Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Lambic’

Notes of a Beer Nerd: Simple Pleasures – Beer Desert

April 29, 2010 1 comment

Happy Birthday to me!

**Notes of a Beer Nerd is written by Timperial Stout, our resident cellar dwelling mammal. Reach out to him at timperialstout@beerblotter.com or write a comment below.***

Tuesday I celebrated my 30th birthday. Well, actually, I use the word “celebrate” loosely. The real celebration was about 2 weeks ago when the greatest friends and family a man could ever ask for threw me a “Dirty 30″ surprise party (thank you all so very much!).

I also just completed a long weekend away at Treehouse Point, yet another surprise provided by my wonderful girlfriend. Point is, I’ve already done a lot of celebrating, so Tuesday, the actual anniversary of my birth, was more or less comprised of a bit of self-pampering.

After a long day at the brewery helping out Rhett Burris of Burris Brewing cook up another batch of his delightful Jackrabbit Pale Ale, I stopped at Ballard Market on my way home and grabbed some ingredients for an epic Skooby-Doo style sandwich (you know, the kind that is so tall that you need to crush it down with both hands in order for it to fit in your mouth) and, of course, some tasty adult beverages.

A Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA paired very nicely with my turkey (and a ridiculously lengthy list of accompanying ingredients) sandwich. The scent of palisade hops that filled the air of the brewery earlier in the day made me crave this member of the Seven Wonders of the Hoppy World (doesn’t exist, but it should).

Honestly, the herbal and malty sweet balance of 90 Minute is so perfect that I believe it would pair nicely with just about anything.  I mean, if you told me I had to eat a shoe but I could wash it down with a 90m, I’d eat the hell out of that shoe.

The most exciting and noteworthy element of this pampering came at the very end of the night.  A simple pleasure, but a pleasure without a doubt – an ice cream float!  I took the simplicity to the extreme, using Rogue‘s Chocolate Stout and vanilla bean ice cream, both of which are very easily obtained at almost anywhere selling foodstuffs.  I decided to give it a little pizzazz and added a few fresh raspberries.

This made me think…surely, in the vast reaches of culinary creation, there must be countless ways to pair beer with ice cream and make it delicious.  With all the styles of both out there, what possibilities await us?  I did a bit of brainstorming and some research, and I thought I’d share a few thoughts.  Maybe the next time your sweet tooth comes a knockin’ you’ll whip up a beer float and tell us your thoughts.

Sticking with the stout motif, The imperial stouts of Southern Tier would be killer combos with vanilla, chocolate, or even fruit flavored ice creams.  Try Choklat, Jah*va, Mokah, Creme Brulee, or Oat.

How about fruit lambics and ice cream?  Just about any offering from Lindeman’s would be killer with vanilla.  A Cantillon Kriek or any of the New Belgium Lips of Faith beers would work wonderfully as well.

What about a nut brown ale like Troegs Rugged Trail?  A coffee flavored ice cream might go well with this one, or paired with a milk stout like Left Hand‘s.

A sweet barleywine like an aged Speakeasy Old Godfather or even an eisbock like Kulmbacher‘s could go exceptionally well with a mildly flavored ice cream.

Playing mad scientist with beer and ice cream seems like a darn productive use of time to me.  Beer Blotter suggests that you give it a whack and let us know what pairings work best.

Fred Fest 2010: Hair of the Dog Showcases in hometown of Portland, OR

April 28, 2010 1 comment

Fred Fest 2010

In celebration of world renowned brewer, Fred Eckhardt, Hair of the Dog will be hosting their 5th annual Fred Fest. Fred, known to many beer lovers as an American style barleywine is just one of many spectacular brews from Portland’s very own HOTD.

Below is a blurb from FredFestPDX’s blog regarding details about the event:

Attendees will be treated not only to a rare assortment of hand-selected beers, but also light fare cooked in beer and a birthday cake — complete with a round of “Happy Birthday” — just for Fred. Cheeses, chocolate, candy and even cereal will be offered in abundance so attendees can experience some of Fred’s famed beer-and-food pairings.

Cost for the event is $50 in advance ($60 at the door for the few remaining tickets, if any) and includes a souvenir glass, free ticket for a raffle of bottled specialty beers and four hours of sampling, sipping and story-telling with Fred. Tickets *are* limited and they are going fast (they’ve sold out every year to date), so order yours today before it’s too late!

So get ready, Monday, May 10, 2010 from 6:00PM until 10:00 PM at Hair of the Dog Brewing Co.’s digs. You will be in the company of some amazingly unique and well executed beers.  As always, 100% of the proceeds from FredFest and the related auctions will go to a charity of Fred’s choice. This year, Fred has named the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation as the 2010 recipient of the fest.

A quick side note- use the directions to the brewery that are posted on their website. Your GPS will bring you to a place that does not serve beer and that is very upsetting.

Hair of the Dog Brewing Co. makes several beers that are worth your time and pleasure. You have your attainable beers such as Blue Dot, a smooth IPA, Ruth, your quintessential American Pale Ale, Adam, first brewed in Dortmunder, Germany and Fred, a barleywine. Now, on to those HOTD beers that make my eyes pop out of my skull when I see them in bottles and, the unthinkable, on tap.  Fred from the wood is aged to perfection, Doggie Claws, a heavy, flavorful, seasonal barleywine and B.O.B (my personal favorite and a rarity that is not bottled to my knowledge) a lambic style beer aged in wine barrels.

HOTD is a highly respected brewery. All of their beers are easy to drink, entice your taste buds and encourage a greater love of beer. These are the reasons why we LOVE this brewery.

The Belgian Perspective: Drinking North American “Belgians”

March 24, 2010 1 comment

Oh how we miss these wonderful Belgians - but we hope to find some gems around the US of A.

Well we just got back two days ago. We are in the process of writing a full gamut of articles about our Belgium experience. The time table is incomplete, but please expect some Top Places lists and Beer Tour Maps in the next week.

For the time being, we are having a hard time walking away from our magical beer experience abroad. I think that we are having a bit of Belgium withdrawal.

To cure this problematic dilemma, we have selected a few Belgium styled North American beers to try and water our burning desire for more Belgium! After drowning our livers in Belgium beer for 11 days straight, we think we finally have the refined flavors down – bruin, blonde, trippel, gueuze, and lambic.

There are good ones and there are not so good ones. For instance, our good bruins finished full of fruit and cocoa, while our bad ones finished with a metallic aftertaste.

So, we are turning to a few wondrous beers from the Western Hemisphere.

  • Flying Dog Raging Bitch Belgian IPA

First, Flying Dog Raging Bitch Belgian IPA (i know, i know – they don’t make IPAs in Belgium). Raging Bitch is a 8.3% ABV brewed with a Belgian yeast called “Diablo” and dry-hopped with Amarillo hops.

I have no problem drinking this beer – its damn good. But, its not a Belgian beer. In fact, I am kind of bothered by the American trend of adding Belgian yeast to an American beer and calling it “Belgian.” But, I know that this is a harmless trend – a melding of the best of America (its hops) and the best of Belgium (its yeast).

With that all being said, the beer is very good. But the Belgium flavoring only survives the first few sips. After that – its all Amarillo hops. I would drink this beer any day – but not after 11 days of Belgians. It just cannot cut the mustard.

  • Unibruoe Trois Pistoles

Next up – Unibroue’s Trois Pistoles. UTP (as I affectionately call it) is one of the greatest Belgian styled beers to ever be brewed on the continent. I have no problem saying that because no one knows how to match the classic Belgian taste like Unibroue. After enjoying countless exceptional Belgian brown ales, I now better understand and appreciate UTP.

Unibroue masterfully blends the body of a cola, the scent of overly ripe fruit and the bursting tart boozy flavor of a wonderfully concocted Belgian bruin ale. The color is dark, the pour is soft and the aftertaste is pleasant and diverse, changing with each swish. When you leave the booze in the glass it becomes sour, just another surprise for the drinker.

This one is a can’t miss for any beer drinker. Luckily – its easy to find.

  • Russian River Temptation

Last up is our attempt to find a Belgian styled sour ale. Russian River typically takes the cake for the best sour ales in the Western Hemisphere. The Santa Rosa, CA brewer is only met by US brewers Avery and Jolly Pumpkin when it comes to sours. But in the end, Russian River reins supreme.

For our evening we selected Russian River’s Temptation, which we thought might best match the Belgian gueuze styling. The gueuze is a blend of old and young lambics. This type of beer is seriously unmatched in the USA. There simply are no lambic producers of note. But, Temptation is a blonde styled ale, light in color, body and maltiness – allowing us to best mimic the lambic styling.

Russian River Temptation is a RateBeer Top 50 and a 100 overall. People like this beer. It has all the makings of a highly regarded beer – unique, complex, aged in wood, and a cult-like following.

We have enjoyed Temptation on many different occasions, on tap and from the bottle. This particular bottle comes from the first batch of 2009, which we obtained from Full Throttle bottleshop in Georgetown, Seattle this past summer. The beer has been resting well down in our cellar, where the active yeasts have now settled to the bottom of the bottle.

Temptation is brewed during a complex process. First, the beer is brewed and fermented in French Oak Chardonnay barrels over a period of 12 months. During that time, Brettanomyces (a wild strain of Belgian yeast) is added and allowed to do its worst to the beer. Finally, the beer is refermented in the bottle – allowing it to attain its soft carbonation.

This beer is the most wine-like of the series of sour ales that Russian River produces. In fact, the beer is almost that of a champagne bitterness, with a very sharp finish. The sour flavor does not dissipate quickly, leaving the drinker with much to savor over the life of the bottle.

We love Temptation – we do. But, we still prefer the red and brown ales of Consecration and Deviation much more. The heavy fruity and malty beers do very well with the sour Brett flavor. Blonde and lambics tend to be entirely one-sided.

Well, its a great experiment. In some instances it bettered our appreciation of North American beer – in some cases it worsened it. We hope to find some better Belgian lookalikes soon.

Brussels, Mussels and Frites: 7 weeks to go!

January 25, 2010 1 comment

Gueze and Lambic and Oude Gueuze, oh my!

This week we celebrated the food, beer and culture of Brussels the capital of Belgium (well The City of Brussels is the actual capital). Mussels cooked in a garlic, dry white wine broth with frites (thin strips of potatoes deep fried) is the most popular dish in the country. During and after our meal, we enjoyed three beers brewed in Brussels or the surrounding area. Please meet: Girardin Gueze 1882, Cantillon Kriek 100% Lambic and Hanssens Artisanaal Oude Gueuze.

The History

The birth of Brussels is attributed to Duke Charles of Lower Lotharingia around 979. Damn that’s old! Charles went on to construct the first permanent fortification in the city. Originally, Brussels was a Dutch only speaking country. To date, the majority of residents speak French.

The Art

The Treachery of Images by Rene Magritte

On to the next thing, our featured artist, surrealist Rene Magritte. Now, many amazing, prolific, talented, earth shattering artists are from Belgium. The majority of the most influential artists are from the Renaissance and Baroque periods (from 1300-1700). However, since Brussels is home to the largest collection of modern artist, Magritte’s artworks, this seemed quite fitting. His works frequently displays a juxtaposition of ordinary objects in an unusual context, giving new meanings to familiar things. His most popular work, The Treachery of Images, as seen above, is a picture of a pipe with a caption, in French which translates as “This pipe is not a pipe.” His point? It is not a pipe, it is a painting of a pipe.

The Beer

Of course, we are all thrilled to be going to Belgium, to soak it all in and drink ALL of the beer. But tonight, tonight, we could barely sit still as we polished off 3 12oz beauties contained in green glass.

The Girardin Gueze 1882 was cracked first and accompanied our mussels and frites. Straight from the “cellar” this beer was served at approximately 50 degrees. In our opinion, the perfect temperature. The carbonation does not overpower the flavor, yet the sourness combined with the texture feels like pop rocks in your mouth. Smells like (not pop rocks) corn, hay and a sour, yet sweet fruit such as a pineapple. A sweet tartness greats your taste buds while an element of apple cider vinegar and pineapple leads the way to the back of your throat and the corners of your jaw line. This beer took a lot of tastes, independent thoughts and discussion to truly detect its qualities. An amazing beer that went perfectly with the wine based broth and saltiness of the mussels.

We decided to split up the two Guezes (although later to find they were distinctly different in smell and flavor) with a Lambic. Before we divulge the beer of choice, lets discuss the qualities of a Lambic styled beer. Lambics are traditionally brewed in the Pajottenland region of Belgium which is just southwest of Brussels. During the brewing process, Lambics are exposed to the wild yeasts and bacteria that are said to be native to the Senne valley. This exposure gives the beer its distinctive flavor which tends to be dry, cidery and sour. Cantillon Kriek 100% Lambic is brewed with cherries (krieks). Blood red in color with a slight transparency, this beer did in fact smell of dried cherries. The physical impact of this beer was unprecedented. There is a sour punch upon first sip then the effect immediately stings the corner of your jaws and dries your throat. This of course, leaves us wanting more and more.

Lastly, Hanssens Artisanaal Oude Gueuze from a brewery with a lot of history. Originally this brewery brewed a brown ale and a lambic. However, once World War I began, production ceased and never began again. From that point on and currently, Hanssens is a blend only establishment (making only Gueuzes). What a job, blending the great beers of Belgium. Once the beers are blended, they are bottle fermented in the brewery’s “caves”. This Gueuze smells like cured meats, pepper and pears. Interesting….the taste has a distinctive funkiness with a combination of malts in the background. It so interesting how the color and carbonation of this beer looks like your average American macro brewery but inside, the smells and the flavors are unique and complex, belonging to this one bottle and this bottle only.

Next week, we plan on waffles for dinner, beers from West Flanders and the cinema experience of “In Bruges”. So check back every week as we wind down the days until our trip to Belgium, Germany, Amsterdam and France!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.