• Beer Dinner with Red Sky Cafe & Ever Grain Brewing

A Beer Dinner to Remember

Beer dinners aren’t anything new. Restaurants and breweries hold them all the time. Over the years, Derek and I have attended many and 9 times out of 10, I have to special request course substitutions. That’s because most chefs’ go-to main course is almost always a big slab of beef in various cuts and preparations. I don’t eat beef due to a food sensitivity that sprung up in my college days. I usually don’t eat pork either. Only in small quantities. So high in animal fat. When we saw that the beer dinner presented by Red Sky Cafe and Ever Grain Brewing was “Chelsie-friendly” foods, it was a no-brainer to check it out. Plus, the sheer creativity of the courses that were advertised completely thrilled us. Yes! No mundane, expected main course of beef! 

A Perfect Partnership

We like to call it: Liquid Art meets Food Art. That’s exactly what results in the partnership and collaboration between a top-notch brewery and award-winning, southern comfort, coastal cuisine restaurant.

Ever Grain BrewingEver Grain Brewing just opened in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania earlier this year and is already making head waves in the local beer community with Brewmaster Bruce Tanner’s brew lineup. The taproom is packed constantly with local and visiting craft beer enthusiasts. Some even call Ever Grain the “Tröegs of the West Shore” which is a huge compliment. (For all you Non-Pennsylvania Folks: the locals define the “shores” by which side of the Susquehanna River you live on. East shore or West shore. It’s quirky. We know.)

Red Sky Cafe Camp HillRed Sky Cafe Camp Hill, led by Chef Wes Stepp, moved in beside Ever Grain Brewing on November 7, 2016 and serve the taproom visitors good eats as they enjoy their beer.

Red Sky Cafe and Ever Grain are 2 distinctly different companies. When at the brewery/taproom, you go up to a counter to order food. The 2 spaces are connected on the inside of the building and the servers from Red Sky bring your food to your table/bar seat in the taproom. Pretty clever concept. 

NOTE: Red Sky Cafe was NOT the same food service vendor in that space when Ever Grain first opened. Red Sky brought their A-game and I’m sure will be in Camp Hill for the long haul with their high-end, local ingredients and super fresh, creative food offerings. 

OK. Let’s dig in to the Beer Dinner review. Don’t try to lick the screen! I know you’re going to be tempted.

1st Course

Tomato Pie paired with Autumn Bell Porter

1st Course: Red Sky Cafe & Ever Grain Brewing

This spin on tomato pie was made up of tangy tomatoes, fresh herbs, pimento cheese and chunks of what we call croutons (squares of crisp bread) on top of sliced, buttered crusty bread. The acidity of the tomatoes was perfect with the savory, rich cheese and butter.

The Autumn Bell Porter complimented this dish with notes of coffee, caramel, hickory and light touch of smoke.

If the rest of the dishes/brews were going to be this great, then we knew we were in for a real treat with 4 more courses to go from Chef Wes and Brewmaster Bruce.

Derek’s Untappd Beer Rating: 3.75 out of 5
Chelsie’s Untapped Beer Rating: 4.75 out of 5

2nd Course

Shrimp N Grits paired with Hellyes Lager

2nd Course: Red Sky Cafe & Ever Grain Brewing

Flown in fresh from North Carolina these large, sweet shrimp were tossed in a fire roasted cream sauce accompanied by mascarpone laced grits – what Chef Wes playfully calls “Redneck Risotto because of its creamy texture. A crunchy tortilla chip decorated with sriracha sauce finished the plating presentation.

It made perfect sense to pair this slightly spicy dish with a classic Helles lager called Hellyes (pronounced: Hell YES!!!). Notes of toasty bread that finishes with a light, pleasant sweetness.

The combo was Brewmaster Bruce Tanner’s favorite course of the evening. And, we’d have to agree that shrimp and Helles are pretty stellar together. It reminded us of a shrimp and grits dish that our absolute favorite restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, DE serves. You might know the place – Salt Air.

Derek’s Untappd Beer Rating: 3.75 out of 5
Chelsie’s Untapped Beer Rating: 4.75 out of 5

3rd Course

Marinated Pork Belly paired with Surf Breaker IPA

3rd Course: Red Sky Cafe & Ever Grain Brewing

Sweet, tender, succulent. That’s how we describe the slice of pork belly that was first marinated then slow cooked and basted in strawberry BBQ sauce. Thin-sliced, sweet potato chips and shredded pickled cabbage added a contrasting crunch. Tangy + Sweet = Yum! The pork belly was melt in your mouth perfection.

A west coast style IPA called Surf Breaker was the brew to accompany these southern comfort eats. Lots of piney bitterness going on to compliment the vinegar punch from the cabbage. Less malty then our photo makes it look. The dark green pine that was sitting behind the glass is making the beer appear darker than if it had a good light source behind it. 

Derek’s Untappd Beer Rating: 3.75 out of 5
Chelsie’s Untapped Beer Rating: 4 out of 5

4th Course

Juniper Berry Cured Rockfish paired with Saison Do Fromm Belgian Style Ale

4th Course: Red Sky Cafe & Ever Grain Brewing

We dug in first to the dipped in buttermilk, flash fried Eastern Shore oysters. There were 3 giant oysters that melted in your mouth. Creamy with just a touch of salinity. The rockfish filet was cooked perfectly to retain the most flavor and moisture then drizzled with spicy remoulade sauce. Corkscrew mac n cheese served as the bed for this seafood masterpiece. The cheese reminded us of sharp cheddar with stilton. 

A traditional saison called Saison Do Fromm was served with note of clove, banana and peppercorn.

Our personal favorite course of the evening. We’re big seafood fans, have an affinity for mac n cheese plus you all know we’ve been on a saison kick lately. I think they planned this one just for us. Ha!

Derek’s Untappd Beer Rating: 3.75 out of 5
Chelsie’s Untapped Beer Rating: 4.5 out of 5

5th Course

Banana Pudding paired with The Udder One Milk Stout

5th Course: Red Sky Cafe & Ever Grain Brewing

Creamy banana pudding served in a miniature mason jar and topped with fresh whipped cream, drizzled caramel sauce and chocolate covered bacon sticking out of the top. What?! Chocolate covered bacon? Mmmm. Dreamy. We seriously contemplated licking the jar clean. But we restrained ourselves because “Fancy Beer Dinner.”

High-5 to Bruce for serving us a silky smooth, imperial chocolate, milk stout. Every sip was rich and delicious with very noticeable dark chocolate notes.

Derek’s Untappd Beer Rating: 4 out of 5
Chelsie’s Untapped Beer Rating: 4.75 out of 5

The Room & Decor at Red Sky Cafe Camp Hill

Our dinner was served in the newly remodeled private dining room (aka special events space) called “Red Sky on the Side” which is separate from Ever Grain Brewing’s taproom. 60+ people attended the dinner and there was still plenty of elbow room at the festively decorated tables. Pine, holly, white linens, golden votive candles adorned the tables. A fireplace glowing with warmth is at the far end of the space with leather chairs to lounge in.  

Chef Wes and Brewmaster Bruce walked us through each course explaining what we were about to taste and savor. We loved that they were both available to share their inspiration and knowledge as well as answer any questions we had. 

Fresh, Quality Ingredients

The name Red Sky Cafe may sounds familiar to you – especially if you have ever vacationed in the Outer Banks, NC. Chef Wes opened the original Red Sky Cafe in Duck and has built a lot of rapport with OBX fishermen and farmers, proudly supporting NC state’s “NC Catch” program to incentivize local seafood usage.

Now that he has a second restaurant location, Chef Wes has been able to arrange for 2 of his main suppliers from Wanchese, NC to send him shrimp, scallops, tuna and fresh fish (rockfish is now in season) to this Camp Hill, PA cafe. These suppliers are Dave Warren from the Wanchese Seafood Company and the Etheridge Seafood Company.

In PA, he’s found a supplier for his stone ground grits (crucial to Red Sky’s ‘redneck risotto’ recipe) in Bucks County and pork, beef, and chicken are being supplied by Warrington Farms in Dillsburg. However, Chef is still meeting local farmers and butchers daily, in hopes to expand his local network. This is important to the restaurant and to his Tastefully Fit program, which relies on clean eating, and organic, non-processed food is key. The Tastefully Fit seminars will be starting soon at Red Sky Cafe Camp Hill. 

Catering is Available

Chef Wes also prepares Southern Contemporary cuisine on-premise wherever: farm, house or office building. Be sure to email him for your next event.

There’s going to be an open air cafe at Red Sky with 50-60 seats with a rustic industrial meets southern charm decor. Think balm wood, rustic metal, etc. The dining area will be BYOB with a bar fully stocked with handcrafted cocktail mixers, fresh fruit, etc. The menu will include more dinner and catering entrees from Red Sky Cafe in Duck NC.

— AND —

The next Beer Dinner will be held on January 18, 2017. Check out the menu. It’s full of more delicious seafood and creative preparations.

1 Comment

  • comment-avatar
    Leonardo Saraceni 12/21/2016 (10:34 am)

    So glad you enjoyed dinner! We look forward to many more. And your pictures are amazing, thanks for sharing.