Written by John Wurth
A night with my lovely wife at the Holy Grale, Will Oldham (Bonnie Prince Billy), Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales (and it’s owner, Sam Calagione), great beer and incredible food. What could be more amazing? Not much, really. Oh, the worldwide release of DFH Sixty One. Whew.
The Holy Grale hosted “The Holy Trinity” on March 4, it was an “off-centered celebration of food, brews and song” featuring Dogfish Head beers, Bonnie Prince Billy (as seen on this site before), and Chef Josh Lehman’s amazing food. There were two seatings, 6pm and 9pm and both sold out quickly and I was lucky enough to grab 2 tickets for me and my better half for the early dinner.
I’m typically pretty cheap, but even when I saw the price tag of $115 + Tax and 20% Gratuity [GULP], I knew I had to go. I’m a pretty big Bonnie Prince Billy fan, I love Dogfish Head beers, and the Holy Grale is a mecca for both beer and food. Match made in heaven. A Holy Trinity indeed. (God bless, is that enough religious clichés? Jeebus!)
Food – Tuna & Szechuan Peppercorn
Beer – sixty one
song: “sixty one”
Food: Thai Shellfish Soup
Song: “Sixty-Minute Man”
Food: Goat Cheese & Carmelized Onion Tart
Beer: Red & White
Song: “Night Noises”
Food: Cacio e Pepe
Beer: Birra Etrusca
Song: “Sporca Estate”
Food: Quail & Dumplings
Beer: Noble Rot
Song: “Quail & Dumplings”
Beer: Burton Baton
Song:”Beaten & Broken”
Food: Apple Beignets
Beer: Palo Santo
Song: “Love Comes to Me”
Being kind of a picky eater (understatement), I was worried about not being brave enough to try some of these delicacies. Yet, there was only *one* thing I wasn’t crazy about: the Tuna and Szechuan Peppercorn – nothing about the taste, more of the texture — my wife loved it, however. It was a bit surreal hearing one of my favorite songwriters play while enjoying these wonderfully paired courses. It was obvious that a large amount of thought and care went into each of the pairings, both musically and beverage-wise. The Quail & Dumplings (both in song form and food) was definitely my favorite. Oh, and the Lambstrami, and the Goat Cheese & Carmelized Onion Tart. Did I mention the great beers?
The Sixty One was great, and was served in the new Dogfish Head/Sierra Nevada/Spiegelau IPA glasses; Which everyone got to take home. The beer was a bit sweet from what I remember – hey, it was a long night. The Red and White really stood out to me as well. All of the pours were larger than I expected and I left full and a little tipsy. Thankfully my wife had a bit more self-control, which meant that I got to finish her Palo Santo – One of my faves.
Calagione made it a point to go to every attendee and chat between courses, and he seemed to be a great dude; Super nice, funny and genuine. He spoke between most courses explaining how some of the beers came about, and his relationship with Will Oldham. Which I didn’t realize was such a close one. Some great stories were told, one that stands out was about Oldham spraypainting a boombox in the DFH parking lot. Wha?
The 10″ Bonnie Prince Billy record, “Sixty One”/”Sixty-Minute Man”, was another great bonus. Awesome. Oldham signed it for our daughter, who always loves seeing him around the Highlands.
Tyler and Lori outdid themselves at this event. Way to go guys. You should be proud.
Photos by Betsy Wurth (except the last one).
Now, here’s Justin Gagne’s take on the 9pm seating:
To try to put into words the experience that was had the other night at Holy Grale’s Holy Trinity would be a disservice. But, this is my story, so I will attempt to anyway. The night was a celebration of an artistic collaboration between the blending of beer, food and music in a way that neither I, nor the others have ever experienced before. The event was led by the passionate leader of Dogfish Head Brewery, Sam Calagione, and Louisville’s own Will Oldham, also known as Bonnie Prince Billy. The participants were guided through a seven course dinner, with each plate being carefully paired with unique brew from Dogfish Head and a riveting live performance by Bonnie Prince Billy.
The food was, of course, incredible. Louisville has long known of the brilliance of Holy Grale head chef Joshua Lehman, but last night was a true example of just how talented the Hoosier is. Each plate was well crafted and delicious. My favorite being the quail and dumplings which was paired with the wonderfully unique Noble Rot and the mind numbing performance of the song, fittingly named “Quail and Dumplings”. Unlike the first dinner service, we were upstairs in my favorite spot in the whole city, the Holy Grale Choir Loft. Bonnie Prince Billy and his band were tucked in the corner in front of bar proving an unbelievable acoustic ambiance.
About half way through the show, with everyone having consumed several high gravity beers, Sam broke into a hilarious impromptu rap with the subject concerning a light hearted shot at west coast brewers. In a moment I will never forget, Sam seems to lose himself in the moment and starts grabbing people out of their seats and dancing with them. Much to my girlfriends chagrin, I was included in that group. Literally, the night seemed like it was never going to end, especially when Bonnie Prince Billy decided to play an encore. In a surreal moment during the encore, Will gives a speech over a beautiful melody performed by the band. The speech conveyed his love for Holy Grale, Louisville, and how much the night meant to him.
After the dinner, everyone got a chance to talk, take pictures and receive autographs from Sam and Will. They couldn’t have been nicer guys. When my girlfriend and my two good friends got a chance to talk with Sam, I told him about how my girlfriend and I saw him on the documentary “Beer Wars” several years ago. I explained that after I watched the film, that weekend I went out and bought a homebrew kit. Sam told me, “and now you are one of us”. That is a comment that will stick with me for a long time, but my favorite part of meeting Sam was how he made everyone feel that they were welcome. Beer is literally the glue that keeps us all together.
This event was of course more than just a beer dinner; it was a night to celebrate our community here in Louisville. Seeing Paul Young almost passing out with happiness when Sam wore a “My Old Kentucky Homebrew” t-shirt; Watching waiters high-fiving and hugging people; and seeing the exhausted, but proud faces of Tyler and Lori, owners of Holy Grale, was what made the night so magical. If it hasn’t already happened, this was the coming out party for Louisville’s beer scene. It was the confirmation that we can hold and support events just like some of the best beer cities in the country. With this, I’d like to take the time to thank Tyler, Lori and the whole entire crew of Holy Grale. You guys are doing something special, not just this event, but also every day. Holy Grale is one of places that make Louisville what it is. The night was for us, the Louisville citizens. So let’s cheers and be thankful for being lucky enough to live in such a great place.
If you haven’t seen this video, please watch this, and if you have, watch it again. I was hoping for a live re-enactment, but didn’t get one.
“This was made out of how many Game Boys?”
“I don’t know ask Mario or Luigi”.