5 O'Clock Somewhere
Beer in The Kitchen
By Chris O'Neal 01/30/2014
529 S. A St.
Oxnard’s restaurant week is over, and with it go the special flight nights at downtown’s The Kitchen on A Street. Over the past week, Surf Brewery, Institution Ale Company and Figueroa Mountain Brewery all brought their best, but it was on Thursday night during Enegren Brewing Company’s takeover that a perfect pair was discovered.
Matt Enegren, one of the two brothers responsible for the Moorpark brewery, offered up samples of the seasonal Black IPA to go along with the full pints of the alt bier we’d ordered.
Like most black IPAs, the chocolate malt finish popped with the bitterness of the hops, but unlike others in the category, Enegren’s black IPA offered a light body and a crispness that made it just right for a pint or two.
Enegren’s alt bier, which is a style from ye olden times brewed at a significantly colder temperature, is reminiscent of a kolsch — another classic style — only more amber in color. Refreshing with a nice, medium body, Enegren’s alt bier paired very well with The Kitchen’s game-meat offerings, specifically the venison burger and the lamb burger, a sandwich featured prominently on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
Ventura County needs more visionaries like the folks behind The Kitchen, for whom beer is not just a given but is a part of the menu. Chef Stroh concocted a few special recipes for restaurant week, including a pale ale beer can-roasted chicken and a mac and cheese burger topped with Institution Ale-marinated bacon.
At Barrelhouse 101, new pastry chef Anastashia has been taking inspiration from the tap line. At the frequent Thursday guest brewery nights, Anastashia has used Epic, Stone and Firestone’s brews to bake up some incredible desserts. Like a chocolate mousse cooked up with Stone’s Espresso Russian Stout, or the vanilla bean cake using Stone’s smoked porter with vanilla bean.
Drink your beer, eat your beer. The VC is stepping up in the world of beer experimentation. Restaurant week may be over, but let’s hope the chefs continue to reinvent the cask.
Chris O’Neal is known far and wide for his plundering ways. Follow him on Twitter @agentoneal.