A few weeks ago, I found out about a tasting at a bar here in the Phoenix area. It sounded pretty interesting… and yummy. The tasting was for beer and donuts. Well, since Ricky and I (and any other sensible person in the world) both like beer and donuts quite a bit, we signed up for it. $16 and you got 4 beers and 4 donuts. Sounds like a pretty good deal, and I was curious what kind of beers they would pair with what donuts.
The tasting was yesterday, so we headed down to Il Vinaio in Mesa for it. Mesa’s a bit of a drive for us, but we had made arrangements to meet some friends for drinks later on in Tempe, so we knew we’d have some time to kill after the tasting, and we could just spend it exploring the area, which we did. We found Il Vinaio pretty easy, and it was an interesting place. The inside actually reminded me of a church, with wine quotes up along the walls. There was also a band called Whiskey Kiss. I liked their look, but they were pretty loud, and unfortunately we got seated pretty much right next to the band. Oh well, we were here for the beer and donuts anyway, so we’d endure. Except it took quite a while for us to get any service beyond water brought to our table. Eventually, though, here came the beer and donuts.
Unless you had been to this event before (I think they have them every few months), you’d probably not really know what to expect in terms of the portions you’d get. Well, I should have known… like most places, a “tasting” is considered pretty much just a bite and a sip, and of course, it was kind of overpriced. As you can see from the photos, the beer portions were more like a flight, and the donuts were basically just a bite of donut. The beers were good, especially the last one on the list, Firestone Walker Parabola. This beer was pretty much amazing… comparable to probably the best beer I’ve ever had, which is the Goose Island Bourbon County Coffee Stout. The donuts were just… eh. There was really only one of them that I’d think of as being a donut. One was a conch fritter, which we’ve had plenty of, having visited Key West and the Bahamas. Not my idea of a donut. Also, one of them had bacon and blue cheese in it… and not that those things are bad, but also not really donut territory in my book. I tend to think of donuts more in terms of powdered sugar and icing, but you didn’t really find much of that here.
The beer and donuts weren’t bad by any means, just somewhat of a disappointment of what we expected. It was a fun little tasting, but probably nothing I’d pay $16 for again, since I didn’t really feel like I got my money’s worth. A good idea, but not executed the way I expected. Next time I’ll just buy my own beer and donuts!