Monday, July 30, 2012

Cooking with Beer - Spicy Guinness Mustard

Spicy Guinness Mustard

1  12-oz. Bottle Guinness Extra Stout
1 1⁄2 Cups Brown Mustard Seeds (10 oz.)
1 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
1 Tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1⁄4 Tsp.  Ground  Cinnamon
1⁄4  Tsp.  Ground  Cloves
1⁄4  Tsp.  Ground  Nutmeg
1⁄4  Tsp.  Ground  Allspice

Combine ingredients in a nonreactive mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1–2 days so that the mustard seeds soften and the flavors meld.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor and process, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, until the seeds are coarsely ground and the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.  I don't have a food processor so I used my blender.  

Transfer to a jar and cover.

Refrigerate overnight and use immediately or refrigerate for up to 6 months. (The flavor of the mustard will mellow as the condiment ages.)


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Final Friday at New England Brewing Company

Hubby and I recently attended Final Friday at New England Brewing.  Final Friday is their monthly open house where you get to sample their beer, mingle with other beer lovers and enjoy a live band  . . . all of this at the brewery with the beer making staff.  Basically, a beer drinkin' rockin' good time!

$5 at the door gets you three tickets good for three 10 ounce beer samples.

We arrived just at the start of the soiree . . . 6 PM . . . and the there were already quite a few people there.  Comfortably crowded I would say; room to mingle, check things out and get a beer.

Hubby and I took our cups, dropped a ticket in the bowl and got our beer samples.  Being the IPA lover that I am, I started out with the Sea Hag IPA.  We made our way over to the stacks of pallets loaded with empty cans and sampled our . . . well . . . sample.  

Yummy!  Sea Hag . . . my first time drinking this beer.  It is an American style India Pale Ale.  I liked it . . . I liked it a lot.  It's hoppy and bitter without being overpoweringly so.  The hops are citrusy with plenty of the lemon and grapefruit that I love.  The malt gives the beer a caramel flavor that lends a slight sweetness that blends quite nicely with the bitter hops.  Over all . . . a very good IPA . . . I loved it.  (6.2% ABV)

As we were finishing our first beer we noticed the crowd was noticeably thicker and the temperature was rising in the relatively small space.  And . . . a line was begining to form to get the beer.  So, we hopped in line for our second sample.  Just as we were getting our cups filled the band started and the place was a'rockin'.

My second choice was an Elm City Lager.  This is a German style pilsner.  Again . . . I really liked this beer.  Light, tasty and exceedingly drinkable. This is what a lager should taste like . . . mildly sweet, slightly bitter, clean and smooth.  A sesionable beer to be sure at 5% ABV.  Really quite nice.  An all around good beer!

While sipping my beer I skulked around a bit checking out the equipment . . . tanks, canner, etc.  I happened to look up and spied a red monster dude hanging out on a beam and Elvis perched on top of tank.  

There were kegs and KEGS waiting to be filled.  

But, the pallets of cans and the tanks themselves filled most of the space . . . which was surprisingly small.

By the time we finished our second beer the place was packed . . . and we were sweating like crazy.  A very hot, humid day and a room filled with beer swizzling people makes a very sultry environment.  And the line to get beer . . . looooooooong.  

We eased our way into the line to get our final sample.  I decided to go with the Sea Hag . . . as it was that or the Elm City.  We squeezed our way over to the open overhead door to get some fresh air . . . it was brutally hot.

Mmm . . . out of beer?  Sometimes life is crap.  :)

As we finished up we were ready to get gone.  As crowded and hot as it was we still left happy . . . sweaty but happy.  I'm looking forward to heading back to New England Brewery for another Final Friday.

For more information check out NEBC's website or visit their Facebook page.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Coronado Brewing Company IPA's

While I was searching my local beer store for something new-to-me, I came across this trio of IPA's  from Coronado Brewing Company.  The brewery is located in . . . of all places . . . Coronado, California.  Shocking, I know.  

The mermaid on the bottle grasping a mug a frothy beer is what initially caught my attention . . . after all, who doesn't love a drunken fish girl?  Oh, come on, admit it, you do . . . we all do.  Or maybe its just me . . . whatever.

Anyhoo . . . being the hop loving, bitter beer guzzling chick that I am I felt compelled to give these fin tailed ladies a try.  So I did.

Hoppy Daze is a spring seasonal offering in the style of an unfiltered Belgian IPA.   Brewed with Belgian yeast, it is a bit different than the IPAs I'm used to drinking.  

It pours a hazy golden color with a medium-ish white head.  It is clearly unfiltered . . . I like that because it adds character to the beer. Immediately discernible are tropical fruits . . . pineapple especially . . . that are an interesting contrast to the bitter hops and the toasted malt.  It's sweeter than I would generally prefer in an IPA but not bad.  The hops lend a citrussy flavor that compliment the fruity sweetness and balances the whole thing out.  Hoppy Daze finishes crisp and clean with a pleasant lingering bitterness.

Although it is a bit sweet for my taste there are plenty of hops to enjoy.  It's a very refreshing, drinkable brew that I wouldn't mind revisiting. (7.3% ABV)

Islander IPA . . . wow!  Good beer!  It pours a rich golden color with a thick frothy head.  It's got plenty of that grapefruity, piney hoppiness that I love so much with a touch of tropical fruitiness that is simply complimentary without a lot of overt sweetness.  But what stood out the most was a wonderful caramel flavor that made Islander oh-my-goodness yummy!  It's a fairly strong beer, 7% ABV.  There is a noticeable boozy quality that doesn't detract from the beer at all, but it is clearly there.  It finishes light with a touch of bitterness . . . mmmm, makes me want to go for more.

Overall, this was my favorite of the bunch . . . this mermaid has it all going on.  Really and truly quite delicious.

Last but not least is the Idiot IPA . . . it's okay, I've been called an idiot a time or two.  This one is an Imperial IPA and it's a big beer . . . as an Imperial style beer should be (8.5% ABV).  It's strong, it's hoppy and it's gosh-darned good.  

It  pours amber with a white frothy head.  I was immediately struck by a wonderful piney grapefruity aroma . . . I love that!  If you like hops, then this is it . . . plenty of bitter hops with some citrus fruit and earthy spice and balanced by a mellow sweet maltiness.  It finishes crisp with a touch of bitterness that is quite nice.  Very  will done . . . not too bitter, not too sweet . . . a very good, strong Imperial IPA.  

Three cheers for Coronado Brewing Company!  I look forward to trying their other beers.  YUM!

Visit Coronado Brewing Company's website or check them out on Facebook!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Clown Shoes Vampire Slayer

Clown Shoes Beer has only recently been allowed entry into Connecticut.  My first taste of beer from this brewery was when hubby and I were out to dinner and found Tramp Stamp Belgian IPA on tap . . . it was a truly amazing beer.

So, when I spotted  Vampire Slayer  on sale at my local beer store I immediately grabbed a bottle. Vampire Slayer is an imperial American stout brewed for their second anniversary.

The label sports a young man in the process of impaling a vampire in the heart with a stake  . . . the young man is wearing clown shoes, of course.  Heh!  Rumor has it that this beer is supposedly brewed with holy water and malts smoked with ‘vampire killing stakes.’  I'm dubious but I'll go along with it just for fun. 

The beer pours a rich dark amber with a thick tan head.  Strong coffee and chocolate prevail in the aroma so I was looking forward to my first sip.  All I can say is "wow!" . . . I literally said that when I tasted it.  It is so smooth and creamy it's like drinking velvet.  Yummy coffee chocolate velvet.  

There are other flavors that come through as well; such as caramel and a bit of smoke.  And there is a slight but definite booziness to this stout.  Not surprising considering it is a hefty 11% ABV.  

Stouts and porters are not my favorite style of beer but I think that this is a seriously awesome beer! Give it a go . . . mmm, mmm, good!

Visit Clown Shoes' website or check them out on Facebook.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Rogue Single Malt Ale

Rogue is one of my favorite micro breweries.  They have variety of interesting beers with fun labels.  There's not a beer created by the brewmasters at Rogue that has disappointed me. There are, of course, one or two that I like less than others but that's not so unreasonable.

So it was with high hopes and great anticipation that I popped open a Chatoe Rogue First Growth Single Malt Ale bomber.  This ale is brewed with Dare malt, Revolution hops and Pacman yeast . . . pacman, I say! Waka waka waka

This ale is from Rogue's Chatoe series.  The beers in this group are labelled “GYO”, as in Grow Your Own.  The ingredients that go into these beers are grown by Rogue and contain one of each ingredient . . . one type of malt,  one variety of hops, and one strain of yeast.  Plus something they call "free range" water . 

I digress . . . Single Malt Ale is a fairly sessionable beer at 5.3% ABV.  It's a fairly light blonde ale that pours a cloudy amber gold with a nice creamy head.  It has a bready aroma that transitions nicely from nose to palate.   Citrus, fruit and bitter hops compliment the malt creating a smooth medium bodied beer . . . delicious.

I would recommend you grab one and give it a go.  This is a pretty darn good beer!

Make sure to visit Rogue's website and visit them on Facebook!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ballast Point Imperial Stout

Ballast Point is a new-to-me brewery.  Founded in 1996 by a pair of backyard brewers in California, they continue to lovingly craft their micro brews and luckily we can get them here in Connecticut.

Ballast Point labels feature fishes of all shapes and sizes.  The Sea Monster Imperial Stout sports a real life sea monster . . . a vicious looking angler fish.

Sea Monster is an American Imperial Stout.  It pours a dark rich brown with a dense foamy head.  Like any good imperial stout it has notes of coffee and dark bitter chocolate but it also has hints of berry and vanilla and a touch of hoppiness that add complexity.  

Sea Monster is definitely a BIG beer with a hefty 10% ABV . . . there is a touch of booziness due to the high alcohol content but it doesn't in any way detract from the rich, full flavors of the yummy beer. 

This is a sipper . . . not a guzzler.  Take your time and enjoy Sea Monster.  As it warms in your glass, experience how the flavors different ingredients come forward, intensify and change ever so slightly.

With all that this stout has going on it has a smooth, silky mouth feel . . . really quite nice.

Overall, a very good beer.  Cheers!

Check out their website or visit them of Facebook.