So our sleepy little town of Waconia now has its second brewery! Waconia Brewing Company is open for business! I will be doing a full write-up on them soon, but wanted to do a quick blog post about their first beer dinner that occurred Thursday the 30th at Waconia's own Terra Waconia restaurant. This is the second time I've been at a beer dinner for Halloween there, and they do a great job of getting you in the mood!
This particular event started right across the road at Waconia Brewing's tasting room. Several of us dressed up for the event--I as Indiana Jones and Sj as Willie the shrieking maiden from Temple of Doom (complete with bugs in her hair and stuck onto her clothing!) We were greeted warmly and a large platter of cheese, meats, and olives provided sustenance for us hungry patrons. Within minutes, Tom the brewer handed me a new hoppy and complex Belgian pale ale made with an experimental hop. Once most of us had arrived, we got a quick tour of the brewhouse (my first time being in there) and then headed across the street to the restaurant.
The small entry way to the restaurant was coated in white plastic with artful bloody hand prints and gore spattered across it. Once you moved into the building, the windows were blacked out and the place was lit by flickering scattered candelabra and individual candles in wine bottle holders. Cobwebs with suspended spiders coated the old tin ceiling and many of the walls, grabbing out at passers by. Creepy horror music led a disturbing tone to the darkened surroundings. A freakish doll hung from a fan. Another doll on the bar held half its face and scalp in one hand... All of my pictures are pretty sad due to the low light, so keep in mind that things looked better than this!
Sj and I got to sit with Dave and Sarah Manley this year and had some great conversations while waiting for each course to arrive. Strangely much of the talk revolved around Halloween and horror themes... The kitchen staff were all decked out in bloodstains and gore, working by headlamps so as not to break the mood for us diners.
Our first course was a seafood cake made to look like small bloody brains on a plate. This was very good, but the texture was as squidgy as the brains it was supposed to be! The pairing was with Waconia's kolsch and was a good one in my opinion.
Second course was a most disturbing squished and decomposing rat dish! Made of potato carved into a ribcage, beets, beef, and a beet "blood pool", this was one of the craziest looking dishes I've ever had. Tasted great! I believe this was paired with the IPA, nice and refreshing for a palate cleanser after lapping up all that blood...
Did I mention the dead rat being the craziest dish? Yup, but only until the next plate arrived! This plate of finely shaved duck in broth, topped with hideously worm shaped gnocchi was my favorite of the evening. Gotta tell you, it was hard taking that first bite! Paired with the Waconia Amber, also a good combination.
Last dish was Eyeball Soup. A melon soup served in a wine glass with floating lychee "eyeballs" with a firm apple pupil inside. I'm not a melon fan so this was not my favorite of our courses, but still totally fun. The texture and shape of the lychee was so spot-on for eyeballs that this was tough one to eat! This was paired with the Waconia Wit, perhaps the only pairing I didn't love. The beer itself was fine, but the soup and the beer seemed to clash a bit.
After the dinner was served, Chef Craig Sharp came out in his freaky clown mask with a devil doll to give us one last scare! This was a great dinner, filled with scares, good food, good beers and good friends.