Craft beer enthusiasts flocked to One Eyed Betty’s in Ferndale on Tuesday, to take part in an Odd Side Ales beer dinner.
The five course dinner included specialty beers from the Grand Haven brewery paired with complimentary homemade courses, all centered around a circus theme.
“We do a theme for every beer dinner. Sometimes they make sense, sometimes they don’t,” said Beth Hussey, Owner and Operator of One Eyed Betty’s. “For this one, we went with a circus theme for no other reason than them being Odd Side.”
The first course included a corn dog paired with the Old North Baltic Porter. Not your typical carnival corn dog, as this particular dog was made from wild boar and blueberries. The slight gaminess of the boar and sweetness of blueberry along with the breading complemented the smooth 8% ABV porter.
Second up was Smokin’ Hama Mama along side non-sugared elephant ears. The American Pale Ale provided a sweet aroma and smooth taste along side the elephant ear spreads that included hummus, tabouli and a nutty, spicy spread.
Emmele Herrold, Executive Chef at One Eyed Betty’s, enjoys getting away from the everyday menu and the freedom of creating new dishes.
“We picked a crazy theme that nobody really knew coming into it what was going to be on the menu,” she said. “I just try to come up with dishes I love or dishes I know would pair well with something.”
Hussey and Herrold enjoy keeping food descriptions vague prior to the dinners in order to surprise the guests.
“I never really know what (Emmele’s) going to do,” Hussey said. “That’s the fun part.”
The third dish was a popcorn shrimp salad with arugula, oranges, blueberries and jalapanoes. The ever-popular Odd Side Citra paired beautifully with the salad, providing a refreshing blast of citra hops.
Chris Michner, Owner, Brewer and Founder of Odd Side Ales, admits he was anxious to see how the dinner would go.
“I was really interested to see what they would do. I wasn’t quite sure what it was going to be like, but I thought it was really good,” he said.
The fourth and main course included the brewery-exclusive Blood Orange Wheat alongside a citrus roasted chicken drumstick and mashed potatoes. The wheat brew provided a bittersweet and citrusy finish, balancing out the salty-sweet combo of the chicken and potatoes.
And what would dinner be without dessert? When ideas were coming together, Hussey insisted that Herrold include cotton candy somehow, some way.
“She said, ‘What the hell am I going to do with cotton candy?'”
What Herrold created was top a booze-filled tiramisu (dark rum, amaretto, Kahlua and bourbon) with the cotton candy. The perfect finish when set alongside a Chocolate Koffie Stout, a stout with no chocolate additives and a huge coffe nose profile.
“I figured I can’t do anything normal,” Herrold said. “I have to add that flare and make it Betty’s-like.”
Michner had a hard time picking a favorite pairing, but praised the tiramisu and did have another favorite dish.
“I have to go with the corn dog. That was great,” he said.
Michner said he felt the beer dinner was a great opportunity to take advantage of for everyone involved.
“The theme went very well with our brewery,” he said. “This was really well done. From the artwork, the theme, everything. It was top notch.”