This is a tale of how the fine folks behind Staas Brewing Company and Veritas Tavern met on a Monday night in early March, and changed my culinary mindset forever.
When Staas Brewing Company came to town the summer of July 2013, I had no idea how impactful they would be for our community. Anytime you stop in, you are greeted by the warm smiles of owners Donald and Liz Staas. You could be sitting shoulder to shoulder with local business owners, students from OWU, and even the occasional wanderer discovering Delaware Ohio for the first time. Donald and Liz have found the perfect mix of classic styles and experimental brews. Literally everything they serve is worth a try, and you’re always bound to run into a new brew you might never had known about. DelawareO’s very own Nicole Fowles wrote a wonderful review shortly after Staas opened that started with the question “You’re not living under a rock are you?” [Read: Stass – Like A Boss!]
It’s a valid question. Maybe it didn’t apply to me with the fine folks at Staas, but I’m here to admit freely that when it came to Veritas Tavern…I was living under a rock. That is where this lovely story of the West and East sides of Winter Street begins.
I’m a faithful follower of Staas Brewing Company on Instagram (You are too, right? Hint: @staasbrewing). Every once in a while, I’d see a picture of a wonderful Veritas meal that Donald and Liz were enjoying posted on Instagram. When Liz told me about their plans for a collaboration dinner with Veritas Tavern I knew instantly I had to be part of this wonderful first time event. If you have never been to Veritas, then you are in the same boat I was: totally clueless about an amazing restaurant right in our own back yard. Each picture I’d find online, and every menu posting at www.veritastavern.com made me look forward to the collaboration more and more. If Staas Brewing Company owned my attention on West Winter Street, Veritas was about to get mine on East Winter Street.
Five courses of perfection
The concept for the collaboration was pretty genius in my mind. It was a five course meal with each being a sophisticated take on classic bar food. It was the perfect idea. As much as Staas Brewing Company brews exceptional beer, so too does Veritas put out exceptional and unique food. Each course paired with a different beer from Staas Brewing Company, and as a special treat Liz poured everyone a glass of The Quad. The Quad is a 10.1% mammoth of a beer with a perfect balance between fig and plum notes with good body that helps hold the alcohol back from being too much to take. It is a brewing marvel and an incredible achievement on the part of this beer’s creator, Liz’s Dad, Tony. As The Quad warms up (If you can bare to let it sit that long) the flavor profile changes to resemble something very close to a fine Port Wine.
The first dish was a wonderful take on the quintessential bar food: The Nacho. This wasn’t just any Nacho. This was a wonderful house made nacho chip topped with a lamb and pinto bean chili with a spot of crème fraiche on top. The nacho was paired with “The Golden Delicious”, a Belgian Golden Strong Ale that clocks in at around 8.6% ABV. If you ever ask Liz what her personal favorite beer they serve is, she is likely to point you in the direction of this beer. I’ve always been amazed at the clear golden color of this brew that can resemble a glass of white wine. The paring? Simply perfect. As balanced as both parts are, the creaminess of the nacho’s toppings were exactly what you wanted to help bring this big beer down to size.
Next came a de-boned Buffalo Wing paired with the “Senior Status”. I spent four years of my life in Buffalo New York, so I’ve had my fair share of wings. This wing, confit cooked in duck fat, served before me on a plank of wood (great touch) is certainly very high on my list of all-time favorite wings. Resting between the two wings, a simple looking foam was about to ruin Blue Cheese Dressing for the rest of my life. Veritas stepped up the game with a Blue Cheese Foam. That’s right folks, a foam…and it was absolutely incredible. I’m not a culinary expert by any means, but something about taking the classic Blue Cheese dressing flavor and turning it into a foam completely changed the flavor for me. It was light, simple yet complex, not at all overbearing. This foam is seriously the only pairing I want with any wing I’ll have for the rest of my days on this earth. It is seriously that good. The Senior Status is my personal favorite brew at Staas. It’s an American Double IPA brewed with Citra Hops. This big balanced beer worked amazingly with the wings and the Blue Cheese foam. My favorite beer and Blue Cheese foam? I felt a lucky man indeed that night.
“Stadium Food and the Runner Up” showed me that life doesn’t end at Blue Cheese foam. Course three was the Veritas take on the Hotdog. The house made hotdog was paired with two types of mustard, a classic yellow style and a stadium style (which made the Cleveland part of me quite happy). Along for the ride was a pretzel spatzel and pumpernickel croutons. What a wonderful dish. The hotdog was simply perfect, and something I would eat again and again. I know I’ll be wishing for one at my next Cleveland Indians game this summer. Paired with the dish was the Staas take on the English classic, the E.S.B. (Extra Special Bitter). This is the more approachable beer they have for newbies to the craft brew scene, but also for old beer veterans as well. Simply put, I love this beer. If Staas Brewing Company ever made the move to bottle beer, this would be the one I’d expect to see on the shelves first. Combined with the dog, I closed my eyes and could almost smell the fresh cut grass of the baseball diamond.
The Burger and the Scottish Export was the fourth course. This burger was a top notch blend of beef chuck, short rib and brisket. Served with a pickled onion perfectly dressed green and onion rings, this burger was worth more than the thousand words my Instagram picture could say (hint: @wnybuffalo0307). This is honestly the best burger I have ever had. Paired with it was the Scottish Export. This brew was an exceptional represenative of the “Specialty” line of limited edition Staas brews. On any other night, this would have been a great way to cap off the event, but not that night. Veritas had a secret weapon up their sleeve for the final course: dessert.
“Cigar and Pluggy’s Town Porter” was the name of our final course. The dessert dish was a play on the classic Cigar with a chocolate coated ice cream resting on a bed of powdery smoky bed (and bacon maybe?). There are simply not enough superlatives to explain how exceptional this creation is. As soon as I had a bite, I immediately turned to the kitchen to seek out the mad scientist that was certainly at the helm of this delicious dish. The paring with the Robust Vanilla Porter from Staas was an excellent choice due to the chocolate creamy flavor of the beer.
Veritas Tavern and Stass Brewing Company are certainly doing everything right when it comes to their craft. That’s truly what it is, a craft. When you sit down for a meal at Veritas, or pull up to a fresh brew at Staas, you are experiencing the byproduct of pure unbridled passion. If you haven’t visited Winter Street in a while, please do share some of your time with these fine professionals. They are a true treat to have in our community.
If you’ve read anything I’ve written for DelawareO, you know I usually end on a “Bonus Time”. This one however, was completely unplanned. After a 3 hour dinner of excellent food, my fiance Sarah noticed a unique item on the Veritas Menu: Duck Nuggets. I knew I had to come back, and all it took to break the camel’s back was to hear the two best words in the restaurant industry-“Happy Hour”.
The Duck Nuggets sold me on the name alone. I returned the next day for this amazing appetizer. Coated in delicately crunchy bread crumbs, the duck made me realize that I’ve probably had my last chicken nugget of my life. I had to have more, so naturally I scanned the menu looking for the one thing that makes the heart race for any fine man. I found Bacon Risotto.
Bacon Risotto. What a great dish. The rice is cooked in bacon broth, then bound together with creamy cheese. Served on top was a perfectly poached 62 &1/2 degree egg, and candied bacon. I literally did not want this dish to end.
The Weekly Staas Sign: I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up what has become my favorite thing about Thursdays. Each Thursday, Staas Brewing posts a picture on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook of their new weekly sign. The message on the sign changes each Thursday, and it’s usually hilarious. Check it out next time through. I promise you’ll smile.
Want more collaborations? Veritas is hosting a collaboration with Jackie O’s on June 23rd at 7pm. Tickets are limited. Price is $90.95 and can be purchased by visiting their website or calling directly.
Staas Brewing Company is also participating in The Ohio Machine Bar Hop on June 14th. Beginning around Noon and concluding at Shelby Stadium at 5pm. They will be brewing a special beer for the occasion, so keep an eye out…or better yet, join the crawl!
Interact with Staas Brewing Company at: www.staasbrewing.com and @staasbrewing on Twitter & Instagram
Interact with Veritas Tavern at: www.veritastavern.com and @veritastavern on Twitter & Instagram