Sunday, November 30, 2014


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

Monday, November 3, 2014

Cooking with beer - Witbier Shrimp and Avocado Salad

I'm on a quest to find new and interesting recipe ideas that fit into a light, healthy food plan.  Salad is the old standby but regular salads with fatty dressings get boring. I found a recipe similar to this one and kicked it up a notch. And added beer. It has a nice combination of flavors, textures, and ingredients.

The Belgian style witbier compliments the bright citrus & herbs and contrasts nicely with the shrimp and avocado.

It's fresh, tasty, cool. and most importantly it's satisfying. Or maybe even more important, it's super easy to make.

Enjoy! I did!

Belgian Witbier Shrimp and Avocado Salad

1 12-oz bottle of good Belgian Wit (or similar)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 pinch hot pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 lb. small cocktail shrimp
3 tablespoons chopped mint, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese, plus more for garnish
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
1/2 medium tomato, seeded and diced
2 small avocados, peeled and diced
4 cups shredded romaine

Reduce the beer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce down to about 1/2 cup. Allow to cool.

Whisk together orange juice, lime juice, pepper, salt, hot pepper flakes, and cooled beer. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine shrimp with mint, cilantro, cheese, cucumber, tomatoes, and avocados.

Pour half of the dressing over the salad and gently toss to coat.

Divide lettuce on chilled plates. Drizzle evenly with remaining dressing.  Heap shrimp salad onto the center of the lettuce. Garnish with additional cheese, mint and cilantro leaves and serve.