrast to the salty bacon and rich cheese. The only downside was the pairing of a side salad, which was dressed with an extra sour vinaigrette that literally made my face pucker.
While we appreciated the twist on the classic chicken and waffles, we had both already tried the Maple Waffle doughnut in our doughnut flight, and decided to just split the chicken and save the doughnut for later. However, all was not lost! We both agreed this was some of the best fried chicken we’ve ever tasted.
We were feeling a bit guilty due to all the carbs we’d consumed, so we ended the meal on a healthy(ish) note with some caramelized grapefruit to share. The grapefruit itself was insanely fresh and juicy, and the caramelized sugar balanced the tartness of the fruit out quite nicely.
All in all, we really enjoyed this brunch event, and would highly recommend attending similar events that are offered during NYC Beer Week. I definitely plan on heading back to The Redhead to try their normal brunch menu, and also plan on checking out what else Underwest Donuts and Other Half Brewing have to offer!
349 E 13th St.
New York, NY 10003
NYC Beer Week 2016 runs until February 28th. For information on other NYC Beer Week events, click here.