Tag Archives: brewers

Bestest

11 Jan

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.

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IdiditIdiditIdidit!!!

27 Dec

Every year, the day after Christmas is my immediate family’s opportunity to have our extended family over to our house for Boxing Day.  People get to unload their leftovers and bring horrendous white elephant gifts and I get to make yummy hors d’oeuvres to round out the table.  My creations included crostini with a peppered salami/spiced green olive tapenade I blended up in the Cuisinart and a slice of creamy Danish havarti.  Popped them into the oven for 15 minutes @ 200º to melt the cheese.  If you don’t have a baguette or even an oven, repeat the recipe but with crackers (I prefer Bremner) and a microwave.

Pancakes slathered in my homemade jam and topped with homemade whip cream.  They were so cute and little you could eat ’em like cookies.

I only made a few of these next ones and they disappeared in maybe 15 minutes.  Rolled out some philo pastry dough very thin, then used a snowflake cookie cutter to make some shapes, placed a few bleu cheese crumbles in the middle, a half of grape tomato on top, sprinkled with black pepper and cayenne pepper.  Into the oven @ 350º for 10-12 minutes.  Cayenne pepper doesn’t faze me anymore so I totally forgot that others in my family might still have taste buds, so basically tonight I made my aunt cry and slightly choke.  But they were REALLY yummy.

One of the perks of being the cook is you are allowed to demand drinks.  So while I juggled the pancakes and the snowflakes, my brother poured me a snifter full of La Trappe Quadrupel from De Koningshoeven.  It has a light cognac colored pour with very little head.  The aroma is lovely: a very refined banana scent that isn’t artificial but mellow. The flavor is a lighter version of the aroma and boozier and smooth but not slick over the palate.  As I quenched my thirst and danced around the kitchen to some motown tunes amongst the swirl of culinary activity, I started delighting from the trickle of yummy sounds coming from the dining room.  I already knew the pancakes were good but I hadn’t really known how the crostini or the snowflakes would come off.  My excitement about personal creations increases exponentially when I get feedback from people other than myself.  My dancing got a little funkier after the positive reviews and was accompanied by a little chant of “I did it! I did it! I did it!”.  Honestly, there is nothing in this world that makes me happier than feeding people and giving them yummy things to drink.  I leave the calming effects of speeding in a happy-making category unto themselves.

L’Albatros

23 Dec

Just woke up from a killer food coma, thanks to dinner at L’Albatros with the fam.  The recent addition to the Cleveland restaurant scene has taken up residence in the old That Place on Bellflower.  Great ambience, friendly and intelligent staff and food that blows the mind.  I’m just coming off finals week and therefore have averaged maybe 8 hours of sleep in the past week, so I’ve been eating cereal and crack.  That said, today was a total reversal of that routine: prato misto and a Young’s Double Chocolate Stout at Sergio’s and at L’Albatros; escargot, cassoulet and a canalé with cherry compote and a Reissdorf Kölsch.

L’Albatros has a decent beer list with some Great Lakes, Orval, Duvel, Old Speckled Hen, Gavroche but with LINDEMAN’S!  I have such a pet-peeve when places try to offer lambics but then offer the MOST crap one.  Ok that aside, the food is to die for and you’ll be fighting off the “itis” before you know it, but in such a good way.

Bomb Lasagna

11 Dec

Mozzerella is a great thing — it makes pizza happy and caprese a perfect snack — but I feel it’s a misplaced addition to lasagna.  I’ve never been a fan of lasagna because I never found the combination of mundane ragu and a relatively flavourless cheese that thrilling.  So, over this Thanksgiving break I gave it a try with very slight variations.  For my ragu I started off with browning up some garlic, shallots and chopped andouille sausage in a little olive oil with some splashes of Beckwith cider and a can of whole, peeled tomatoes.  The cider gave it a mild sweetness to counter the spicy sausage, yielding a frankly delightful meat sauce.

A casserole dish was buttered up, layered with the kind of lasagna you don’t have to boil before you bake, then the ragu, ricotta blended with a little heavy whipping cream/cayenne pepper and then slices of creamy havarti on top and halved grape tomatoes.  The havarti was neither too sharp nor too mild and worked it’s quasi-spiciness with the andouille ragu.  The most common reaction from friends was, “this is a BOMB-ASS lasagna!” and then some fighting over bites.  I suppose it was a success.

p.s. it went really nicely with Alesmith’s Grand Cru

Alesmith

7 Dec

I had the great luck to find a good sampling of Alesmith’s 750s: Grand Cru, Speedway Stout, Old Numbskull, Horny Devil and Wee Heavy Scotch Ale. Recently split the Wee Heavy with my roommate, whose monkey toes are pictured below trying desperately to grasp the bottle.

It so happened, that she and I had been reminiscing about the glories of really delicious date cake.  I can only dream about the beautiful possibilities of this scotch ale paired with a date cake or date tart.  A gorgeous dark ruby pour even though at first glance it appears to be dark brown/black. The 10% abv is well hidden for the most part until the aftertaste and subsequent warming affect.  Two finger airy tan head that faded fast.  The aroma is really heavenly, boozy warmed dates and the flavor is a hint of the aroma but boozier.  Not overpoweringly sweet.

Bumzor

13 Nov

I’ve visited the Great Lakes Brewing Co. two or three times and taken the tour each time in hopes that the next will be better than the last.  Alas, alak they insisted on being a full 15 minutes long.  Highlights included talking about the history of the place, looking at sealed bags of barley and malts and empty mashtuns, then popping out a quarter for a quarter sized sample of their most lack-luster beers.

great lakes

I’m confused and disappointed by this, the largest regional brewer in Ohio presenting such a downer.  Even Sam Adams in Jamaica Plain, Boston can put on a tour that shows you the difference between various hops and barley – taste, smell and feel them – then wind up the tour with communal and bountiful samples of multiple beers.  Why must the largest Ohio brewer be such a bummer?

Tacos and Cerveza

9 Nov

It’s a common mix and for good reason.  The refreshing, not too filling beer refreshes a spicy palate after a faceful of tacos and hot sauce, while the light carbonation brings about those satisfying belches.

Ambar CaesarAugusta (CaesarAvgvsta)

I had the pleasure of visiting my big brother this weekend in Williamsburg, and the little love bug brought me back a 21st birthday presie from Spain in the form of a bottle of Ambar CaesarAugusta (CaesarAvgvsta).  The bottle is awesome — reminds me of the squat Chimay Blanche bottle.  Pours a light yellow with a 2 finger bright-white head. Faintly citric notes in the aroma. Flavor is about the same as the aroma with more lemony taste and a bright mouthfeel.  The other Spanish beer I’ve had is the macro, Estrella Damm Inedit and I hated it, so this was a lovely change.  Spain still could use a bit of work on their micro industry and take a chapter from the Italian craft-beer movement, France too!

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