Instead of wine dinners (which, let’s admit, can get a little fussy), classic Charleston restaurant High Cotton turned tables towards a lunch tasting menu, with beer subbing in for wine. For this past Saturday’s menu, Executive Chef Joe Palma and beverage director Patrick Emerson crafted a three-course menu using beer from Westbrook Brewery and flavors from Asia to Peru.
In the middle of headlining at these top Charleston restaurants over the last two years, husband-and-wife team Edward and Morgan Westbook have moved a long way from homebrewing with a plastic cooler to now a warehouse full of kegs in Mt. Pleasant.
“Sometimes I wonder what have we done?” laughed Morgan Westbrook, who was on the scene, making flavor matches and cracking jokes. Decked out in a dog sweater, Morgan provided tasting notes and a humorous attitude that paired well with a casual lunch.
Her own “Bearded Farmer” brew, an amber-colored went along with an arugula salad with fig preserves and saison vinaigrette. Both had sharp, sweet and complex flavors on their own; together, they were the best pairing of the afternoon.
Going with the lunch theme and current Charleston trend, Chef Joe Palma rustled up an on-the-scene sandwich: smoked duck banh mi. The kimchi was mild and the sandwich had some zing and zip from the cilantro, which both highlighted the hops in the spicy Westbrook IPA.
Diners fought off the temptation to nap with dessert: a ginger panna cotta paired with “Vanilla Double Tree,” a Belgian-styled and potent dubbel. Topped with a thin disc of mango gelee, the dessert looked like a bright sunny-side up egg surrounded by even brighter tropical fruits. We’ll let you be the judge of the pairing-check out the attached recipe and try it with a sweet dubbel.
Stay posted: the beer-paired lunches are just the first of many new options for an afternoon at High Cotton.
High Cotton will have a 5-course wine dinner with Laroche on February 19th, as well as some upcoming lunch tasting menus. Westbrook offers tastings and tours Thursday through Saturday.