Monday, July 18, 2011

Great Lakes Beer Dinner at Angelo's in Lakewood

I love pizza.  All kinds of pizza.  Thin and crispy.  Thick and chewy.  Chicago style.  New York style.  And everything in between.  I also love Great Lakes Brewing Company beer.  So when I heard about an event that merged the two, I knew I had to attend.


Angelo's Pizza in Lakewood is some of the best pie around.  They've been in business since 1981 and have won numerous awards for their pizzas.    Known for their specialty pizzas, people come from all over to get their fix.  My personal favorite is the Super Deluxe with meatballs instead of bacon.  This is what pizza dreams are made of! A kitchen sink mix of pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, black olives, pineapple, onions, mild banana pepper rings, meatballs, ham and green peppers create a taste sensation unlike any other I've tried.





Two of my Great Lakes and Angelo's loving friends and I were the first to arrive for the Great Lakes Beer Dinner and were fortunate to have our choice of seats.  We eagerly sat on the patio to soak up the perfect summer evening.  From the moment we arrived, the Angelo's staff and Great Lakes representatives really went out of the way to make the evening special.  Everyone was friendly and the service was prompt.  The beer pours were varied and generous.We were pleased to find out that our meal was created specially for the event.  The menu really impressed us.  We were expected run of the mill offerings but Angelo's chefs really rocked this one!





We could have made a meal out of this course!
Love the fresh basil garnish
The first course was two platters of antipasta that included dry cured salami, assorted cheeses, olives, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts and homemade marinated mushrooms.  Garlic bagel chips and a seasoned Tricuit cracker rounded out the offering.  The standout was the blue cheese - it was very creamy and the flavor did not overwhelm.  Our only complaint was that the seasoning on the cracker did not compliment the other flavors on the plates (Garden Herb?)  We would have preferred a milder flavor such as the cracked pepper olive oil Triscuit or water crackers.  Two beers were served with the antipasta - the award winning favorite Dortmunder Gold and the Wright Pilsner. This was my first time having the Wright Pilsner.  I thought it was a great crisp summer beer.  Both were excellent pairings but the Wright Pilsner was our choice for the course.  This being said, the Dortmunder was especially good with the cured salami.
Very generous and delicious assortment


Holy Moses White Ale was served with the salad course.  I am a huge wheat beer lover and this selection was one of my favorites.  It matched perfectly with the spring mix based salad of beets, mandarin oranges, candied pecans and herbed goat cheese.    We all loved this pairing but noted that the canned sliced beets were a huge disappointment.  Roasted beets have a fresher yet richer flavor that would have made the salad perfect.

Perfect except for the canned beets
The much anticipated main course consisted of  two pizzas.  And yes, two whole 8 slice pizzas for the three of us to share!  Angelo's went for a more traditional flavor profile with the Tomato Tart pizza - garlic butter sauce with slices of fresh roma tomatoes, parmesan and provolone cheeses, fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil.  The pizza was served piping hot and was simple yet delicious.

Tomato Tart Pizza


Bratwurst Pizza

The chefs got creative with our second pie - bratwurst, caramelized onions, sauerkraut and provolone and cheddar cheeses.  One of my dining companions will not touch sauerkraut so he continued with the Tomato Tart.  I dug in immediately because I love sauerkraut and was eager to see how it worked as a pizza topping. I absolutely loved it and really applaud the chefs for taking a chance with this flavor combination!  It went soooo well with the Eliot Ness Amber Lager and the Burning River Pale Ale that were served with it.  The flavors really complimented each other.  My preference would have been for smaller, more evenly distributed pieces of bratwurt but that is hardly a complaint.  I also commented that adding some potatoes would have been a nice addition too.  The crust on the Bratwurst pizza was our favorite - it seemed chewier even though it was likely the same dough.

The dessert course was our choice of either a Decadent Chocolate Bomb Torte or Rich Italian Tiramisu.  At first glance, these choices did not excite me.  I love chocolate but figured that the torte would either be a dry cake or mousse - neither of which I ever order.  Tiramisu has disappointed me so often that I hesitate to order it because you never know what you are going to get.  We opted to order two Tiramisu and one Chocolate Bomb Torte so we could try both.

We were extremely surprised to find that the desserts served were both beautiful to look at and amazingly good!  Both exceeded our expectations and ended the meal on a very delicious note.  The Chocolate Bomb was a mousse-like dessert covered in high quality chocolate.  It was plated very nicely with a squiggly drizzle of raspberry puree on the white plate.   The texture and flavor were much better than the average mediocre mousse offered at most restaurants.  The Edmund Fitzgerald Porter complimented this dessert the best.
Decadent Chocolate Bomb Torte
The Rich Italian Tiramisu was a show stopper!  We were shocked to see what was on our plates because it looks nothing like any Tiramisu that I have ever eaten.   It was a very pretty two layer cake-like dessert with a heaping pile of chocolate shavings on top.  We were initially disappointed at the amount of chocolate in this dessert because we had the Chocolate Bomb to cure any chocolate cravings.  One bite changed our opinion immediately!  This was all of our favorites.  The first bite revealed that there was a nutty caramel layer sandwiched between the creamy and cake layers.  Definitely not expected or true to tradition but it was outstanding.  We were very pleased that we had two of these to fight over!  We asked if the desserts were made in house or were a special addition for the Great Lakes Dinner.  We found out that they are baked by a local specialty bakery that only sells to restaurants BUT they are a regular menu item.  I highly recommend saving room for the Tiramisu the next time you visit Angelo's!

Rich Italian Tiramisu


We also found out some other great news while were chatting.  Angelo's is planning an expansion of this location that will include a roof top patio AND they are looking to open another location! I can't wait to check out that patio!  Roof top patios are one of my favorites and there are too few of them in the Cleveland area.  Can't wait to see where their next location will be.  Hopefully it will be in a a different part of town so more people will be able to benefit from Angelo's in their neighborhood.  

No matter where you live, Angelo's is worth the drive!

I'll be sure to post the future events so you can check them out too.  I highly recommend attending.  The hospitality, quality food and value can't be beat!  We all took pizza home and Great Lakes gave everyone souvenir glasses for their upcoming Burning River Fest. If you are a fan of Christmas Ale, this is a do not miss event!  They have freshly brewed Christmas Ale that will be available and it's a benefit for the Burning River Foundation.

Thank you Angelo's and Great Lakes for a fantastic event! 




















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