The elegant Mt. Pleasant eatery Bacco really did a fine job with their first beer dinner last week (Thurs. July 29). Chef/owner Michael Scognamiglio offered several surprise appetizers before the four-course feast, including arancini (fried rice balls stuffed with meat ragu and peas), suppli (fried rice balls stuffed with mozzarella) , pizza al metro (a meter-long marinara and Margherita pizza), and olive fritte (fried gerignolo olives stuffed with duck liver pate). The meal kicked off with an apertif of Panil Barriquée (sour ale) blended with Prosecco.

Charleston Beer Exchange co-owner Scott Shor introduced each course, noting the similarities in attitude between wine and beer producers in the new Italian scene. All five of the Italian beers featured at the event are available at his shop.

The duck/peach combo went surprisingly well with the dry, crisp Montegioco Quarta Runa peach ale. The ricotta gnocchi and lamb ragu was surprisingly fluffy and light. Paired with the sweet and complexly malty BB Dexi barley wine, it was a big hit at the brewer’s table. The braised beef cheek with the malty Birra Bran (from Birrificco Montegioco) was a knock-out. The dolce course closed with a java accent, pairing the strong Birrificio Pausa Cafè barley wine with a tiramisu-like Chicca-Birra cake. Era un pasto magnifico. Hopefully, Michael Scognamiglio will do another one soon.

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