Inviting everyone to feast on food and beverages prepared using local ingredients and geniuses, Lakefront Brewery from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and American Craft Kitchen & Bar at Hyatt Regency Chicago, indulged us with a superlative experience!
By: Soumya Jain
Posted on: November 17, 2014
There is not a single journalist in this world who would refuse an offer of beer, on a Sunday morning, paired with wholesome American food. And I was not going to be the first one. So there we were, waking up a wee bit earlier than we are used to on weekends, and zooming through traffic to reach Hyatt Regency Chicago.
We were soon directed towards a private dining area, and found ourselves to be in the perfect hands of Chef Daniel Kelly, who oversees American Craft Kitchen & Bar, and Mr Jim Klisch, founder of Lakefront Brewery. And then, the four-course brunch began.
Morning pick-me ups
The beer cheese fondue signaled the beginning of the day. Delicious and had piping hot, it felt incredibly sinful on a chilly Chicago morning. This led on to a fresh orange and ricotta pancake, paired with the bold and energetic Fixed Gear American Red IPA. I could feel the grainy texture of the pancakes and that effervescent feeling of a freshly squeezed orange in it. On the other hand, the smooth Fixed Gear by Lakefront Brewery was quite a mouthful with its floral-citrus aroma and a dense, brilliant cherry colour. The ale has quite a bit of malty-ness in it, complimented well by a slight fruity background.
The extremely delicious and unique pancakes were accompanied by other smaller plates too. The table had quite an army of them stacked and ready to be devoured without any moment of hesitation! Stuffed dates with goat cheese wrapped in bacon were placed with honey chili crusted lamb chops. Egg varieties like traditional scotch egg and mini egg benedict were present. Corned beef hash with poached egg was quite indulgent as we heard.
The anticipation for the second course was quite high considering the first one was a flying success. And so everyone was presented with charred jumbo shrimp with grits and over easy quail eggs. For vegetarians, that is my companion and I, they served two spectacular salads. A warm veggie salad with carrots, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and more was quite hearty. The second, Kale salad with onions, almonds, dried cranberries and slices of pear, was zesty in a lip-smacking way!
As for the beer, my heart soared to see an India Pale Ale by Lakefront Brewery. Inspired by India, of course, it was a fresh orange in colour with an instant aroma of citrus fruits arising from it. The crisp taste leaves a lingering trail on the palate. And though as pretty as it looks, the story behind it is not as glamourous. During Britain’s occupation of India, the British troops stationed in the subcontinent demanded beer. But creating such an ale was not possible in India due to its extremely hot weather. Thus it was brewed in Britain and with an extra dosage of hops so as to be able to survive in the humid climes of India.
By the third course, almost all of us had full stomachs and a number of images to post on Twitter and Facebook. But when Chef Kelly asked, “Are you still hungry?”, nobody dared say no!
The Beer Can Chicken with Belgium Waffles was paired with the Rendezvous Bier de Garde beer. And as soon as food was served, there was a hush on the entire table, with everyone engrossed in eating. Need I say more? Our eggplant with veggies and Parmesan cheese was freshly cooked and thus extremely hot. Served in a bed of tangy red tomato sauce, it was just what we required from a hearty Sunday brunch.
The Rendezvous was a French style ale. Ample amounts of malt give it a full body. The red hue, mild bitterness and smoothness made it perfect to be had with chicken or the flavorful eggplant.
Dessert was a package of small delights as an assortment tray was placed before us. There were chocolate pastries with raspberries, small apple muffins with powdered sugar drizzled all over, and many more within our reach. The beer, however, stole the limelight. The country’s first Gluten free beer was placed before us. Its glistening pale golden shade gave way to a sparkling taste, much like that of a chardonnay wine. Brewed without wheat or barley, it is granted label approval by the US Government too. The New Grist Gluten-Free Pilsner is brewed from sorghum, rice, hops, water and yeast. Slightly fruity, it has hints of green apple in it.
A Sunday spent appreciating excellently brewed craft beer and exquisite food preparations, I think our car is going to steer towards American Craft Kitchen & Bar again and again to re-experience this day…
Coordinates: 151 East Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois, USA , 60601