Saturday, November 29, 2008

Been gone a while

Yeah, so...holidays, man.
Lots of beer goodness is happening but with all the gatherings and family and trampling of Wal-Mart workers we're expected to do this season, who has time to blog?
But seriously, if you've started tuning in to this here log of webby goodness, I'm very, very sorry for not keeping up. There will definitely be more to come.
In the meantime, why not stop by 33 or the Wine & Cheese Place and pick up some good holiday beer for yourself? Let the relatives drink their Pinot Grigio and Bud Select--more saison for you!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bottling Day

So we bottled the Scotch ale on Sunday at my dad's. All the brothers were there, plus two sig others and an offspring. The Sprout got to help a bit, or at least pose for a few photos that made it appear that that was the case. We spilled a little and got fewer bottles than we should have, and when we sampled the stuff before adding it to the priming sugar it tasted like a super nutty brown ale, and we think The Sprout might have put one of the bottles in his mouth before we filled it, but hey, we got beer. Or we will in three weeks or so. We're planning a Thanksgiving dinner debut, if my father can leave it alone for that long.

Today Dad wants to start the second batch, an IPA. These are kits he bought from STL Wine & Beermaking, by the way. We'll get the hang of extract first, then, someday, go grain. Then again, maybe I should see if we're any good at this before I make any predictions. I wish I'd had time to go to the Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day gatherings I read about recently, but for now I'll just keep reciting the Papazian mantra: Relax. Don't worry. Have a homebrew. And until we have our own, that means a homebrew of George's or Gabe's or Sarah's, my lovely friends who have bravely gone before.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Duff's Beer Dinner

The eighth annual New Belgium beer dinner at Duff's Restaurant in the CWE was super delicious. I got to sit with my lovely wife and four of our friends, all of us current or former Duff's employees. Everything was excellent, including appropriate glassware for each style and meat-free versions of each dish for the veggies in our crew. That last bit means that those who were willing to try both basically got two dishes per pairing.

Opening the meal was the surprisingly sessionable Mothership Wit paired with a hearty curried lamb samosa in a powerful coriander mint chutney. The chutney was so spicy I had to order a bottle of Third Coast Beer to cool off so I wouldn't inhale the witbier. But soon, spice balanced spice, phyllo married malt, and we were off. Even got seconds. Can't remember what was in the veg samosa.

Le Fleur Misseur, the draught-only, limited release, Orval-inspired, 'Lips of Faith' thing, was next up, paired with a pear/bleu/walnut/cran viniagrette salad. I'm sure the salad was nice but all I cared about was the beer: Brettanomyces, Hallertau, you expected a mess and you got a delicate, balanced symphony.

On to the Blue Paddle with a shellfish chowder. The chowder was just creamy rich enough, not too much. When you took a sip of the beer, it washed the tongue clean with a malty flush, and got you eager for another spoonful. The veg version had mushrooms and whatnot but still had boatloads of flavor.

The national dish of Brazil is apparently Pork Feijoada, this incarnation consisting of rice, yummy black beans, and amazingly flavorful pork sausage. Accompanying it was the Abbey Ale, and once again I was more into the beer than the food. Don't get me wrong, great counterpoint and all, with the rustic meeting the refined and the deep flavors all settling in together. But this dubbel is just so damn big and boozy, you can't help but get contemplative, planning out the rest of your night around this one, glorious draught until you realize oh right two more courses. I'll just set you aside, little snifter, and you can command more of my respect later. Again, the veg version wasn't committed to memory.

1554 with beef tournedos, roasted root veg and a freakin killer beet-horseradish sauce. Now, I've had beets'n'horseradish, or at least I thought I had--this stuff was blood red, almost purple, and thank god there was a lot of it because I made sure it went on everything. The 1554 smelled like milk chocolate and, because of the lager least, went down easy with the spice and the fat and the love. The veggies got a rather tasty big meatball made of Match, I believe, in place of the beef.

Lastly, Giddy Up! and a perfect little mousse-like house-made chocolate tiramisu. This was killer. Just killer. Short and sweet and gone. The light-bodied, sweetish, espresso-accented ale, which I'd had before and liked, was perfect with the delicate dessert--a nice change, as someone pointed out, from the usual too-big-too-late pairings of fruit lambics/imperial stouts/barleywines and oversized choco-cliches. This last beer of the night--except of course for that Abbey I'd been saving--finished with hints of toffee, lemons, and wood, and a strange stinky unidentifiable aroma that just served to make the evening that much more interesting.

Here's to hoping we all can make it to the next affair: the Mangia Italiano Beer Dinner, featuring Schlafly beers, on Thursday, November 20th at 7pm.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Black Gold

Mikkeller Jackie Brown
Schlafly Coffee Stout
Trois Pistoles
Bodegal #103
2006 Bourbon County Stout

Oh my goodness.
Mix with friends, Trivial Pursuit and Halloween candy and you got yourself a party.