On the menu for the evening:
Grape Chutney with Brie and Crackers
Carmelized Onion Flatbread
Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Vegetables
Oh, and 7 different beers. The rules of the evening were simple: bring a six pack of beer that you can stand behind and be willing to try each of them and rate the best one. Yes the math is a bit fuzzy here because each couple was supposed to bring one beer, but then again there are always those rule-breakers (what can you do?) There were a couple of abstainers (including myself), but I think everyone else really enjoyed trying the beers. There was a prize for the one voted best of Octoberfest and it went to Shiner Black Lager.
The meal was also pretty good. Most of the items on the menu came from the latest issue of Southern Living. There was an article with a harvest menu and I thought it would work for this setting. The Hot Links are a family favorite recipe of some dear friends who were in attendance, Bryan and Ada Elsner. I must get the recipe. It was really good, nice and spicy. It was even good leftover the next day.
I had some negative and postive feedback on the grape chutney, though I have to admit, I didn't have time to try it. The suggestion was made to cut the grapes even smaller so that it didn't feel like eating grapes (duly noted).
The pork tenderloins and roasted veggies were great. I would definitely prepare the carrots this way again (they had a really great texture and flavor). I did have some timing issues with the main dish because I did not realize until actually prepping dinner that the recipe called for a pork loin, not a tenderloin. I would like to say that I understood this when I went to the store, but I think that would not explain the fact that I bought the wrong cut of meat. All was not lost. Pork and vegetables were consumed by all.
The apples were also enjoyable, but I always have had a problem with eating sweeter things with savory, so I would do this more for dessert, if I were eating alone.
The salad was just about as basic as salad can get (e.g. lettuce), but I made the dressing and would not make it again. Not my favorite. I didn't get any feedback on it, so I don't know if I was alone in disliking it.
All told we had a great time and enjoyed having a table full of guests. I know Drew had a good time because he said, "I really don't like beer." Then he said, "When we do this again next year..." That's the sign of a new tradition in our house.