Janet and I made it to the Dog & Cask last night. It’s a new “Craft Pub and Restaurant” on Rt. 17 in Rochelle Park (between I-80 and Paramus). I commute past the place twice a day and watched it “Coming Soon” for months, and I see its sign outside advertising “Happy Hour 4-7″ and “Happier Hour 10-12″ plus “Join Us for Sunday Brunch” and “Try Our Home-Made Charcuterie” (that last probably puzzles some passers-by).
The menu is a little sketchy for vegetarians, but there are some choices. They have a lot of light fare, so things like an excellent hummus, olives & nuts, cheese board, and the aforementioned charcuterie. We tried the first three of those, skipping the last. The menu is very creative, not vanilla fare. Janet had an excellent beet salad that sounded interesting to me. I had something that I had seen raved about online, the pork belly. I can’t say that I’ve ever *had* pork belly before, but it’s sort of like a block of bacon, in this case served with beans, pesto, herbs, and a clam. It was really a great mix of flavors.
On to the beer!
If you look at the online beer menu you will see Old Peculier, which is one of our all-time favorites, and I was raving about it before going, while suspecting that they might not have it. Well, they didn’t. Bummer, because that’s one that we know Janet likes, whereas she isn’t going to like the IPAs or anything strongly hopped. However, we know that she likes Belgian Ales, and the Maredsous Brune Abbey Dubbel fit the bill perfectly. Very nice. Meanwhile, I was intrigued to notice a “West Coast IPA” and an “East Coast IPA.” I had no idea what distinguishes coastal IPAs, so I ordered Ballast Point Sculpin West Coast IPA and then Captain Lawrence East Coast IPA. As my friend Ed suspected, the primary difference was the amount of hops, with the West Coast version more heavily hopped. Both of these were very good, and the Captain Lawrence might be a way to ease someone into the world of hops. Janet followed up her Maredsous with a draft, Blue Mountain Evil 8,, described as a Belgian Doubel. That one was even better. Meanwhile, I finished up with the Dogfish Head Burton Baton, described as an American Double Imperial IPA. God knows what that means, but it’s a very good ale.
You may notice on the menu the He’brew Bittersweet Lenny’s Rye, Double IPA. By coincidence, the night before I had a He’brew St. Lenny’s Double Rye “Immaculate Collaboration” IPA. This was done in collaboration with Cathedral Brewing, and was quite good.
Needless to say, there are JUST a few choices left to try on that menu! A flight is an option, but that would be a flight of four draft beers and the two I most wanted to try were bottled beers. On another occasion, picking four of the drafts would be no hardship. They also have an extensive whiskey menu, and they offer flights of whiskey or whisky as well. I’m curious about those.
On to the next coincidence. I had done a little research about Old Peculier, from Theakston Brewing in Masham England. I read that of their ales, only two are bottled: Old Peculier and XB. This afternoon I went into the Ramsey Liquors, wondering if by some chance they would have Old Peculier. They did not, but I promptly spotted Theakston XB! That’s what I’m sipping right now. I presume that XB stands for Extra Bitter and I confess that I’ve never had the classic “pint of bitter.” Well now I’ve had a pint of XB, and it’s not bad, but it’s a little thin for my taste and doesn’t have the complexity of many of the current generation of ales, where spices and all manner of things are introduced into the brew kettles. So it’s quite satisfactory but I won’t hurry back for more. OTOH, I would grab Old Peculier in an instant. That is richer and darker, roughly between a porter and a stout.
In addition to the XB I took a chance on a mystery 6-pack selected by Matt, the beer guru of Ramsey Liquors. This will be fun to explore . . . and the first bottle in the 6-pack was none other than the Ballast Point Sculpin that I first had last night! It’s a weekend of coincidences.
As it said on the label of St. Lenny’s, l’chaim!