The event packed out the joint, as we expected, and we were glad that we got there early enough to secure a seat. We did not know exactly what to expect. The concept was new—a brewers night and sushi extravaganza. It worked. In the end, it was a very memorable evening. The event almost felt, dare I say, important.
They billed it as an Elysian Brewers Night at the Dog and Pony, but it was much more than that. Dick Cantwell, Dave Buhler and Laura Stoudt were there to represent Elysian and pour many of your favorite Elysian beers; however, they were sharing the stage with some darn fine sushi and some darn nice people from Pennsylvania–people who came bearing the gift of beer from far away lands.
Laura Stoudt hails from Pennsylvania where her family owns and operates Stoudt’s Brewing. For us Northwesterners it is sometimes hard to accept the fact that other regions of the country also produce good beer. We are proud and snobbish, as we deserve to be. Stoudt’s is proof that there is life east of the Mississippi. Saturday night at the Dog and Pony, they were pouring two of Stoudt’s beers: the triple and the pilsner. They were both excellent. How did they get the kegs out here from Pennsylvania? We could tell you but then we would have to kill you. Suffice it to say, it was not easy and it was only vaguely legal, but they did it. The crowd appreciated their efforts.
Out front, looking like she had been working at the Dog and Pony for years, the family patriarch was serving beer and chatting up customers. Carol Stoudt is more than a mother and a pretty face. She is also a brewer. She is well known and highly respected in the craft beer industry. Dick Cantwell (Elysian’s highly decorated brew master) had some very warm and heartfelt praise for Carol in particular and Stoudt’s in general. Dick told the crowd that Stoudt’s beers, and Carol’s skill at creating such a breadth of styles, was an inspiration to him—something he has tried (successfully) to emulate at Elysian.
Back in the Kitchen, Carol’s daughters (Laura, Elizabeth, and Gretel) were preparing the sushi. There were several different sushi offerings, each paired with a different beer. My favorite was the spicy tuna roll paired with the Elysian Jasmine IPA. Everyone at our table agreed that the sushi was much better than we had expected. At least one of the sisters must have some professional sushi experience, we assumed.
Before working for Elysian, Laura Stoudt served beer at (among other places) the Dog and Pony, so Saturday’s event was a homecoming. And as if that wasn’t enough, Carol Stoudt knows Jay Fischer (the owner of the Dog and Pony) from way back in the late 80s when Jay was a brewer for Weeping Radish Brewery in North Carolina. She sold them some brewing equipment or vice versa. Small world, eh? I suppose the world is small when you are a craft beer goddess who drifts so effortlessly amongst us mortals.