Nearly a hundred patrons weathered the cold for a chance to taste cult beers from Three Floyds Brewery at Heaven on Seven Naperville, Tuesday night. The dinner sold out in three days last month after it was announced.
Those romantically involved with citrus and hops enjoyed the welcoming libation. Guests first sipped Cask Conditioned Zombie Dust – an intensely hopped and well-balanced pale ale – one of the most sought after craft beers in the country. Citrus hoppy notes prepared palettes for seven courses to come.
Flavors progressed to first bites, which was grilled skirt steak marinated in citrus with homemade Worcestershire sauce. “The Zombie Dust has good citra hops (from the Yakima Valley in Washington) which prepares the palette for the first course,” said Russ Hillard, General Manager of Heaven on Seven.
Three Floyds began brewing intensely balanced beer in 1996 just over the border in Hammond, Ind. In 2000, they relocated to a larger facility in Munster. The brewery also features a brewpub with a full service kitchen supported by an organic vegetable and herb garden.
Hillard, who is also a trained chef, carefully crafted the menu to highlight the intense beer and hop flavors. Willard explained, “drink the beer and see what comes out of it. Different flavors and hops evoke different images and memories of what I would like to eat with the beer.”
Some other courses included venison chili with black beans paired with Three Floyds Pride and Joy, clams and Andouille sausage paired with Three Floyds Alpha King, and buttermilk fried chicken paired with Three Floyds Arctic Panzer Wolf. But, the course of the night was pork belly macaroni and cheese paired with Three Floyds Robert the Bruce, a bold malty Scottish ale.
Beer enthusiast Rob Drazkowski summed up the course, “I had two bites and boxed it up because it was so good I wanted it for lunch tomorrow.”
In creating the beer pairing Hillard said, “the maltiness of Robert the Bruce and the creaminess of the cheese work well together. There’s also a little horseradish in the mix to cut the cheese.”
Three Floyds Barnaby was also on hand to enjoy the meal and answer questions about the beer and brewery. Their presence in the suburban market has grown in recent years. “We’re (Three Floyds Brewery) focused on dealing with not just Chicago, but more stuff in the suburbs. We’re growing and we want to keep it in the (Chicago) family,” said Barnaby.
Three Floyds beer is available on tap at Heaven on Seven Naperville (many are still available from Tuesday’s dinner) and in six-packs at local liquor stores. The brewery is located at 9750 Indiana Parkway in Munster, Ind., a little over an hour drive from Naperville. In addition to food at the brewpub, Three Floyds offers brewery tours on Saturday afternoons. Visit www.threefloyds.com for more info.
Heaven on Seven will host its next beer dinner on February 11 featuring Abita Brewing of Louisiana. Visit www.heavenonseven/naperville for more info.