The ninth event in the Gastro Non Grata series, held Sunday night at Triple Rock Social Club, could have been themed “something new.” Three somethings new, to be specific. First, there was the beer being brewed onsite to be finished and enjoyed at the next Gastro Non Grata event in August. Then there was the band featuring a trio composed of a keyboard, a saw, and a bass accordion (a first, at least for this writer). And last there was the food. Two dishes, one of which was vegan, served to the crowd that devoured a whole roasted pig at the last event.
Northern Brewer‘s Tim Sullivan and Josh Voltz brewing a Rye Kolsch beer. Brewing beer onsite at an event is a first for them as well, Tim states. The smells of barley and hops wafting through the crowd brought the beer experience to a new level.
Set up at a makeshift station near the band, Chef Heather Hartman (above left), of Spoonriver and Cafe Brenda, served both restaurants’ specialty of Wild Mushroom and Pistachio Pate. A bite of smooth, earthy pate served on focaccia with a mustard sauce and cranberry chutney that, although vegan, is quite hearty. Hartman reassured the crowd that the next course, Vietnamese Grilled Pork and Vermicelli Noodle Salad (pictured above), would appease the meat eaters as well.
Perfectly cooked slices of pork tenderloin atop a bed of vermicelli rice noodles and a cabbage salad with mint and cilantro and dressed with peanuts and a lemongrass, Thai basil, kaffir lime leaf vinaigrette, the salad was crisp and tangy with a slight lingering spice.
Dessert was courtesy of Rogue Chocolatier, Colin Gasko’s Minneapolis based artisan chocolate company.
Another treat for attendees were samples of Rush River beer. Nick Anderson, owner and brewer of Rush River Brewery in River Falls, Wisconsin, introduced the BubbleJack IPA as a “hop friendly beer” and Small Axe Golden Ale as an “American wheat that pairs perfectly with citrus.” Truer words had never been spoken — the citrus vinaigrette of the pork salad paired with the Small Axe was a true crowd pleaser.
Entertainment was plenty with a variety of bands including Dreamland Faces (pictured below), the aforementioned trio of a keyboard, a saw, and a bass accordion. The band’s outstanding feature was the saw, which produced a haunting melody that elevated songs such as “Toothbrush and a Sponge” — the tale of a unconventional marriage between two household items.