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Archive for Beer & Hard Cider

TIP OF THE DAY: Cider Tasting For Mother’s Day

Hard Cider & Food

Drier ciders work better with meats. Photo courtesy Angry Orchard.

 

Skip the Pinot Grigio and taste some cider for Mother’s Day. It’s more novel than wine, and will suit any guest:

Cider is equally popular among men and women, whereas beer is significantly more popular among men*. Cider is also gluten-free and less filling than beer.

While many people think “autumn” when they hear “cider,” that is true for non-alcoholic cider, which is fresh-pressed.

Hard cider is fermented for eight weeks after the juice is pressed. The cider then matures for several months, is blended, filtered and carbonated. So the “freshest” hard cider is on the market now, not in the fall.

Another note: In the U.S., alcoholic cider is called hard cider and apple cider/apple juice (the terms are interchangeable in the U.S.) is simply called cider.

In the U.K. it’s the reverse: “Cider” is hard cider.

While most cider is made from apples, you’ll also find pear cider, known in the U.K. as perry.

 
CIDER & FOOD PAIRINGS

Hard ciders pairs with the same foods as beer and white wine. Styles range from very dry to sweet “hard apple juice.”

  • The sweetness of cider allows you to serve desserts with it, too, especially apple desserts (pie, crumble, bread pudding).
  • For nibbles, serve hearty cheeses and charcuterie.
  • For main courses, consider barbecue, chicken, pork and sausages (beer and brats, meet cider and brats); plus soups, stews and one of our favorite pairings, cheese fondue.
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    TIPS

  • In recipes, you can substitute hard cider for wine.
  • Hard cider is best served chilled or over ice.
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    CIDER TASTING PARTY: WHERE TO START

    1. Gather up a dozen brands or so, and invite friends over for a hard cider tasting. You’ll find hard ciders from the U.S. and England†. Get apple cider for the kids.

    2. For serious foodies, conduct a blind tasting. Serve them in order of alcohol content, lowest to highest. Either cover up the labels with paper (we used a removable glue stick) or place each one in a paper sandwich sack (the size of a take-out coffee bag, which you can get at the nearest deli [offer to pay for them and you’ll likely get them for free]).

    3. Mark each label or bag with a number, and provide each person with a tasting notes sheet. If your group is accustomed to evaluating beer and wine, you can adapt this professional scoring sheet. We put all the descriptors in the left column of that sheet onto one piece of paper, with one for each guest. For notes, we made up a simple sheet with designated areas for rating ciders 1 through 12 (or however many ciders you’re serving) on a second sheet.

    You can also print out this Cider Tasting Wheel.

     

    Cider Goblet

    You can use any glass you like for cider; this one is popular in Europe. Photo courtesy Crispin Cider.

     
    4. Decide on the food and how many bottles of each cider you’ll need for your size crowd.

    5. Start with small pours: An ounce each of 12 cider becomes 12 ounces in relatively short order. At the end of the comparison tasting, people can go back for more.

    6. Provide “dump buckets” so participants can toss what they don’t like. These can be large tumblers or other vessels (we’ve used short vases!).

    7. Have a great time.
     
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    *Beer is preferred by men in terms of market penetration (+10% for men), frequency (+35% for men), and servings consumed (+33% for men).
     
    †Magners Irish Cider is the only hard cider imported from Ireland.

      

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    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Beer Day

    Amber Ale

    Burger & Lager Beer

    Top: Amber ale with blue cheese from the EatWisconsinCheese.com. Bottom: Burger and a lager at The Palm.

     

    What will you do on April 7th, National Beer Day?

    Drink beer, of course. Hopefully, you’ll choose a complex craft beer instead of something mass-produced and bland.

    Depending on your age, it may seem that craft breweries have always been around.

    Of course in the Colonies, it was brewed in small batches at home or for a tavern, and simply called beer. When not a soldier and statesman, George Washington, and landowners like him, first grew the grain and then brewed their beer.

    In 1819 the first commercial brewery opened in the U.S., in Rochester, New York. Over the next 50 years, every region that did not have local prohibition laws had breweries. Some of today’s mega-brewers, including Anheuser-Busch, Miller, Pabst, Schlitz and Stroh, started as small regional breweries.

    Fast forward 200+ years to the dawn of the American microbrew. In 1977, a brewery opened in Sonoma, California. The New Albion Brewery was short lived, but was America’s first microbrewery or craft brewery.

    Here’s a really interesting chronology of beer brewing in America.
     
    CRAFT BEER & FOOD

    Tom Acitelli, author of the The Audacity of Hops: The History of America’s Craft Beer Revolution, sent us these little-known events that shaped the bond between American craft beer and good food.

  • Pairing Beer & Food. Englishman Michael Jackson was already the world’s best-known beer critic when he wrote a long piece for The Washington Post, the week before Thanksgiving 1983. He advised on which beers to pair with which parts of the national feast (for the turkey itself, he recommended Bavarian pales). It was the first time a major American newspaper published a serious article about pairing beer with food.
  • Beer Dinners. In September 1985, a legendary beer bar, the Brickskeller in Washington, D.C., hosted a meeting of the Cornell Alumni Association. Attendees paid $15 each to drink 10 different beers with a dinner. It was the first commercially run sit-down beer dinner in the U.S.
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  • International Acclaim. In October 1998, a handful of American craft brewers flew to Turin, Italy with their beers to attend Salon del Gusto, the biennial convention of the Slow Food movement. They were greeted like rock stars. It was the first time European gourmands embraced American brewers and beers in such a public way.
  • Craft Beer Every Day. In 2003 Garrett Oliver, brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery, published The Brewmaster’s Table. At 384 pages, it was not only the lengthiest guide to date on how to pair beer with food, but the first to explain how to really incorporate craft beer into everyday meals.
  • Craft Beer At The White House. During a Super Bowl party on February 6, 2011, President and Mrs. Obama served a honey ale made by the White House Mess using the honey from a beehive on the mansion’s grounds—the first time brewing had ever been done in the 210-year history of the White House. When the recipe was released in September 2012, it caused a run on honey at homebrew shops nationwide.
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    CHECK OUT OUR BEER GLOSSARY: THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BEER.
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Authentic Irish Beer Styles

    Forget the green beer on St. Patrick’s Day: It’s going to be the cheapest brew on tap. Who would color craft beer green? If you must do so, go for the palest style, Wheat Beer, a.k.a. Weissbier, Weizenbier and Witbier. It takes the color best.

    Instead of the green stuff, consider two beer styles with authentic Irish roots: Dry Stout and Red Ale. American craft brewers from coast to coast make them. In fact, Irish Red Ale is more popular in the U.S. these days than in Ireland!

    Dig in to the two styles below, and check out the other types of beers in our Beer Glossary.

    IRISH-STYLE DRY STOUT

    Stouts are a higher-alcohol version of porter (7% A.B.V.* or higher), a dark beer made from roasted malt or roasted barley, hops, water and yeast.

    All Stouts are Porters, but they are the stronger Porters (the “stoutest” ones). You can review their history and brewing techniques at BeerConnoisseur.com.

    There are different Stout styles, including American Sweet Stout; Baltic Porter; Milk Stout/Sweet Stout/English Sweet Stout, made with lactose, milk sugar; and Imperial Stout/Russian Imperial Stout, a style first brewed in the 18th century for export to the court of Catherine the Great.
     
    *A.B.V. stands for Alcohol By Volume, the percent of alcohol in the beverage.

       

    Dry Irish Stout

    Guinness, the world’s most famous Stout. Annual sales are almost $2 billion. Photo courtesy Romano.

     

    But the most common style of Stout is Dry Stout, the Irish-style Stout represented by Guinness Draught, the world’s best selling Stout. In the early 20th century, when Milk Stout/Sweet Stout became the dominant style in England, Ireland maintained a preference for the non-sweet or Dry Stout, also known as Standard Stout. With the world dominance of Guinness, it is now simply referred to as Stout.

    Irish-style Dry Stouts are black in color with notes of coffee-like roasted barley and a roasted malt aroma. The hop bitterness is medium to medium high. The head is tan or tan-tinged.

     
    DRY STOUT FOOD PAIRINGS

  • Irish pub food: Beef Stew, Corned Beef & Cabbage, Fish & Chips, Guinness Beef Stew, Shepherd’s Pie.
  • Lamb kebabs (marinate them in Guinness) or pot roast with Guinness.
  • Burger or bacon burger, chicken or turkey sandwich, corned beef or Reuben sandwich, grilled cheese.
  • Dessert: anything mad with Guinness (Guinness Chocolate Mousse, Guinness Chocolate Cake or Cupcakes, Guinness Float, Guinness & Rum Milkshake, Spice Cake or Carrot Cake.
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    STOUTS TO LOOK FOR

    Dry stouts made by American craft brewers include:

  • Black Cat Stout from Portsmouth Brewing (Portsmouth, NH)
  • Black Sun Stout from 3 Floyds Brewing Co. (Munster, IN)
  • Blarney Sisters’ Dry Irish Stout from Third Street Aleworks (Santa Rosa, CA)
  • Blue Fin Stout from Shipyard Brewing Co. (Portland, ME)
  • Dark Starr Stout from Starr Hill Brewery (Crozet, VA)
  • Donnybrook Stout from Victory Brewing Co. (Downingtown, PA)
  • Moylan’s Dragoons Dry Irish Stout from Moylan’s Brewery (Novato, CA)
  • Old No. 38 from North Coast Brewing (Fort Bragg, CA)
  • O.V.L. Stout from Russian River Brewing Co. (Santa Rosa, CA)
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    Taste them next to Guinness Draught and any other imported Irish stouts you come across, such as Murphy’s Irish Stout, O’Hara’s Celtic Stout, Porterhouse Brewing Co. Oyster Stout.

    You may also find Guinness Black Lager, a lager style made with stout’s roasted barley, which provides the dark color and fuller body; and Harp Lager, a conventional style.

     

    Irish Red Ale

    Imported from the Emerald Isle: Smithwicks Red Irish Ale, the first modern Irish Red Ale.

     

    IRISH RED ALE

    Traditional0 Irish Red Ales seems to have originated in 1710 at the Smithwick Brewery in Kilkenny. Today, Red Ales are even more popular in the U.S. than in Ireland.

    The reddish or coppery hue is a result of brewing with a percentage of kilned malts and roasted barley. The style focuses on strong malt flavors with a light hoppiness and slight nuttiness/roastiness from the roasted grains.

    Irish Red Ales are usually well balanced, with an average A.B.V. of 3.5% to 5%, although you can find brews with up to 8% alcohol. You may find hints of caramel and toffee from the malt notes, along with a crisp, dry finish.
     
    IRISH RED ALE FOOD PAIRINGS

  • For snacking, put out some smoked or toasted almonds, and mild or fruity cheeses (like fresh goat cheese or Asiago) with walnuts.
  • For a starter, serve a goat cheese salad or a green salad with toasted nuts (a nut oil vinaigrette is a home run).
  • For a main, consider grilled pork, poultry and Irish pub food: Bangers and Mash, mutton and Shepherd’s Pie.
  • Dessert: The caramel and toffee notes of the ale pair well with crème brûlée or plain cheesecake.
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    AMERICAN CRAFT RED ALES TO LOOK FOR

  • Riverbank Red from Ghost River Brewing (Memphis, TN)
  • Erik the Red from Dragonmead Microbrewery (Warren, MI)
  • Irish Red from Boston Beer Co. (Boston, MA)
  • Irish Setter Red from Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. (Akron, OH)
  • Lucky SOB from Flying Dog Brewery (Frederick, MD)
  • Seamus’ Irish Red Ale from Sly Fox Brewing Co. (Phoenixville, PA)
  • Spring Irish Red Ale from Newport Storm Brewery (Newport, RI)
  • Red Trolley Ale from Karl Strauss Brewing Co. (San Diego, CA)
  • Thomas Creek River Falls Red Ale from Thomas Creek Brewery (Greenville, SC)
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    For Irish imports, look for Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale, Murphy’s Irish Red and Smithwick’s Irish Ale. If you want to add another style, pick up some O’Hara’s Irish Wheat, a golden ale.
     
    Thanks to Heather Galanty and the Brewers Association for this material.

      

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    ST. PATRICK’S DAY RECIPES: Irish Spuds & Green Dip With Green Beer

    Green Beer & Fries

    Green Food Color

    St. Pat’s snack: wedge fries, green dip and a green beer. You can color any light-hued food green. Photos courtesy McCormick.

     

    For St. Patrick’s Day you’ll be able to buy green-tinted bagels, beer, donuts, and more; but you can also plan to color your own foods.

    Chocolate chip cookies? Mashed potatoes? Milk? Oatmeal? Pancakes? With a bottle of green food color you can have a blast/

    Here are three recipes from McCormick, maker of that green food color, to add to the collection: Irish Spuds With Green Ranch Dip, Green Beer and Leprechaun Lemonade.

    For St. Patrick’s Day fun, color your food green.

    Here, roasted potato wedges and crudites are dipped in a green-tinted ranch dressing and served with green beer or “Leprechaun Lemonade.”

     
    RECIPE: IRISH SPUDS WITH GREEN RANCH DIP

    Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 30 minutes.

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 2 pounds russet* baking potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon dried parsley or other green herb
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup ranch dressing†
  • 1/4 teaspoon green food color (20 to 25 drops)
  • Crudités: 2-3 varieties of raw vegetables
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    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F. Cut the potatoes into 3-1/2-inch wedges and place them in a large bowl. Add the oil and toss to coat well.

    2. MIX the chili powder, optional parsley and salt. Sprinkle over the potatoes and toss to coat evenly. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer in foil-lined 15x10x1-inch baking pan.

    3. BAKE for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown. While the potatoes are baking, slice the crudités.

    4. MIX the ranch dressing and food color in medium bowl until well blended. Serve it as a dip with the potato wedges and crudités.
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    *Idaho is a brand name for russet potatoes grown in Idaho.
    †If you want to make your own dressing, here’s a ranch dressing recipe.

     
    RECIPE: GREEN BEER

    Ingredients Per 12-Ounce Beer

  • 1 can (12 ounces) light-colored beer (Pale Ale, Pilsner or other Pale Lager, Wheat Beer)
  • 5 to 6 drops green food color
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    Preparation

    1. PLACE the food color in a glass. Add the beer and stir gently until evenly tinted.

     

    RECIPE: LEPRECHAUN LEMONADE

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 cups lemonade‡
  • 1/2 teaspoon raspberry extract
  • 15 drops green food color
  • Ice cubes
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    Preparation

    1. MIX all ingredients in a pitcher. Pour into ice-filled glasses.
     
    Variations

  • For Strawberry Leprechaun Lemonade, use replace the raspberry extract with strawberry extract.
  • For an adult version, stir in 1/2 cup Limoncello or a clear spirit (cachaça, gin, rum, tequila, vodka); or 1/4 cup of each.
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    Green Lemonade Recipe

    Leprechaun Lemonade can be turned into a cocktail with Limoncello and/or a clear spirit. Photo courtesy McCormick.

     
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    ‡Here’s a recipe for homemade lemonade.

      

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    PRODUCT: Cold Snap Beer & Hot Toddy Recipe

    Samuel Adams Cold Snap Ale

    Hot Toddy

    Drink it from a glass, drink it as a toddy. Top photo courtesy BestBeerHQ.com; bottom photo courtesy Wonderful Brands.

     

    What’s with the weather around here? Every few days it switches from spring to winter and back.

    Today it’s snowing: a cold snap. Time to drink the last of the Cold Snap beer we received from Samuel Adams.

    An unfiltered white ale with crisp wheat and citrus notes, Cold Snap complements lighter fish dishes like sushi and smoked salmon. The maltiness also tempers the heat in cuisines like Indian and Thai.

    And Cold Snap’s spiciness (sweet orange peel and plum, peppery coriander) works with desserts like spice cake and fruit tarts.

    For the winter chill, there’s even a…

    RECIPE: SAMUEL ADAMS COLD SNAP HOT TODDY

    Beer simple syrup? How can you resist?

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 3.5 ounces Samuel Adams Cold Snap
  • 3.5 ounces sugar
  • 2 ounces Earl Grey tea (heated to 170°F)
  • 1.5 ounces Bourbon
  • Garnish: lemon wheel, cinnamon stick
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    Preparation

    1. MAKE the beer sugar syrup. Combine the sugar and beer in a large pitcher or pot. Whisk lightly to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture into another pitcher or pot of the same size. Repeat this process every 5 minutes until the head of the beer is completely gone. Store the syrup in a glass jar in the fridge until ready to use. Then…

     

    2. COMBINE the Cold Snap syrup and bourbon in a glass and top with the hot tea. Let the drink sit for a few minutes to cool and allow the ingredients to marry. Garnish with a lemon wheel and/or cinnamon stick and serve.

    Here’s more about Cold Snap.

     
      

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