Last night, I was fortunate to attend a private beer and food pairing event hosted by one of Seattle’s newest establishments, Henry’s First Avenue Tavern. This American Bar & Grill, conveniently located across the street from the home plate entrance to Safeco Field, is brought to you by he same people behind places like Cutter’s Crabhouse, Palomino, Palisade and Stanfords.
Choice is not a problem at Henry’s. With 100 taps, a good selection of wines, a full bar and a diverse menu, they are looking to set a higher standard for selection and high end pub fare. According to their head chef and food and beverages manager, Miles Hassinger, they really don’t like to open packages of pre-prepared food or ingredients. Everything on the menu is made in-house, right down to the sauces and mustards, and most everyone can find something they’ll enjoy.
They opened in late April with the beer list you can find on their bar menu HERE, but plan to keep making changes and updates to the list over time, depending on the feedback they receive from their patrons. A few local craft breweries are already featured on the tap list (including Fremont Brewing, Diamond Knot Brewing, Hale’s Ales, Pike Brewing and a few others), and I’m sure we’ll start to see even more local breweries on the list as it evolves.
The event kicked off with an opening toast with Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock and a quick tour around Henry’s, including their very impressive walk in keg cooler, which is located downstairs, just under the bar. It’s a beautifully bright and well organized cooler, where each keg has its own labeled spot and its own CO2 regulator. It’s the cleanest walk-in cooler setup I think I’ve ever seen.
Our first course was a Spicy Ahi Tuna Roll (with Siracha, mango and masago) paired with Chimay Triple and a Crab Avocado Roll (with a spicy sauce, cucumber and crispy pickled pepper) paired with Weihenstephan Hefe-Weissbier. Both were delicious and paired well with the beer selections. The assertive flavor of the Chimay Triple stool up well to the spicy flavor of the tuna roll and the Weihenstephan Hefe complimented the crab avocado roll nicely.
Up next was Henry’s Beer Cheddar Soup paired with Big Sky Moose Drool Brown Ale and Henry’s No Bean Chili paired with Fremont Universale Pale Ale. The beer cheddar soup was very creamy and delicious. I suggested, if made a bit thicker, it would even make a great cheese fondue and, of course, it paired wonderfully with the Moose Drool brown ale. The chili had just the right amount of spice and actually paired equally well with both the Fremont pale and the brown ale. It was the type of chili that, in my opinion, would go perfectly on a chili dog (or perhaps over one of Henry’s Jalapeño Cheddar sausages!)
Moving right along, we were next presented with fried Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese Curds (with crispy pickled peppers and a pepper jelly on the side) paired with Diamond Knot Industrial IPA and Gorgonzola Waffle Fries (topped with Gorgonzola and a bit of Dragonstooth Stout onion gravy) paired with Kona Longboard Lager. Both were delicious and, while the Longboard Lager was crisp and refreshing, most at the table agreed that both of these dishes actually paired a bit better with the Diamond Knot IPA.
With the multiple appetizer samplers behind us, it was time to move on to the the first of our main entrees: Crispy Orange Glazed Chicken (with ginger jasmine rice, green onions and orange zest) paired with Bayern Pilsner and Mongolian Beef (in a sambal hoisin sauce) paired with Avery White Rascal Ale. These wok-inspired dishes were both quite tasty, but I found the Mongolian Beef (which is made using quality tri-tip) to be my favorite and it paired up great with the fruity/spicy esters in the White Rascal.
Our next two entrees steered more towards the American side: All American Burger (topped with mac & cheese, applewood smoked bacon, garlic mayo and an Elysian Immortal cheddar ale sauce) paired with Victory Hop Devil Pale Ale and Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage (topped with blue cheese, Rogue Dead Guy ale braised peppers and applewood smoked bacon) paired with Oskar Blues Scoch Ale. The pairing for these dishes worked wonderfully. I always enjoy a good hoppy pale or IPA with my burgers, and Hop Devil fit the bill with it’s intense and slightly fruity hop character. I’m also a big fan of well done Scotch Ales, and the Oskar Blues Scotch was a great accompaniment and backdrop to the richness and spiciness of the jalapeño cheddar sausage.
You’re probably starting to feel a bit full just reading all of this, and I can tell you that I was definitely starting to feel my belt get a bit tighter. Hang on, though. One more course to go! For desert we were presented with a Handmade Ice Cream Sandwich (made with fresh baked chocolate cake, vanilla ice cream and chocolate and vanilla sauces) paired with a combination of Lindeman’s Framboise mixed with Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. Can you say decadent?
All of the food pictured above that we enjoyed at this event is not the standard presentation you’ll see when you visit Henry’s. The dishes will be the same but, due to the number of courses and pairings we were presented with, we were (of course) given smaller portions of each item. For example, do you like the look of that desert above? Well, you’ll get two handmade ice cream sandwiches when you order it at Henry’s. I hope you’re hungry. You can find the rest of Henry’s food and drink menus HERE. Check ’em out and see what tickles your fancy.
The next time you’re getting ready to head to a ball game at Safeco, or you just want to experience some really great food combined with a huge selection of beers, wines, liquors, etc. give Henry’s a try. I had a great time at this event and I’m sure I’ll be back again soon. You can see a few more photos from this event HERE on Facebook.
Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.