Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Redhook Brewery Private Event, Seattle Area

Redhook is a brewery in the Seattle area that also randomly has a facility in New Hampshire, my home state.  But that doesn't mean I had heard of it before, as I'm not a beer drinker.  Which I'm sure raises questions about why I'm writing about a brewery.

I'm not writing about a brewery, exactly.  I'm writing about the experience of hosting a private event at their facility.

It had shockingly good food.

Setting

The private space we had was upstairs, above the regular restaurant/pub, at the Woodinville location.
Large Space.
The space was huge, with plenty of banquet tables for dining.
Cozy High Tables.
Along the edges of the room were also high tables, with high stools, for more intimate convo.
Production Facility.
You could also see into the production facility through a viewing area.

Food & Drink

The event team was very easy to work with, and they had many different easily configurable packages to choose from.

We ordered an appetizer buffet and a main dinner buffet.
Wine!
While it is a brewery, they did also have a nice wine line up.  We were all pleasantly surprised by how good some of the wine was.
Beer, on Tap.
Of course the focus is the beer, on tab, along with cider.  We had a private bar in the space, with a bartender all night.

Appetizers

We started with an appetizer buffet.

These were the items I was most excited for, but ended up not really liking.  I was worried after trying the appetizers that we were in for some horrible food.  Luckily, I just needed to wait and get past them.
House-Made Spinach Artichoke Dip with sliced French baguettes.
This I didn't care for.

It was mushy, not very flavorful.  Served with basic baguette slices on the side.
Redhook Wings with celery sticks + bleu cheese dip.
"Chicken wings tossed in Longhammer IPA BBQ Sauce."

I don't like chicken so I skipped the wings, although I did try some of the bits that fell off and were left behind in the serving pan so I could taste the flavor of the coating.  It was ... fine.  Not exciting.

The menu said we would have celery sticks and blue cheese dip, but alas, we had no celery sticks. Those are the part of wings that I actually like! (Ok, yeah, maybe I just like the dip).
Baked Brie En Croute.
"French brie, puff pastry, apricot jam, dried fruits, nuts, crackers + fresh bread."

This is the app I ordered mostly because I really wanted it.  I love warm gooey baked brie and I adore pastry.

It was pretty mediocre.

Sadly it was not served warm, so no ooey gooey cheese as I hoped.

The pastry not particularly flalky nor buttery.  It was supposed to have apricot jam in it as well, but it did not.  That component would have provided some flavor and sweetness to pair nicely with the cheese.

The candied nuts were kinda bitter.

Sadness.
Brewery Pretzel Bites with white cheddar ESB sauce + whole grain mustard.
The pretzel nuggets were pretty standard, nothing special.  

But the cheese sauce was great!  Warm, smooth, cheesy, quite flavorful.  I really liked it.

There was also a grainy mustard on the side.

This was the best of the appetizers, just for the cheese sauce, but paled in comparison to what was to come next.

Mount St. Helen's Dinner

As I mentioned, I expected to like the apps and not really the main dinner, but the opposite is what happened.

The menu we had was the "Mount St. Helen's", priced at $22 per person.  Our package seemed pretty simple: salad, chips & dip, sausages and hotdogs.  Not exactly exciting.

Other menus were things like the "Mount Rainier" made of sandwiches, "Belltown" a burger bar, "Market Street" a taco bar, "Greenwood Ave" a gyro bar, "Pike Street" the pasta bar, "Phinney Ridge" the Mexican "fiesta", "Golden Gardens" the bbq buffet, and then some fancier, higher priced buffets with things lie pork chops, prime rib, steaks, rack of lamb and salmon, but these were double the price.

I had the ability to choose one salad for the group (from a choice of mixed greens, ceasar, or argula & ham), the choice of 2 mains (2 styles of brat, hot dog, or reuben), and the rest was fixed: fruit platter, chips & dip, and cookies.  More on that later point soon.

I also opted to have our french fries from the appetizer package served with the main dinner, as that seemed more fitting than as appetizers.
House Salad.
"Mixed field greens salad with candied walnuts, grape tomato, pickled red onion, house ranch + IPA parmesan vinaigrette."

We started with salad, which people seemed to appreciate.  The first thing to run out all night!

I tried it, it was ... just salad.  The candied walnuts here were also bitter.  Greens were fresh enough.

I tried the ranch, it was ... just ranch.
House Parmesan Chips + Chipotle Ranch.
And then "chips".

ZOMG, THESE WERE GREAT!

Housemade chips, all assorted sizes and shapes, some really huge.  Some were crispy, some were soft, both were enjoyable in their own way.

They were coated generously in parmesan too.

Very, very good chips.

But the dip?  WOW.  I love, love, loved this.  Spicy, creamy, just downright incredible.

The night was looking up.

I also brought some of these back to the hotel with me (the event staff were encouraging us to take leftovers, gave us boxes and everything).  I really, really enjoyed them the next night.

Swoon, that dip.

Second best dish of the night.
Seasoned French Fries with ketchup + house ranch dip.
The chips were very good, but nothing prepared me for how amazing these fries were.  Yes, the fries.  From a buffet.  Some of the best fries I've had in years.

Much like the chips, they came in many assorted sizes, some crazy long.  They were perfectly crispy outside.  Fluffy inside.  Really well seasoned.  And just really tasty.

I only took a few on my plate to start, just to try them, and was shocked.  I immediately went back for more.   And more.  And more after dessert.  And more on my way out the door at the end of the night.  They were just too good to resist.

I can't explain it.  They were in a buffet.  I know this.  But they stayed hot and ridiculously fresh somehow.  I had some even an hour later, and they were *still* good.

The menu said they would come with house made ranch dip, but they did not.  We did have ranch with the salad though, so people could have used that I suppose if they wanted.

Of course, I was dunking them generously in the chipotle ranch, because it was just so good, but even without, they were just fries perfection.

Dish of the night, no question.
Nathan's Beef Hot Dog.
For the entrees, we had two different types of composed sausage, except they came broken down into components so guests could assemble their own.

The hot dog was for the "Volcanic Chili Dog", which was listed as "Nathan's beef hot dog, chili, cheese blend, on pioneer roll."

I did not have the hot dog, as I don't love beef hot dogs, and opted for the other option.  They did look like they were actually all grilled though.

I'm not sure what "pioneer rolls" are, but there were regular buns on the side.
Chili.
The chili was also on the side, beef and bean chili.  I didn't try it either.

The menu said there would be a cheese blend, but alas, there was not.

Most people never figured out that the chili was to put on the hot dogs (or on the fries too even?), so this went largely untouched.
Uli's Jalapeno Cheddar Brat with Caraway Sauerkraut.
"All natural pork infused with bold spices, cheddar, and jalapenos. This one's on the spicier end of the sausage spectrum."

Next was brats, for a dish listed as "Jalapeno Cheddar Brat with caraway sauerkraut, whole grain mustard, pretzel bun."

There was no whole grain mustard, although there was beer mustard over with the pretzel bites on the appetizer table that some people went back to get.

There was no pretzel buns, only the plain ones that seemed to go with the hot dogs.  Which is too bad, because pretzel buns sounded great.

I didn't try the kraut, under the brats, since I don't care for kraut.

But I did try a brat, and ... I really liked it.  I was pretty surprised, and to be honest, didn't plan to have one at all, and only took one because I didn't think I'd like the fries/chips very much, hadn't eaten much from the lackluster appetizers, and was worried I should be responsible at eat something "real" before moving onto dessert.

Like the hot dogs, they were actually all individual grilled, grill marks and all.  Nice snap to the casings.  Super flavorful filling, a bit spicy, really well seasoned.  The meat was pork although that wasn't obvious, the flavor fairly masked by everything else going on.  It was kinda chunky and a strange texture, but, I liked it.

Overall, good, far better than expected.

Dessert

We had a package that had only cookies (and fruit) as an option, and I worked hard to make sure we had "real" dessert.

Red Hook did have an a la carte dessert menu for events, all bite sized things: cookies, brownies, (including bacon bourbon ones!), cheesecake squares, bread pudding bites, and the like.  These came priced at $4 each, but weren't that much more exciting to me than the cookies.  These still don't qualify as "real" desserts to me.

 I was able to add on real desserts.  The desserts were fabulous.
Fruit Platter.
This was part of the dinner package.

Due to my severe allergy, we explicitly said not to include melon in the fruit platter.  And ... melon.
I obviously stayed far away.  Not that the fruit looked very tempting anyway.

I did mention it to the event planner, who immediately remembered and felt awful.  She brought out other fruit platters without it, and removed this from our bill.
Spiced Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel Sauce.
First up was the bread pudding.  I was very excited for this one ... bread pudding with bourbon caramel? And whipped cream on the side.  Served warm.  Yes!

It was ... only ok.

The bread pudding was highly spiced, and had raisins in it.  Too much spicing for me, or at least, I guess I'm just not that into "fall spices", you know, pumpkin spice season ...

The bread was pretty dense, although it was the cube style I like.  Not the best base, and a bit burnt on top as you can see.

But the sweet sticky bourbon caramel was excellent.  I got as much of that as I could, and it helped quite a bit.

I give them major points for serving this warm, and keeping it warm throughout service, but my least favorite dessert, and I wasn't compelled to go back for more of this one.
Triple Berry Cobbler.
"Strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries topped with an oatmeal crumble."

The berry cobbler was decent, again, served warm, which I really appreciated.

The fruit was soft and stewed, fairly sweet, but also a bit tart.  It too was spiced in a way I didn't love, but not nearly as strongly.

The crumble top was decent, a mix of oats and whatnot.

Overall, a standard crisp, well executed.

I had some the next day (they offered us togo boxes at the end to take stuff home with us!), and it was actually even better cold.  I might have had it for breakfast.  And I might have loved it.

My second favorite dessert.
Cinnamon Whipped Cream.
I adore them for including this.  A huge bowl of cinnamon whipped cream, to put on either dessert.  Lots of cinnamon flavor, excellent.
Cookies: Triple chocolate chunk, white chocolate cranberry.
And finally, the cookies, included in the dinner package.

There were supposed to be two other kinds (chocolate chip, gingerbread), but we had only two kinds.  Which was plenty, with all the food.  They provided 40 (?) cookies for our group of 80, and I think that fewer than 10 were consumed.  Which meant, some people left with cookies, and I, the girl who doesn't really like cookies, eventually tried one.

I'm glad I did.  Because they were really good.  Perfect texture, super soft.  Buttery.  Sweet.

I went for the non-chocolate one, not realizing it was cranberry, and I even loved the cranberry.  What?! I always complain about hard little dried cranberries.  These weren't hard, they were soft and tart and flavorful and the flavor went great with the white chocolate.  The white chocolate chunks were huge and sweet and creamy.

I took one home even for the next day, and loved it then too.

My favorite of the desserts, yes, even compared to the warm fruit crisp and the warm bread pudding.  Pretty sure that is a first.
Red Hook Brewery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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