When I joined Ratebeer.com over a year ago, one of the first things I learned was that many more styles of beer existed than I had previously reckoned. There are in fact, 73 different styles of beer lovingly crafted for your enjoyment. So far I’ve worked through 65 different styles, with sours ranking as my favorite for its unique complexities and delightful inconsistencies across this particular style. However, belgian strong ales take the cake for the beer I seem to drink the most. Anyways, here is the rundown of the Mighty 73. Look them up on RateBeer for the deluge of descriptions.
Abbey Dubbel/Abbey Tripel
American Dark Lager
American Pale Ale
American Strong Ale
Belgian Strong Ale
Belgian White (Witbier)
Bière de Garde
Classic German Pilsener
English Pale Ale
English Strong Ale
Golden Ale/Blond Ale
Imperial Pils/Strong Pale Lager
India Pale Ale (IPA)
Lambic – Faro
Lambic – Fruit
Lambic – Gueuze
Lambic – Unblended
Malt Liquor — edward 40 hands is the only reason to drink this, and probably not even then.
Scotch Ale — if you value your life, don’t EVER call a Scottish person a Scotch…a person is not something you drink, unless you’re a vampire.
So what if all the rum’s gone….you’ve got 73 types of beer to choose from, so drink up me hearties, yo ho!
I have the best brother in the whole world. Christmas started off with the proper glassware I needed for different styles of beer, since I’d been roughing it at school with a shaker, a double-handled mug and a sampling glass. Without even remembering to ask for it, my wonderful brother had slipped an equally wonderful surprise into my stocking: my very own triple beer hydrometer. This giant thermometer allows me to measure the weight of a liquid in relation to water (the gravity) and calculate the abv — essential to any homebrewer.
I woke up accidently way too early on Christmas day, which is never the case in my house, and so half way through presents I was melting down the armchair and pinned under wrapping paper and an assortment of gifts…all because I was too tired to move them to the floor.
By the time my brother gave me his last present to me, it was so heavy and situated directly under my chin I not only had trouble breathing but I couldn’t unwrap it. This was the present, in more ways than one, that made me sit up and take notice. The insides: Delirium Noël, Dogfish Head Burton Baton, Dogfish Head Theobroma, Dogfish Head World Wide Stout, my all time favorite Rochefort Trappistes 10, St. Bernardus Tripel and Southern Tier UnEarthly IPA. Oh, and just for funsies and to share, he brought home a 750 of Dupont Avec les Bons Vouex, a Belgian saison to die for: pours a really beautiful hazy orange/amber with an enormous super-fluff off-white head. Laces a teeny bit at the beginning. Seems like a saison/geuze hybrid because of the nice yeastiness and white grapes but is balanced with a sweetness.
A treasure trove of craft beer! What more could a girl ask for?! Well, about a week later a dear friend brought me a beer I’ve been waiting to get my hands on for a long time. Back from Chicago, he came armed with Three Floyds Behemoth Barleywine. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this brewery, start doing your homework because they have been giving the Midwest something of which to be truly proud and for the rest of the world to salivate over.
Got a new haul today from Grapes of Mirth at North Market where I was also picking up veal shanks from Bluescreek Farm Meats. Very happy with my finds and the service at Grapes of Mirth. The selection is starting to get slim for me so I’m looking for new spots since I’ve had almost everything there at this point. Also, after a quick stop at home for fall break I ran up to the Beer Engine and grabbed some Viking’s Blod!!! Gahhh, can’t wait to crack all these babies but for now it’s nose to the grindstone for school work and beer dinner fundraiser preparations.
Pictured above from left to right: Gouden Carolus Cuvee Van De Keizer Blauw/Blue, New Holland Charkoota Rye, Fantome Pissenlit, Bell’s Java Stout and Bell’s Double Cream Stout.
The hilarious part about the Fantome is that this saison is brewed using diuretic dandelions found in the region: “The yellow flowers are removed and dried in the sun, then soaked in water for a few days. The thick, dark dandelion “tea” that results is the basis for the Pissenlit, which is made also from traditional barley malt and hops. It resembles a classic saison beer – golden spritzy brew, strong and very flavorful, with a good hop bite. You may have to strain to taste the dandelions, but you know they’re in there.
It should be noted that uncooked, the dandelion has a diuretic effect and is known in France as Pissenlit (literally, “wet the bed” – this also happens to be the British folk-name) for precisely this reason” (http://ratebeer.com/beer/fantome-pissenlit/10959/).
A few weeks ago, I tried my hand at pairing an interesting beer list around a dinner prepared by a friend. I knew my audience: 11 friends and some family, a few winos and some dedicated but uneducated hopheads. The menu was a delicious hodge-podge: Cambodian chicken rice (details below), bbqed thick cut steaks, chickpea salad and for dessert crepes with homemade walnut frangipane.
To whet our appetites I started the diners off with a personal hop favorite, Bell’s Hopslam (only downside is the pricey nature of a 6-pack so go singles and mix it up with other hoppy friends like Thirsty Dog Hoppus Maximus, etc.).
Beer truly made its place known at our table and garnered the attention of everyone. To compliment the juicy chargrilled steaks: Lakefront Organic ESB. For the spicyness of both the Cambodian chicken rice and the chickpea salad a bottle of Saison Dupont Vielle Provision and a Cantillon Gueuze – the tartness of both played off the spicyness and citrus aspect complimented the ingredients of the salad well. Dessert was incredibly rich and very sweet, so in order to pay respect to this classic French sweet I served up small doses of Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout. LIke a shot of coffee as an aperatif, this brew is lavish but bitter enough to stand beside the crepe. Hell, you could pour this over vanilla ice cream and call it a night.
CAMBODIAN CHICKEN RICE:
Saute in a large and decently deep skillet one large yellow onion and a large garlic clove in olive oil over medium heat
Over the sauteed onions and garlic toss in 3 large chicken breasts cut in bite size pieces
As soon as the chicken starts to turn from pink to white start coating the surface of the entire pan with turmeric, cayenne, ground or fresh shredded ginger and black pepper. Alter the spice amount depending on your spice threshold. Add in about a cup of fish sauce (you can find this around the soy sauce at any large grocery store) and half a bag of frozen or fresh peas.
At the same time you start the process of the chicken and spices, start making a few cups of white rice depending on how much or how little rice you want to eat with your creation. Once this is prepared (the simplest way I’ve found is just taking another large skillet over medium heat, throwing in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook the rice until it starts to turn translucent around the edges and then start adding water, let it cook out and then add more until the rice is al dente).
Once the rice is complete turn back to your chicken stew and toss in a can of coconut milk and the rice and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve up with some lime wedges and cilantro.