Leave it to me to take a stellar locavore evening at the elegantly-appointed Salt Water Farm and make it about beer and sausage! But here goes.
Last Friday, Eric and I attended a wood-fired cooking class at the farm, just two miles up the road from Birchwood (which in Maine makes us close neighbors).
The rustic fall dinner menu cooked entirely in their dual-hearth (open fire and brick oven) featured sausage, kale and root veggies — sounds basic until you factor in caramelization, smoke and heavy cream! — along with oysters, focaccia, and a sensational dessert of roasted pear and creme anglaise (made with duck eggs).
Dinners are BYOB. A dinner of oysters and sausage calls for ale. Local ale. Even better, a new local ale. Enter Oxbow where they conveniently pour growlers for retail sale on Fridays from 2-6pm. (Found locally on tap at 40Paper in Camden).
A gorgeous drive with my fella to the Oxbow homestead (in Newcastle, a few miles beyond the Alewives fishladder in Damariscotta Mills) to chat with the brewmasters, sample beer and fill some growlers was just the start of a perfect date. That night we left with both stellar offerings — the Pale Ale and the Saison Noel. (For advice on other local ales, spirits or wine stop in and ask the clever fellows at RAYR who are always able to suggest a nice pairing.)
My words don't capture how much fun it was to slowly and consciously prepare a meal in a traditional way, in a beautiful space, with two young, enthusiastic chefs. (And don't count on my photos to help either. How well I recorded the evening is inversely proportional to how much I enjoyed myself.)
Experience it for yourself and find a way to make it over to Salt Water Farm.