It’s hard not to be intrigued by a beer called Fists of Feury, but you’re even more so when the proverbial “fury” comes from two of the area’s most talented chefs—and brothers—Patrick and Terence Feury.
Patrick, of course, is the familiar face behind Berwyn’s popular Asian-fusion haunt, Nectar, and Terence heads up the kitchen at Philadelphia’s legendary Fork. Together, the two have fostered a love of beer and have been experimenting with home-brewed versions since high school.
Two years ago, while socializing with ultimate brewmeister Bill Covaleski of Victory Brewing Company, the brothers were approached about creating a special “chefs’ blend” that would be marketed under the Victory label. This past summer, the brothers got together at Terence’s house in Malvern for a little experimentation and decided to target a release date that would match up with Philly’s annual Beer Week. After a few test runs, the recipe was tweaked to tone down the rosemary flavor, which was much more potent in the home brew than Victory’s version. The final product is a chestnut-hued, crystal-clear, dry, spicy and hopped-up ale that’s perfect for summer.
The new brew got its public debut by way of two creative beer-and-food-pairing dinners at each chef’s respective restaurants. (A third dinner is in the works for Victory’s Downingtown brewery, but no date has been set yet.) This past Sunday, the duo showed off their culinary prowess—and pairing skills—with a five-course tasting at Nectar, featuring their special brew and another new Victory release, Summer of Love. The small plates/big taste offerings were conceived to match up with Fists of Feury’s dry overtones, assertive hoppyness, underlying rosemary flavor—one of the brothers’ most prized herbs for its fragrance and pine-y flavor—and 5.5 percent alcohol by volume make-up. Guests who were not yet savvy to the secret weapon ingredient told Patrick, “There’s something different in there that I can’t quite figure out,” which delivered satisfaction on the brothers’ attempt to create a sense of mystery about this uniquely flavored ale.
The evening’s tasty nibbles included a citrus yellowtail canapé and crispy shiitake mushroom-pickled sushi roll; a smoked salmon BLT with cured salmon “bacon,” tomato confit, toasted brioche and bibb lettuce; crispy chicken livers and stuffed dates wrapped in house-cured pork belly with a baby vegetable salad tossed in a tarragon-shallot mustard; and braised short ribs with more seasonal, petite veggies, roasted tomato and puffy Yorkshire pudding. The first and fourth courses were prepared by Patrick, the second and third by Terence. Both pulled together the desserts, a mixed bag of classic lemon-napped madeleines, mini rhubarb and strawberry tartlets, chocolate-dipped profiteroles filled with a banana crème, and clusters of milk chocolate sprinkled with sea salt.
I would love to give you a more in-depth account of the meal and the ensuing cornucopia of tasty mouthfuls, but a graduating high schooler and the requisite reveling prevented me from actually participating in the dinner. I was lucky enough, however, to get to hang out in the kitchen and watch the team in action, after promising not to do something dumb like get burned or fall and sue the restaurant. (I’m not the suing type, but I also have lots of kitchen experience, so I know the trick to “skating” around the floor and keeping clear of the fryer.) Check out the photo gallery below.
Fists of Feury is available at Nectar, Fork and Victory, and is currently only on tap. Bottles are in the works, and you’ll see a not-yet-approved label in the gallery below. If you’d like to try your own pairing while dining at Nectar or Fork, Patrick’s advice is to steer your taste buds toward savory, earthy ingredients rather than sweet or overly fragrant and fatty ones. Covaleski suggests sampling this brew sooner than later, as the low-yield batch is due to run out in about four to six weeks and is not slated to become part of Victory’s permanent portfolio.
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