When one hears the words “American Bar” your expectations of the same familiar scene will most likely follow; Tacky sports memorabilia, scantly clad waitresses, mediocre wings, and that popular vinyl banner of Peyton Manning waving his football like a goofy seductress.
That wasn’t the case this past Wednesday at Jake’s American Bar in the Lowes Royal Pacific Resort. In fact, it couldn’t have been farther. I knew we were going to be in for a treat the moment we stepped in. The atmosphere of Jakes is nothing like your run-of-the mill dive, rather something straight out of an Elvis movie, “Paradise, Hawaiian style” to be punctilious. Keeping in tradition to classic island themes with an aeronautic touch- Jake’s style really charms the heart. Which made the reason for our visit so fitting.
Jake’s along with Kona beers had a fantastic experience awaiting us. (And for those of you who have been living in a box since 1994) Kona is good beer. Really good beer. Originating on the Big Island of Hawaii, this father and son brewery has been rapidly making a name in the craft brew scene, and is now considered one of the most recognized hand crafted breweries in the nation.
The chef’s at Jake’s had prepared a fantastic four course dinner with each course specifically designed to pair with one of Kona’s delicious brews. “Beer has been around a long time, and with engagements like these, people will start to realize that beer will pair with food… perhaps better than wine” says Jake’s bar manager Andy Kuritz.
As a testament for what was to ensue; the chef’s brought us our first tasting of an appetizer of homemade pretzel breadsticks covered in pulled pork, Jalapeño cheddar cheese and a curtsey of mustard on top. A wonderfully simple finger food. I could have eaten 500 of these!
But alas, on to our main event.
The first course of the evening was Tuna Tartare, Baby Organic Greens, Salmon Caviar, Herb Tuile. Paired with Kona’s most popular beer Kona Longboard Larer. The Longboard Lager is a malt forward beer and is actually Kona’s most difficult beer to brew. The chef’s pairing of this beer couldn’t have been more superb. A perfect compliment to a delicious seafood dish. It was
as if the Tuna fish has evolved millions of years only to be enjoyed with a Longboard Lager.
The second course was the Balsamic Duck Confit, Garlic-Thyme Orzo, Roasted Watermelon Radish, Balsamic Fig-Jus. Paired beautifully with the Kona Big Wave American Ale. Talk about
an explosion of flavor. Though simple in presentation, it was very complex in taste. Duck usually has a gameness to it that cannot be thwarted, until now… Who knew the cure would be beer? Kona’s Big Wave is a hop friendly brew. Brewed with Citra-hops and Galaxy hops, this beer is perfect for accentuating the sweet and savory. The Fig-Jus sweetness alongside the Orzo and duck’s savor proved to be yet another perfect combination. This is when I realized that these masters of their craft had done their homework.
The third course was probably the most anticipated of the evening. Marinated Angus Beef, Scallop Potato, Asparagus-Parsnip Mousseline, Pipeline Porter Demi-Glace. Paired with Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale. After the chef’s explanation of how they poach their meat and the fact that the demi-glace was made from the Kona’s Pipeline Porter, I was jumping with impatience like a kid in a candy store. I got my candy…and then some. Anytime I think of beer and steak I think IPA or
amber. The beauty of Kona Fire Rock is that, it’s both. A perfectly blended balance of the two creates a wonderful drink. Drinking the beer along with a good steak makes you feel like your flowing down the Kilawea Caldera. (The Active Volcano in which Fire Rock is named after) right into the Pacific.
Our Final course was a delicious Dark Chocolate, Mocha Coffee Cream Pie, Graham Cracker Crust. Paired with Kona Pipeline Porter. Another perfect pairing. Normally I would prefer a
glass of milk over beer with any sort of dessert…however, when a brewery uses nine different malts and a half a pound a Kona coffee to brew their Porter, my preference could be easily outweighed. (And for those of you who have never had the pleasure of tasting Kona coffee on the Islands of Hawaii, It is easily the best on the planet). A simple and effective pairing of the two made the nights standings 4 for 4.
The chef’s unbelievable palate alongside an amazing brewery made this Beer Dinner pairing a Grand Slam. I had the privilege of sitting down at the end of the night with Kurt Uhde. (A marketing liaison for Kona.)“Florida is a hotbed for our beer” he says. “Florida isn’t too far off from Hawaii. great weather year round, great beaches, why not have great beer?
Florida is still a yellow beer state, but with places like Jake’s American Bar and breweries like
KONA that will all soon change.
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