If you’ve never heard of the Coteau des Prairies Lodge, let me introduce you! There’s this gorgeous log cabin style lodge quite literally in the middle of nowhere North Dakota, which if you’ve surmised from my postings, is a gorgeous place to be! If you’re ever traveling through South Eastern North Dakota through fields filled with cows and crops and several miles down a gravel road, suddenly you’ll come to this massive lodge on the hill. And you’ve made it.
The Lodge is named after the region it is located in. Explorer and Mapmaker Joseph Nicollet named the great ridge of rolling prairies between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, Coteau des Prairies which literally means “slope or hill of the prairie”. The story of the Breker family and their history of the land and eventually the dream of the lodge is a great one. Today, the Lodge certainly stands as not only a fixture remembering the many who called this part of the prairie home but also a family dream come true.
I don’t remember how the Coteau des Prairies Lodge came up on my radar, but I have been wanting to make a visit for quite some time. Philip has invited me several times, but I’ve never been able to make my schedule jive with the many events they host. Outside of being a lodge with 10 bedrooms, the Lodge also puts on several speciality dinners a couple times a year. Anything from beer pairing dinners with craft brewers to an indigenous foods retreat.
I was really excited when the Summer Beer Dinner happened to work in my schedule, so I invited a friend from near the Fargo area and we made it ladies night!
The craft brewer of the evening was Surly Brewing Company which has made quite a splash in the craft brewing scene and in Minnesota. In fact, through grassroots efforts in 2011, the ‘Surly Bill’ passed in Minnesota which overturned a 78-year old prohibition era law restricting beer makers from selling beer at their breweries! The evening was a fun pairing of five craft brews from Surly Brewing Company paired with a five course dinner designed and prepared by Executive Chef Judd Eskildsen from Proof Artisan Distillery (Fargo) and Executive Chef Steve Schulz from The Toasted Frog (Fargo). The Lead Brewer Jerrod Johnson from Surly Brewing Company was also on hand to discuss the various craft brews we would be sampling.
They had a FANTASTIC menu I couldn’t wait to try! I had never even had or heard of Surly Brewing Company (sorry Surly!) but now I am a fan! I was so excited when I found Surly beer in South Dakota during a day trip last weekend, of course I had to pick up some of my favorites from the Summer Beer Dinner to bring home for the hubby.
As you very well may have guessed, I love coming to things like this that pair good, local craft brewers with creative and delicious food. I always get so many ideas to try whenever I get to eat “fancy food” as I call it! And this dinner was no different, I walked away with so many creative ideas and new things to try in my own kitchen! Course One was Surly’s #Merica, a Pre-prohibition American Lager, brewed oddly enough with corn! Plus the can was just awesome too. This craft brew was paired with Brandade de Morue (think like catfish served in crab-style cake) with watercress, pickled sweet corn, and melon. And I went home telling myself “I NEED to pickle some corn” so stay tuned for THAT post!
Course Two was CynicAle, a Belgian Style Saison/Pale Ale paired with a Chicken Boudin Blanc (think Boudin with a twist) served with apricot, toasted pine nut, and Moroccan spices. This was like an explosion of flavor in your mouth. That sausage was to die for delicious, I will be telling the Butcher Man himself (my dad) all about it!
Course Three was the SeVIIn, a Vintage Belgian Style Strong Ale that has been aging at Surly for three years! Super exciting stuff! It was paired with a Spiced Honey Glazed Pork Belly (can’t go wrong with pork belly) alongside banana polenta, green chili, and radish. What a flavor combination here, the pork belly and what a great idea with the banana polenta.
Course Four was their Furious, an American IPA/British ESB Hybrid beer. It was paired with Slow Smoked Pork Roulade served alongside citrus rosemary jerk, sweet potato, mango, and cilantro. The flavor combination here as well was spot on. I loved the addition of the sweet potato and mango. Added the perfect sweet to the jerk spices.
Course Five was my favorite beer of the evening being that I LOVE a good brown ale, stout, or porter. I’m a dark beer gal. And Surly’s Bender brought it! It’s an American Oatmeal Brown Ale that was served with dessert. For dessert we enjoyed a Butterscotch Panna Cotta alongside espresso, kettle corn, and fig. Holy buckets, this was fantastic! Who knew kettle corn could be so dressed up!?
Needless to say, the food and the beer did not disappoint. Neither did the views from the Lodge.
All in all, the Summer Beer Dinner was a fantastic time of social, food, beer, and great music from a group called the Crop Dusters (love the name). If you ever get the chance to attend one of the Lodge’s various dinners or just need a weekend away in beautiful nowhere North Dakota, The Coteau Des Prairies Lodge is your spot! And maybe I’ll see you there!
You can find more about events, reservations, and information at http://cdplodge.com/.
Disclaimer: I have to give a huge THANK YOU to Philip Breker for sending me some tickets to the Summer Beer Dinner. While the tickets were provided to me, the content and opinions expressed are that of Prairie Californian. I truly couldn’t be happier support a family business and I wish them continued success with their operation!