I decided to play around with some slow motion video at the bar last night… What do you guys think?
Craft Beer + Artisan Cheese Pairing
What: craft beer and artisan cheese pairings, $15 includes 3 pairings.
Where:The Tap & Table, 284 Exchange Blvd. Rochester, NY 14608 tel: 585-319-3388
When: Oct. 10, 2013, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Bloggers Offline is an initiative of the Rochester Blogger Network, featuring events designed to highlight the best of our city, showcasing local bloggers, their knowledge and expertise. I am super excited to be the featured blogger this month, and hope that all of you in the Rochester area will stop out on Thursday night to sample the following beer & cheese pairings, selected especially for this event.
The following is a guest post, written by a good friend of mine, Ryan Conaughty. I met Ryan while he was studying for his Masters in Creative Writing at SUNY Brockport. He’s taught me a lot about craft beer and has been a huge supporter of this site since it’s inception. If you enjoy his writing, I recommend checking out his bike journal titled,TransAm Blues, wherein he tells the story of the time he rode his bicycle across the whole freaking country, by himself. He’s a great writer, a great friend, and he knows a whole lot more about beer than I do. Enjoy!
In a small room just big enough to fit a stack of menus, a touchscreen cash register, and a pop machine; I try to conduct an interview with Scott Donnelly, owner of Donnelly’s Public House in Fairport, NY. It’s not easy. I have a list of questions that I want to ask him about beer, food, and Rochester, among other things, but we’re having a hard time communicating. People keep interrupting us. They’re shaking Scott’s hand, smiling, and telling him how much they enjoyed the dinner he and his team just presented. Words like “fantastic”, “excellent”, “unbelievable”, and “amazing” are all words they use. My favorite quote came from my girlfriend, as I pointed to her almost-full glass of Dogfish Head’s My Antonia, she smiled, putting her fork down from her Bourbon County Marinated Pork Loin stuffed with weaved bacon, horseradish, and aged 4-year Maple leaf cheddar cheese and said, “Sorry. The food is so good, I forgot I was drinking beer!”
“That’s our goal,” Scott says, “to ‘WOW’ people.”, when I ask him if he considers this reaction an indication of success for the two-night, sold-out event. “Tonight and every other Beer and Bites, I think, represents my business model: to, in a way, under promise and over deliver. I mean, Tom Willis, our head chef and I talked about the soup for literally two hours just to get it right. My opinion? I think this was the best 5 course beer dinner we’ve ever done.” The smiles on everyone’s faces serve as a testament to the kitchen and wait staff: the meal was prepared, delivered, and paired perfectly.
People trust us. They trust that we’ll do a good job and treat them right. I want them to say ‘Donnelly’s knows their shit’. I mean, this whole beer dinner idea is, from a business standpoint, a failure by design. We don’t make money from this at all. But that’s not the point of hosting them and bringing all these great people together. It’s about the experience that good beer and great food offers. People know that we’re gonna take care of them when they come here, be it a Tuesday for lunch, a Sunday watching the game, or a five course pairing dinner. We’ve got pretty good beer, too.
I’d say that 30 taps of constantly rotating craft beer is better than “pretty good.” I ask him about our city and its rise as a prominent beer scene.
Last week I received an email from Amy over at Rochester A-List about a Victory Beer Pairing at Johnny’s Irish Pub on Culver Rd in Rochester. She asked if I had heard anything about their monthly beer pairing events, that they seemed to be pretty popular. I hadn’t, but my interest was piqued, so I called some friends and we made plans to attend.
When we stopped in, a little before 7pm, the place was full but not crowded. My first time at Johnny’s, I took a minute to survey the area… A quick assessment of the beer selection told me I was among friends. The bar was inviting, softly lit and surrounded by the smiling faces of patrons out enjoying their Thursday night. A handful of tables surrounding the bar, and more in an adjoining room, sat small groups of people already enjoying the featured menu. Dinner started at 5, and we hadn’t made reservations, so I was a little nervous that we’d miss out on the beer pairing… luckily there was a table free and we were able to sit right down.
Victoire Belgium Beer Bar
What: Beer Bar featuring Belgian imports and Belgian-style beers.
Where: 120 East Avenue, Rochester NY, 14604 / tel: 585-325-3663
When to go: Open 4:00 pm – 2:00 am. Regular hours start Monday, July 9th: Monday – Friday 11:00 am – 2:00 am
A new addition to the East End district, Victoire (pronounced veek-twahr) offers an impressive selection of authentic Belgian imports along with Belgian style beers from breweries like Ommegang, Victory, Stone, & Unibroue. They feature 20+ taps along with an impressive number of bottle conditioned beers. More About Victoire Belgium Beer Bar…
Sunday morning started early. We had forgotten to close the curtains in the hotel room so we were up with the sun and ready for another round… after a few Advil and a cup of coffee of course. Breakfast was our first order of business. After stopping at 4 ATMs we finally found one with cash and were able to procure a couple of bagel sandwiches and some iced coffee. (Pro Tip: Mountain Bagels & Cafe doesn’t take plastic.) From there it was back to the Forrester to await the arrival of the other brew crew members that were joining us for day two.
We woke much earlier than normal for a Saturday, anxious for the long awaited journey that lie ahead. Bleary eyed and in desperate need of coffee, we loaded “Blue” (our trusty pickup truck) with two days provisions and hit the road… We arrived in Hunter, NY just before noon and checked into our room at the Forrester Lodge. From there it was just a short walk (score!) to our final destination — the TAP New York Craft Beer & Fine Food Festival.
Stoneyard Bar & Grill
What: Bar & Grill with 21 rotating craft beers on tap.
Where: 1 Main Street, Brockport, NY 14420 (corner of Main St & the Erie Canal)
When to go: Wednesday nights are “Beer Masters” nights. Enjoy special “Cookin’ with Beer” menu items and once you join their Beer Masters club ($20 for the year), you’ll get discounts on craft beer every Wednesday night. **The last Wednesday of every month is Beer Masters University where they give patrons the opportunity to learn about craft beer including trivia, tastings and giveaways from 7-9pm ($5 for members/$10 for non-members)
Stoneyard Bar & Grill is one of the few options in Brockport for both a nice sit-down meal and good craft beer. For those of you that might be familiar with this small college town just west of Rochester, it’s the location of the old Jimmy Macs. The dining room is at street level, with the bar located downstairs, right next to the canal. Their canalside location makes it a summer hot spot for boaters and bikers along the Erie Canal.
Donnelly’s Public House
What: Neighborhood pub with 22 rotating craft beers on tap.
Where: 1 Water Street, Fairport, NY 14450 (at the corner of Liftbridge Lane)
When to go: Thursday nights are “Drink Local” nights. Stop in from 6-8pm in February to enjoy a beer tasting presented by a local brewery. Also, any beers on tap from New York State breweries are just $3 and you get a FREE “I drink NY” pint glass to take home! (limit 1 per visit)
Donnelly’s Public House in Fairport, NY is a great place to go for dinner and a few beers with friends. They provide ample seating both nearby and away from the bar, perfect for whatever kind of night you have planned. It can get busy though, so be prepared to wait a few minutes for a table if you stop in during the dinner rush.