Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cooking with Beer - Stout Beer Jelly

If you're handy in the kitchen and are looking for ideas for homemade holiday gifts, this is a tasty gift for beer lovers or someone who enjoys cooking.

This beer jelly is yummy on toast or grilled cheese or roasted veggies or baked brie or roasted meat or burgers.  You get the picture.

And, with only three basic ingredients and a bit of canning know-how, this is a pretty easy recipe to make.

Stout Beer Jelly

2 Cans Guinness Draught
1 Box Pectin
3 1/2 Cups Sugar

A word of warning - use the biggest pot you have. Trust me, on this. Otherwise you're going to end up with an expansive lava-esque foamy frothy mess all over the place.

Pour the beer and pectin into the largest pot you own. Stirring continuously, bring to a boil. Keep on stirring and boil for one minute. 

Then add the sugar. This is when all the voluminous foam-ulation occurs. Stir, stir, stir. Don't stop even when big, fat, spumous bubbles start belching molten syrup out of the pot. Keep stirring for two minutes.


If you didn't use an enormous pot, this is when you'll wish you had.

Remove the pot from the heat. The foam will settle a bit now.  

Prepare canner pot. Put enough water in canner to cover filled jars with at least one inch of water. Bring to a rolling boil.

Ladle the jelly into clean sterilized jelly jars. Fill to within a 1/4 inch of the lip of the jars. You may need to top off the jars as the foam settles. Wipe the rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.

Process the jars for 10 minutes in a water bath. Remove the jars from the hot water bath and allow to sit undisturbed for at least 24 hours.

What's cool is that the jars look like little pints of Guinness. 

Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it.

Now, store them in a cool, dark place and use them as needed or gift them. 

Cheers!

(Hot water bath canning basics)


Friday, December 12, 2014

Lagunita Pils


I'm a big fan of Lagunitas beer. Their brew is consistently oh-so good. So, when I spotted Pils on tap at my favorite spot for hot wings and cold beer, I immediately requested a pour.

Lagunitas Pils (6.20% ABV) is a Czech style pilsner.

It pours a hazy golden color with a very dense head of foam.

The aroma is remarkably tropical for a pilser - namely pineapple. There some bread / cracker notes, as well.

The taste is crisp and clean. Malty, doughy, and - again -  pineapple. There is a whisper of floral hops that adds just a touch of bitterness. The finish is dry with a nice lingering tropical aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is light and bubbly.

Lagunitas Pils is a well balance tasty pilsner. Remarkably refreshing and ridiculously drinkable. I'm a fan!

Overall: very good!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

20 Ton Ale




Since Two Roads Brewery is practically stumbling distance to/from my home, it's only natural that it's a great place for us to congregate and imbibe with friends who also just so happen to live nearby. We meet up there nearly every single week.

While I enjoy most of Two Roads' standard brews, I look forward to their seasonal and limited offerings.

'tis the season for Route of all Evil and Holiday Ale - both very yummy beers. This year they've released a limited quantity of 20 Ton Ale. So named after the 20 ton overhead crane with hook that graces the center I-beam over the brewery floor.  Recently seen decked out with a beer can Christmas Tree.
20 Ton Ale (12.00% ABV) is a blond barleywine style beer.

It pours a clear bright honey gold color with a small but clingy head.

The aroma is sugary sweet and mildly fruity with a mouthwatering hop presence. And booze.

The taste is initially caramel and sugary. This followed by a wash of wonderful hoppy goodness that clears the palate of any sweetness and leaves behind a remarkably dry, crisp finish. There are also some fruit and citrus notes. The alcohol is clearly present but not particularly boozy tasting.

The mouthfeel is somewhat sticky but fairly light for the style.

Overall: excellent.

20 Ton Ale is a wonderful and tasty barleywine. The hops mellow out the sweetness and make this a dangerously drinkable brew.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Warlock

We were in New Hampshire for the holidays. While we was there we went to our favorite place in the Mount Washington Valley for ribs and beer.

The ribs are always slammin' good at the Red Parka Pub and there is always something new-to-me on tap.

This visit they had Warlock by Southern Tier. Warlock  (8.6% ABV) is an imperial stout brewed with pumpkin and spices.

Mmmm, sounds good to me. Southern Tier brews some mighty fine beer.

So, of course I got a pour.

As I'm sipping the beer I'm nibbling on ribs. And I'm all like shnikes! The beer and the ribs tasted perfect together!

RPP also has some ridiculously decadent desserts. So, of course I had to get one. I got the Misssippi mud pie to share with hubby.




As I'm sipping Warlock I'm nomming on the coffee ice cream pie. And I'm all like jinkies! The beer and the ice cream tasted perfect together.

Holy moly. Needless to say I was in a very happy place.

WarlockPours into a cherry brown with a floof of thick foam.

The aroma is incredible. Fresh pumpkin and subtle spices make this beer smell exceptionally inviting.

The taste is kind of wonderful.  Pleasantly pumkin-y without being overwhelmingly pumpkin-y. Vanilla, soft pie spices, a little cracker, and a touch of hops.

The mouthfeel is full and rich.

Warlock is pumpkin-y sweet-ish and nicely hoppy. Not at all overdone in any way.

An excellent beer! I would drink this again and again. Especially with ribs and ice cream!








Sunday, November 30, 2014

TRrale

One of my favorite New Hampshire breweries is Tuckerman Brewing Company. They have consistently good tasty beer. You can find their brews in restaurants all over the state and surrounding areas.

I've visited their brewery on a number of occasions, but now they have a new and bigger brewery. If you're familiar with the location of the old brewery, you shouldn't have a difficult time finding their new location. It's right across the parking lot.  :)

So, when we were up for the holidays we swung by to check out their new digs.

Unfortunately, we missed the grand opening that was attended by local resident and Olympic champion Bode Miller.







I was impressed with the new brewery. They've certainly expanded the operation and their new tasting area is lovely. We signed up for the tour and settled in to sample some brews while we waited.

We were greeted by the lovely Amanda who served up the beer and was to be our tour guide.

The new brewery is awesome and all that, but I was wicked excited to try their new beer.

The new brew which is officially named TRale has the unofficial epithet of Bode Beer. However, the beer is actually named after the Turtle Ridge Foundation, a  non-profit youth and adaptive sports foundation created by Bode Miller's family. A portion of the sales of TRale will go to the charity.


TRale (4.9% ABV) is a kolsch. I love a good kolsch.  Mmm, so crisp and refreshing. TRale filled that bill quite nicely.

It poured a rich honey gold with a nice fluff of foam that lingered and clung to the glass.

 The aroma is a gentle array of bready malt with a touch of fruitiness.

The taste replicates the aroma quite nicely; mildly bready, a little fruity. Barely sweet, it is also gently hoppy without being overtly bitter. Pleasant and near to Kolsch perfection. The finish is dry and begs for more.

The mouthfeel is medium-light and effervescent.

TRale has a taste that is just what I want from a Kolsch. Clean, crisp and refresshing. Delish! I hope this becomes a Tuckerman staple brew!!

Overall: very good

Monday, November 24, 2014

Will run for beer!


It's been almost exactly three months to the day that I was inspired by Two Roads Brewing's Shore 2 the Pour 5K to get into a shape - a shape other than round - and run next year's race myself.

I am now 25 pounds lighter than that day and 17 pounds lighter than when I ran my first 5K two weeks later. I am in better physical condition than I've been in years - all due to exercising 2-3 hours every day and dieting. I managed to lose all that weight without eliminating beer from my diet. That's so not ever going to happen.

This weekend I ran another 5K; the first annual Beards & Beers 5k. Touted as "one of the manliest races you'll ever be a part of".  I don't know about that but there was beer at the finish. And that's all the reason I needed to participate.








Despite the frosty air, a lot of runners showed up to participate in the inaugural race. 

In attendance were many manly men sporting their No-Shave-November whiskers and lovely ladies donning (presumably) artificial facial hair.

Running alongside me were kindred spirits attesting to the fact that beer is the only motivation some of us need to cross the finish line.

How'd I do? Good for me, especially considering this is only my second 5K - 43:50.85. Thank you to my husband for hauling my fat ass across the finish line. Who ever's idea it was to put the finish at the summit of Mount Everest should be fired! Just sayin'.






The local breweries sponsoring the race were - Pioneer Beer, Olde Burnside Brewing, Hartford Better Beer, and Thomas Hooker Brewing.

I'd already had many of the brews being poured, so I focused my attention on those I hadn't yet had the opportunity to sample. I did, however, have at least one taste from each of the brewers.

Soft Spoken, a Biere de Table, by Thomas Hooker was my favorite beer of the day. It had loads of tingly champagne-like bubbles and a light wonderful Belgian-esque flavor. DE-lish!

A close second was The New Frontier, a double California style IPA, by Pioneer. Mmm, so crisp and fresh and hoppy. Yum!

Father Christmas Highland Ale, a Wee Heavy, Olde Burnside Brewing Company was also a very tasty offering!

Overall, it was a great day. A fun race for a good cause. And beer.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Art of Darkness




A brisk night, cozy fire, good friends, and beer.  And a perfect way to discover the Art of Darkness.

Art of Darkness (8.9% ABV) is a limited edition Belgian Strong Dark Ale brewed by Ommegang.

I first had this beer when it was originally released and it was delicious. This particular bottle had been cellared for a couple of years and it was remarkable. It definitely aged gracefully.

The cork slipped from the lip of the bottle with a healthy **pop**.

Art of Darkness poured a deep cherry black with a  thick pillowy head that left behind loose layers of lace.

The aroma is dark dried fruits, cherry, and cocoa with an underlying maltiness.

 The flavor bold dark sweet malt and burnt sugars.  The dried fruit and cherry flavors come through and cling to the palate followed by a whisper of chocolate. The aged brew is incredibly smooth tasting. The alcohol is nicely concealed but its presence was felt. The finish is malty sweet.

The mouthfeel is full and with soft  but lively carbonation. The richness of the beer seems to mellow out the bubbles.

Art of Darkness is intense and complex. This is as strong brew to be sipped and savored. The flavors change subtly as the beer warms in the glass.

Overall: very good