Monday, March 2, 2015

Cooking with Beer - Pear and Candied Walnut Salad with Hefeweizen Vinaigrette

It's not always easy to balance my love of beer with my weight loss plan. Of course, there's no way I'm cutting out beer. That is so not ever happening. Incorporating beer into healthy recipes is one way to include beer in my diet. 

This salad is not only fresh and satisfying but it has a wonderful contrast of tastes and textures. Sure to please the most discerning palates.

I used Laka Laka pineapple hefeweizen brewed by Horny Goat in the dressing. The mild, sweet taste of the beer complimented the tanginess of the vinegar and was wonderful in the salad. Delish.

Pear and Candied Walnut Salad with Hefeweizen Vinaigrette

4 Cups Spring Salad Greens Mix
2 Ripe Bartlett Pears, Halved, Cored And Thinly Sliced
8 Oz. Crumbled Feta Cheese  
1/2 Cup Chopped Candied Walnuts
6 Oz. Hefeweizen 
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Tbsp. Honey
1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh Ground Pepper











Pour the beer into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until it has reduced to about a 1/4 cup - 15 - 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. In a small bowl, Combine the beer reduction, garlic, honey, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, and a few grinds of pepper. Whisk until well blended. 

Arrange the greens on 2 plates. Top with the pears, walnuts, and cheese. 

Drizzle the salads with the vinaigrette.

Enjoy!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Beer Camp Hoppy Lager




I love it when a new brew is on tap when we go out for our weekly wings and beer night!

New on tap is Beer Camp Hoppy Lager brewed by Sierra Nevada.

This beer is part of a series that "is a tribute to the art, and sometimes absurd ambition, of American craft beer."

Since it has "hoppy" in the description, I was all over that!




Beer Camp Hoppy Lager (7.00% ABV) is an Imperial Pilsner.

It pours a amber gold with a small finger foamy white head that left behind some loose lacing.

The aroma is mostly resinous and dank-ish hops.

The taste is very hoppy and much like an IPA.  Lots of hops and little malt presence, although there is a touch of sweetness to offset the bitterness. The finish is crisp and clean.

The mouth feel is medium with lively carbonation.

Beer Camp hoppy lager is enjoyably hoppy without being harsh. Drinkable and delish.

Overall: good.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lemon Chiffon Crueller



I've been pleasantly impressed with the previous renditions of Rogue's Voodoo Doughnut series. So, I waited rather impatiently for the newest release ever since I heard about it - Lemon Chiffon Crueller.

I snatched up a bottle as soon as I spied the painted Pepto-Bismal pink bottle in my beer store.  I wasted no time busting into the bottle to see if this one would be as good as it's predecessors.

After my first sip, I promptly declared to my husband that he would not like it and that he probably shouldn't drink it. He immediately became suspicious and indicated that he would suffer through it.

Damn! Foiled again.






Lemon Chiffon Crueller (5.8% ABV) is brewed by Rogue Brewing.

It pours a hazy honey yellow with a big floof of white foam that settles down and manages to hang on.

The aroma is sweet and lemony.

The taste is, well, just like a Lemon Chiffon Cruller. It's lemony and has a distinct doughnut-like flavor. No kidding.  I don't know how Rogue does it. It's like they stuffed a doughnut into the bottle. Except its beer. And it's amazing. Seriously delicious.

The mouth feel is medium-light and pleasantly effervescent.

Overall - Super Duper Yummy

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Cooking with Beer - Pickled Pink Cauliflower (Spicy)




I grew up in an area was densely populated with the descendants of German immigrants commonly known as Pennsylvania Dutch. One of the Pennsylvania Dutch treats I totally enjoyed and often devoured was hot pickled cauliflower. It's something I can't get here in Connecticut. The closest thing to it is Italian Giardiniera and that's not even close to being the same - nor as spicy hot.

Hot pickled cauliflower is generally yellow-ish due the spices in the brine. Mine are pink. I pickled these with radishes and the red from the radish skins seeps into the beer brine and makes the cauliflower pink.





Pickled Pink Cauliflower
(Refrigerator Pickles)

2 Heads of Cauliflower
1 Lb Radishes, Halved
6 Hot Peppers, Halved
6 Garlic Cloves, Peeled
3 Tbsp Brown Mustard Seeds
3 Tbsp Whole Black Peppercorns
1 Tbsp Hot Pepper Flakes
8 Cups Distilled White Vinegar
1 Cup Water
2 12-Oz Bottles IPA or Pale Ale
1 cup Kosher Salt











Break the cauliflower into bite-size-ish flowerettes.

Bring the vinegar, beer, and water to a fast simmer.

Pack sterilized glass jars with cauliflower, hot pepper, garlic clove, mustard seed, pepper flakes, kosher salt, and black peppercorns. Top with the radishes. Distribute ingredients evenly between jars.

Fill jars with hot brine. Secure with a lid and place in the refrigerator for a week (good) or two (better).

Enjoy!



Note: I used 2 half gallon mason jars. But you can use quart sized.

Note: I used a combination of fresh and dried peppers - fresh jalapenos / dried habaneros. Use whatever you like depending on how hot you want the cauliflower.



Monday, February 16, 2015

Zinful Porter





As tradition dictates, we stopped in at Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewing for lunch, beer, and growler refills on our way home after vacation.

As always, the food was delish. But for me, it's all about the beer.

Many favorite Moat brews were available on tap, but there was a new-to-me on there, as well!

Suh-weeeeeet!



Zinful Porter (6.1% ABV) is a small batch version of Moat's regular smoked porter that is aged in Zinfandel barrels.

It was served in a 12 ounce snifter style glass. Zinful is deep and dark. The head was diminished by the time it arrived at our table, but what was left was dense and clingy. It left behind loose sporadic lacing.

The aroma was mildly roasty with of hints fruit and cocoa.

The taste is of roasty malt, cocoa, and coffee. There is a whisper of oak from the barrels but not much wine flavor comes through. The smoke from the porter is somewhat diminished; making this much different from its origins. The finish is fairly dry.

The mouth feel is smooth and slick with mellow effervescence.

Overall - good


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Hobbs Tavern and Brewing





After a visit to Sap House Meadery to enjoy a sampling of their delicious offerings - including their new red wine, which is absolutely fabulous - we headed off to Hobbs Tavern and Brewing for a late lunch and brews.


Hobbs is partly owned by one of the founder/owners of Sap House Meadery. You'll see their products offered at Hobbs.








The restaurant has an amazing warm, rustic atmosphere. The staff is friendly and attentive.

The food was fantastic. The hot wings were crisp and flavorful - spicy without being brutal. The grilled cheese and soup was wicked good. The burger was cooked perfectly and generously sized. All good stuff. And quite satisfying.









A couple of seemingly minor things really impressed me.

One was the use of slates for beer boards. They are reusable and continue the philosophy of sustainability that Sap House Meadery promotes and that is so prominent in this area.

The second was the chalkboard strips used on the beer flights to label what each beer is. It made it very easy to identify which beer was which without having to refer to a separate list that may or not be in the correct order.

Minor, like I said, but great ideas well executed.
Black Sheep Cream Ale (5.3% ABV)  is a hazy golden ale with a fresh and inviting aroma. The taste is initially mildly sweet grains with a whisper of tangy citrus. A gently hoppy bitterness balances out the sweetness for a crisp finish. A nice, light, easy drinking beer.

West Ossipee Winter Warmer (5.7% ABV)  is a lightly spiced brown ale. It is malty and flavorful without being heavy. A tasty seasonal ale that is delightfully drinkable.

Something Went A-Rye (5.2% ABV a good IPA with a clever name. The rye is clearly identifiable complimented by just the right amount of hoppy bitterness. A balanced IPA that is tasty without violating your tastebuds.

Born To Be Mild (2.8% ABV) is a brown ale that, despite its low alcohol content, is incredibly malty and hearty. Mild indeed! I am truly impressed with this offering. Very well done.

Bearcamp Brown  (4.1% ABV) has a lovely sweet caramel flavor that compliments a solid malt backbone with a hint of smoke. Barely a whisper of bitterness yet still well balanced. Tasty.

Leaf Peeper Rauchbier is what a rauchbier is all about - smoke. Not my favorite style by a long shot and I honestly didn't care for it. That being said, hubby likes smoked beers and he liked this one. So, there you have it.  Not every beer is for everyone but there's a beer for every taste.







I really enjoyed my Hobbs experience. I was comfortable in the surroundings and the food was delicious and well presented.


But, I was there for the beer. I wasn't disappointed. There is really is a beer at Hobbs for every taste; including beer from other breweries. Yeah, I tasted those, too. Cuz that's the way I roll.

I'll be back for sure.  :)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

One Bourbon, One Scotch - Two Beers




We’re back in the White Mountains for a long relaxing weekend. We got in early enough that our first stop before checking in to our favorite motel was dinner at one of our favorite eating spots in the area -  The Red Parka Pub.

As luck would have it, there were a couple new to me beers on tap. I ordered up a rack of ribs and a glass of brew. Time to relax after a long drive. Aaaah . . .

We went with what Pro Zac (the bartender) recommended - a bourbon ale and a Scotch ale ; hence, one bourbon, one Scotch, two beers.

Scottish Ale (6.30% ABV) Gritty McDuff's.

It pours a rich, clear amber with a floof of bright, white clingy foam.

The aroma is wonderful - malt and yeast and a whisper of caramel.

The taste starts out with the sweet flavors of caramel and butterscotch. A malty graininess levels out the sweetness and then the hops wash in with a gentle bitterness that balances out the brew.  The finish is a bit of lingering sweetness.

The mouth feel is medium a good carbonation.

Overall: very good

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale (8.19% ABV) is a English Strong Ale brewed by Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling.

It pours clear honey amber color with a thin head.

The aroma is bourbon, vanilla, and caramel.

The taste is pleasantly sweet with mild bourbon characteristics. A nice bittering effect balances out the sweetness.

This is a gentle drinking beer.  The bourbon is agreeable and not the least bit overwhelming. Enjoyable and tasty.

The mouth feel was medium and nicely carbonated.

Overall: very good.