HopHeadSaid has moved

In an effort to get a better control over my stats and web design I have moved all the important posts and some that aren’t so important to HopHeadSaid.com.  Come join the parter over there, al the cool kids are!

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breweriana.coasters: Make your own story

I love these coasters, and while they are not a set or even beer coasters they seemed to make a great story together.   I’ve arranged them to tell my own story!-)

You also have two biscuits with your coffee?


The Dutch are just more progressive, especially for 1988.  I not sure any other country, even today, could get a way with scene on a coaster.  The caption literally translated is “You also have two biscuits with your coffee?”  Funny in any context but it takes on a whole new meaning when paired with this illustration.

Hands off my coffee, friend.


It seems the Dutch take their coffee ownership pretty seriously.  Don’t make this mistake the next time you are in Amsterdam.  Literally translated as “Hands off my coffee, pal.”

Darling ca I go? My coffee calls.


Then the ending. Or is it?  Literally translated as “Darling, can I go?  My coffee calls.”

This was some sort of a contest. The back of each coaster has a speech balloon and instructions to write the next passage and if your entry is one of the 101 they choose you will receive a silver pendent shaped like a coffee bean with an emerald.  That sounds like a pretty good prize, unfortunately the contest ended 23 years ago.

Now it is your turn!  I won’t be giving away a silver coffee bean pendant with an emerald but I will be giving away a very nice, heavy duty denim apron with a fancy hop graphic that I designed.

How to enter:

Follow this LINK to enter your comments.  I know it is a pain in the butt, however, I have better control of entrant data there and so I can track down the winners much easier this way.

food.pairing: Avec Les Bons Voeux

Beer: Avec Les Bons Voeux (9.5%)

Brewery: Brasserie Dupont

Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale

Serving: Tulip Glass @ 45°- 50° 

General Beer Description: Whether you are drinking a traditional strength (5% ABV or lower) or a more contemporary version (6% ABV or higher) Saisons should finish dry with very little sweetness.  Saison aromas can be quite complex with a fruit and spice mixture reminiscent of barnyards. Typically their flavors will be malt balanced (leaning towards malt instead of hops) but peppery spice flavors from the yeast and the elevated carbonation levels create a beer with medium bitterness and a dry finish.

These beers pair well with all kinds of cheeses because the dry finish and elevated carbonation help to scrub the palate clean after each drink. Saisons will also pair well with salads that are tossed with spicy greens like arugula or light meats such as fish or poultry.  Spice these meats sparingly as the spices in the beer can add another layer of complexity to any dish.

General Food Pairing Suggestions: Cuisine: Salads. Cheese: Earthy or Nutty. Meat: poultry and fish.

Photo courtesy of FineCooking.com

Specific Food Pairing Suggestion: Sautéed sweet potatoes with orange-mint germolata.  Click HERE for the FineCooking.com recipe I used to pair with this beer.  Avec Les Bons Voeux, and saisons in general, are excellent pairings with this dish.  The toasted pecans, garlic and herbs resonate with the barnyard-like aromas and yeasty spice flavors found in saisons while the pepper accentuates the dryness which increases the refreshing qualities of the beer.  But the goodness doesn’t stop there, oh no!  The orange zest adds another layer of complexity that pairs well with smooth wheat flavors (think Blue Moon with the lemon wedge) and takes the edge off the spicy yeast flavors. But the beer has the last stand as the alcohol and the elevated carbonation scrub your palate and get you ready to start this adventure all over again.

food.pairing: The Big Game

I just learned that the “S” and “B” word used together are trademarked and shouldn’t be mentioned together or in conjunction with each other unless I wanted a cease and desist order.  Oooops! So I am going to refer to the biggest football game the NFL plays each year, you know the one I am talking about, the one that is so SUPER big that it can’t possibly live up to the hype and that most of the people watching the game are only interested in what kind of dip is in that BOWL and the commercials that air during TV breaks, as The Big Game.

Make this year really special for all of your friends that are coming over to watch… “The Big Game” and don’t serve any light beers! You know the ones I am talking about. Instead try some of the pairings below and start exploring how flavorful beers can intensify, complement or even subdue flavors in your halftime snacks.

New England Cuisine Pairings:

Oysters: Dry Stouts: The intense roasty flavors (coffee, bitter chocolate) in these stouts can briefly intensify the saline, sea tastes in the oysters while the subtle chocolate flavors and perceived bitterness cleanses the palate.  Examples: Guinness Draught, Beamish Stout, Oyster stouts are a double whammy (Rogue, Dogfish Head)

Mussels: Witbiers:  The mild wheat and subtle spice and/or citrus flavors can complement the mussels especially if they were steamed in that particular beer. The beer’s flavors won’t cover up and of the mussel flavors, however, the elevated carbonation and dry finish will cleanse the palate.  Examples: Hoegaarden, Allagash White, Avery White Rascal, Unibroue Blanche de Chambly.

Dunkin’ Donuts: Chocolate Frosting Glazed: Milk/Oatmeal Stouts, Brown Porters.  The sweet chocolaty flavors and velvet textures found in these beers are perfect matches for donuts with or without chocolate frosting but why would you want to eat a donut with out chocolate frosting?  Examples: Sam Adams Cram Stout, Left Hand Milk Stout, Young’s Oatmeal Stout, Fullers Porter.

Click HERE to listen to my New England Patriots halftime paring segement on Bo’s Man Cave! (link will open to a file on HopHeadSaid.com)

New York Cuisine:

Pizza: American Pale, Amber or Brown Ales: Any of these beers will have elevated hops, alcohol and carbonation which will help cleanse the palate.  Also, all of these beers use a similar base malt and that malt imparts a toasty flavor that will resonate with the pizza crust. If the pizza is especially savory (lots of cheese) go with a pale ale.  If the pizza has caramelized toppings then try an Amber because the malt used will resonate with those flavors as well as provide a residual sweetness.  If the pizza has meat (every pizza should) then go for a brown ale as the grilled meats will resonate with the darker malts used in brewing.  Examples: Pale Ales (Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Stone Pale Ale, Full Sail Pale Ale) Amber Ales (North Coast Read seal Ale, Anderson Valley Boont Amber), Brown Ales (Big Sky Moose Drool, Lost Coast Downtown Brown)

Bagels and Lox: Ideally, pair with Bohemian Pilseners sometimes called BoPils but any quality pilsner will do.  Do not get these confused with the Bud, Miller or Coors these are American style lagers.  The malt used in brewing a pilsner will has a soft grainy flavor that will resonate with the bagel while the spicy hop flavor will add a new layer of intrigue to the salmon.  The crisp dry finish will cleanse the palate of the cream cheese and the prominent salmon flavors.  Examples: Pilsner Urquell,

Cheesecake:  Pair BIG beers with this desert! These pairings will blow your calorie allotment for the week so throw your calorie caution to the wind or go home! Pair Imperial IPA’s with caramel or candied toppings.  The malt used in these sweet IPAs will resonate with the caramel. Pair Imperial Stouts with chocolate or dark fruits toppings or fillings. The chocolaty/coffee flavors in these beers will resonate with these fillings beautifully.  Examples: Imperial IPA’s: Firestone Walker Double Jack, Great Divide Hercules, Moylan’s Hopsickle.  Imperial Stouts: Great Divide Yeti, Avery The Czar, Oskar Blues TenFiddy.\

Click HERE to listen to my New York Giants halftime paring segement on Bo’s Man Cave! (link will open to a file on HopHeadSaid.com)

Don’t forget to vote for your favorite brewery!  Leave your team or conference pride/loyalty out of this and choose the brewery you think has the best beer.  The polls will close this Sunday at noon (PST).  So far the polls have correctly picked 60% of the playoff games lets see how this week turns out!

Santa Barbara Big Beer Festival


BEER LIST! (updated Feb 9)

BrewCo: Bourbon Barrel Barleywine, Doppelbock, Scottish 90/- and Belgian IPA.
Firestone Walker: Sucaba (formerly Abacus), Anniversary XV and a firkin of Union Jack.
Sierra Nevada: Bigfoot, Ovila Quad, Ovila Saison.
Heretic: Evil Twin, Evil Cousin, Shallow Grave and Worry.
Telegraph: Rhinocerous.
Anchor: Old Foghorn.
Surf Brewery: South Swell Double IPA.



Last week I got together with a couple of friends for a mini-beer tour of Santa Barbara.  We took the train (well worth the $17 DD fair) from Camarillo and arrived in Santa Barbara just in time for lunch.  Our first stop was Santa Barbara Brewing Company, a short walk up State Street from the train station, where we met up with Kevin Pratt Brewmaster, Grand Master Beer Judge and Cicerone.

Kevin has been the brewmaster at SBBC since last July and has already made his mark.  I have been following his “adventures” on Face book and his daily updates over the past six months read something like a home improvement journal.  He has scoured years of beer stone out of the system, fixed leaks and improved the overall system efficiency by something like 4000 percent!  OK, not quite that much but the improved efficiency led to a new beer detailed below.  The beer names at SBBC are still the same but don’t let that keep you from trying his new beers.  Kevin has completely retooled each recipe and the beers have never tasted better.

Kevin was kind enough to talk us through a tasting starting with the Blond, which is a 4.5% pilsner all the way through a 10% dopplebock.  But the fun didn’t end there, remember that improved efficiency?  Well, the first beer Kevin made (after basically rebuilding the brewhouse) was much stronger than any beer he had planned.  On the fly, Kevin looked through his hop inventory and decided he could salvage the beer by making it a Barleywine that comes in at 13%!  There isn’t much of that one left but don’t worry you can get a taste of that beer at an upcoming Big Beer Festival Kevin is planning in February.  What’s a big beer festival you ask?  Well that means that every one of the beers served will be BIG in aroma, BIG in flavor and BIG in alcohol! See below for details.

SBBC stout and serving tanks.

Big Beer Festival

Date: February 11th

Time: 10 -6

Place: Santa Barbara Brewing Company (Back Lounge), 501 State St., Santa Barbara

Price: $8 for the first sample and commemorative glass, $3 refills

17 big and rare beers from:

BrewCo: Bourbon Barrel Barleywine, Doppelbock, Scottish 90/- and Belgian IPA.
Firestone Walker: Sucaba (formerly Abacus), Anniversary XV and a firkin of Union Jack.
Sierra Nevada: Bigfoot, Ovila Quad, Ovila Saison.
Heretic: Evil Twin, Evil Cousin, Shallow Grave and Worry.
Telegraph: Rhinocerous.
Anchor: Old Foghorn.
Surf Brewery: South Swell Double IPA.


SBBC Serving Tanks filled with liquid goodness!

My favorite SBBC meal, seared ahi wrap.

food.pairing: Koko Brown

Beer: Koko Brown (5.5%)

Brewery: Kona Brewing Company

Style: American Brown

Serving: Pint Glass 40°- 45° 

General Beer Description: American Brown Ales are different from their English counterparts in that they use American ingredients and brewing practices, which in return produce more assertive flavors.  American Brown ales can have a wide range of bitterness but generally they have a noticeable but balanced bitterness that is accentuated by a clean fermentation (none to low fruity flavors) and an elevated carbonation.  American Brown Ales can also have a pronounced nutty, toasty, caramel and/or chocolate flavor.

General Food Pairing Suggestions: Cuisine: Barbecue. Cheese: Earthy or Nutty. Meat: beef. Dessert: Chocolate.

Specific Food Pairing Suggestion: Butternut Squash, goat cheese, sage lasagna

Photo courtesy of Fine Cooking.



This is another great recipe I found in Fine Cooking Magazine for that butternut squash that has been waiting patiently on your countertop. Koko Brown is a unique pairing for this dish because brown ales are usually paired with meat or desert dishes to accentuate toasty or chocolaty flavors. But those toasty and sweet flavors can also be found in this lasagna and that is why this beer pairs so well with this dish.

The sweetness of the butternut squash resonates with the sweet malt and coconut flavors. The toasted coconut (a unique beer ingredient to say the least) used in this beer complements the sweet roasted squash flavors and blends with the butternut squash sweetness to create a brand new flavor combination that is magical.

The “American” part (hops and carbonation) of this brown ale does its part to keep this dish from becoming too sweet or too savory.   The hop bitterness counteracts the sweetness while the carbonation helps to cleanse the palate. If either of these two aspects were subtler then the pairing would be too sweet.

Variations: I didn’t make the fresh pasta (that is just ridiculous;-) but I did use the thin style lasagna noodles.  Also, I didn’t boil the noodles first, there is plenty of sauce to cover the whole dish and bake it until the noodles become soft.  You may want to cover the dish with foil for the first 30-45 minutes but then take the foil off for the last 15 minutes to brown the cheese and re-toast the breadcrumbs on top.

I know this recipe isn’t light by any standards but you may want to try combine this similar lighter recipe from CookingLight.com.  It had a number of substitutions, some I thought would be outstanding from a taste point of view as well as aesthetically.  I would suggest that if you do combine the recipes you blend the squash instead of leaving it cubed as that enables you to make many thin layers of noodles and sauce.


If you make any lighter variations please share your experiences below in the comments.

Brewery Super Bowl: Brooklyn Brewery v. Sam Adams

Well my NFL beer playoff series has ended and 0f the 10 playoff games my readers predicted 6 of them were correct. Our predictions really took a hit with the late championship game flubs but on the plus side that made for some exciting games.

Over the next two weeks I will be focusing on Super Bowl food pairings to help you “WOW” your friends when they come over to enjoy the big game.  Sam Adams will be representing the Patriots so let me know what your favorite New England food is and I will do my best to pair that with a Sam Adams beer.  Brooklyn Brewery will be representing the Giants so let me now what your favorite New York food is and I will do my best to pair that with a Brooklyn brewery beer.

But now is the time to stand up and vote for your favorite brewery in the Super Bowl.  This poll has nothing to do with the actual athletic merits of either team but solely on the merits of the breweries representing each team.  So throw your team pride to the side and vote for the best beer!  I realize this may take some drinking. . . err, research but consider it training for the big game. Let me know which beer you think will be the MVB in the comments below and I will try to pair that beer with some classic or regional half-time cuisine.

NFL Championship Playoffs

Please excuse the complete lack of commentary but it has been one of those weeks but in a good way thankfully! I would appreciate it if you could share this far and wide as I am away from my work computer and I need your help spreading the word of these polls.
The polls will end when the first game starts this weekend. Thanks for participating, I am sure you will be picking the Super Bowl teams!

AFC Championship Game

NFC Championship Game

homebrew.recipe:Chocolate Thunda

Chocolate Thunda

Type: All Grain

Batch Size (fermenter): 10.00 gal

Boil Size: 14.44 gal

Boil Time: 90 min

End of Boil Volume 11.44 gal

Final Bottling Volume: 9.25 gal

Fermentation: Ale, Single Stage

Date: 01/05/2012 Brewer: Curtis Taylor Asst Brewer: Equipment: Stainless Kegs (10 Gal/37.8 L) – All Grain Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %

Est Mash Efficiency 80.0 % Taste Rating(out of 50): 30.0

Measured Original Gravity: Measured Final Gravity: 1.010 SG Actual Alcohol by Vol: 4.7 % Calories: 151.6 kcal/12oz

Total Grain Weight: 33 lbs 8.0 oz

Grain Temperature: 72.0 F Tun Temperature: 72.0 F Mash PH: 5.20


80.6 % Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)

3.0 %  Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM)

6.0 % Medium Crystal (60.0 SRM)

10.4 %Sugar, Table (Sucrose) (1.0 SRM)

76.7 IBUs Magnum [13.10 %] -Boil 60.0 min

32.9 IBUs 7 c’s [9.90 %] -Boil 20.0 min

Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) [50.28 ml]

Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.089 SG Est Final Gravity: 1.012 SG Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 10.2 % Bitterness: 109.7 IBUs

Est Color: 40.2 SRM

Chocolate Thuda PDF

Created with BeerSmith

Predictions: NFL Divisional Playoff Winners

HopHeadSaid fans have picked the winners!

AFC Divisional Games:

Clipper City/High Seas (AKA Baltimore Ravens) will top St. Arnold (AKA Houston Texans)!

Great Divide (AKA Denver Broncos) will top Sam Adams (AKA New England Patriots)!

NFC Divisional Games:

Brooklyn Brewing (AKA New York Giants) will top Titletown (AKA Green Bay Packers)!

21st Amendment (AKA San Francisco 49ers) will top Abita (New Orleans Saints)!


To see the poll results for this week click here https://hopheadsaid.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/nfl-divisional-playoffs/

Last week we correctly picked 3 of the 4 games and I have a good feeling about this even though we picked a couple of good upsets!  Now, lets see how these games play out.  Monday I will post the next round and recap these games.