Last night was one of those crazy Cleveland weather days that you can’t think too hard about (global warming, what?), you just have to embrace. Nearly 80 degree temperatures and plenty of sunshine made it the perfect day to get your first sip of Great Lakes Christmas Ale, attend the President Obama Rally at Burke Lakefront Airport, or – if you’re Matthew and me – head on up to the rooftop patio at The Greenhouse Tavern for a German extravaganza as part of Cleveland Beer Week.
The event was called Brauhaus in a Beer Garden and was hosted by Brick & Mortar Pop-Ups. Chef Jonathon Sawyer’s friend and fellow chef Jeremy Nolan of Brauhaus Schmitz in Philadelphia created the dishes for the evening. I was expecting a sit-down dinner of served courses, but instead it was a grab-as-you-go, small-plate style meal, which was more suited to the laid-back atmosphere of the rooftop at The Greenhouse Tavern.
First, we snagged some sliced cold sausages, pickled veggies, a soft pretzel with Bavarian cheese spread, and foie gras liverwurst with pickled black grapes. We also enjoyed a refreshing traditional German-style pils on draught: 3 Floyds Jinx Proof.
The pretzels were delicious: crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, piping hot, and served with a creamy cheese spread with just a hint of spice. Personally, I think Chef Sawyer should steal the recipe and serve these at Sawyer’s Street Frites at Browns Stadium! I also loved the rich flavor of the foie gras liverwurst, but would have preferred a toasted bread to give a bit more texture to the bite.
As we listened to an eclectic and fun mix of music, including German techno, we sampled the sweetbread schnitzel, served with quail egg, anchovy-caper vinaigrette, and buckwheat spatzle.
This was Matthew’s favorite dish of the night. The textures and flavors blended well and I was pleasantly surprised that the dish wasn’t too salty. I always enjoy sweetbread, so I was definitely a fan of this offering as well.
Our next dish to try was my favorite: duck and smoked barley malt sausage with spicy beer mustard and duck cracklins.
My standard for “favorite dish” tends to be if I would lick the plate clean. This met that standard easily. The sausage was flavorful, the mustard added a nice sharp flavor, and the duck cracklins were indulgently fatty and delicious.
Last but not least, we tried the blood sausage with celery root-apple puree and Tavern vinegar gastrique. I realize this is going to sound crazy since I ate sweetbread earlier in the evening, but I couldn’t get enough past what blood sausage is to really enjoy this dish. I think part of it is a texture thing: all the foods I struggle to enjoy tend to have unusual textures. Matthew did eat and enjoy it and I will say that the celery root-apple puree was very tasty.
It was a beautiful night to overlook Cleveland, sip beer, eat great food and chat with friends (we saw Renee and Paul and met my giveaway winner Sarah)! The Greenhouse Tavern has installed heaters on the rooftop patio, so it is ready to go for whatever Cleveland weather hands us, so head on up there soon. Thanks to Chefs Sawyer and Nolan for a tasty evening!
***Disclosure: I was asked by The Greenhouse Tavern and Brick & Mortar Pop-Ups to help promote Brauhaus in a Beer Garden. In exchange, I received 2 tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***