For two more sessions, the Funky Buddha Brewery and Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza will be teaming up to put on dinner pairing a beer and Italian food at a couple of Broward County Anthony's locations in June and July.
Clean Plate attended the premiere event held last week at Anthony's Coal Fired in Boca Raton, in which Funky Buddha's brand director, John Linn, took us and the dozens of attendees on a culinary journey through some family-style Italian soul food and a selection of Buddha beers.
Our predinner apertif began with the Rice Crispy Blonde Ale, a beer that "uses Ugandan vanilla beans, which gives it those unique marshmallow flavors," Linn told the crowd. Next up was the Floridian Hefeweizen, which came paired with Anthony's house Italian salad and a delicious caprese salad full of thick and juicy tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.
The second course landed with a glass of the only-at-Anthony's Fuhgeddaboudit Red Ale. This malty American red is one of my favorite beers to pair with food. It has a bit more malt backbone than a traditional Irish red. It was served with enormous meatballs and the legendary oven-baked chicken wings.
"I love the way they put Fuhgeddaboudit together," owner Anthony Bruno told us. "It goes great with red sauce. It's drinkable and something for someone who wants a great-tasting beer with their food. Sometimes [Funky Buddha] can be a bit too funky with their beers to pair with food, but this is perfect."
Following that, we were served pork ribs with vinegar peppers and the superdelectable eggplant Marino, which ended up being the star of the show for us. These were served with the out-there-for-most Fire in the Hole raspberry habenero beer. Luckily the heat and tartness matched well with the acidity of the ribs, though we felt it was a bit much for the delicate tenderness of this well-made eggplant.
Finally, Funky Buddha brought out the indomitable Hop Gun IPA to go with the dessert: pie. As in pizza pie, as meatball and ricotta, roasted cauliflower, and traditional pizzas were brought to the table.
At the end of the meal, I couldn't believe how much food was brought out. It was truly a home-cooked Italian experience.
It's the best value you can find to pair a four-course meal with beer samples.
You'll be able to find dinners like these during the summer, when it's traditionally slower in the restaurant biz. "It benefits the locals who live here year-round," Bruno said.
If you're interested in joining one of these dinners -- and I highly recommend you do -- sign up now. On Monday, June 23, at 7 p.m., the dinner will be held at the Pompano Beach location (call 954-942-5550 to RSVP), and on Tuesday, July 15, at 7 p.m., the dinner will be held at the Coral Springs location (call 954-340-2625 to RSVP). Cost is only $30 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity.
Menus may change, and each beer that we sampled may not be the same for each subsequent dinner.
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Instagram.
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