Gastro Non Grata was Sunday night. It's Wednesday. But it kicked enough epicurean ass to still be on my mind. Founder Craig Drehmel was pretty pleased, too. "How long did it take us? Seven shows?" he marveled. Sunday's gig at the Triple Rock affirmed a winning formula: local meat, booze, and bands all happening simultaneously among an affable group of people who love to eat, drink, and rock.
As billed, master meatologist Mike Phillips from The Craftsman turned some nice-looking pork shoulder into delicious links of fresh bratwurst. (Want to see? Chances are decent you know someone who knows someone who phone-filmed it.)
Aran Madden and Chris Staples from Furthermore Beer schlepped in from Milwaukee to talk brewing philosophy--break the Budweiser tyranny with distinctive beers that taste good with food--while sampling their peppery Knot Stock and "Shakespearean" English-style Proper ales.
We knocked back some Makeweight (a mix of English, American, and Belgian-style ales) and Three-Feet Deep (a stout) between bites of grilled, garlicky brat and killer 'kraut with hot wax peppers, carrots, and coriander. My friend and I debated whether good ol' Johnsonvilles can hold a candle to the pure, meaty goodness that was, by now, dripping down our fingers. Occasionally we paused to take in Hojas Rojas, Tuesday's Robot, the Wapsipinicon, and the especially fired-up Private Dancer. We were happy.
And the meat raffle! At one point, as the crowd waited for a winner to claim her duck confit (from Clancey's), Drehmel intoned into the microphone: "Love the duck. Be the duck." My friend and I looked at one another and nodded. Obviously.
Mark your calendars for March, when this all goes down again. Same place. Rumor has it cupcakes and Jim Grell from the Modern Café will be there. Attend this event. Be the duck.