Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Road Jam



One of the obvious but wonderful benefits of having a brewery practically stumbling distance to my front doorstep is being able to try new beers pretty much as quickly as they can brew them.

It seems like Two Roads has a new beer on tap almost every time I go there. I go there a lot.

The latest and greatest offering is Road Jam. An ale brewed with black and red raspberries & lemongrass.

Road Jam (5% ABV) pours a bright deep pink with a thick froth of foam the color of which is reminiscent of Nestle Quik strawberry milk.

The aroma is a mouth watering burst of fresh berries.

The taste is fabulous. The flavor of fresh berries washes over the palate finishing crisp and somewhat sour.

That Two Roads used real raspberry puree instead of natural and/or artificial "flavors" or berry extract is obvious. There is a definite freshness about Road Jam.

The mouthfeel is light with loads of tiny champagne-like bubbles.  An easy going and refreshing brew that will be awesome as the weather turns hot.

Overall: berry -er- very good!


Cooking with Beer - Addled Apple Crisp

I love apple-y desserts. Anything with apples and I'm all over it like white on rice - apple pie, apple turn-overs, apple tarts. 

Apple crisp is one dessert that takes me back to my childhood and is one of my very favorites.

This recipe combines my love of apples and beer into a tasty, sweet treat.

I used Two Roads No Limits, but you can use whatever wheat or hefeweizen beer you like.
Addled Apple Crisp

5 or 6  Medium Granny Smith - Cored & Sliced 1/4 Inch Thick

2  Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 12-Oz Bottle Wheat Beer
1 Tbsp Soft Butter For Coating Baking Dish
3 Tablespoons Turbanado Sugar
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Uncooked Rolled Oats
1/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
4 Tablespoons Cold Unsalted Butter (1/2 Stick), Cut Into Small Pieces

Combine the apples, lemon juice, and beer in an air-tight container or zipper bag and refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight.


Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a pie pan or 8 x 8 baking dish with 1 Tbsp butter.


Drain the apples and then combine with the sugar, cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in a large bowl and toss to coat. Place the apple mixture in the prepared baking dish and set aside.


Using the same bowl as for mixing the apples, mix together the brown sugar, oats, flour, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt until evenly combined. 
Mix in the butter pieces until small clumps form.

Sprinkle the topping evenly over the apples and bake until top is browned and the apples are tender, about 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool on a rack at least 30 minutes before serving.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Breakfast!




It was date night. As usual. hubby and I were monging on hot wings and washing them down with cold beer. When all of a sudden our hot blond bar maid appears at our table bearing a tray of an unlikely combination of stuff.

A shot of clear liquid. A shot of orange juice. A strip of bacon.

Uhm . . . okaaaaay.

Breakfast is served.

Riiiiight.

Never one to let booze go to waste I followed her instructions to the letter. I knocked back the first shot; which turned out to be half Captain Morgan spiced rum and half Buttershots buttscotch liquor.  Followed immediately by the shot of orange juice. Then the bacon.

Jumpin' Jehosaphat! It tastes just like breakfast! I shi!t you not. It like I just ate a pancake smothered in butter and syrup with a side of bacon and orange juice.

CuhRazy!!! Crazy good!


Saturday, March 29, 2014

McChouffe

You may be wondering how I get my hands on so many straight-from-Belgium beers. The answer is baseball.

Little did I know that baseball is so popular in Belgium. That is, until my Belgian friend asked if I could buy him baseball uniforms and gear and ship it to him. Apparently, baseball stuff is wicked expensive to buy in Belgium and most US companies don't ship internationally. Somehow it's cheaper for me to ship the stuff to him than for him to buy it there. So, whatever.

I send him baseball stuff for his team - the Limburg White Sox (Facebook Page) - and he sends me beer; including the much sought after and coveted Westveterlin 12. It also just so happens that my buddy is a big schmuckety-muck of said White Sox team.

One of the beers he sent me - aside from the Westy 12 - was McChouffe brewed by Brasserie d'Achouffe in the Ardennes mountains of Belgium.

Ironically, there is also a baseball connection with this brew and the United States. For comparison, I bought a bottle of the imported version of this beer. As I was perusing the back label - of the American label because I don't read Dutch - and waaaaaaaaaaaaay down at the bottom of the label it reads, "In 2006, the Chouffe gnomes discovered they have baseball-playing family at the Brewery Ommegang farmstead in Cooperstown, NY." Geographically speaking, Ommegang is practically in my back yard and I totally dig their brews.


The first difference I noticed with the beer was the packaging. The Belgian beer us bottled in squat little bottles but the imports are packaged in big honkin' champagne bottles (capped not corked).

Another difference, not surprisingly, the import label is written in English and the Belgian brew is mostly in Dutch.

The differences in the outside of the bottle are obvious. It's what's inside that I'm most interested in. In a side-by-side comparison of the import vs. the Belgian version, I'm was mildly disappointed to note that they are pretty much the same with only subtle differences; which can easily be attributed to the difference in age, batch, storage, etc.

McChouffe (8.00% ABV) pours a cloudy coppery brown. The head is thick but diminishes quickly and leaves behind minimal lacing.

The aroma is mildly sweet and fruit with a nice earthy quality. Sadly, there is also a slight metallic odor that is a off-putting.

The taste is a big blast of sweet malt, bready yeast,  and dried fruits. This is offset by earthy undertones. The metallic note carry over from the nose but it's not overly distracting. The finish is mostly malt tinged with a bit of dark sugar.

The mouthfeel is medium with lively carbonation.

McChouffe is a bold malty brew. Quaffable and refreshing.

Overall: good.



Monday, March 24, 2014

Cold Ass Honky


When I was a wee snip of girl, one of the things I most looked forward to during the week was Friday nights and watching the Dukes of Hazzard.

I dreamed of being blessed with long legs like Daisy (yeah, that didn't happen. Not even close!), enjoying a romance with Luke,  taking a ride in the Robert E. Lee (with Luke, of course), and flapping the ears of Roscoe Peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Coltrane’s hound dog Flash. I even fantasized giving Boss Hogg’s jowls a jiggle to prove the theory of perpetual motion.

When I saw the label on a bottle of Brash Cold Ass Honky, it immediately conjured images of my favorite show.

I must be getting old, but I had no flippin' clue as to what a cold ass honky was.

Apparently, it's supposed to be some sort of a compliment. The best I can come up with is that the source of this phrase is from a song called Thrift Shop from rapper Macklemore. The pertinent lyrics:



I'm so pumped about some shit from the thrift shop

Ice on the fringe, it's so damn frosty

That people like, "Damn! That's a cold ass honkey."



Yeah, okay, whatever.

Needless to say, I had to buy the brew.




Cold Ass Honky (8.5 ABV) pours a haze deep gold color. The head is thick and clingy leaving behind nice layered lacing.

The aroma is fruity, yeasty, and malty.

The taste is a nice breadiness with overtones of citrus and grapefruit. Not grapefruit like a hoppy grape fruitiness. But full-on real fruit grapefruit (if you know what I mean). There's a solid malt back bone and other milder fruit flavors plus a bit of funkiness thrown in for good measure. There is a clear alcohol presence but it's not obnoxious. The finish is mildly bitter.

The mouthfeel is somewhat light with nice carbonation.

Cold Ass Honky is tasty and delightfully, yet dangerously, drinkable.

Overall: good





Friday, March 21, 2014

Wild IPA - Quarantined Series #1

I received a gift of brews from the guys a Bottom-Side-Up Brewing. As they say, they are two homebrewing brothers who like to make good beer!

Well, I'll be the judge of that.

I busted into the most interesting looking bottle first. It was the smallest, with the most simplistic label, and - most intriguing of all - it was labeled 'Wild IPA'.

The description on the back of the label made it all the more enticing. An IPA aged on Cabernet soaked oak chips and infected with strains of wild yeast. The result is a funk, fruity wild IPA.

Tell me that doesn't sound interesting!

It pours a clear honey gold with no trace of a head.

The aroma is of fruit and a crisp wine.

The taste was unique and wonderful.  I was expecting more hops but the aging process mellowed out much of the wonderful bitterness. But it was quite lovely, just the same. Just different from what I had anticipated.  The wood and Cabernet were very much in evidence. Compared to other sours I've had, this one was completely different. It changed the way I viewed sours; most of which I've had have been too sweet and not so much sour. This one was fantastic and now I can't wait to drink more of this style.

The mouth feel was medium and smooth. Very drinkable.

I wish I had had more but, alas, I had to share. Still, I would have wanted more.  This was a great beer. I think I'm hooked on sours!

Overall: excellent

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cooking with Beer - One-beer Three-Bean Salad


This recipe is inspired by one of the bartenders at my favorite pub. She gave me some of her homemade bean salad to try and it was so yummy that I wanted to make one of my own. So I did; with beer, of course.

This salad is super easy and so tasty. It keeps really well, so you can make it and enjoy it all week long with lunch or as a side dish.

I used Two Roads No Limits Hefeweizen, but you can use any good wheat beer.




One-beer Three-Bean Salad

1 12-oz Bottle Wheat Ale
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
3 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
4 Oz Grape Seed Oil
Salt And Pepper
1 16-oz Can Cut Green Beans 
1 16-oz Can Kidney Beans, Rinsed & Drained
1 16-oz Can Garbanzo Beans, Rinsed, & Drained
1 Small Sweet Onion, Minced
1 6-oz Can Sliced Black Olives, Drained
1 Cup Cucumber, Peeled, & Chopped Cucumber
1/2 Cup Fresh Parsley, Chopped
1 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese

Pour the beer into a small saucepan and cook over medium heat. Cook until reduced to a thin syrup. Set it aside to cool.

Combine the beans, onion, olives, parsley, and cucumber in a large bowl.

Pour the cooled beer into a jar or small bowl and mix in the mustard, oil, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Drizzle the vinaigrette over the bean mixture. Mix in the feta cheese; toss to coat. 

Chill until ready to serve.