On Sunday evening, with a peaceful backdrop of a quiet, steady rain, the round event hall at Chattanooga Whiskey’s new Riverfront Distillery, the setting for Scenic City Supper Club’s Spring Barrel Bash, was wreathed in a dazzling array of greens. Outdoors, it was surrounded by the bright, fresh hues of springtime foliage, and inside was filled with lush floral arrangements and styling by Jamie Rehm of Bud Floral and Home. Twinkling lighting from Solid Rock Live and music spun by Cole Sweeton of Cutlass Cult further set a festive mood.
This was the setting for the evening, hosted by Supper Club founders Erik and Amanda Niel of Easy Bistro & Bar and Main Street Meats, in partnership with nooga.com. This season’s dinner featured Nashville’s Bryan Lee Weaver, executive chef of Butcher & Bee and the upcoming Red Headed Stranger. He and Chef Niel lead a team to create a unique dining experience complete with cocktails, wine, beer and a flight tasting from Chattanooga Whiskey. Collaborators included Reed Trimble, Chef de Cuisine at The Meeting Place; Nathan Flynt, owner and chef at 2 Sons Kitchen; Michelle Huffman Wells, owner and chef at Events with Taste; Matt Ballard, bartender at Main Street Meats; and Grant McCracken, head distiller at Chattanooga Whiskey.
The 150 guests were greeted with a sparking welcome cocktail called “Everything Nice on Ice,” featuring Cathead honeysuckle vodka, Cocchi Rosa, strawberry shrub, and lemon, garnished with a sprig of edible flowers. Also available for sipping were Hutton & Smith’s Basecamp Blonde Ale (courtesy of the Hand Family Companies) and a Les Dauphins Cotes du Rhone Rosé.
A special feature of the Barrel Bash was the opportunity to tour the distillery and discuss their whiskey with the people who make it, all while tasting the newest releases. There were three barrel stations featuring an “Experimental Collection Flight” of whiskeys, with three recent batches from the distillery: Scottish Style High Malt, Wheated High Malt, and a Wheated High Malt finished in Hutton & Smith Wee Heavy barrels.
Servers circulated with trays of hors d’oeuvres as the room filled. A benne cracker smeared with whipped feta and fermented honey was crafted by Weaver; from Trimble came a cheddar cracker and spring pea pesto with a blueberry topping; Flynt created a mini chicken biscuit with honey hot sauce, capped with house pickles; and Wells contributed at chilled seared scallop in a bed of mint pea puree on a potato crisp.
As guests took their seats for the dinner courses, they sipped on still and sparkling waters from San Pellegrino as Chef Niel introduced the talent and thanked the event’s partners and sponsors (including The Westin) before giving McCracken, head distiller at Chattanooga Whiskey, a few minutes talk about their space and the new things coming out of the distillery.
The dinner course started with Flynt’s smoked trout salad with pickled onion served on a light Johnny cake made with ash and Red Clay Farm grits. This was followed by an earthy duck taco from Trimble with a carrot tortilla base topped with spring pea guacamole, pea shoots and a baby carrot. And the main course from Weaver was a tender grilled beef coulotte served family style on a bed of spicy cucumber salad.
The meal was well paced and topped off with a dessert cocktail dubbed “8 Hearts to the Bar,” with Chattanooga Whiskey, Cynar, Frangelico, and rhubarb bitters. And Wells treated the crowd to one last taste of whiskey with her rhubarb and cherry crisp topped with an Old Fashioned flavored ice cream. It was a lovely conclusion to a delicious and unique dining experience.
It’s incredible that the Scenic City Supper Club team continues to find amazing new ways to innovate through the twelve iterations since they created this series three years ago. Each event is a carefully curated and dazzlingly singular experience that they always manage to pull off with unruffled elegance. To be first to hear news of the next event, sign up for announcements.