Unlike some of the more formal wine dinners around town, the most enjoyable beer-themed dinners can start out prim, proper, and polite, and then gradually unwind into a casual, slow-rolling social event. Such was the case at Ted’s Butcherblock last week.

Beer fans, curious foodies, and wine aficionados packed into the eatery’s front and back dining rooms on Thursday (Dec. 8) for a hearty beer dinner (Ted’s final craft beer dinner of the year). Owner Ted Dombrowski and head chef Eva Keitly devised a four-course menu paired with four big-flavored beers from Philadelphia microbrewery Victory Brewing Co.

Animated and excited, Dombrowski co-hosted the event with Charleston Beer Exchange co-owner Scott Shor; Dombrowski handled the food trivia between courses, while Shor carefully introduced and thoroughly described each beer. It was amusing to hear Shor get high-tech with beer-geek talk of crisp Czech hop bitterness (referring to the first-course lager, Victory Prima Pils), and wild Belgian yeast strains, like the Brettanomyces yeast strain in the Victory Wild Devil ale, paired with grilled Canadian bacon over thinly-sliced gingered collards. Chef Keitly’s fennel and cauliflower stew with oysters, pancetta, and micro-cubed cornbread croutons was a huge hit. The clamorous din in the dining room grew with every course, and it got even louder during the bold final course of a “chocolate and sweet fromage blanc brownie” with sea salt, pomegranate seeds, house-made butterscotch, and mocha whipped cream, paired with one of Victory’s strongest ales, The V-Twelve (at 12 percent alcohol by volume).

For a mere $30 per seat, everyone got their money’s worth in food and fun.

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