When coming up with this year’s social calendar, I wanted to incorporate cider in some way. We have this incredible cider company that provides us with our draft cider that we have on tap every day here at the Brewery. The company is North Country Cider, out of Rollinsford, New Hampshire. (http://northcountrycider.com) If you haven’t had a chance to come in and try their cider, please do! It’s really good cider made with nothing but New Hampshire apples.

They self-distribute to us and one of the founders, Silas, is the one that brings in the cider. I got to know Silas a little bit over the last 10 months and decided that we needed to do a social together. Of course he was all about it; especially when I told him that he would be going head to head against Matt (our brewer) on whose beverage pairs better with each dish! At the beginning of the social you will receive a ballot to check off which pairing you liked the most with each dish. During the social you will be poured a sample of beer as well as cider to be eaten with your dish.

When it came time for developing the menu, I was stuck trying to come up with dishes that would pair well with both. Then I started to think of places that utilize both cider and beer in their everyday cuisine, and I was instantly drawn to my experience in London a few years back. At every pub in London there is a draft beer and a draft cider on tap. I drew from my travels around the city, as well as those of my very talented Sous chefs, to come up with the menu listed below. There is one dish on the menu that I’m sure not many of you have heard of called Raclette, which is a type of cheese from the Swiss/French part of the world. I came across this dish at an outdoor market in London. The cheese is in block form and is placed under a broiler and left to brown and melt. As you go through line and place your order they take boiled potato and mash it a bit. Then they take a knife and scrape just that top layer of melted browned cheese and slap it on top of the potato. It is then served with cornichons and pickled onions. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever had! Dez informed me that when he was growing up in Switzerland, the dish was traditionally served with either a cold glass of white wine or a cup of tea. We’ve talked Matt into brewing the Shea to be paired with it because it’s a Farmhouse Saison that is fermented with white wine oak barrels. We thought this would be the perfect pairing to go with the dish.

The Chef’s and I are extremely excited for this social. We feel like we have come up with some really nice dishes that can be paired with both beer and cider and hopefully enhance each of them on your palate. I know there has been a lot of trash talking between Matt and Silas for the last couple of weeks, so please make sure to get your tickets now before it sells out. It’s not every social that you get to taste both cider and beer. We need to figure out a winner, and we need your help to do it! Hope to see you at the social!

-Chef Jon

Opener: Quail Scotch egg served with a traditional spicy mustard

Meatless option: Fried soft poached egg with mustard

 Beer Pairing: Maria Mahat Maria

Cider Pairing: Honey Badger

Course 1: Raclette

Beer Pairing: Shea

Cider Pairing: Original Press

Course 2: Cider poached pears with gorgonzola & beer mousse, frisée and candied walnuts

Beer Pairing: American Pale Ale

Cider Pairing: Cranbarrel

Course 3: Beer brined, applewood smoked ham finished with a cider glaze served with a parsnip purée and roasted carrots

Meatless option: Cider braised celeriac with roasted local mushrooms

Beer Pairing: Barley Wine

Cider Pairing: Bitter Brothers

Dessert: Beignets with a winter spiced crème anglaise

Beer Pairing: Plum, Cinnamon and Vanilla Saison

Cider Pairing: Firestarter