We’re sure that we had you right at Pappy Van Winkle, so let’s just get down to things right away, huh? Plan B Milford hosted a Pappy Dinner and damn right we got our tickets within minutes of them going on sale. See, we learned our lesson from last year when Plan B Stamford hosted a Pappy dinner and Milford held a Buffalo Trace + Pappy Dinner, and they sold out in like an hour or something crazy like that. After all, many people say it’s the best bourbon you’ll ever taste, so it’s really no surprise.
When we arrived on November 11, the back room had been transformed into a cozy lodge filled with animal skin throw rugs and stuffed forest creatures like fox and beaver. Huh huh, stuffed beaver, huh huh, hee hee.
Before the four course paired dinner, we got a chance to talk with our tablemate: Damien who was taking a night off from his job as a server at Plan B Milford. As we talked about the restaurant biz, we all enjoyed the very well-balanced and festive Sparkling Bourbon Cider with some nice finger food in the form of Smoked Salmon Mousse and Bruschetta with Prosciutto.
And, then, before we knew it, it began. Servers were bringing out the 12 Year Pappy Van Winkle and the excitement in the room was increasing. When we got our first tastes of Pappy, we thought it was excellent, yet not overly strong for being 90 proof. It wasn’t necessarily the best bourbon we had tasted, but there were still 3 other vintages to try. This was paired with a Cheddar Ale Soup with a twist because they allowed people at the table to add as much bacon popcorn to the top as they wanted. The soup was rich and tasty, with a nice smokey bacon flavor, but it was a bit on the stringy side. That said, it paired very nicely with the bourbon.
Up next was the 15 Year Family Reserve which was richer, thicker, fuller, with a more pronounced vanilla flavor from the barrel. This was paired with a House-made Butternut Squash Ravioli with a brown butter and sage saute. The pasta was fresh and just thick enough, and the sauce was warm, rich, and perfect for fall. On top was Duck Confit which was beautifully cooked and was so delicate that it flaked right off. Everything balanced well, and paired nicely with the bourbon. This was our favorite dish of the night.
The third course starred the 20 Year Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve. The flavors were definitely more pronounced, and we learned more about the experience of drinking bourbon. See, we thought that each year more of aging would make the bourbon even stronger tasting, but what actually happens is it becomes smoother and easier to drink. We all agreed that the 20 Year could be very dangerous because it went down so smooth! It was no surprise to us, then, that we learned that this has been rated the best bourbon in the world and that it’s also their best seller.
This was served with Grilled Wild Boar that had a Cabernet demi glaze. The boar, like the duck, was very delicate, and was cooked perfectly to that light pink color. Served with boar was acorn squash from The Farm in Woodbury, roasted cauliflower, and creamed potatoes. This course made us feel like we were eating fall on a plate. And again, a perfect pairing.
Finally, and very very sadly, the final Pappy came by: the 23 Year Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve. At first sip (and you HAVE to sip something this rare), you could tell that it was even smoother than the 20 Year and even more of that alcohol-y finish was gone. Without a doubt, this was definitely the best bourbon we’ve had. It made us want to go out and try other bourbons that have been aged a long time so that we could compare and see which bourbon reigns supreme.
The bourbon was appropriately paired with Ashley’s Spice Cake that was made with a maple butter cream and topped with salted caramel and peanuts. While the cake went well with the bourbon and had nice flavors (the ginger came through the most), it was much too dry and dense.
Overall, we had a great time, it was nice to chat with Damien, we enjoyed most of the food, and it was great to cross Pappy off our “bucket list.” That’s not to say that we can’t ever have it again: if we’re super lucky or know the right people. ;) As for the event itself, it was very well run with excellent service, so we’d definitely consider (and recommend) other Plan B hosted events in the future. As for your shot at Pappy, make sure that you follow all your local Plan B Burgers because we’ve heard that they just might be hosting another Pappy Van Winkle dinner sometime.
Plan B Burger Bar
Milford Marketplace @ 1638 Boston Post Road
Milford, CT 06460