The newest pub on Metuchen’s Main Street stepped up to the plate and attempted its first-ever beer dinner.
The rookie went yard.
With Chef Johnny preparing a magnificent six-course banquet for 30+ beer and food enthusiasts, and yours truly providing the beer choices and the corny jokes, Hailey’s made a strong case for Pub Rookie of the Year. Jackie and Sean, the waitstaff, got their trial by fire and both passed with flying colors.
Many pubs or restaurants who do beer dinners usually choose Monday nights, as that’s likely the slowest night of the week, especially since MNF is over. Not so at Hailey’s. A substantial dinner crowd was there, though they could only listen jealously to the the raucous laughter and good cheer emanating from Hailey’s Shuffleboard Room.
Johnny’s first course was a really nice Melon with Prosciutto, and it was paired with Blue Moon. Next, the chef’s famous corned beef and cabbage rolls wowed the crowd, accompanied by Harp Lager, and then he unveiled his upgraded Potato-Leek Soup. Already a winner, Johnny changed the recipe by using a vegetable stock instead of a chicken stock, and the results, likely to appeal to the vegetarians, were golden. Sam Adams Stock Ale complemented the soup perfectly.
A Mixed Greens with Citrus Salad preceded the main course, and it was joined by Ommegang’s outstanding Farmhouse Ale, Hennepin.
The main course was decidedly not a vegetarian dish as a huge, tender rib roast with fresh rosemary came out, accompanied by Hailey’s Ale. Der Biermeister himself, Dave Hoffman, makes Hailey’s Ale and he was there to explain the history—and the nuances--of brown ale. If anyone knows them, it’s Dave, whose Nut Brown Ale won a gold medal at the Chicago Beer Fest in 1998. If the feedback from the table was any indication, the Rib Roast and Hailey’s was a match made in Heaven.
Finally Johnny delivered his “Kicked up Jameson’s Strawberries”—also altered slightly for the better by using a chocolate covered graham cracker cup instead of one made up of just pure chocolate. The difference was both noteworthy and pleasing to the palate, especially when accompanied by a pint of Guinness.
The revelers were very happy with Hailey’s first at-bat, and before the night concluded, demanded to know when the next at-bat would take place.
According to owner Chris Flynn, who was very pleased with his pub’s performance and the fans’ reaction, it will probably take place right after Spring Training starts, with May as a target date.
Hailey’s Harp and Pub has set the bar high with its first beer dinner effort. If it can pull off another, it deserves to be in the Big Leagues.
Check out the pictures here.
Cheers till next time!