A Tale of Two Tastings

I had the pleasure this weekend of experiencing two special tastings: the summer menu tasting at my wedding reception venue, and a new beer at DuVig Brewing Company in Branford!

Note: This post is not sponsored in any way, by either the Connecticut Wedding Group or DuVig. I am just sharing my recent experiences with both. 

Summer menu tasting at the Pavilion on Crystal Lake

We were warned not to eat before coming to our wedding tasting at the reception venue, Pavilion on Crystal Lake in Middletown. I am very glad we came hungry because the Connecticut Wedding Group, which manages the Pavilion, pulled out all the stops.

First, they had us sample five of the signature cocktails they offer during the summer: Bumbleberry Lemonade, Raspberry Basil Sweet Tea, Watermelon Margarita, Middletown Mule, and the Southern Arnie. (I'm not going to share what we chose to keep our guests in suspense). They were all so lovely and summery, which served as a nice contrast to the late January gray day.

summer signature drinks

Jason settled on the Middletown Mule (left) as his drink for the afternoon, and I had the Bumbleberry Lemonade.

We perused a few of the venue's cocktail hour and late night stations, which include Mondo pizza, BBQ in a Jar, and a soft pretzel and dip table. A couple of bites of a pizza and a soft pretzel stick dipped in stone ground mustard later, it was time to sample some entree options.

Dinner started with two of the first course choices, penne salsica and sun-dried tomato and mascarpone ravioli. Both were as good as they sound. Then they served us a selection of third courses.

cod and short rib

Pan-roasted cod (left) and braised short rib.

The pan-roasted cod was topped with parsley salsa verde and lay atop summer squash and roasted tomato couscous. Now, cod may not seem like much because it's a light, white fish but this was some of the best I've ever tasted.  And no one wants to be overloaded at a wedding when they're about to dance -- this portion was filling without being too heavy. Plus, it was only half of what they'll serve on wedding day (the tasting was 4 oz, but they'll give 8 oz to guests at the wedding).

Moving onto the short rib, with roasted summer vegetables and goat cheese-whipped mashed potatoes (um yes please) and topped with a poblano peach BBQ sauce. This was TO DIE FOR. I can still taste it. My photo doesn't do it justice: inside that lump of meat was a tender, succulent shreddable piece of rib.

chicken and filet mignon

Maple BBQ chicken (left) and filet mignon.

We also tried the maple BBQ chicken, smothered in a maple-infused barbecue sauce and served with a carmelized onion and potato hash. It was excellent. The filet mignon also came with the goat-cheese whipped potatoes and was cooked to perfection – a little red on the inside, and my knife cut through it like butter. I don't typically like red meat, but between the short rib and the filet mignon, I remember what I am missing...

Wedding desserts galore

After we had some time to chat with other couples and digest a bit, it was time to dig into the tasting to end all tastings: dessert! We got to try JCakes cake shooters,

Some sort of amazing chocolate cake concoction.

Lyman Orchards pie and NoRA mini cupcakes,

pie and cupcakes

Apple crumb pie, Irish car bomb cupcake, funfetti cupcake.

And flaming donuts!

flaming donuts

Step 1: Soak those donut holes in rum.

flaming donuts

Step 2: Light those donut holes on fire!

blazing donuts

Step 3: Let those donut holes caramelize with a slow burn.

The end result: Freshly blazed donut holes topped with your choice from a series of toppings (we chose strawberries, vanilla ice cream, and whipped cream).

Ta-da! A jar of donuts and other good things.

Once we sampled just about everything we could, we grabbed some soft pretzels and mustard for the road and headed to DuVig.

Sampling some beers at DuVig

I really wanted to try their latest brew, the Extra Strong Bitter (ESB) English Pale Ale.

duvig ESB

DuVig's ESB, an EPA.

At 5.5% ABV, the ESB was a little stronger than the rest of the beers we tried. I found it pleasantly full bodied and oaky. It is not, as the name implies, very bitter. It's a pretty even ale.

We also sampled the remaining beers on tap – the Cream Ale (I've had this a bunch of times), the Berliner Weisse (a nice, tart sour beer), the Scotch 60 (malty, minimal hoppy-ness), and the American Pale Ale (also have had this a bunch of times. It's good).


DuVig tasting

A proper DuVig tasting.

Jason and I enjoyed our pretzels as we tasted the beers. Then it was time to go home and succumb to our food coma.

Interested in checking out the Pavilion on Crystal Lake for your wedding? Check out details and complete seasonal menus here

What was the best food/beer you tasted this week? 

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  1. […] Man ESB: This was a lighter ESB compared to the DuVig I tried a few weeks ago – not too bitter, and easy to […]

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