An Historic Beer Dinner at Monk's Cafe

        "I don't think there's ever been a beer dinner like this before anywhere in the world," said Michael Jackson, a man who should know, addressing a crowd of tired but happy revelers gathered at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia on March 5 for an All-Lambic Beer Dinner. The historic meal marked the end of the city's 16th annual The Book & The Cook, a celebration of gustatory excellence that always has a strong beer representation, not least because Jackson has been one of the featured attractions for the past decade (see accompanying story).

        The adventuresome and somewhat risky event was born in the fertile mind of Tom Peters, co-owner of Monk's (with Fergus Carey) and a long-time mover and shaker on the local beer scene. For the occasion, Peters had nine Cantillon lambics on tap, including two--Iris Lambic and Vigneronne--making their world debut on draft. The other Cantillon offerings were unblended acid lambic, Apricot Lambic, Grad Cru unblended lambic, Rose de Gambrinus, Gueuze, unblended Kriek and unblended Framboise. Hanssens Gueuze and Strawberry Lambic and Lindemans Cuvee Renee Gueuze brought the total of spontaneously fermented beers enjoyed by a sold out crowd to an even dozen.

        The evening's menu included Shrimp & Smoked Mussel Vichyssoise made with Cantillon Apricot, a Lamb, Apples & Barley plate with Cantillon acidic lambic vinaigrette, entrée selections of either Seafood Waterzooi made with Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus or Lapin al la Gueuze braised in Cantillon Gueuze, a Belgian cheese assortment and Belgian Chocolate Cake. -JACK CURTIN

Copyright (c) 2000 Jack Curtin (originally published in Celebrator Beer News, April-May 2000)

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