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Monthly Archives: October 2011

From Brewdog…”There’s nothing more hardcore than bowling.” LAMBS!

All in all…I keep wanting to drink this out of the bottle and not pour it in a glass. Why is that? Do you ever just feel like having your beer from the bottle instead of a glass? Maybe I’m missing summer, and beers from a cooler in the backyard. Oh well, there she goes, into the glass. Okay that’s much better actually. So this pours a deep & warm golden color – it smells very sweet, almost like an herbal tea with honey. It tastes floral and spunky, but it doesn’t bare its teeth like Ruination IPA does. It’s time for an adventure. It has moxy & sass. Scheisse that’s great.

I love these labels, and the colors. And their videos…who can resist listening to a Scottish accent and watching dudes dress up in Penguin suits and lederhosen? I know I can’t. Back to the point…they’ve decided upon a staple label design, a few solid fonts, and they are sticking with it. As they should – it makes them stand out aesthetically, pique your interest, and leaves it all up to the beer. Now I still love a crazy or beautiful label design, don’t get me wrong. But this is to the point and gets the message across effectively. Really though, their color selection is excellent. You don’t see many navy blue beer labels out there-and this is a beautiful navy. That should tell you something – how often is navy beautiful?

Ah I miss 5 A.M. Saint…I think next trip to the liquor store I’m going to get another Hardcore, Punk, and 5 A.M. Saint and line them all up to try sucessfully. I’m going to need some help with that…as this one is 9.2% and I can barely handle all of that. (yup, I have no tolerance…balls)

Whew, that was an extremely long “all in all” wasn’t it?

Recommend to a friend? Hells to the yes. But I’m not sure it is readily accessible at the bars in town.

Safe for lightweights? 9.2% no it is not safe for lightweights such as myself

Plus one? Yes please! I wish my body was able to have a second one, but alas…

When and where? Whenever, wherever. Sorry about that…a friend said that the other day and I’ve had Shakira stuck in my head for about a week. Ugh.

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Crepes seem fancy pants, but they’re really just amazing street food at the core. Take a crepe, stuff it with nutella, or fruit, or ham & cheese, and it just works. There you have breakfast, lunch, and dinner (trust me, you can make a crepe for every meal). And all it takes are the above ingredients: butter, flour, eggs, sugar, salt, milk, and vanilla. Tada!

I originally set out to find a beer to pair with nutella crepes, but when I got to Friendly Package and remembered Founders Cerise, I got inspired…fast forward to Strawberry Crepes with Brown Sugar Ricotta. OM NOM NOM.

Cerise for the crepes: These strawberries are a little out of season, so they aren’t as tart as they could be, and so the Cerise helps bring out more freshness in them. (It would be even better if they were super fresh) Additionally, the brown sugar ricotta is super silky, and the Cerise does a great job of cleansing your mouth before the heavy and smooth ricotta. They’re just two amazing things to have at one meal…it kind of goes like this

Crepe: !

Cerise: !!

Crepe: Yay!

Cerise: HELL YES

Crepe for the Cerise: Just as the Cerise cleanses your palette (la dee da) for the crepe, this crepe is a great in-between taste for your sips of Cerise. It makes each sip delightfully carbonated & tart just like the first, especially if you let the Cerise fall over the tip of your tongue (then it sparkles like the New Belgium Kick). I would say that the crepe doesn’t enhance the Cerise by any means, but that this is still a good combination.

Basic Crepes

Makes 4 crepes.

1 C milk
1 C flour, sifted
1 T sugar
1/8 t salt
3 T unsalted butter (I used salted, so I used a little less salt)
1 t vanilla extract
2 eggs

1. Crack the eggs in a small bowl, and beat together with vanilla extract and milk.

2. In a mixing bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. If you don’t have a microwave-proof bowl, then melt a little more than 3 T in a separate bowl and pour into a mixing bowl.

3. Pour the egg/milk mixture into the mixing bowl and whisk together.

4. Sift the flour together with salt and sugar.

5. Turn the mixer on very low, and start mixing the egg mixture. Gradually add the flour mix until completely incorporated.

6. Let stand for 30 minutes-1 hour in the refrigerator (seal with saran wrap). After it has set, then mix again if you need to.

7. Heat a large skillet on medium, and melt enough butter in it to lightly coat the pan.

8. Pour the crepe mixture into a Pyrex measuring cup so you can easily pour the crepe mix into the pan.

9. When pan is heated, pour about 100 ml of mix onto pan, pick pan up and rotate it so that the mix spreads out onto the pan. If you are working with a small pan, then just use less mix, and you can have little mini crepes!

10. The top of the crepe will start to look matte in finish, and at this point, pick the pan up and shake occasionally. Once the whole crepe moves when you shake, it is ready to be turned over. Now this is the tricky part…

11. If you’re a magician you can try flipping it like a pancake. I can’t do this yet, so I have to take two spatulas from either side of the crepe and flip it over…I know, it’s so not pretty or graceful. But hey, I’m learning.

12. Just cook for about 30 seconds to one minute on the other side, and slide onto a piece of parchment paper. Put another piece of paper on top, so you’ll be ready for the next crepe!

Serve with ricotta & fruit, nutella, or butter & sugar (ahhhmazing). Cover with saran wrap to store.

Brown Sugar Ricotta

One tub of ricotta cheese
1/4 C brown sugar

1. Dump ricotta into a mixing bowl, and mix the brown sugar in until well incorporated.

2. Using a spatula, put the ricotta back into the tub!


I apologize for the picture quality. I left my phone in a friend’s apartment and can’t get it back until next week. Saaaad. You’ll have to be satisfied with iPhone photos until then.

Thoughts…Smells super sweet and like evergreens. Smooth from the tip of your tongue and has a little curl/kick at the end of the first couple sips. Mmm it smells like the mountains. It smells like western North Carolina. Now I want to be in the sun, on the river. With this in my hand at the end of the day. The Green River Narrows race is coming up again soon…how about we stock up on IPAs, go back to the Carolina’s, go do some cold weather camping, and spend the day watching this. Sounds like a plan to me. You driving?

Back to the brew…if I’m trying to compare this “wet hop” beer to a “normal” one, I don’t have nearly enough experience or knowledge yet to speak fluently on the subject. I would defer to more knowledgeable ladies and gents on the subject (please see Hoosier Beer Geek for a concise and informative review of the subject). However, all in all it isn’t as “biting,” and doesn’t make your teeth feel squeaky clean like some IPAs do. It has a really short aftertaste, but doesn’t leave you with a bad taste at all. It isn’t as badass as this race (most things can’t even compete with the Green), but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It really is like a day on the river. Low profile. Floating along just as smooth and cool as could be. Orange and hazy. It’s this:

Well being a wet hop, it’s a little fun. Like this:

Plus one? At 1 pint, 6 oz, I’m splitting this with a friend. However, I will be going back to Friendly Package for another one soon.

Okay, I’m done writing. I’m going to just sit back, enjoy the rest of this one, and spend too much time watching more kayaking videos.

Cheers!

Rebecca

‘Tis the season for pumpkin pumpkin pumpkin all over the place. I haven’t done enough “fall” things yet, so I’m trying to make up for that by squeezing in as much pumpkin as I can in my life. No visit to the Farmers Market…pumpkin latte. No visit to Brown County to see some pretty leaves…pumpkin pudding. No camping…pumpkin bread & pumpkin beer! Okay so I still need to go camping. Food & beer can’t fill that void. But I’ll do my best. Anyways…

I’m a little underwhelmed by this bread standing on its own, but stay with me here. I mean it’s a very good beer bread-it’s soft, chewy, yeasty. It reminds me of a lighty yeasty Belgian ale, actually. But with the pumpkin barely detectable, it wasn’t what I was expecting – I definitely should have used something more flavourful for it. As there is no pumpkin spice or pumpkin puree – the only pumpkin we’re relying upon is the pumpkin in Buffalo Bill’s. And as the pumpkin in that ale is soft and understated (part of why I like it), it doesn’t lend itself to giving a lot of flavor in a bread recipe. I think that if I used something like Southampton Pumpkin or Dogfish Head Punkin’, then we would get more flavor in the bread, and I would have included a little pumpkin spice as well. But all isn’t lost, because the pecans are divine in this, and the crust is so delightful. But you know what really brings it a step up? Cream cheese. Oh yes. Cream cheese + beer bread + pumpkin ale. That’s a meal right there for me.

That is all to say that having the Buffalo Bill’s with the bread is a good combination, because the pumpkin that is lacking in the bread is made up for in the ale. And if you don’t think Bill’s pumpkin has enough meat to it, or leaves you wanting more, the heaviness of the bread will provide that for you. It is one of my favourite pumpkin ales, as it is simple with understated spices, and it is a clean, light, and crisp transition from light summer ales to heavy winter beers. But it has it’s time and place, and I’m already craving something that will have more than enough flavor to slap me directly in the face. Suggestions?

Pumpkin Beer Bread

prep time: 5 minutes | bake time: 50-55 minutes

recipe adapted from the amazing amazing genius at A Cozy Kitchen

3 C all-purpose flour
3 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
3 T sugar
1/2 t + a dash cinnamon
1/2 t + a dash ground ginger
a pinch of ground cloves
a dash ground nutmeg
3/4 C chopped pecans
one 12 oz bottle of pumpkin ale

1. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, spices, and nuts in a large bowl together.

2. Make a “well” in the middle of the flour mixture, and pour beer in directly. It’s going to foam up a LOT!

3. Fold the dry ingredients in until you can’t see any more flour.

4. Spray Pam or wipe oil into a 5×9″ loaf pan, and put the bread mixture into the pan. Spread around if you want, but I like the messy look!

5. Bake for 50-55 minutes at 350 degrees, and make sure that a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cheers!

Rebecca

Porter + milkshake: YES YES many times YES

Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter is fantastic to have with this milkshake – it has a little bit of sweetness that carries you through to the milkshake, and both have a very similarly smooth texture. After having a few bites of the milkshake, the sweet does give way to the bitter, but that’s what we have the chocolate chips for…to bring it all back together and keep the balance. But never fear, once you finish your milkshake and finish off the porter, the sweetness comes on back to you.

A warning: you need to have some of the cookie in each bite of the milkshake. Just having the vanilla ice cream with this porter is too mushy, too creamy, and too round. Round…I hope you get what I mean. Yeah I think in shapes sometimes, oh well. And those pecans add a great third dimension – pecans and porters are what super powers are made of.

Say no to beer floats. Say YES to cookie dough milkshakes & porters.

Porter + cookie: Rich rich so rich. Just go for it. You might regret it afterward though…I have a stomach ache. I’ve had a milkshake, five cookies, and a very rich beer. That may have something to do with this.

Porter: Ooh this is so very sweet, like light brown sugar. And it’s similar to how carmel brownies are deeply intense, but so sweet that you just need one more taste. And another. And another. It smells faintly of some type of dried fruit (apricots? figs? I’m not well versed in dried fruit…), but there aren’t any extraneous flavors like chocolate or coffee thrown at you, just straight up, wholesome porter. At the end of a hard week, with upset customers, with cold weather, with rain, with boys (sorry fellas this week you have cooties), with ankle injuries (argh), this is a seriously wonderful treat.

P.S. Do you like the armadillo shaped bottle opener?

A quick bit about this recipe…I’m not going to make the claim that these are the BEST EVER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES. Because you know which chocolate chip cookie is your favorite. Maybe it’s your mother’s recipe, your grandmother’s, your best friend’s. Maybe it has tons of walnuts, or toffee, or cinnamon, or fairy dust. Your favorite chocolate chip cookies are made of your memories, your after-school snack with your brother or sister, and I can’t give that to you over the internet. But if you’re looking for a recipe of your own? If you’re looking for a recipe card to put in your back pocket, to pull out when you have a sad friend or maybe when you’re celebrating. To pull out for your grandkid, to impress that new cool girl or boy in your life…I can totally do that. Create your own favorite memories, your own favorite cookie.

3/4 C unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 C salted butter (or just 2 cups unsalted butter, this was the only combo of butter I had in my fridge)
1 C dark brown sugar
3/4 C granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t salt
2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 1/4 baking soda
2 C pecans, chopped as finely as you can get them
2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together in a mixing bowl together. If you don’t have a sifter, then just whisk everything together for a few seconds.

2. Beat softened butter in a mixing bowl on medium, until it is extremely light and fluffy…should take between 30 seconds and one minute. You may have to scrape down the bowl several times.

3. With butter on medium, add sugar and brown sugar very slowly. Beat for about four minutes on medium, until light and fluffy again. Again, scrape down the bowl several times. *if you haven’t used a mixer before, just hold the bowl while the mixer is still on and scrape the sides of the bowl down a few times.

4. Beat eggs & vanilla together, and add mixture EXTREMELY slowly to the butter/sugar combination. So slowly that you’ll get very impatient. But patience young grasshopper, it will be worth it. Again, the mixture will be fluffy but when you scrape the bowl with a spatula it will stay smooth and not look grainy.

5. Turn on low and add the flour mixture. Don’t do this all at once, but do not add as slowly as the sugars. Once the last bit of flour disappears turn the mixer off. If you keep mixing, then you will overwork the gluten and the cookies will be too tough.

6. With a spatula, fold in the pecans and chocolate chips.

7. Stick the cookie dough in the fridge and let it set overnight. I know, I know, you have to wait. Okay, you don’t really have to wait. But they’re better if you wait though, trust me. If you must then shape into smaller than golf-ball sized balls with a spoon and bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes. Keep an eye on them…toward the end they will be glossy in the center. Once there is no gloss in the center, they are done. Bake more if you like them crispier.

Now this recipe makes a ton of cookies, and unless you are magical and can eat cookies upon cookies at a time, then we’ll need to store these. After the dough solidified overnight, I shaped them into the smaller than golf-ball sized balls and stuck them in the fridge for a couple hours. Then you can place them in a tupperware container or sandwich bag and just pull out whenever you want to make cookies! You will just need to make sure to bake them for a few extra minutes, and definitely keep an eye on them.

And for the milkshake, all you need is ice cream (my favorite is Breyer’s Natural Vanilla) and milk! Just play around with various amounts of ice cream and milk until you get your desired consistency. Crumble up several cookies and mix it on up! Simple as that.

Cheers!

Rebecca

I’m solidly into week 2 of my annoying fall cold, and very much over being sick. Week 1 I did everything I was supposed to do:

(a) Rest rest rest.

(b) Drink tea & honey.

(c) Don’t attempt to “sweat” it out.

(d) Don’t have caffeine or alcohol.

(e) No brews, no baking…no one needs my gross cold cooties

None of this seemed to work, as my cold took a turn for the worst on Sunday. So you know what? Forget the doctors orders. I’m going old school. You best believe some hot toddies are in my future, too.

A hearty, strong ale to give me strength & another superb label design by Left Hand Brewing to make me feel all nice inside. Seriously, Left Hand Brewing, I have a total crush on you. You make cheeseball smile worthy beer, and wrap them in wonderful design. You are giving your design team a nice cheery bonus for Christmas right? If not, let me know and I’ll send them cookies. You think I’m joking?

I can’t really elaborate on the beer, seeing as this cold has left me unable to smell or taste anything with any kind of depth, but I officially classify this as a GET BETTER BEER. I’m looking forward to trying this when my taste buds are working properly, because even now I can feel the bite of  chili linger in the top of my mouth as an aftertaste. Clears your head right up, at least for a moment or two, and a 7.5% ABV gives you quite a cheery attitude. Volume 3 of Fade to Black is a “Pepper” American Porter, and by their description,

“Imagine Robert DeNiro sitting in your darkened parlour near the fire in his Louis Cyphre persona smoking a Tuscan cigar. This may be the beer with which to save (or lose) your soul. Dried fruit flavors entwined with smoky pepper and licorice embossed on roasty malt sweetness open on your tongue as the slow warmth of chilis creep up on your tongue and throat, finishing in an herbal smoke ring flourish.”

I meant to post this eons ago, but I’ve been adjusting to a new schedule of

1. Training for my 10K on October 23rd. THREE WEEKS. I’m not sure I should have looked at the calendar. There’s not enough time!

2. Trying my hand at cyclocross with my new bike (see above for a blurry picture of Kona Jake the Snake): it’s loads of fun, but man am I wiped. I’m currently working on my mounts without looking like a chicken with its head cut off, and desperately searching for some leg strength to get me up hills without falling over sideways.

Try fitting all of this in between work and sunset, and with legs that are only used to mayyybe one or two “workouts” per week. And try balancing training for the 10K with wanting to do a few cross races at the same time. Yeesh. In over my head much? But as long as I’m having fun with it all, I can’t complain. I wish I could be one of those people who can go run 4 miles just out of the blue, or who can bomb up crazy hills with legs of steel, but alas, I wasn’t born with that superpower.

Speaking of superheros…

Last Saturday afternoon was spent with New Belgium‘s Kick (part of their Lips of Faith series) and X-Men First Class. It was awesome. You should’ve been there. You’d have been all about Michael Fassbender as Magneto as well.

All in all… But really, about this ale. What I can’t get over is how wonderfully the pumpkin/cranberry is infused in this sour ale. The Kick isn’t all about the pumpkin flavor. It isn’t an all out fall pumpkin ale. (Even though there are some cool Jack-O-Lanterns on the bottle) It isn’t a cranberry fruit ale. This is a great sour ale, that is heightened and enhanced by a pumpkin and cranberry flavor. Its identity as a sour ale doesn’t have to take a backseat to having other organic flavors in the mix. And what I love and am always dazzled by with sour ales, is that with a truly splendid ale, the flavor literally dances around and sparkles. Cheesy maybe? But it’s true. Really, I would love to know how this magic happened. My hats off to you brewers. You are truly gentlemen and ladies.

Recommend to a friend? With the tall boy size, find a friend to split this with…cheers! I had a hard time wasting some of mine but…

Safe for lightweights? At 8.5% slow yourself down a little bit.

When and where… Leave this out of the refrigerator for a few minutes before pouring it – at refrigerator temperature the tartness, the little tongue curl at the end is softened, muted almost. It’s best still a little cool, but I enjoyed it more towards room temp than truly chilled.

And a very special shout out to another fantastic bottle design (and beer!) by Rogue