Note: “Square Meals” is an occasional B Square Beacon series documenting visits to Bloomington eateries and drinkeries. First up is Function Brewing.
On Tuesday this week, Function Brewing—on 6th Street in downtown Bloomington, a half block east of the square—celebrated its fifth year in business. Owners Steve and Arlyn Llewellyn observed the half-decade mark the same way they have feted the four anniversaries before, by serving a Beer Dinner.
The dinner featured four courses of food prepared by Arlyn, each paired with a beer brewed by Steve.
In abstract mathematical terms, the beer and food were not mere sets (of cardinality two), because the beer came first and the food came second, so that made them ordered pairs: (beer, food). That order describes not just how they were served, but how they were conceived: Steve chose the beers he wanted to brew and Arlyn prepared food that would complement the flavor of the beers.
Why describe a culinary event in mathematical terms? Because the beers brewed at Function Brewing are all blessed with math-like monikers. They have names like Tangent IPA, Acute Blonde, Digit Red Ale, Theorem Milk Stout, Brahe Session Porter, Catalan Belgian Tripel, Conjecture IPA, Newton’s Nut Brown, Octant Cocoa Milk Brown and Flip Lightly Hopped RyeMy.
Steve pretty much always has something new on tap, so Function Brewing is a place where people who know and love beer can explore the whole arc of beer flavor. I am less adventuresome as a beer drinker, so I enjoy a standard pour—Theorem Milk Stout. It’s a dark beer, which matches my personality. And it’s the perfect beer for me, because I always have something to prove. When the glass is empty, I will announce “QED!” (Quaffed Every Drop).
The regular food fare at Function includes sandwiches like the Smokehouse, which features ham, dry-rubbed onions, pickled jalapeños, smoked gouda, aged cheddar, barbecue aioli served on a telera roll. That would be plenty, but the Smokehouse also includes a layer of candied bacon. I am not a foodie but I know what good food tastes like. And ham with a layer of candied bacon on top tastes great.
Function is staffed with the kind of folks who remember what you like to eat and drink and will remember your name. On my second visit to the place late last year, Deven approached our table and greeted me, “Hi, Dave!” Deven is a linguistics major at the local university and helped serve the Beer Dinner on Tuesday.
Leading off the Beer Dinner was samosa cake (paired with Ratio Golden Ale), followed by a winter salad (paired with Calc II, an Imperial New England IPA), Persian spiced beef kofta (paired with Volume Cream Ale infused with cherry and sage), and was punctuated with a smoked cinnamon roll (paired with Oblique Horchata Blonde).
Here’s some photos of the food: