Kroul Farm/Pullman Bar and Diner Beer Dinner #3: Best gets Better


Year 3 of the Pullman/Kroul Beer Dinner is in the books and just when you think they can’t top last year’s event, Chef Ben Smart and staff roll up their sleeves and do just that. Sunday’s event wasn’t exactly fall-like to start the day as temps were in the high 80s, so a tip of the cap for sure goes to the Pullman staff as they slaved over open-pit fires to cook up our terrific meal. Even though it was hot early on, the weather chilled a bit as the sun set and you really can’t beat the ambiance of sitting at a Kroul Farm picnic table with friends as you sip a beer or glass of wine and get served some of the best and unique food I’ve had. Cheers to the Kroul Family, Cory Kent, Chef Smart and staff, this is my favorite event of the year! Onto the food!


DISH #1 – Pan con Tomate – Bread, Heirloom tomato served with Broadbent Vinho Verde
Bread with a tomato puree? Sounds simple, and it is, but it was delicious. Local tomatoes with olive oil and salt put on top of some grilled bread and a glass of white wine, great start to the meal!


DISH #2 – Sea Urchin Bavarois served with Broadbent Vinho Verde 
I had never had sea urchin before, but now I want sea urchin more often. The dish was presented and looked similar to a chowder dish with some charred sweet corn and that’s exactly how it tasted. Almost like a mix of a chilled lobster bisque/lobster chowder and the added local sweet corn really made the dish stand out. This was one I would have taken a whole bowl full of, excellent dish.


DISH #3 Cedar Plank Salmon with slow roasted grilled lemons, herbs, shishito peppers, squash, and olives served with Prairie Standard Saison
Admittedly, I’m not a huge salmon guy, but, this dish was very good. Perfectly cooked salmon and a squeeze of some of the grilled lemon and tons of fresh dill on top made this a dish I could eat often. 3/3 so far Pullman crew!

DISH #4Potato Gnocchi with pumpkin puree, chanterelles, pistachio pistou, La quercia guanciale, and sheep’s milk cheese served with Prairie Standard Saison
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this dish as I’m hit and miss with pumpkin but this was a home run dish, from the presentation of being served in hollowed out pumpkins to the execution itself to the flavors. The gnocchi with pillow soft and combined with the pistachio and cheese with a little bite of the crispy and salty la quercia (pork cheek I believe) I had a hard time not finishing this dish in seconds. Blown away by this one. Keep it coming Pullman.

DISH #5 Duo of Kroul Beef – tenderloin, ribeye, and sauce bordelaise with mushroom pithivier, kale, carrot, currant, pine nuts, and aged balsamic, served with Trim Cabernet
I always look forward to the main course although the dishes leading up are just as terrific, but with this being Kroul’s beef that they were serving made it even more special. The beef was wonderful, perfectly cooked, tender and salted exactly how it needed to be. To cook for 110-120 people and execute it the way the Pullman staff did shows their talent, you worry about it being overcooked but that’s not the case at all. The beef was phenomenal but the thing that really sealed the deal for me was the Mushroom Pithivier, which essentially was a pie with sliced potatoes, mushrooms, and cheese. I savored every bite of it. Extraordinary meal!


DISH #6The Space Donut – Sweet potato mousse, walnut shortbread, white chocolate goat cheese cremeux, pear, salted caramel ice cream paired with Cafe Amaretto
Onto the final course…dessert. I’m not sure how the staff could top last years parsnip cake served with Jean Luc Richard, but they came pretty damn close! The parsnip cake is my all time favorite dessert, hands down, but they brought out the big guns for this Space Donut. Chef Smart described it to every table how they concocted it and I’m not going to even try to replicate him, let’s just say it was tasty, eye-appealing, and very unique.

I’ve said this since the Kroul Farm dinner started 3 years ago and I’ll repeat myself again…this is a can’t miss event for food lovers, wine lovers, beer lovers, and people who just enjoy sitting and chatting with others. I look forward to this event every year and hope it continues. Thanks again to the Matt Kroul and family, Chef Smart and Staff, and Cory Kent for spoiling us once again this year! Cheers!

Pullman Bar + Kroul Farm Dinner Slated for September 16th

Kroul FarmsThe 3rd annual Kroul Farm dinner featuring Pullman Bar and Diner chefs will be taking place on Sunday September 16th. Speaking from experiencing the first two dinners, this is a can’t miss event. The food, beer, and wine along with great company make this well worth the price tag. You can get your tickets by clicking here.  More information on this event below:

Farm Dinner part three! We’re excited to partner with Kroul Family Farms once again! Chef Ben Smart, Chef Nathan Woody, and Chef Matt Prince and the rest of the Pullman team invite you to join us on Sunday, September 16th for a culinary experience you won’t forget! Cocktail hour will begin at 3 pm with a family-style dinner immediately following. Courses will be paired with wine and beer of our choosing.

We look forward to working with Kroul Farms, as it is our highlight event of the year. We hope to see you there!


Pullman Bar and Diner Presents Stouts, Sours, and Oysters for post-Northside Oktoberfest Celebration

pullmanPullman Bar and Diner in downtown Iowa City will have a great selection of brews available for people who are stopping in after the Northside Oktoberfest celebration this coming weekend. Starting at 3 p.m. Pullman will be putting the following brews on tap:

Evil Twin Imperial Doughnut
Evil Twin Even More Jesus
Prairie Paradise
Surly Darkness 
Founders KBS
Clown Shoes Chocolate Sombrero
Mikkeller Drinkin Berliner Blueberry
Mikkeller Drinkin Berliner Lemon
Mikkeller Drinkin Berliner Passionfruit
Mikkeller Drinkin Berliner Raspberry 
That’s a bad ass looking lineup of brews and accompanying those beers will be Chef Emily’s oysters. A can’t miss event, if you’re in the area hit up Pullman this Saturday, September 30th. Cheers!

Big Grove/Pullman Kroul Farm Beer Dinner #2: Fall’s Can’t Miss Beer Dinner



If you ever come across a social media site advertisement consisting of any combination of these words: Beer Dinner, Big Grove, Pullman, Chef Smart, Kroul Farm….do yourself favor and get some tickets. For the 2nd straight year this combination of restaurateurs, chefs, farmers, and wait staff put on an amazing culinary experience highlighting fresh and local food and local beer.


Kroul Farms is about 2 minute drive from my town of Mount Vernon, IA just off of Highway 1. They grow and sell sustainable seasonal produce and for the second year in a row they have teamed with the fine folks from Big Grove + Pullman to bring us an amazing dining experience. There’s something to be said about enjoying a five course meal on a farm, sitting on seasonally decorated picnic tables and watching a chef and his staff cooking food over open flames. Onto the dinner:

Course #1:
**Tomato and Onion Confit Tart with Milton creamery white Cheddar
Paired with: Big Grove Sidehill Peach Sour 

The perfect item to start off the dinner. Blistered tomatoes on top with the onions and cheddar gave you familiarity of an excellent slice of pizza and the sour from the Peach Sidehill cut through the richness of the tart. Many of these I could devour in a sitting. 

Course #2:
**Ajo Blanco
Paired with: Big Grove Sidehill Peach Sour

I knew I was getting my first ever chilled soup but I wasn’t sure what the base of the soup was until after the fact. Ajo Blanco is a chilled soup with a bread, almonds, garlic, water, olive oil. I was very intrigued by this dish because of the melon and pickled grapes served with it. It was extremely refreshing and absolutely delicious. Getting the perfect bit of the base along with a pickled grape and a fresh cucumber was heavenly.

Course #3: Lamb and Garlic Sausage
Paired with: Bengoetxe, Txakolina 2015 (I think I spelled that right)

I’ll be the first to admit that lamb is not necessarily a food item that I crave. However, my apprehension and skepticism about this dish quickly disappeared after the first bite. This dish was served family style with a side of grilled pita and a dill yogurt. I piled the yogurt sauce as the aroma from that was intoxicating and when it mixed with the juice from the lamb sausages it was even better. It was paired with a white wine, I don’t know shit about wine so I won’t pretend that I do, let’s just say it was good:)This is a dish that would be perfect for a fall Saturday morning tailgate and couple of Boomtowns. (I ate it so fast I forgot a table picture, so here’s a picture of the Lamb Sausage being cooked).

Course #4: Smoked Trout with Melted Leeks and Horseradish Crema
Paired With: Big Grove Red Headed Stranger

I forgot to get a pic of this dish too but it was very campfire like. The smoked trout was served with a side of melted leeks (yum!) and a big dollop of horseradish cream, which I could eat on almost any dish. It also came with a campfire style potatoes and wild mushrooms wrapped in foil. All superb. I hadn’t had Red Headed Stranger for a while and I forgot how well-balanced it for a Red/Rye? IPA. Hops on the nose and flavor and then balanced perfectly by the malt. A really great and underrated Big Grove beer IMO.

Course #5: Wood Roasted Pork Chop
Paired With: Hedges Estates CMS Red 2015

I was very excited about getting to this dish especially when you actually go see the chefs and cooks cooking this on an open fire. It was served family style, cut into huge portions and also had some pork belly crisped up and served with it. The polenta was creamy and when the juices from the chop mixed with that polenta you had one hell of tasty bite of food. The succotash could be served all on its own and I would be perfectly happy with that too! The chop was tender and juicy and packed with flavor. Mouth watering and delicious! I finally took the time to take the fork out of my mouth and snap a picture.

Course #6: Caramel Apple Glazed Parsnip Cake
Paired With: Big Grove Brewery Jean Luc Richard

I’m not a big dessert kind of guy and I was really looking forward to just sipping on the glorious brew that accompanied the dish. A parsnip cake? No clue what this was going to be about but my god was this the best dessert I’ve ever had and I’ll have continued dreams about it. The cake was a cinnamon spiced cake that was made with, you guessed it, parsnips. It was delicious! Served with a mini caramel apple and also with the greatest ice cream I’ve ever tasted. Brown butter ice cream. A bit of cake with some caramel and some ice cream on the spoon was completely satisfying and beyond delicious. That was paired with Big Grove’s new Richard beer, Jean Luc Richard, which is described as a creme brulee tasting beer. The beer was exactly that; sweet, some barrel on it, chocolate, coffee, burnt caramel flavors. Simply awesome!

**With year two of this dinner in the books, it’s not too early to look forward to year 3. I know I am. How do the chefs top this though? The thing is, they will. Special thanks to the Kroul Family for hosting this event and Corey Kent, Ben Smart, Doug Goettsch and their hard-working staff. I will look forward to this every single year…it’s the event of the Fall!!

Big Grove Citra Triad Releases Around CR/IC

big-groveBig Grove Brewery will be releasing their Citra Triad today at the brewery and will follow with more tappings of these three brews at other locations. If you’re in the CR/IC area you’ll want to get your hands on these! These three beers are Arms Race, 16 Minuteman, and Trident, get them while you can! Here’s the info:

Thursday, December 22nd
11am-30Hop Crowler fill
12pm-3pm-Johns Grocery Minuteman & Trident sampling and growler fill
4pm-Zepplins Que Sera Lime & Honey pin tapping with Citra Triad
5pm-Brick’s Bar & Grill
6pm-Shorts Burger & Shine
8pm-The Mill
Friday, December 23rd
11am-1pm-HyVee North Dodge IC, Citra Triad sampling & growler fills
2pm-Need Pizza
4-6pm Film Scene Citra Triad & Third Base Brewery & Another Road collab “Friends Forever” sampling
Reds Alehouse will be tapping Citra triad Monday 26th

Harvest Dinner @ Kroul Farms Featuring Big Grove and Pullman…..AMAZING!!

chefs.jpgWhat a great way to end a weekend! Kroul Farms right outside of Mount Vernon hosted a wonderful dinner featuring chefs Benjamin Smart of Big Grove and Sepher Sadrzadeh of Pullman Bar and Diner. One word can sum up the evening: AMAZING! I couldn’t have been more impressed with the food and service and also the setting of this terrific meal.


Special thanks to the Kroul family being gracious enough to host the event and the time and work put in the by the chefs, Cory Kent and staff. If you’ve never attended a Beer Dinner make sure you put it on the top of your list. Worth every damn penny plus more! Eagerly anticipating the next time these culinary geniuses can come together and put on another masterpiece. Onto the meal!


*1st course: Marinated and Charred Local Vegetables – with this dish I wasn’t sure when I read anchovy but I’ve learned to not let that word frighten you off as that wonderful little dish adds some amazing salty/briney flavor. The sauce and the added “everything bagel” rye salt was amazing with the perfectly good vegetables. Roasted beets, potatoes, and peppers and the sweetness from the honey paired perfectly with the Big Grove West Main Wheat!

1st course.jpg

*2nd course: Potato and Onion Confit Galette –  what is a galette? I didn’t know what is was either. Just think of a savory pie stuffed with Milton white cheddar, sliced potato and topped with a carrot romesco. Add a side salad with sherry vinaigrette and paired with a Big Grove Arms Race Pale Ale, this was a dish I would keep on eating if they would have kept putting it in front of me. Delicious!


*3rd course: Roasted Squash with Lamb Merguez sausage – lamb from Pavelka Point and made in house by Chef Benjamin Smart served in a roasted squash. The pickled flavor from the kale and the spice of the sausage was rounded out perfectly by a housemade persian cheese, which is a yogurt textured feta. Paired with a white wine, which I’m not going to pretend I know anything about wine, the spice of the sausage with the mix of the sweet acorn squash was delicious.

lamb sausage.jpg

*4th course: Grilled Local Mushrooms – gnocchi, mushrooms, and brussel sprouts? YES PLEASE! Add some brown butter crumbles to go with the pillowy, amazingly delicious, gnocchi and the nuttiness of the mushrooms paired with a white wine. My first chicken of the woods mushroom experience, and I’ll be clamoring for more!


*5th course: Kroul Farms Beef – being able to eat beef that had been raised 100 yards from your table was a great experience and defines “farm to table” dining. The beef was perfectly cook and the salty beef ju paired perfectly with the red wine that was served.


*6th course: Apple Strudel – Wilson’s Orchard Apples are showcased in this strudel that is glazed with a Cedar Ridge whiskey caramel sauce and smoked cinnamon ice cream. Dessert isn’t usually my favorite course but this was absolutely amazing. This dessert is what you think of when you think Fall.


**An amazing night that I hope can be re-created sooner rather than later. I implore you to get a ticket the next time there is an opportunity to attend a beer dinner. Kudos to Chef Smart and Chef Sadrzadeh for creating this amazing meal. Easy for me to say but, LET’S DO IT AGAIN!

Pullman Bar and Diner Jolly Pumpkin Beer Dinner Menu

pullmanThe menu is set for the Pullman Diner and Jolly Pumpkin Beer Dinner on March 9th! Here’s more courtesy of Pullman Bar and Diner:

Here is the final menu and the pairings for our beer dinner with Jolly Pumpkin on Wednesday, March 9th. Cocktail hour starts around 5 pm and dinner will begin at 6 pm. Please call for reservations. 319-338-1808. Including the beers that you see on menu we will also have Fuego del Otono, La Parcela, Noel de Calabaza, and Forgotten Tales of the Last Gypsy. Bottles on hand that day will be Oro De Calabaza, Calabaza Boreal, Biere De Mars, La Roja, BA Biere De Mars. All 10 taps will be Jolly Pumpkin. It’s going to be a beautiful site!!


Jolly Pumpkin Beer Dinner @Pullman Diner set for March 9th

pullmanThe following comes from Pullman Bar and Diner’s newsletter:

On Wednesday, March 9th Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales will be taking over Pullman’s jollytap line. All ten of them. We’ll be hosting a six-plus course beer dinner that night. Jolly Pumpkin’s wonderfully complex and sometimes tart beers are a perfect match for a variety of dishes.
We’ll have many of your favorites, including Luciernarga, Calabaza Blanca, Fuego Del Otono, and Oro de Calabaza. We’ll also be featuring some more limited brews, like La Roja du Kriek, Rojazilla, and Forgotten Tales of the Last Gypsy.
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales has long been known for its quality brews. In September, it took home three first-place medals at the Hong Kong International Beer Awards, out of over 600 entries. We are so excited to partner up with them for this dinner, and we hope you can join us.
Cocktail hour will begin at 5:30 pm, with dinner to follow at 6:00 pm. Stop in or call us today at 319-338-1808 for more information or to make reservations!

Pullman Bar and Diner Celebrating Local Craft Beer Week

pullmanPullman Bar and Diner in downtown Iowa City will be celebrating drinking local this upcoming week. Each day they will be adding two Iowa craft beers on tap as well as having representatives from each brewery talking about their beer. Here’s the official announcement from Pullman along with the beer lineup:

Just a little FYI for next week. Pullman along with some other fine establishments will be doing a local craft beer week. We will be doing a progressive tap takeover starting Monday at 3 pm. Each day we will add two new local craft beers. Matt O’Neil (local mason/artist and super talented) will be painting each brewery on our vestibule leading into the restaurant. Also, each day at 3-5 pm we will have representatives from each of these breweries here to talk about their beers. So, if you want some insight and meet the people behind the beer, here’s your chance! All of these beers will be discounted during our happy hour from 3-6 pm. Here are the beers along with schedule of who’s going to be here and when. Cheers!

Monday: Wilson’s Orchard – Hard Cider, Hoppy Hard Cider
Tuesday: Exile Brewery – Gigi (Gold Medal), Raspberry Bohemian
Wednesday: Turner Alley – Czech Pilsener, Woods Wheat
Thursday: Lion Bridge – Work Comp (Gold Medal),Sorachi Liberace (New saison)
Friday: Big Grove Brewery – Desperate Measures, and the coffee version of Richard the Whale.

Lunch at Pullman Bar and Diner; Iowa City, IA

pullmanThe latest venture from the folks at Reds Alehouse/Big Grove/30 Hop/Blackstone brings us a retro diner feel with an eclectic menu consisting of a burger to fried chicken to bone marrow. Add in a nice tap list of craft beers and the IC/CR area just got another gem of a restaurant to go to.

When any announcement that a group consisting of the Swifts are opening up a new restaurant, the excitement hits right away and your counting the days down to opening. That was the case with Pullman. My first experience was a Friday afternoon for lunch and luckily the only two seats open in the place were at the bar. Upon entering you get the feel of 50-60’s diner, from the old school stereo, the visibility of the chefs cooking up your meals, and some things on the menu with a new age twist.

photo (3)Usually when I go to a new restaurant I usually try a burger if it’s on the menu. I was recommended the burger here by a few folks on Twitter and that’s what I went with. My wife opted for the Quiche Lorraine and I was happy to see Big Grove Brewery arms race on tap. The burger was double patties with american cheese, house made bread and butter pickles and a “special sauce” which seemed like a garlic aioli. I’ve made many Top 5 lists in my day, Top 5 beers, top 5 books, top 5 movies, etc. Well, if I had a Top 5 burger from area, this Pullman Burger might be at the top, or at least close to it. Juicy burger, the sauce and cheese seem to melt together, and their hand cut fries were crisp on the outside and nice and soft in the middle. Paired with the arms race it was close to a perfect lunch. The Executive Chef is Benjamin Smart who is the chef at Big Grove Brewery so you know the meal is going to be of supreme taste and quality.

As we paid our bill I was very happy with my selection for lunch…….until I saw the fried chicken come out. My god! Two big pieces of chicken, fried until crispy as hell. I was tempted to sit back down and order but I’m trying to put a damper on my gluttony. I do know what I’m going to order next though. For all those folks waiting in line for 3 hours to get yourself some Popeyes, maybe take a trip to Iowa City and try Pullman’s fried chicken. I guarantee it will be 100 times better.

Overall, a wonderful addition to the downtown Iowa City area. The food was wonderfully prepared, beer selection was good, and the atmosphere makes you want to come back and bring friends and family next time. What’s next for this group of investors? I don’t know, but I can’t wait for the next announcement if there is one. Check out the menu items here: