The Bruery-Intelligentsia-Linkery Night

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Beer Coffee Dinner

There aren’t many meals that are worth a 240-mile drive, but considering the collaborators, the odds certainly seemed in our favor. The Linkery has a heightened commitment to farm-to-table dining, and even houses their very own butcher shop. They paired five courses with beers from The Bruery and coffees & teas from Intelligentsia Coffee, at only $10 per course.

My first meal at The Linkery was back in 2006, when they were further south on 30th Street, and it’s clear that the scope and depth of Jay Porter’s restaurant has increased since then. The regular menu currently lists 46 different “farmers and artisans” and espouses: “We cure our own meats, bake our own bread, and naturally, link our own sausage. Our fruits and vegetables come mainly from this region’s farms; all the beef, lamb and goat we serve is grass-fed and raised entirely on pasture; our pork is only from family-owned farms. Our menu changes with what our farmers give us.” There aren’t many manifestos that are more promising.

Beer Coffee Dinner
When we arrived, seasoned Intelligentsia coffee pros Nick Griffith and Chris Owens were working a pourover bar near the entrance.

Beer Coffee Dinner
We were there for the special tasting menu, but couldn’t resist some add-ons. The slab of Jalapeno-bacon cornbread ($5.50) was especially enticing. It was crisp-topped and served with a firm disc of Old Bay butter. We also scored some wedges of crusty house made beer bread ($2). The type of beer was unclear.

Beer Coffee Dinner
The first pairing was clever. The Bruery’s toasty Rugbrod – brewed with three types of rye malt – paired well with coffee-infused rye bread topped with creamy goat cheese, silky yellowtail gravlax, dill and garlic “scrapes.”

Beer Coffee Dinner
One of my favorite pairings involved a hoppy glass of Mischief, a Belgian Style Golden Strong Ale, with octopus-wrapped local asparagus. The tender octo was shaved razor-thin and enjoyed some good pop from the longaniza oil and delfino cilantro, and a hit of acidity from preserved Meyer lemon.

Beer Coffee Dinner
The refreshing lead-up to our third course was a glass of cold Bao Zhong Oolong Tea.

Beer Coffee Dinner
Saison de Lente tasted better than it smelled, with mild sourness from the Brettanomyces. Orange Womach Ranch Rabbit was a funny but not so successful take orange chicken. It was served on Bibb lettuce with micro basil and orange zest, and the mushy breading did the juicy meat no favors.

Beer Coffee Dinner
Our lead-up to the fourth course was a cold-brewed glass of “El Machete,” a clean-sipping, fruity Panamanian coffee.

Beer Coffee Dinner
One of the major selling points for me was to be able to try a beer brewed specifically for the event that incorporated Intelligentsia coffee. The Bruery’s head brewer Tyler King ended up making a Toddy Barleywine with a Burundi toddy. Griffith said that when they originally met at The Bruery to discuss ideas for a coffee beer, they knew it shouldn’t be a stout since that style of coffee beer is overplayed. The Bruery and Intelligentsia are known for their willingness to experiment, and that was certainly the case for the barleywine, where the coffee was in evidence, but wasn’t syrupy and didn’t crush our palates. The pairing was a grass-fed beef Wellington filet with a rosy core, a judicious amount of pungent Point Reyes blue cheese, mushrooms and a tangy sauce.

Beer Coffee Dinner
The Bruery’s Trade Winds Tripel was brewed with rice and Thai basil, which imparts a lingering spice and refreshing taste. We had a glass of that side-by-side with a mug of hot “El Machete” Panamanian coffee and a plate of flaky strawberry-rhubarb pie with coffee semifreddo. Without the semifreddo, there would have been a disconnect between the dessert and coffee. Then again, I probably would have enjoyed the coffee on its own, after dessert, and done without the crystalized semifreddo altogether.

Beer Coffee Dinner
The official tasting menu was over, but I couldn’t resist The Linkery’s lardo ice cream sandwich ($10). They make an ice cream with house-cured lardo (pig fat) and sandwich it inside two oversized (and quite rich) hazelnut-Taza chocolate chunk cookies. The topper is a sheet of candied house-cured bacon. The lardo ice cream was surprisingly mild. Luckily, that was the only mild aspect of the devastating plate, which also featured bacon fat-infused caramel.

Beer Coffee Dinner
After our meal, and all that beer and coffee, it was unclear whether the bovine that was crafted from “fruit” and parked outside the restaurant was an illusion. Turns it was Daisy, the charitable cow, who appeared in support of school lunches.

The Bruery-Intelligentsia-Linkery Night was the highlight to a productive (and gluttonous) trip to San Diego. Was it worth 240 miles on the odometer? Considering what else we managed to experience, and that there may never be another collaboration like that, sure.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

Beer Week Events at The Linkery and El Take It Easy…

UPDATE: It’s here. Events begin on Thursday… Here’s everything that’s on tap for Beer Week at our farm-to-table empire.Click here to go directly to any of our events:Thursday, Nov 4: Cask v. DraftFriday, Nov 5: Cask v. DraftSaturday, Nov ……

It’s great to see intelligentsia coffee getting involved in more things like this. It can help spread the word about them.

[…] The Bruery-Intelligentsia-Linkery Night […]

Very cool event. I definitely hope to see more collaborations like these on more trips like this. It was obvious that each party involved had tremendous respect for each other’s talent. Enough to make the notable distance between all three worthwhile.

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