Being a sommelier is not all wine- it includes all things beverage including spirits, liqueurs, coffe, tea and beer. I love being able to delve into the other areas and my latest invite to Frietkoten (Flemmish for "Fry Shack") at the Chicago French Market offered me an excellent beer tasting. They specialize in two things: beer and fries, both Belgian style. Belgians have the longest known history of making fries, since 1680 as they had a habit of accompanying meals with fried sardines, but when their rivers were frozen, they substituted potatoes. Their beers are world famous as they make over 8700 different and consume about 93 liters/year on average.
The concept behind Frietkoten sprouts from owner Jeroen Hasenbos and his life experience of Amsterdam Fry Shacks. Family recipe includes hand cutting the fries, blanching and double frying them. There are 20 different sauces available in both Mayo form like Truffle, Wasabi, Green Chile and Garlic, along with Ketchup form like Roasted Red Chile. He also features over 20 Belgian and American "Belgian Style" beers (3 organic) both on tap and in bottle like Dupont's Avril Biere de Table, Urthel Saisonniere, De Koninck Pale Ale, Bosteel Tripel Karmeliet and Brasserie Lefebvre Blanche de Bruxelles.
Not much goes better with these crisp, full flavored fries and sauces than beer- try them out next time you stop The Chicago French Market (131 N. Clinton)!