Supper ’n’ suds: Coney Island hosts a one-night beer dinner

Sea food by the seashore: Coney Island Brewery beer chief Eric Hernandez and chef Kate O’Donnell hold samples from the five-course beer pairing happening at the beer spot on May 18.
Brooklyn Daily
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Coney Island Brewing will host a five-course meal and beer pairing on May 18, showcasing its experimental brews and classic Coney Island foods. Creating a beer pairing meal had been a long-time dream for the tiny tap room, said its head brewer, but it only became a reality after chef Kate O’Donnell became a regular at the brewery.

“The stars kind of aligned when Katie started coming here — she’s an awesome person, she’s an awesome chef, she’s local — it happened to line up just perfect,” said Eric Hernandez, who lives in Gowanus.

O’Donnell, the former chef at a seafood restaurant in Manhattan, recently moved to Coney Island, and began chatting with the brewers after freezing swims on the beach.

“I just moved in September out to the beach. I joined the polar bear club, and I would go to the brewery afterwards — it just seemed like the right thing to do,” she said.

O’Donnell began experimenting with dishes that could be served in the cramped brewery, which does not have a full kitchen. But using her catering experience, she found some foods that would pair perfectly with the People’s Playground brews.

The $60 meal will feature many nods to classic Coney Island food, starting with pigs in a blanket, an homage to the iconic Nathan’s hot dog, and a course of clam chowder and fried clam strips, in honor of the many clam bars lining the Boardwalk. Several of the dishes incorporate Coney Island brews, including a marinated beef jerky and beer-braised pork ribs, and each course will come paired with one or two beers designed to complement — or contrast with — the food.

The clam course, for example, will feature the brewery’s new Clam Stout — a variation on the more common oyster stout, while the dessert dish comes with a Double Oak Bourbon Barrel Aged Apple Wheat. Hernanadez will guide diners through each of the eight brews, explaining their origin and how the beer can enhance the dish.

“I’m going to be catering the information through the pairings, so people have an idea how the beer interacts with food, and how the malt and the hops interact with food,” he said.

The inaugural dinner may lead to more, larger meals in the future, said the brewery’s “Freak Chief.”

“This is our proof of concept. We hope we can do a brunch down the road, and we’re exploring what else we can do,” said Devin O’Brien, who will lead tours of the brewery before the meal begins.

Beer Dinner at Coney Island Brewing [1904 Surf Ave. at W. 17th Street in Coney Island, (718) 996–0019,]. May 18 at 5:15 pm and 7:30 pm. $60.

Reach arts editor Bill Roundy at or by calling (718) 260–4507.
Updated 1:34 am, July 10, 2018
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