If I were to create a one word review for this dinner, it would be “value.” This isn’t to say the the Schlafly Beer Dinner I had a the 1904 Beerhouse wasn’t delicious (it was), or the beer they chose wasn’t good (it was), but I don’t think you’re going to find a better beer dinner for $25 in St. Louis right now.
Let me start with the good before I get to the bad. This four course meal started with a selection of appetizers, which were probably the lowest point for me. Not that they were terrible, but they didn’t really stand out to me either. But, beginning with the first course of mussels, things only looked up.
These mussels were some of the largest, and yet most tender mussels I’ve ever eaten. They were beer steamed, served in a flavorful “Portuguesa” style broth and paired with a Schlafly Pale Ale. Not to mention, we each were served about a million mussels. So many in fact, it could have easily been a full meal.
For those of us who love beef, the next course didn’t disappoint. The grilled APA glazed ribeye was served perfectly medium rare and had a fantastic char that complemented the Schlafly APA glaze (which it was also paired with). This course included a wild mushroom gnocchi that paired very well with the Schlafly Oatmeal Stout that was also included. Not to mention that the gnocchi may have been some of the best I’ve ever had. They were light and pillowy without ever being mushy.
While not usually a huge fan of dessert, nor a huge fan of molten chocolate cake, I have to say that this was possibly the best one I’ve ever had. Not too sugary sweet, as molten cake is oft to be, but had a deep and complex chocolate flavor. This course also included a raspberry gelato and was also served with a Schlafly’s Raspberry Hefeweizen.
Now, I mentioned the bad. But the word “bad” is far too harsh, as there was really nothing about this meal that was bad. It’s just some things that I think could be worked on. First off, the portions, as I mentioned with the mussels above, they were far too large. I don’t think there was a single person at the table to finish everything, and if there was, then they’re more of a man than me.
Second, was the amount of beer. I know both of these complaints sound silly, but six beers and a ton of food, while an awesome value, makes you feel like you’re about to die. My third complaint is also probably my biggest, I didn’t really get much out of the pairings.
There wasn’t a problem with the pairings, per se, it’s just that they didn’t really add much to the meal. For the most part, they neither complemented nor detracted from the meal as a whole. It seemed more like a dinner of some really good food and really good beer and less of what I think of a dinner pairing beer with food. But, in all fairness, this was their first beer dinner, so sometimes these things take time to work out.
The one thing I’d like to stress to 1904 Beer House is that I know this is a test run of dinners before the move to a monthly beer dinner schedule, but I think the $25 price point is that sweet spot to get people to regularly attend these events.
I know for a fact that this specific dinner was a money loser for them, I mean we had each had a 750ml bottle of Schlafly Grand Cru to enjoy for ourselves. But I think that with some portion trimming and limited some of the beer included with the meal, they could probably make this a profitable event even at a $25 price point.
I fully suggest that you try and attend one of these meals over the next four weeks before they move to a monthly schedule, because I don’t think you’re going to find a better bargain.