I can summarize this post in 5 words: they forgot the ice cream. But let me start at the beginning. I was really excited to eat and drink at Heavy Seas Alehouse in Arlington this past weekend, prior to seeing Book of Mormon at the Kennedy Center. (It was fantastic, by the way.)
I’ve never been to Heavy Seas, but I’ve selectively enjoyed their beer in the past and the Alehouse menu looked solid. Add in the fact that there was bread pudding on the menu, and this was a done deal.
Our food was adequate, not great, and I could say the same for the beer – I first tried the Gold Ale with my food and we shared the Small Craft Warning Über Pils with the bread pudding. I enjoyed the Gold Ale, which was a typical blonde ale, but found it a bit lacking in depth of flavor. Sean reviewed the Peg Leg Stout below, and I think it is safe to say that he had a similar experience. Let’s get to the good stuff.
Here’s the exact description provided in the menu of the bread pudding:
Bourbon Bread Pudding – butterscotch créme anglaise with salted caramel ice cream
DELICIOUS, right? Right. However, yours truly did not clearly read the full description prior to ordering, so I totally missed that I didn’t actually get any salted caramel ice cream, and didn’t realize the error until after I was done. I’ll review without it, but I really think that the ice cream would have made a huge difference.
Let me start by pointing out that the presentation was beautiful, which is no easy feat for a dessert that pretty much always looks like mushy bread. I enjoyed the plating of the three sections, as well as the fact that they gave a decent portion of bread pudding for the price. I found the texture to be quite pleasing – the outside was perfectly crisp (evenly done both on the larger and smaller portions) and the interior was moist and spongy, but not soggy. Crisp crust is a must for me to enjoy bread pudding, because I feel it adds the necessary texture variance to something as soft as bread pudding, and this was done right.
I found the flavor of the pudding to be enjoyable, although a bit mild, with notes of cinnamon and raisins spread throughout for a small bursts of flavor. The flavor definitely could have been developed a bit more. The butterscotch créme anglaise was quite good – sweet, light, and a bit tangy. I could have used a bit more of it, because the bread pudding wasn’t inherently very sweet. But sadly, there was one major flaw – the lack of something to cool down and lighten the heaviness of the dish. Something like…
ICE CREAM! Salted caramel ice cream, to be precise. You know, the item that’s listed on the menu?
I honestly think the addition of that bit of extra flavor with those salt and caramel notes would have really turned this dish around. As it was served, the dish was mildly dull and felt incomplete, and I wrote down that I would have enjoyed it much more with a bit of whipped cream or ice cream on top. Little did I know when I was writing, the kitchen had made a mistake and neglected to add the ice cream. Agh. I really regret not noticing earlier, but what can you do?
Final Scores – taken with a grain of salt because I didn’t get the complete dish.
Beer Review by Sean
Peg Leg Stout by Heavy Seas
When I think of imperial Russian stouts, what comes to mind are bold chocolate and coffee flavors, viscous mouth feel, and noticeable alcohol burn. Peg Leg Stout, while a decent beer, does not stand up to the likes of Old Rasputin or Stone Russian Imperial Stout.
What I first noticed about this beer was the sweet aroma of cherries and other dark fruits. It had a very light and smooth mouth feel, with light carbonation and underwhelming head. When I first tasted it, I found it to be rather sour (which I don’t particularly enjoy in an imperial stout). This sour aftertaste lingered for quite a while after tasting. As I noted in my beer tasting journal, this was “not what I was expecting from an imperial stout.” I give this beer 3 out of 5 stars. I’d probably order it again, but I would not seek it out.