Something wonderful is happening. Something….magical. Pretentious Glass & OliBea are becoming best buds and it’s an excitingly wonderful thing for Knoxville. Two creative minds, who happen to be neighors in the Old City, have come together to bring us a future in two things a lot of people love: Food & Beer.
I recently had the pleasure of attending a four course dinner & beer pairing. Delicious food prepared by Jeff & his crew of OliBea, while Matt of Pretentious Glass got to showcase what will be the bar space for his upcoming Brewery, and of course, taste some of the goodness that he’s been brewing up.
We all gathered inside of Pretentious Glass while we waited for the evening to start. If you haven’t been in here, you’re missing out on some seriously cool craftsmanship and some downright beautiful hand-blown glass.
I already have my eye on a couple of glasses I plan on adding to my collection.
This is also where I’ll plug OliBea. We’ve reviewed it before, and I must encourage you to stop by if you haven’t. It’s great to have a farm-to-table restaurant downtown that prides itself on fresh, seasonal ingredients, and culinary creativity. It’s delicious Southern fair.
We walked through the back patio and into what will be the bar area where we were greeted by Chef Jeff. Spread out on the handmade bar (yes, that’s right) were some of the upscale bar snacks that OliBea plans to serve up at Pretentious Brewing.
To kick it off, Matt had brought out his “Bloody Saison” aka, a farmhouse style ale brewed with a TON of blood oranges. I loaded up a plate and headed to the back patio where people were already socializing.
Homemade chicharrones, black bean hummus, jalepeño pimento cheese, rustic local bread, a cheezit-style cracker, some traditional “bar nuts”, and local string beans that had been tossed with mustard seed, garlic, & vinegar. Want to know something cool? You could actually taste the blood orange in the saison. A beautiful, crisp body on this ale and a long, lingering blood orange flavor made this one incredibly drinkable. It went really well with some of the spicier bar snacks.
And of course, the tables were adorned with fall pumpkins, and these amazing water pitchers – filled with more beer – what else.
For the second course, Jeff presented us his “Chicken Three Ways” on a bed of mac n’ cheese, & a corn muffin.
He took his three favorite parts of the chicken and prepared each one differently. Some fried, some smoked, some grilled. All flat-out tasty. To pair with this, Matt served us his Mosaic Galaxy Hoppy Wheat Ale. It was bright, citrusy, and had a nice floral note to it, which he said came from some sort of Australian hops…I think. Ask him sometime, he’ll tell you.
By the time the third course rolled around, it was starting to get dark.
Jeff rolled out with some out of this world mushroom risotto, served in tiny pumpkins, topped with shaved crispy okra & Benton’s bacon.
I am a risotto snob and I can safely say this was one of the best I’ve had in recent memory. Rich flavor and the texture was executed to perfection.
To pair with this richer dish, Matt brought out his Brett Trois IPA. My least favorite of the night as I’m not much of an IPA person, but still enjoyable. It wasn’t overly hoppy like many breweries tend to do these days, but had a subtle bitterness right at the finish.
While dessert was prepared, we all walked inside for a glass blowing demonstration.
We all huddled around and watched as one of the Pretentious expert glassblowers took a big blob of hot glass (think 2,000 degrees) and turned it into a jack-in-the-pulpit vase in the span of 10 minutes. Truly a fascinating process to watch.
After the demonstration we were shuffled back outside for dessert.
Matt & Jeff clearly planned to go out with a bang because they brought out the big guns: A caramel crunch ice cream, topped with caramel corn that was just heavenly. Bits of praline sprinkled throughout the ice cream, and the saltiness of the corn….mmm….flavor explosion.
But the beer…oh my word…the beer! I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.They served us a bourbon barrel-aged Russian imperial stout to balance perfectly against the sweet & salty flavors of the ice cream. Matt said this was one of the first beers he crafted when he moved to Knoxville (about 3 years ago) and that it has been aging ever since. This was such a wonderfully complex, flavorful, and balanced stout. Absolutely remarkable in every sense. I was 1000% sad when my glass was empty and I sincerely hope this will be on tap when the brewery opens up.
In addition to all the goodness that was consumed, something more important was cultivated that night. A sense of community. Seeing two entrepreneurs team up for the greater good and offer their creative work to the masses, is something the world needs more of to enjoy. It’s contagious. You can really see the friendship that’s formed between these two and their collaborative passion shines through for everybody else to see.
Our community only benefits when people are willing to share the love. It was great to get a sneak peek at the exciting things these two are bringing to the Old City. Thanks Matt & Jeff for helping make K-town a little bit cooler.