Monday, October 6, 2008

Oompahs and umlauts

Some scenes from Basil T’s Oktoberfest dinner last Friday in Toms River, a winning combination of food and beer.

Oh, and the Mädchen servers bringing the dinner courses and beer were pretty delectable, too. Good job on the night. Danke schön.

(FYI: The pictures open large, and if you're one of the people who asked for a photo, just pull whatever you want off the page and save them to your drive.)

If this fest celebration gets any bigger, they’ll have to get a big tent and move it to the parking lot, where the Firehouse Polka Band can turn up the heat.

Last year’s crowd of 50-plus doubled this year, and, alas, some forlorn folks learned the event had sold out.

Think next year. Plan early.

The huge jump in turnout – in a troubled economy, no less – tells you a few things: Great beer, great food and a great time don’t take a back seat.

Credit for Friday’s menu goes to Chef Steve Farley and brewer Dave Hoffmann, who was obviously enjoying a celebration of his deutscher roots:

Light touch
The opening culinary salvo for the crowd's reception: Bavarian shrimp cocktail paired with Barnegat Light, an easy drinking lager.

Side pocket

The night's appetizer: German ravioli – Steve’s translation of Schwäbische Maultaschen – with veal and vegetables, demi-glace and crisp caramelized onions.

Whatever you want to call it, Dave gave it high marks, with a favorable comparison to his mom’s.

Maultaschen goes well, by the way, with Dunkel Hefeweizen. If you know Dave’s wheat beers, you know they skew toward banana aromas, not clove.

This one was a tasty steppingstone toward the night’s featured beer.

Teaming up
Hey, BMW and Rolls Royce have a joint venture, so why can’t you pair the best wurst you can find in New Jersey with an India Pale Ale, the British origins of which beer writer and emcee Kurt Epps traced for the night’s crowd.

The weisswurst, bratwurst and bauernwurst came from Schmalz European Provisions in Springfield (Union County). And of course, no one passes on the chance to riff on the best/wurst line. Just ask Kurt. And that IPA, well if this weren’t Oktoberfest …

Roll out the barrel
After a Munich-style ceremonial tapping of an Austrian oak barrel – the coopering was courtesy of Roger Freitag – the night’s Märzen flowed, a hearty match to the smoked pork loin and spätzel.

(With Dave's heritage, you'd expect nothing less than a topnotch fest beer, and he does not disappoint, with either of his versions that New Jerseyans can get their hands on. His toasty-rich Climax Brewing version, eponymously named Hoffmann Lager Beer Oktoberfest, has been out for a while now. Basil's put the pub's Oktoberfest on tap at the end of last month. Both go quickly, so grab your stein.)

Finishing touch
Black forest cake and a pumpkin porter closed the night. That porter rocks, by the way, and was one of our take-home beers.

Basil’s does Oktoberfest right. So maybe that tent isn’t a bad idea.


Basil's makes The Star-Ledger ... Columnist Paul Mulshine (he's the fellow sitting on the far right in the photo above right) filed this for Tuesday (10/7). Thanks for the mention, Paul.


Anonymous said...

Nice job on what is always a fun night at Basil T's, Jeff! Glad you could make it! But next year, I need to hear YOUR voice singing Ein Prosit!


Jeff Linkous said...

That's a deal, Kurt, and I'll throw in some extra schunkeling, too.