Last Friday, we attended what may be the best party (at the best price!) in town: the Thomas Hooker Brewing Company Open House. Happening on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of every month from 5-8, this happy hour shindig takes place right in the brewery in Bloomfield, Connecticut and costs a mere $10. In exchange for your tenner, you get a little plastic cup and access to two bars, with four taps each, flowing freely with the freshest beer around. There are pizza slices on sale (proceeds go to charity) for when you need sustenance, and oh, did we mention you get to take home a souvenir pint glass? Hollah!
On this particular Friday, the beer everyone was buzzing about was Hooker's brand new seasonal brew made with another Connecticut favorite, Munson's Chocolates. Hooker is using Munson's proprietary cocoa blend to create a smooth, luscious "Chocolate Truffle Stout" that is a dark, delicious, easily drinkable beer with hints of chocolate and coffee and a surprising lack of bitterness. We loved it so much, we purchased a growler ($11 new, $8 to refill) with every intent to use it in our cooking.
Season, flour and brown the roast
Let the roasting magic happen
The very next morning it was starting to snow. Undeterred, we carefully drove to the nearest market where we picked up a 4-pound spoon roast (a top sirloin cut) and some vegetables. That afternoon, we seasoned, seared and cooked the roast and veggies in a cup of the chocolate stout and served it with creamy mashed potatoes (with a pint of stout to wash it down with, naturally). While the wonderful chocolate flavor of the beer wasn't very pronounced in the dish, the meat was especially tender and the carrots, celery and onions had a dark flavor and color that we could only attibute to the stout. Now what to do with the leftovers? Check back in a couple of days for our own "Chocolate Stout Chili."
Hooker Brewer is located at 16 Tobey Road in Bloomfield, CT. They also have tours and tastings on Saturdays. Their Chocolate Truffle Stout should be hitting grocery and liquor store shelves in the beginning of February, just in time for Valentine's Day. Drink local!
Chocolate Stout Spoon Roast
1 3-4 lb. spoon roast
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
3-4 cups vegetables (we used celery and carrots), chopped
1 cup Hooker Chocolate Truffle Stout
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Season the roast with salt and pepper and sprinkle it all over with flour. Heat olive oil in a roasting pan and sear the roast on all sides until nicely browned. Remove roast and set aside. Place vegetables in the pan and saute for a minute or two, until onions start to caramelize. Return the roast to the pan, on top of the vegetables. Pour the stout into the pan. Cook at 425 for 15 minutes. Turn heat down to 325; cover or tent pan with aluminum foil and continue to roast at 325 for one hour, or until internal temperature reaches 130 for medium rare. Remove roast from pan and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. In the meantime, stir the vegetables and stout and continue to cook to reduce and thicken slightly. Serve vegetables on the side of slices of roast topped with "stout gravy."