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Archive for Beer & Hard Cider

TIP OF THE DAY: Winter Beer Styles

Today is the first full day of winter, which begins late this evening (11:48 p.m. EST). It’s the shortest day of the year, with the least amount of daylight.

The good news is, starting tomorrow daylight hours will start getting longer. But there’s still plenty of time to celebrate winter with winter beers. They’re just waiting for you to pluck them from store shelves.

If you’re serving beer for Christmas or New Year’s Eve, make a special effort to pick some up. Even if your area has limited craft beer offerings, Samuel Adams has a Winter Lager that should be in every store that sells the brand.

Winter beers are brewed in the fall for winter release. Brewers work a season in advance, since it takes three months or so to assemble the special ingredients, brew the beer and let it mature before release.
 
WHY WINTER BEERS ARE DIFFERENT

Winter beers tend to be the strongest beers made by brewers. This follows the pattern of seasonal food and drink being heartier in the winter and lighter in the summer.

  • The color of winter beer is usually darker—cooper to deep amber hues—and the body is fuller.
  • There is often some winter spice seasoning, making the flavor more complex. This can range from the pumpkin pie spice group (allspice, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg) to holiday flavors like ginger and molasses. They may even get some actual pumpkin tossed into the mash (identified as pumpkin beers and ales).
  • They are often higher in alcohol.
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    PARTY TIME

    Whether for holiday entertaining, a tasting party to brighten the January doldrums, Super Bowl Sunday or Valentine’s Day, you can put together an interesting assortment.

    Brad Smith of Beersmith advises these styles for the winter season:

  • Barley Wine*
  • Christmas/Winter Beer, Holiday Ales
  • Scotch Ale, Old Ale
  • Smoked Rauchbier
  • Stout, Porter and other dark beers
  • Winter Wheat and Bock Beers
  •  
    Here’s one beer site’s recommendation of 24 top winter beers.

    See THE NIBBLE’s beer glossary for the different types of beer.

     

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    Winter Beer

     
    *Barley wine needs much longer than beer and ale—a year instead of three months. While barley wine may sound like it belongs in a warmer season, it is typically brewed ts an alcohol strength of 8% to 12% A.B.V. The word “wine” was bestowed because this range of alcohol is similar to wine. But as the name also says, it is made from barley, not fruit, so it is without doubt beer.

      

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    RECIPE: Sausage Sliders & Winter Lager

    Sausage Sliders

    Samuel Adams Winter Lager Tap

    TOP PHOTO: The National Pork Board recommends these sliders with your lager. BOTTOM PHOTO: Samuel Adams Winter Lager, in bottles, cans and on tap.

     

    December 10th is National Lager Day; the entire second week in December is Lager Beer Week. Here’s a special slider recipe from the National Pork Boardto go with your lager.

    The recipe combines the retro appeal of deviled eggs with the modern fondness for sliders, although the recipe makes an egg salad instead of a filling for hard-boiled egg white halves.

    You can make the sliders for brunch, lunch or game day snacking.

    Don’t like sausage patties? Substitute bacon, Canadian bacon or thick-sliced ham for the sausage. Don’t like cilantro? Use baby arugula or watercress.

    Prep time is 20 minutes, cook time is 20 minutes.

    RECIPE: SAUSAGE & DEVILED EGG SALAD SLIDERS

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 8 breakfast pork sausage patties (about 12 ounces total), about 3 inches in diameter*
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha or other hot chili sauce, or more to taste
  • Salt
  • 2 cups cilantro sprigs (leaves and tender stems)
  • 8 soft dinner rolls, split horizontally
  • Optional garnish: gherkins or olives (with toothpicks)
  •  
    *If you can’t find ready-made patties, shape 12 ounces of loose breakfast sausage into eight 3-inch patties. Or substitute bacon, Canadian bacon or thick-sliced ham.

     
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the eggs in a medium saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Cover, remove from the heat, and let stand 15 minutes. Meanwhile…

    2. COOK the sausage patties in a large skillet over medium heat, until browned and cooked through (2 to 3 minutes per side). Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and cover loosely to keep warm.

    3. DRAIN the eggs and transfer to a bowl of ice water. When cool enough to handle, peel and coarsely chop the eggs. In a large bowl, combine the chopped eggs, mayonnaise, chives, mustard and sriracha. Season with salt, taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Set aside.

    4. ARRANGE the cilantro sprigs on the bottom halves of the rolls. Top with the sausage patties, egg salad and top halves of rolls. Add the optional olive or gherkin and serve.

    NOW FOR THE LAGER

    We’ll publish an article on winter beers on the first day of winter, but here’s an advance preview of winter lager. Numerous craft breweries make them.

    The easiest one to find is Samuel Adams Winter Lager; but also look for Mustang, Wolverine, Stark and possibilities from y your local breweries.

    You’ll also find “Christmas ale” or seasonal beers and ales from other brewers that are similar: brewed with winter spices (cinnamon, orange peel, maple syrup, nutmeg or whatever the brewer favors). A quick search turned up beers from Blue Moon, Brooklyn Brewery and Great Lakes Brewing Co.

    Other beer types are also “wintrified,” including the fancifully named Abominable Ale from Hopworks, Old Man Winter White Ale from Southern Tier Brewing, Brrrr Red Ale from Widmer Brothers and Siberian Night Imperial Stout from Thirsty Dog.

    But it’s National Lager Day. We raise a glass to the German and Bohemian immigrants who brought lagering to the U.S.A., which previously had only ale†. The first lager brewmaster appears to have been one John Wagner from Bavaria, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1840, carrying with him a supply of lager yeast. The rest is history.

    †Yeast that enables lagering was not discovered until the 1700s, believed to have been unwittingly transported on a ship from South America. The written record on ale dates to ancient Mesopotamia.
     
      

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    PRODUCT & TOUR : The Angry Orchard Cider Experience

    Here’s the question: Why is Angry Orchard cider angry?

    You learn that the name reflects the apple varieties used to make hard cider*, some of which are not as pretty as eating apples, and therefore “angry.” Or that the trees get gnarled as they age.

    That might be true with the cider apples imported from Europe and their parent trees; but at a recent visit to an Angry Orchard orchard in New York State, we observed only charming groves with pretty apples hanging from pert apple trees. We’ll have to take their word about the angry part.

    In fact, if you have the occasion to visit Angry Orchard’s new visitor center in New York State, you might call it “Happy Orchard.” There is much to make a visitor happy.

    THE NEW INNOVATION CIDER HOUSE

    The cider makers at Angry Orchard have been crafting ciders for 20 years, but had been looking to establish a cider research center. They found a 60-acre orchard located in the heart of the Hudson Valley, in New York State. They built a new space for the cider makers to conduct small batch experimentation, developing new cider styles.

    After months of planning and constructing, Angry Orchard’s Innovation Cider House in Walden, New York has opened its doors and welcomed visitors to tour the facility. The experimental ciders they create are served exclusively at the cidery’s tasting room.

    Above the cidery is a charming museum with tidbits about the history of cider, and actual equipment that was used before modern sorters, crushers and other equipment came onto the scene.

    There is also a shop with cider-abilia and bottles of the hard-to-find ciders like the Cider House Collection (there’s more about it below). You can also take home growler of cider from the retail line. Both are wonderful gifts for cider lovers.

    The Innovation Cider House has been open during select weekends in November, enabling visitors to learn about hard cider and try samples of the experimental ciders.

    For the first season, dates and times are very limited. There’s one weekend left this year:

  • Friday, November 20, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 21, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, November 22, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  •  
    If you love cider, it’s worth the trip. There are also wonderful restaurants in the area, plenty of inns and other things to see.

       
    Cider Apples At Angry Orchard

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    TOP PHOTO: Different cider apples. MIDDLE PHOTO: We tasted the apples (some yummy, some for blending but not for eating). BOTTOM PHOTO: A vintage pickup truck from the cider museum. Photos by Rowann Gilman | THE NIBBLE.

     
    We were already fans of the retail line, and absolutely loved the experiments. We won’t say more about them under THE NIBBLE policy that if readers can’t get hold of it, we won’t focus on it.

    The Cider Innovation House is located at 2241 Albany Post Road in Walden, New York. Take a left at the red barn and drive past the orchard to visitor parking. Everything is complimentary; to sample the ciders you must be at least 21 years old with a valid ID.

    If you can’t get there in person, you can visit the orchard online.
     
    ANGRY ORCHARD CIDERS

    Angry Orchard makes a variety of craft cider styles:

  • The Core Collection: Apple Ginger, Crisp Apple (the flagship), Green Apple, Hop’n Mad Apple and Stone Dry
  • Seasonal Ciders: Summer Honey and Cinnful Apple
  • The Cider House Collection†: Iceman, Strawman and The Muse
  •  
    To find where Angry Orchard hard cider is served near you, visit the cider finder on the brand’s website.

     

    Angry Orchard Cider Glass

    Angry Orchard Cider House Collection

    TOP PHOTO: Angry Orchard Stone Dry Cider with the brand’s new cider glass, specifically designed to showcase aromas and flavors. BOTTOM PHOTO: The Cider House Collection, small batch ciders in larger formats. Photos courtesy Angry Orchard.

     

    CIDER VS. BEER IN THE U.S.

    During colonial times and beyond, hard cider was one of the most popular alcoholic beverages, due to the abundance of apples. Beer was much less important.

    But in the 19th century, waves of beer-drinking German immigrants brought their lager recipes with them and set up shop. Soon beer became very popular.

    Prohibition dealt a serious blow to hard cider production. Although beer was also proscribed, when Prohibition ended it was easy to buy barley, hops and malt and start brewing again. It took years to replant cider apple orchards and grow trees to the point where they bore usable fruit. Even today, traditional cider apples are hard to find in the U.S.

    Cider has finally experienced a renaissance, which is gluten free (beer isn’t, although there are some gluten free beers).

    Brands like Crispin and Woodchuck captured the interest of American quaffers, along with imports like Magner’s. Smaller American brands like Farnum Hill Extra Dry, Foggy Ridge Serious Cider and West County Cider have found broader audiences.

    Creative cider makers like Original Sin press their apples with tart cherries (to create Original Sin Cherry Tree). Doc’s Hard Apple is an earthy style that pairs well with mushroom dishes and washed rind cheeses.

    But the king of cider is Angry Orchard, a brand of the Boston Beer Company, parent of Samuel Adams beer. It launched Angry Orchard in 2012, and had the distribution and marketing power to quickly become the country’s largest cider brand.

    Now, go forth and try as much as you can.
     
    *In the U.S., alcoholic cider is called hard cider, to differentiate it from fresh apple cider, called cider. Everywhere else in the world, cider refers to the alcoholic beverage. Hard cider is made from fresh apple juice which has undergone two different types of fermentation.

    †These artisanal hard ciders represent three distinct styles, and are produced in small batches, using traditional cider apples from France and Italy and France and aged on oak. They are 10% A.B.V. (Alcohol By Volume), twice as much alcohol as the regular line, and are sold in 750 ml bottles.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Pumpkin Beer Cocktails (Beertails)

    Pumpkin beer cocktails have sprouted at watering holes all over town. We’ve got two great recipes that use pumpkin beer or ale, plus tips on how to dress up a regular brew in seasonal flavors.

    Even people who aren’t beer lovers can enjoy a beertail. As long as you like pumpkin pie, you’ll like these.

    First up is a beertail from OhSweetJoy.com.

    RECIPE: PUMPKIN BEERTAIL (BEER COCKTAIL)

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 3 parts pumpkin beer or ale
  • 2 parts sparkling apple cider
  • 1 part hard apple cider
  • Garnish: cinnamon stick or pumpkin spice rim (recipe below)
     
    Preparation

    1. RIM the glass, if using the pumpkin spice rim (instructions below).

    2. ADD the ingredients to the glass, giving the beertail one gentle stir so as not to break the bubbles.

    3. GARNISH with a cinnamon stick (if not using the spice rim).

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    Turn a bottle of pumpkin beer or ale into a fall “beertail.” Photo courtesy OhSweetJoy.com.

     
    RECIPE: PUMPKIN PUNCH

    This second recipe, from Herradura Tequila, combines vodka with pumpkin ale, canned pumpkin and orange juice. If you don’t like vodka, you can substitute apple brandy, spiced rum, even a split between plain rum and hazelnut liqueur, like Frangelico.

    This is a sweet cocktail, so test the recipe first. You can omit the agave if it’s too sweet for you.

    Why is this recipe called “punch?”

    Punch is a general term for a broad assortment of mixed drinks, made with or without alcohol. While punch generally contains fruit or fruit juice, fruit isn’t essential. Nor is an elegant punch bowl required. A pitcher is fine, and in many cases, it’s more practical.

    Punch was discovered in India by the British sailors of the East India Company. The concept was brought to England in the early 17th century, some 150 years before sparkling beverages were available to replace the water. From there punch spread to other countries.

    Carbonated water wasn’t available commercially until 1783. Then, J.J. Schweppe developed a process to manufacture carbonated mineral water, based on the the process discovered by Joseph Priestley in 1767.

    The word “punch” derives from the Hindi word, “panch.” In India, panch was made from five different ingredients: sugar, lemon, water, tea or spices and an alcoholic spirit. The word for “five” in Sanskrit is panchan; hence the name.

     

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    Can’t live without vodka? This recipe combines it with pumpkin beer. Photo courtesy Herradura Tequila.

     

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 ounces Herradura Reposado or substitute*
  • 2 ounces pumpkin ale
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 1 ounce canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 ounce agave
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters (or other bitters)
  • Ice
  • Optional garnish: star anise pod, orange peel or wheel
  •  
    Preparation

    1. FILL a cocktail shaker with ice cubes and all ingredients except the garnish. Shake and strain into a glass filled with ice cubes.

    2. GARNISH and serve.

    NOTE: We made multiple portions in a pitcher with pre-chilled ingredients. Instead of shaking, we whisked the ingredients in the pitcher. We then dropped an ice “hockey puck,” frozen in an empty soup can, into the pitcher. The larger the piece of ice, the slower it melts.

     

    TURN A REGULAR BEER INTO “PUMPKIN BEER” WITH A PUMPKIN SPICE RIM

    Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the sugar and spices in a saucer or low bowl. Moisten the rim of the glass with water.

    2. DIP the moistened rim into the spice mix and twist to coat.
     
    OTHER WAYS TO DRESS UP A PUMPKIN COCKTAIL

  • Top with a dash of pumpkin pie spice.
  • Garnish with an apple or pear slice.
  • Spice up with a cinnamon stick or star anise.
  • Skewer candy corn onto a cocktail pick.
  •  
    *Reposado tequila, aged up to a year, takes on a light yellow and more complex flavors than blanco, or silver, tequila. Given the number of flavorful ingredients in this drink, you can substitute blanco if that’s what you have on hand.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Cooking With Craft Beer

    Cooking with beer is as old as civilization itself. The first-known written record, from the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia, is a 3900-year-old beer recipe and poem honoring Ninkasi, the patron goddess of brewing.

    Brewing is much older than the written record: Evidence of beer production in Mesopotamia dates back about 5,000 years.

    Fast forward to the here and now: In American kitchens, some people regularly cook with beer. Others, even though they like beer, are more likely to cook with wine.

    Executive Chef Cenobio Canalizo of Michael Jordan’s The Steak House N.Y.C. likes to cook with both. He recently added beer-braised onions to his fall Bar Burger, and sent us his recipe plus general tips for cooking with beer:

  • Think regional. The Germans, naturally, cook their brats and other foods with their local beer. If you are making sauerkraut, cook it with some good German beer. Likewise, when making fish and chips, make your beer batter with a nice British ale.
  • Never cook with a beer you would not like to drink. This is the same with wine. Your final product can only be as good as your ingredients.
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    A cheeseburger with caramelized onions is the fall Bar Burger recipes at Michael Jordan’s The Steak House. Photo courtesy PotatoRolls.com.

  • The delicate flavors of beer will dissipate over a long cooking process. If you are cooking a stew or braised beef, for example, add a splash or two to your dish before serving, to ensure you get that flavor. (We add a few tablespoons after we take the dish off the heat.)
  • Experiment with your favorite recipes. In virtually any recipe that calls for wine or stock of any type, you could replace them with beer.
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    The American Craft Beer Cookbook pairs recipes with all the craft beer styles. Photo courtesy Storey Publishing.

     

    A FIRST STEP IN COOKING WITH BEER

    Beer braised onions are an easy way to start cooking with beer. You can add them to first courses, entrées and sides. As a start, serve them with meat or poultry, baked or mashed potatoes, beans, burgers, eggs, grains, grilled fish and sandwiches (especially great with grilled cheese, roast beef, turkey or vegetable sandwiches).

    Chef Canalizo’s fall Bar Burger includes onions braised in Ommegang Nut Brown Ale (from New York State) and melted Cheddar cheese on a Martin’s potato roll, and served with homemade potato chips. Here’s his recipe for the onions:

    RECIPE: BEER BRAISED ONIONS

    Ingredients For 4 Burgers

    For The Burger

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 4 buns (hamburger roll substitutes)
  •  
    For The Braised Onions

  • 2 white Spanish onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup brown ale* (substitute amber ale/red ale)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MELT the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and toss to coat with butter. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are a golden color. Add the beer and herbs and continue to cook for 5 more minutes until caramelized.

    2. FORM the meat into four eight-ounce patties. Season with kosher salt and pepper and cook to the desired temperature. While the meat is cooking, toast the buns.

    3. TOP each patty with cheddar cheese and beer braised onions, place on the bun and serve.

     
    BAKE YOUR OWN HAMBURGER ROLLS

    Skip those puffy, white-bread standards and try delicious gourmet hamburger rolls. Here’s a recipe.

     
    *Brown ale is sweeter, darker and less bitter than the typical lager beer. If you can’t find an American brown ale, imported Newcastle Nut Brown Ale is typically available in stores with a good beer selection.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Fall Beer Styles For Your Oktoberfest

    We held an Oktoberfest dinner this past weekend. That’s because even though the name says October, the fest begins in late September and lasts for 16 days, through early October. This year it’s September 19th through October 4th in Munich, where an annual festival has been held since 1810. (It was originally held to celebrate the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria, the future King Ludwig I.)

    In the beer category, seasonal beer styles are called…seasonals. For fall, full-bodied beers replace the lighter brews of summer. Three craft beer fall seasonals that immediately come to mind:

  • Harvest Ale, an American craft brew category made with German-style malts and hops, or else with fall spices.
  • Pumpkin Beer or Ale, sometimes brewed with real pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices, sometimes with only the spices (allspice, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg). Samuel Adams’ Fat Jack has more than 28 pounds of pumpkin per barrel.
  • Oktoberfest Beer, or Märzen: Traditionally the first beer of the brewing season, it is an amber lager, smooth and malty and about 6% or higher ABV*.
  •  
    In addition to these styles, other popular fall beers include:

       

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    Fat Jack brewed with more than 28 pounds of pumpkin per barrel. Photo courtesy Samuel Adams.

  • Brown Ale, made with dark or brown malts that produce caramel and chocolate flavors (more).
  • Dunkelweizen, a dark version of a wheat beer (“dunkel” is the German word for dark)
  • English Pale Ale or India Pale Ale, assertively hopped and stronger (higher in alcohol—more)
  •  
    *To be labeled Oktoberfest beer in Germany, a beer must conform to the Reinheitsgebot (the German beer purity law), which dictates a minimum of 6% alcohol (by comparison, America’s Budweiser has 5%). The beer must also be brewed within the city limits of Munich.

     

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    Märzen, the classic all beer of Germany. Photo courtesy Gordon Biersch.

     

    THROW AN OKTOBERFEST PARTY

    According to us, you can hold an Oktoberfest celebration any time in October. We served an assortment of flavored chicken sausages from Bilinski German potato salad, sweet and sour red cabbage and a cheese course with hard sausage and apples. For dessert: apple sorbet with hard apple cider from Angry Orchard plus some local artisan brews.

    Here are two articles to guide your party planning:

  • Oktoberfest Party 1
  • Oktoberfest Party 2
  •  
     
    See our Beer Glossary for the different types of beer and the history of beer.

     

      

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    TIP: The Right Beer Glass Makes A Big Difference

    We’re one of the many people who likes to drink beer straight from the bottle. We believed, as with sparkling wine, that the narrower the opening, the more the carbonation stays in. A cold bottle from the fridge keeps the beer colder than a room-temperature glass. And, we don’t particularly care for a foamy head.

    But according to Spiegelau, a manufacturer of fine glassware in Bavaria, Germany, we have it all wrong. You only get about 15% of the flavor of the beer when you drink it from the bottle.

    That’s because smell, not palate, is the major component of taste (and explains why you can lose your taste when you have a badly congested nose and can’t smell). You get zero aroma through the narrow neck of the beer bottle, covered by your mouth as you take each sip.

    When you pour beer into a glass, the head* releases the bubbles (carbon dioxide) that burst into aroma.

    On top of that, different types of beer benefit from different shaped glasses, engineered to bring out the special attributes of the beer (Riedel, the parent company of Spieglau, was the pioneer in developing different wine glass types).

       

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    Engineered to bring out the best in American craft beers: from left, IPA, wheat beer and stout glasses. Photo courtesy Spiegelau USA.

     

    Different regions have long made different glass shapes for their beers. Think beyond the German stein to the British pint glass; the tall, tapered Pilsner† glass; the stemmed snifter for Belgian ales and IPAs; the tankard for ales, lagers, stouts and porters; and others. See the different types of beer glasses in the chart below.

     
    *The head is produced by bubbles of carbon dioxide gas that rise to the surface. The carbon dioxide is produced during fermentation.
    †Pilsner is the English spelling of Pilsener, the German spelling. The name derives from the town of Pilsen, a city in western Bohemia in the Czech Republic, where the style was originally brewed in October 1842—a new, clear, pale golden beer created from new malts, Pilsen’s remarkably soft water, Saaz noble hops and Bavarian-style lagering. It was a sensation. The Czech spelling of the town is Plzen.

     
    CRAFT BEER GLASSES FOR SPECIFIC STYLES OF BEER

    Spiegelau has developed a Craft Beer Glass Collection, with custom-designed glasses for the three most popular American craft beer styles: IPA, Stout and Wheat Beer. Each glass is designed, according to the company, to highlight “the complexity of aromas on the nose while demonstrating the optimum beer texture, balance and flavor intensity on the palate.”

    Riedel has done this for wine glasses with great success (you won’t believe how much better the wine tastes in a specially engineered wine glass than on a generic one). Now, they’ve done the same for beer.

    An expert panel of master brewers tested multiple glass shapes before finding the optimum shape for each beer type. Here’s what resulted:

  • The IPA glass was engineered to “showcase the complex and alluring aromatic profiles of American ‘hop-forward’ IPA beers, preserve a frothy head, enhance taste and mouth feel, and present a comfortably wide opening for the drinker to savory each beer.”
  • The Stout glass is designed to “accentuate the roasted malt, rich coffee and chocolate notes that define the Stout beer style.”
  • The Wheat Beer glass (wheat beer is one of the world’s most popular styles‚, has a large, voluminous bowl to harness the delicate aromas. The mouth opening was designed to spread the beer across the palate to “enhance mouth feel and harmony of sweetness and acidity.” The “open bottom glass base drives beer and aromatic foam upward into the main bowl after every sip.”
  •  
    And you thought a glass was just a glass!

    Custom-shape beer glasses isn’t hype: It’s precision engineering and it works. Buy yourself a set and test it against what you’re currently using. We had great results with the Spiegelau glasses.

    Beer glasses are a great gift for beer connoisseurs, and other companies have gotten the custom-shape message.

     

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    Wrong! These are traditional Pilsner glasses, specifically designed to bring out the best qualities in a Pilsener beer. That means that they won’t enhance the flavors of stout (left) and amber ale (center). But wait: The Lenox Pilsner glasses are totally different—a stemmed tulip glass! Photo courtesy WiseGeek.com.

     

    MORE BEER STYLE-SPECIFIC GLASSES

    Lenox has a new line of beer glasses in four styles: IPA, Pint With Crown, Stemmed Pilsner and Wheat Beer. And surprise: The shapes are totally different from conventional designs—as well as from the Spiegelau designs.

    The Pilsner is a stemmed tulip, like the traditional Belgian Ale glass. The IPA and Wheat Beer glasses are tall and narrow with a tapered waist, like the conventional Pilsner glass. The Pint With Crown is a sleeker version of the pub pint glass.

    Here’s what they say about their shapes:

  • The Stemmed Pilsner’s tulip shape “traps the rich aromas and helps maintain a frothy head. The thin flared rim places the beer evenly on the palate, elevating the overall taste experience.” Lenox also recommends the shape for stouts and dark beers.
  • The India Pale Ale glass, tall and slender, “is a perfect complement for IPAs and lighter ales. The contoured shape preserves a frothy head, while maximizing aroma and enhancing taste.”
  • The Wheat Beer glass has a large mouth and a narrow body, “making it the ideal vessel for wheat beers and most pale or blonde beers. By tipping the glass back, the aromas that characterize these brews are pushed to the nose, thus allowing the drinker to enjoy the beer’s full flavor.”
  •  

  • The Pint With Crown is the English-style pub glass that serves an official imperial pint, approximately 20 ounces. “Ideally sized for generous pours of pale ales and lagers, this pint’s curved lip cultivates foamy heads.
  •  
    Frankly, we bet on the precision of the Spiegelau glasses. We’ve tasted with them, and they work! There are no better glassware engineers on earth than Riedel, the parent company of Spiegelau.

    We haven’t tried Lenox or other contenders, and you can’t be sure without trying. So we’ll keep testing, and will keep you posted.
     
    CAN’T WAIT TO TRY THE GLASSES?

  • Lenox Tuscany Beer Glass Collection, set of four styles, $32.12
  • Spiegelau Tasting Glasses, set of four styles, $34.99 (includes the glasses described above plus a lager glass)
  •  
    If you don’t care about precision engineering but like the idea of different glass shapes for different beers, try:

  • Libbey, set of six styles, $19.99 (these glasses are traditional styles, not made with modern engineering to optimize the flavors and aromas)
  •  

    TRADITIONAL BEER GLASSES
     
    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/beer glasses dailyinfographic.eu original copy

    See the original chart at DailyInfographics.eu.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Saison (Farmhouse Ale) For Summer

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    Saison, a refreshing summer ale. Photo
    courtesy BeerObsessed.com.

     

    We’ve written before on summer beers, brewed to be refreshing on a hot day: lighter in body with a moderate A.B.V. (alcohol by volume).

    Perhaps the most interesting of the lighter, hot weather styles is the saison (say-ZONE, meaning “season” in French).

    It is alternately referred to as farmhouse ale, since it originated on farmsteads in the Wallonia region of southern Belgium, a French-speaking region that shares a border with France.

    Saison was traditionally brewed by farmers at the end of winter, then set aside for the summer, where it was happily consumed by field workers. Yes, beer drinking on the job was common, because before the advent of quality-tested municipal water, it was safer than many water supplies.

    But that’s not your problem: You have a good municipal water supply. Instead, think about hosting a saison tasting party.

     

    SAISON: THE FREESTYLE ALE

    Often referred to as a dry, fruity Belgian ale, the interesting thing about saison is that no two taste the same. That’s because each farmer brewed it with whatever he or she* had on hand, so there was no common recipe.

    We can’t think of any other style of beer where this is true. (See our Beer Glossary for the different styles of beer.)

    The colors vary (golden, amber, orange, from light to dark); the aromas vary (citrusy/fruity, spicy). Perhaps what they have in common is their refreshing nature.

    Another feature we happen to love to find in saisons is a mild “barnyard” character. Famous in certain Burgundy wines, it comes from from Brettanomyces yeasts that naturally exist on the farm (and can be purchased by breweries). “Brett,” as it’s often called, contributes earthy, musty aromas and some tart flavor.
     
    *As history was written by men, the role of women is often overlooked or understated. For example, farmer’s “wives” were also farmers. They may not have had the physical strength to plow the field (and certainly, some did), but they did many other essential farm tasks. And they brewed beer!

     

    IT’S PARTY TIME!

    Check your local shelves for supplies of saisons. While the classic Belgian import is Saison Dupont (a fruity and spicy style), American craft brewers make hoppy, malty, spicy, fruity and floral.

    So, the real Tip Of The Day: Collect as many as you can find and invite friends for a saison tasting. Do it now, or make it your end-of-the-season Labor Day celebration.
     
    What To Serve With Saison

  • Gougères, the delightful French cheese puffs (Gougeres Recipe)
  • Fondue with a hearty cheese like blue or Cheddar
  • Grilled meat or fish
  • Spicy dishes, including Asian and Indian specialties and for a salad, peppery greens like arugula and radishes
  • Rustic French fare: coq au vin roast chicken, stew
  • Cheese: Aged or fresh chèvre, Asiago, Colby, Fontina, Gorgonzola, Parmesan and “stinky” washed rind cheeses
  •  

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/belgian style saison 230

    Have a saison with crudités. Photo courtesy EatWisconsinCheese.com.

     
    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEER & ALE

    Although most of us use “beer” to refer to all suds, three parts of the brewing process actually define what is a beer—illustrated by the lager style—and what is an ale.

    Ales tend to be fruity-estery in aroma and flavor, while lagers are clean-tasting and crisp. These differences are created by:

    The Yeast

  • Ales are brewed with top-fermenting yeast strains, which means exactly that: The yeast ferments at the top of the fermentation tank (they typically rise to the top of the tank near the end of fermentation).
  • Ale yeasts tend to produce esters, chemicals that can affect the flavor of the beer.
  • Lagers use bottom-fermenting yeasts, strains which do not typically add much flavor (the flavor comes from the other ingredients, especially hops and malt).
  •  
    Temperature and Time

  • Ale yeasts ferment best at warmer temperatures—room temperature up to about 75°F. They ferment faster than lager yeasts.
  • Lagers ferment at colder temperatures, 46°F to 59°F, and typically ferment over longer periods of time. The combination of colder temperatures and bottom-fermenting yeast is responsible for the mild and crisp taste delivered by most lagers.
  •  
    The Ingredients

  • Ale recipes often contain a higher amount of hops, malt and roasted malts, hence they typically have a more prominent malty taste and bitterness. Styles like India Pale Ale (IPA) are very hoppy.
  • Ales have more room for recipe experimentation than lagers; thus additional ingredients (called adjuncts) can be added during brewing. Examples: fruits (cherry, pumpkin, raspberry, etc.), sugars (honey, maple syrup, molasses) and spices (allspice, coriander, clove, etc.).
  •  
    Thanks to BeerTutor.com for the quick tutorial.

      

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    RECIPE: Beertails, Beer Cocktails

    mimosa-pomwonderful

    A Beer Mimosa. Photo courtesy Pom
    Wonderful.

     

    Can’t decide between beer or cocktails? Make beer cocktails, sometimes called beertails.

    We published our first beer cocktail recipe, Almond Ale Spritzer, five years ago. It’s time to revisit the options.

    These cocktails were developed by Bohemia Beer, made in a Pilsner style beer. But you can try other styles: Check out our Beer Glossary for the different types of beer.

    For those who prefer wine, check out winetails.

    RECIPE: BEER MIMOSA

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • ¾ cup (1/2 bottle) beer, very cold
  • ½ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice, very cold
  • Orange slice—wedge, wheel, peel curl—for garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. POUR the beer into a wine glass. Top with orange juice and stir gently.

    2. GARNISH with the orange slice—or, be creative and make a curl from the peel, as shown in the photo above.

     
    RECIPE: MICHELADA

    Michelada is a Mexican drink: beer mixed with ingredients similar to Bloody Mary mix. “Chela” is Mexican slang for a cold beer, and michelada is a portmanteau of “mi chela helada,” or my cold beer. Here’s more about the Michelada.

     

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 cut lime
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt or coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
  • 4-½ cups Bloody Maria Mix (recipe below)
  • 3 bottles beer
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces) tequila
  • Garnish: lime wedges, cherry tomatoes, pickled jalapeño slices
    and cubed cheese for garnish
  •  
    FOR THE MICHELADA MIX

    Ingredients For 4½ Cups

  • 1 quart tomato juice
  • 2 green onions (scallions), roughly chopped
  • 1 serrano chile, de-stemmed, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (about 1 whole lime)
  • Worcestershire sauce to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  •  

    celery-salt-rim-bloodymary-pompeianFB-230

    Beer Bloody Maria. Photo courtesy Pompeian.com | Facebook.

     

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the Bloody Maria mix: Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.

    2. COMBINE the salt and pepper and spread out on a flat plate. Rub the rims of 6 tall glasses with the cut lime, then twist in the salt and pepper to coat the entire rim.

    3. POUR 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) of tequila into each glass. Add ¾ cup of beer and ¾ cup of the Bloody Maria mix and mix the drinks well with a spoon.

    4. GARNISH: Place a lime wedge on the edge of each glass. Skewer a cherry tomato, cube of cheese and pickled jalapeño slice and place in glass.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: 12+ Uses For Flat Beer

    When leftover beer goes flat, there’s no need to toss it. With respect to all of the household and personal care uses, we prefer to consume it. When you add it to recipes, the flatness doesn’t matter at all; it becomes analogous to adding still wine.

    The beer is substituted for all or some of the water (or, in the case of a marinade, another liquid). Here are 12+ uses for flat, leftover beer:

  • Batter: Make beer batter shrimp, chicken, anything battered and fried.
  • Beans: Substitute for water, as in the Mexican recipe Frijoles Borrachos, “drunken beans”.
  • Beer Can Chicken: Set a whole chicken atop a beer can, atop a grill (recipe).
  • Braises: Add to pot roast and other slow-cooked meats like short ribs and pork butt. Check out this Belgian recipe for chicken with beer and prunes or carbonade flamande, a Belgian beef stew.
  • Brats and Franks: Steam them in beer.
  • Bread: Check out recipes for beer bread. There are a number of beer bread mixes, too: Just add the beer!
  •    

    waffled-pancake-pan-nordicware-WS-230

    Who knew: You can add flat beer to pancake and waffle recipes. The slight bitterness is a nice counterpoint to the sweet syrup. The Silver Dollar Waffle Griddle is from Nordicware.

  • Butter: Make “beer butter,” a compound butter used for cooking. There’s a recipe below to use as a bread spread.
  • Cheese Soup: This was a popular breakfast soup in medieval Europe, sometimes poured over yesterday’s bread (or toast). Try it for lunch or dinner (recipe).
  • Honey Beer Sauce: Cook chicken breasts in this tasty sauce.
  • Marinades and Brines: Beer helps to tenderize and adds flavor.
  • Pancakes and Waffles: Replace the water with beer.
  • Sauces: Use beer instead of wine.
  • Seafood: Combine with water to steam clams, mussels, shrimp, etc. Consider adding some Old Bay seasoning.
  •  

    beer-cheese-soup-melissas-230

    Use leftover beer in a hearty cheese soup—a breakfast staple in medieval Europe. Photo courtesy Melissas.com.

     

    RECIPE: HONEY MUSTARD BEER BUTTER

    Ingredients

  • 1 stick/8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room
    temperature
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon or honey mustard
  • 1 tablespoon beer
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BEAT the butter in a mixing bowl until very soft and silky, 2 to 3 minutes. Drizzle in the honey and continue mixing until well incorporated.

    2. ADD the mustard, beer and salt. Beat until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Use immediately or tightly wrap and store in the refrigerator or freezer.

     

    Adapted from a recipe on SoupAddict.com, where it was used with Irish soda bread.

      

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