Saturday, June 29, 2013

Cooking with Beer - Stout Skirt Steak

This is a remarkably flavorful meat marinated in a hearty stout.  The beer tenderizes and flavors the skirt steak to perfection.  Delicious!

I used Narwhal Russian Imperial Stout which was amazing.  But you can use whatever stout beer you like.

Stout Skirt Steak

2 1 1/3-Pound Flank Steaks
1 Tony Chachere Creole Seasoning
1/4 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 12-Ounce Bottle Stout
1/2 Cup Worcestershire Sauce

Place steaks in container large enough to hold the steaks.  It's okay if you have to fold them over.  

Drizzle the meat with olive oil and make sure they're coated evenly.  Sprinkle steaks on both sides with Chachere Creole Seasoning.  Add beer and Worcestershire sauce, turning steaks several times to coat both sides. 

Cover and chill at least 3 hours or up to a day ahead, turn occasionally. 

Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before your going to cook them to bring up the temperature.  They will be more tender if they are at a warmer temperature than if you cook them straight from the fridge.

Preheat your grill to medium-high. Grill steaks to desired doneness, 3 to 4 minutes total per side for medium-rare

Transfer steaks to cutting board; let rest 5 minutes. Thinly slice steaks across grain. 

Serve as a main dish with your favorite sides or on a sub roll with beer glazed onions or  serve on homemade beer tortillas, with aji Sauce, guacamole and shredded cheese.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Green Monsta IPA

I picked up a bottle of Green Monsta IPA by Wachusett Brewing pretty much because I'd never had the beer - or beer from this brewer, in fact - and I like IPA. That's as good enough a reason as any to buy a beer.

Don'tcha think?

Green Monsta IPA (6.0% ABV)

Pours a hazy amber color with a floofy big head that leaves behind decent lacing (even in my non-glass glass).

The aroma is hoppy with a sweet malt presence.  Not a big aroma, though.

The taste is kind of a sweet hoppy IPA.  The hop presence is kind of floral, kind of grassy and hardly citrussy.  It's not super bitter and has plenty of malt character.  It finishes dry with a touch of bitterness and lingering malty sweetness.

The mouthfeel is light to medium with great effervescence.

Green Monsta IPA is a pretty drinkable brew.  Refreshing and tasty.  A middle of the road IPA that's good for just about anyone.

Overall: Good

The Beer Song

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Orange Hopsicle Brewtail

This may be one of the best beer cocktails . . . er, brewtails I've ever made.  

The orange of the triple sec and the spice of the bitters combines perfectly with the bitter hoppiness of an IPA.

Perfectly refreshing and unbelievably delicious!

I used Smuttynose Finestkind IPA, but you can use whatever you like.

Orange Hopsicle

2 Oz Triple Sec
2 Dashes Bitters
½ Oz Simple Syrup
3 Oz IPA

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add triple sec, bitters and simple syrup. 

Shake, shake, shake senora.

Strain into a glass.

Top with the IPA.


To make simple syrup combine equal parts granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool.

Watermelon Summer Ale Infusion

Nothing tastes quite like summer than, well, like a summer ale.  They're usually light and bright and oh-so drinkable on a hot day.

Another cool summertime treat is fresh, juicy watermelon.  What picnic or barbecue is complete without one? Right?

So I thought it might be interesting to combine the two.  It would be, like, double the refreshment!

I used chunks, but I think next time I'll puree the watermelon first to get more flavor.

The result was a gentle flavoring of watermelon that was subtle and enticing.  


Watermelon Summer Ale Infusion

Place several chunks of fresh cut watermelon (or watermelon puree) into the bottom of a French press. And then pour 12 ounces of Summer Ale into the pot. Let the beer soak into the watermelon for 4 minutes.  Finally, press the filter down slowly and pour into a glass.  

I threw some chunks of watermelon into the beer, too. After it was infused.  


Monday, June 24, 2013

CBG Revolution Brewfest - Old friends

There were so many great Connecticut craft brewers at CBG Revolution Brewfest.  I wanted to give a special shout out to breweries I already know and love.

Thimble Islands represented with their American Ale and Coffee Stout.  I stopped by and was like, "What?  No IPA?  How disappointing."  No sooner was I disappointed than a growler of Thimble Islands' latest and greatest creation pulled from the cooler.  Oh my sweet lord.  YES!  Bright and aromatic, bitter and delicious!  Thimble Islands makes some kick ass beer!

Relic was on hand pouring up Clockwork Session IPA.  It's always good to see these guys.  I first tasted their beer at a previous CBG event and then again at a Cask Night also hosted by CBG.  They have a great variety of beers that are unique and creative.

Half Full was represented by Nikki from J. Timothy's.  Prior to this event, I'd only had one other taste of their beer.  Admittedly, it wasn't the best experience but I certainly wanted to give them another shot!  I had a much better experience this time around.  I really enjoyed the IPA and I'm looking forward to trying more of their beers!

New England Brewing was pouring up Sea Hag IPA and Galaxy Pale Ale.  I've had the Sea Hag before.  In fact, I've made pickles from this deliciously bitter brew.  By this point in the day I was pretty much beered up, so I opted to sample the Galaxy only.  It was bitter with juicy fruity sweetness to balance out the flavor making it quite drinkable.  The 4.8% ABV makes it nicely sessionable.  

Back East was pouring up their Misty Mountain IPA and Golden Ale.  I have to admit that Back East isn't my favorite Connecticut brewery.  It's not that they're beer is bad.  I wouldn't say that at all.  I just don't think they hit the high bar set by so many other breweries busting out of the woodwork in our state.  That being said, the representative was nice enough to hear me out and indicated that they appreciate the feedback.  I did enjoy my sample of the golden ale, tho! 

CBG Revolution Brewfest - Bottom Side Up Brewing

I don't know how it happened, but somehow I walked right by this happy crew and didn't realize that I hadn't tried Bottom Up Brewing 'til I'd tried almost everyone else's beer at the CBG Revolution Brewfest!  That's a lot of beer!  Whatever, I'm glad discovered the error of my ways and repented by trying their yummy craft beers.

Their beers have great names with funny logos.  They're almost as good as the beer in the glass.  ALMOST.

Killer Buzz (5% ABV) is a nice summer Kolsch.  Honey makes a fine addition to this crisp, refreshing style of beer by adding a hint of sweetness.  Really good!

Assault and Battery (6.3% ABV) is a black IPA.  A good example of the style with the rich roasty malts contrasting nicely with mouthwatering hoppy bitterness. A good balance brew.  Yum!

Mug Shots (6.6% ABV) is a stout brewed with cherry flavor coffee. The aroma is just like smelling a fresh cup of coffee.  The taste is just as good.  The cherry is subtle but definitely there adding a nice dose of fruity complexity.  Well done!

An impressive collection of hand crafted beers.  I look forward to tasting more from Bottom Side Up!

CBG Revolution Brewfest - Lasting Brass Brewing

The guys from Lasting Brass were a hoot and a half.  They're not yet an "official" brewery but they're working on it.  It was good to see them at CBG's Revolution Brewfest!

Ed Silva, the head brewer, and his lackey Jim were pouring up some good brews.  They had three on tap at the CBG Revolution Brewfest.

Hopsession (5.5% ABV) is an American pale ale using citra hops.  This is a pretty darn hoppy pale ale.  Why?  Because they dry hopped the keg.  Yeah, that'll do it!  I loves me some hoppy beer!  Good stuff!

Old Colony Saison (7% ABV) is a traditional farmhouse ale with a touch of honey.  They say it's got a funky farmhouse ester?  Who's Ester?  Is she hiding under the hay in the barn? Seriously, this is a slightly sweet, juicy fruity brew with nary a hint of bitterness.  Full flavored and delicious!

Brass City Blonde (5.8%) is a bright summery Kölsch.  Mildly hoppy, slightly fruity, a little malty.  Crisp and refreshing.  This is a really good brew! A good example of the style.

I look forward to seeing more goodness coming from Lasting Brass.   And that lackey dude is quite the photo bomber!

CBG Revolution Brewfest - Stubborn Beauty Brewing

The first I had Stubborn Beauty Brewing was at CBG's Revolution Brewfest.  

I had a chance to speak with Shane and Andrew, co-owners of the brewery, and the rest of the gang.  They are a fun group of people with a passion for craft beer.  

Stubborn Beauty had four different and tasty brews up for sampling.  Of course, I tried them all.  And, all around, they were really good and tasty beers!  I love the clever names, too.  It's all in good fun!

Speaking In Tongues (7.7% ABV) is a black IPA.  A hint of coffee and roasty malts combined with bitter hops makes for a delicious contrast of flavors between a stout and an IPA.  Really good!

Get Turnt On (8.1% ABV) is an American IPA.  Wow!  True to the style, this beer has big hoppy aroma and flavor.  I love a good IPA.  This one sure did "turnt" me on!  Nom!

How Rye I Am (8.6% ABV) is a Saison / Farmhouse Ale.  This brew has a hefty alcohol content that is impressively well concealed.  This is a good hearty beer with loads of flavor and a twist of rye.  Very good.

Tainted Justice (8.4% ABV) is an Imperial Porter.  Now that's a good porter!  This brew could almost be a Russian imperial stout.  Heh, maybe it is, the lines between stouts and porters are so blurred.  It is rich and bold and porterlicious!

I was duly impressed with all of Stubborn Beauty's brews.  They can stand up against the best craft brewers in Connecticut and beyond.  Really good stuff!

CBG Revolution Brewfest - Shebeen Brewing

Shebeen Brewing is a brewery I've been meaning to visit since they opened their doors.  So, I was very happy to see them at CBG's Revolution Brewfest and even happier to finally get to taste the beer I've been hearing such good things about.

Rich Visco - Headbrewer/Artiste/Mastermind/Man-behind-the-madness - took some time from pouring to chat with me a bit about the brewery, his beers, and other Shebeern goings-on.  Can't wait to visit the brewery!

My disappointment was palpable when I discovered there was no Cannoli Beer to be had at the brewfest, but I managed to suffer through their other offerings.  ;-)

Concord Grape Saison (5.6% ABV) The grape juice adds contrast to a traditional farmhouse ale.  It's almost a wine/beer crossover.  Interesting and tasty.

Black Hop IPA (6.8% ABV) This is one of my favorite styles of beer.  It's the best of both worlds, the coffee/cocoa richness of a stout and the bitter goodness of an IPA.  This we a great example of the style.  Yum!

West Coast Pale Ale (5.5% ABV) had the classic hopped aroma and flavor of it's namesake.  The flavor of this beer truly transports the tastebuds. Good stuff!

The beer from Shebeen is true craft beer ingenuity.  I  love the different takes on classic styles.  It makes for a wonderful taste adventure.

CBG Revolution Brewfest

Craft Brew Guy put on an amazing event.  He's got a passion for great craft beer that that may rival my own.

The Revolution Brewfest had some of Connecticut's best brewers represented. 

(In no particular order) 

Shebeen, Thimble Island, Stubborn Beauty, New England, Back East, Bottom Side Up, Lasting Brass, Relic, Half Full

The selection of hand crafted beers was remarkable.  Many of the brewers poured similar style brews on tap but each had their one unique twist which made them all different.  It's what I love best about craft beer!

It was an fantastic day and I'm not ashamed to say I had more than my fair share of beer.  And, I probably got stupid obnoxious. But that's how Brauista rolls.

Please see my individual reviews for each of the breweries represented

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Cooking with Beer - Bacon Wrapped Whiskey Steak with Beer Glazed Onions

The bacon adds salty smoky goodness, the balsamic vinegar creates as sweet tart glaze on the steak.  The Whiskey adds incredible flavor and tenderizes the steaks at the same time.  The beer glazed onions puts this recipe over the top.  

Amazingly tender and delicious.  

Bacon Wrapped Whiskey Steak with Beer Glazed Onions

1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Cup Whiskey or Bourbon
1/2 Pound Bacon
Fresh Ground Pepper
1 Recipe IPA Glazed Onions

Place steaks in a sealable container.  Grind fresh pepper over the tops of both steaks.  Pour Vinegar and whiskey over top.

Marinate steaks at least an hour but the longer the better.  Make sure to turn them so both sides get equally sauced.

Cut the steaks in half or smaller depending on the size steak your using.  Wrap them in a slice or two of bacon and secure the ends with a toothpick.  Partially cook the bacon, if desired.  Top with more fresh ground pepper.

Grill the the edges of the steak to cook the bacon.  Then grill to desired temperature.

The balsamic vinegar / whiskey marinade will create a lovely crust on the outside of the steak.

Top with beer glazed onions.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Narragansett Imperial IPA

I tend to to think Narragansett beer is not the bestest beer in the whole world.  Hell it's not even the best beer in this hemisphere, continent, country, region, state, county or town.  It's only meh, in my ever so humble opinion.

Yeah, I know they've been working to improve this image by producing more craft like brews.  I've tried one or two and some aren't as bad as others.  But generally I usually can't bring myself to buy Narragansett because there are so many other beers that I want to try.  Frankly, it's usually not on my radar.

So, one day while I was browsing I spied a bottle of Narragansett Imperial IPA.  The label was stamped Private Stock.  That got my attention.  Actually, it triggered my giggle switch a wee little bit.

Why?  Because there's another beer with famous quality that also has Private Stock stamped conspicuously on its label.  That beer ... er ... malt liquor is Haffenreffer.  

The comparison is amusing.

Nevertheless, my curiosity was now piqued so I ended up buying a bottle.  Hey, stranger things have happened.  Some very strange things have happened since I obviously bought a bottle of Haffenreffer at some point.  

Actually, I think I still have a bottle on the door of the fridge.  Yup, that's some pretty darn funny stuff, right there.

Narragansett Imperial IPA (8.60% ABV) pours a clear deep gold with a thick, frothy off white head.  That head left behind some very remarkable lacing.  I was impressed.

The aroma is malty with a goodly dose of citrus and resin hops.

The taste is immediately bitter.  Citrus hops prevail with a hint of some juicier, sweeter hops.  The caramel malt  mellows out the bitterness creating a good balance of sweetness and bitterness. The finish is where the pine hops come forward leaving behind a lingering bitterness on the back of the tongue.

The mouthfeel is medium with good carbonation. The alcohol makes its presence known a little forcefully as the beer warms in the glass.

Narragansett Imperial IPA is okay but nothing special.  A decent example of the style.

For about $6 for a bomber, you get what you pay for.  I'd like to point out that Haffenreffer goes for $3 for a 40-ouncer.  Just sayin'

Overall: Good.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Ginger and Lemon Hefeweizen Infusion

Wheat beers are light and refreshing.  Then combine nicely with the flavors of other ingredients, which why you will often see a slice of orange or other citrus floating on top of a glass this classic summer brew.

I spied a bit of ginger root and a lemon sitting right next to a growlita for Two Roads No Limits Hefewiezen in my fridge and was inspired.  Using a French press, I infused fresh grated ginger and fresh lemon juice with the beer and was wowed.

The result is a light and refreshing ginger beer.  Aromatic and enticing! Simply delicious! 


Ginger and Lemon Hefeweizen Infusion

Place a couple tablespoons of freshly grated ginger and a teaspoon of lemon juice into the bottom of a French press. And then pour 12 ounces of wheat beer into the pot. Let the ginger and lemon juice rest in the beer for 4 minutes.  Finally, press the filter down slowly and pour into a glass.  

Note: I tried sliced ginger first and the flavor didn't infuse very well.  The grated ginger allows more of the natural juices into the beer.  Delish!

Beer Song

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cooking with Beer - Beer Marinated Grilled Chicken

Beer is a remarkable meat tenderizer.  It also adds unique flavor that infuses meat through and through.  

Spices, extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice mixed with a lager makes for a tasty marinade that makes everyday grilled chicken into something special.  

This recipe is quick, easy and delicious!  Perfect for the grilling season!

I used a Samuel Adams Boston Lager, but use what you like.  A pale ale will bring out the tartness of the lemon.  A dark beer will make for a heartier flavor.

Beer Marinated Grilled Chicken

1 12-Oz Ounce Bottle Boston Lager
1/2 Lemon, Juiced
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 Garlic Cloves
1 Tbsp Fresh Basil
1 Tbsp Fresh Parsley
1 Tbsp Fresh Oregano
2 Tsp Coarse Salt
2 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
4-5 Lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

In a food processor, combine lemon juice, olive oil and spices.  Process 30 seconds to a minute to blend thoroughly.

Place chicken in a resealable plastic bag and pour marinade over top.  Pour beer into the bag.

Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible.  Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.  The longer the better!

About an hour before you're ready to start grilling, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.  This will make the chicken (or any other meat) more tender than cooking straight from the fridge.

On a preheated grill, cook the chicken 8 to 10 minutes per side, depending on the size of the breasts.  Cook until the center is white and no longer pink. Try not to overcook.

Enjoy with your favorite side dish or as a topper for a fresh garden salad.

Conntucky Lightnin'

I've heard rumblings about Conntucky Lightnin' in the brewery.  Two Roads has had a great track record with introducing new and wonderful beers.  So, this is a beer I've been waiting for.  

Conntucky Lightnin' (8.50% ABV) is a moonshine inspired American strong ale brewed with corn grits and aged in bourbon barrels. 

Poured straight from the tap into a snifter glass, it is a rich copper red with a wispy layer of foam.

The aroma is distinctly bourbon-ish without being boozy.  Malt and grains add depth and character.

The taste is slightly sweet and malty.  The bourbon presence is more subtle than expected, but it adds complexity without overwhelming the brew.  The corn grits are noticable and are kind of smelled in the back of the throat more than actually tasted.  The alcohol is well concealed.  The finish is clean.

The mouth feel is medium and smooth.  

Conntucky Lightnin' is a much lighter tasting beer than I expected.  I had anticipated something bolder.  I would have liked a stronger corn presence and a little more boost of bourbon.

Overall:  good.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Maple / Coffee Imperial Stout Infusion

My favorite coffee is the Vermont Maple Nut Crunch that I grind fresh for my daily cup.  I like a good cup of coffee but I also like a good coffee stout.  So if maple syrup compliments my coffee so well, it stands to reason that maple syrup and coffee would mesh well with an imperial stout.

This infusion combines fresh ground coffee and real maple syrup with a rich Imperial Stout.  

Maple / Coffee Imperial Stout Infusion

Pour one teaspoon ground coffee into a French press along with a 1/2 a teaspoon of real maple syrup. Top that with a 12 ounce bottle of imperial stout. Gently stir to release the grounds trapped in the foam so that they will fall into the beer. Let the coffee and syrup steep in the beer for 3 minutes.  Finally, press the filter down slowly and pour into a glass.  

The results are big coffee aroma and flavor with a touch of maple sweetness.  These flavors enhance the base stout without suppressing it's already wonderful flavors.

The transformation in the stout was amazing.  Delicious!