Archive for October, 2011

food.pairing: Chai Cream Ale


This was an unexpected and quite delicious pairing discovery. The subtle chai spice in this beer pairs seamlessly with spices used in bread pudding.  Information on this beer can be found at http://chaicreamale.com/

chai cream ale

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food.pairing: Horny Devil


alesmith, horny devil

General description and suggestion: Belgian ales are some of the most exciting and challenging beers to pair with food. The term “Belgian” is a loose style descriptor for beers that get a majority of their flavors from fermentation instead of malt or hops. There are hundreds if not thousands of different Belgian beers each with a unique spicy phenol derived from fermentation.  This makes them challenging to pair because one particular “Belgian Pale Ale” can taste quite different from another so you will have to taste each to fully appreciate its flavor profile.  However, this variety is exactly what makes them so special because you are sure to find a Belgian ale to match any food pairing, especially veggies.

Specific description and suggestion: I was lucky enough not to have to search for this pairing –although it would have been fun drinking my way through the possibilities- as it happened quite accidentally.  At a recent dinner party, Horny Devil –a house favorite- was paired with a veggie/quinoa dish (because my wife is a vegetarian) and it turned out to be quite magical.  See recipe below.  As with all Belgian beers, allow Horny Devil to warm before serving to ensure all the subtle spicy phenols and fruity esters are released out of solution. The spicy phenols from this beer will combine with the black pepper and vegetable-seasoning rub and create a new layer that balances the savory vegetables. The elevated alcohol content and the high carbonation in this beer help to cleanse the palate by breaking up and “scrubbing” the residual “savory-ness” away.

Alesmith, Horny Devil

This beer, like many, changes quite a bit as it warms but feel free to pour the beer in a tulip glass and taste it cold.  I find it is quite one sided with an unpleasant carbonic bite but as it warms (wrap your hands around the glass to speed up the process) and as the carbonation subsides a bit there is a “sweet spot” where all the elements come together creating a beer that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Thanks Merideth and Jim for a great meal, laughs and of course the beer!

Recipe: Adjust to your serving size

-quinoa, zucchini, spinach, summer squash, tomatoes, mushrooms, red & yellow bell peppers and leeks

Sprinkle vegies with olive oil, black pepper, oregano, salt, chives, and the Fresh & Easy vegetable seasoning rub. Bake in the oven at 375 until they reached the desired texture (about 10 minutes). Combine the veggies with the quinoa, sprinkle with a bit more olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

beer.review: Horny Devil


Alesmith, Horny Devil

This beer, like many, changes quite a bit as it warms but feel free to pour the beer in a tulip glass and taste it cold.  I find it is quite one sided with an unpleasant carbonic bite but as it warms (wrap your hands around the glass to speed up the process) and as the carbonation subsides a bit there is a “sweet spot” where all the elements come together creating abeer that is greater than the sum of its parts.

hombrew.label: Chocolate Thunda


A few are good, some are OK,most are BAD and all are my homebrew labels! Let me know what you think, or better yet let me know what you think of the beer, even if you haven’t had it.

This one is an excellent example of why you should never, ever, make a label using Microsoft clip art! I almost didn’t post this because it is soooooooooooo horrible.

Version #1:

Chocolate Thunda

Version #2:  About ten years later and using Photoshop.

hopheadsaid

food.pairing: Avery 18


avery, 18, anniversary

Beer: 18 (8.1 % ABV)

Brewery: Avery Brewing Company

Style: Saison

Serving: Tulip glass @ 40°-45°

General description and suggestion: 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.  Saisons 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.

Specific description and suggestion: This was an unexpected and quite delicious pairing discovery. Just because the general suggestions don’t mention a particular food item don’t be afraid to step outside the box and try something different.  I did just that with this pairing because the spices in “18” reminded me of cookies for some reason.  The spiciness of the rye and yeast phenols in this beer pair seamlessly with raisin, oatmeal cookies.

food.paring: Coconut Porter


coconut porter, maui

Specific soup recipe can be found @ Underwood Family Farm’s blog.

General description and suggestion: This beer changes characteristics quite a bit as it warms.  When the beer is chilled (40° or below) the beer will seem one-sided roasty with an almost unpleasant effervescence.  As it warms (45° or higher) the roasty notes mellow and subtle coffee, chocolate and sweet coconut start to reveal themselves.  This beer pairs well with sweet winter squashes like butternut because the sweet chocolate and coconut notes come forward and complement the sweetness of the prepared squash.  The hops, roasty bitterness and carbonation all help cleanse the palate, which is especially important if you prepare your squash with savory toppings.

Specific description and suggestion: South African Butternut Soup Soup Variation: veggie stock, no banana, olive oil to sauté and thick.

Maui Brewing’s Coconut Porter is a perfect pairing with this soup recipe. This beer complements the sweetness of thesquash with its mild chocolate notes (when warmed) and its light coconut notesmeld perfectly with the coconut milk.  The roasty bitterness and carbonation serve a dual purpose in this pairing.  They both complement and accentuate the pepper flakes by increasing their intensity, momentarily.  The roasty bitterness and carbonation also work together to cleanse your palate keeping this soup from becoming too sweet or savory.

beer.review: Coconut Porter


 

coconut porter, maui brewing

This beer changes characteristics quite a bit as it warms. When the beer is chilled (40° or below) the beer will seem one-sided roasty with an almost unpleasant effervescence. As it warms (45° or higher) the roasty notes mellow and subtle coffee, chocolate and sweet coconut start to reveal themselves creating a wonderful beer you are sure to enjoy.