Happy Holidays, everyone!
It is quite chilly here in Nashville! So it's about time to warm up those ovens for some warmth and holiday cheer. I myself am not an expert baker, but my mother-in-law certainly is! I thought it would be fun to create a list of craft beers to pair with some of her Christmas cookie repertoire. I will also link the recipes to the cookies in case you'd like to try to make them yourself! With all the wonderful seasonal beers coming out this time of year, they deserve a tasty cookie to pair with them.
Bell's Winter White + Lemon Crinkle Cookies
Let's start with something light, fluffy, and bright! Bell's Winter White is a Belgian inspired wheat ale that is cloudy in appearance and boasting notes of banana, clove and spice (thanks, Belgian yeast!). Then you have these Lemon Crinkle Cookies that are airy, light yet moist, and citrusy! Both the beer and the cookie are the same weight on the palate and have citrusy qualities which make them a perfect match. The clove and spice from the beer will add another dimension of flavor to the cookie making it overall a fun experience!
SweetWater Festive Ale + Pretzel M&M Hug "Cookies"
Ok, not technically a cookie, but it's not Christmas without them on the cookie tray in my opinion! These pretzels are sweet and salty, so you need to find a beer that will match both aspects. Tip: beers with dark, roasted malts LOVE salt...they also love chocolate! Boom. SweetWater Festive Ale is a Winter Warmer brewed with cinnamon and mace clocking in at 8.6% abv. It will pair well with the pretzel and also add a cinnamon surprise to the mix that's sure to warm your cockles!
Southern Tier Choklat Oranj + Orange Chocolate Chip Ricotta Cookies
These cookies are a new one to me, but I found them on Pinterest and had to make them! For the record, I've never had a cookie turn out edible....but these actually came out DIVINE. Yay for me! Anyways, this pairing is pretty obvious...but nonetheless, will probably be the star of the show! Southern Tier's Choklat Oranj is a 10% abv dessert beer brewed with chocolate and orange peels. If this is wrong, I don't want to be right.
Ballast Point Peanut Butter Victory At Sea + Peanut Butter Blossoms
This Ballast Point beer is a variant of one of their popular offerings, Victory At Sea: a 10% abv Imperial Porter brewed with coffee and vanilla. This year, they've added peanut butter to the mix and it is delicious! Just enough dry, roasty peanut butter to add depth to the beer but not being cloyingly sweet. This is a perfect match to the peanut butter blossoms because the peanut butter will match in both the beer and cookie, then the roasty malts of the beer with find comfort in the Hersey kiss. Viola!
Those pairings should get you started!
I will leave you with some pictures from my family's Christmas vacation we took the first week of December...Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure Orlando! It was a blast!
If I didn't take pictures, I'd be wondering, "Did that really happen?"!
Happy Holidays, my friends!
Thanksgiving, or as my husband, poodle and I have dubbed it, "Drunksgiving", is just the best, right? You can eat and drink all day long, and if you don't take that afternoon turkey nap, you're not doing it right! Not to mention taking the day to be thankful for that food, drink, that nap, and FAMILY.
What's for dessert!? Well, whether you have an actual dessert or not, nothing beats finishing the meal with an Imperial Stout. Specifically, New Heights Navel Gazer. A big, rich stout clocking in at 9.4% abv, this bad boy is not for the faint of heart. It's bursting with mouth filling flavors of dark chocolate, coffee, and licorice that would pair nicely with any chocolate based dessert or just an after dinner cigar. One of my favorite local beers! And if you can find the coconut variant....jump on it. This beer is great to drink now or age. But I suggest living in the now. ;)
That's all folks!
Lots of great beers to pair with the bird this year, it's hard to narrow it down to just 5! I hope you will let me know what you're drinking.
Tag me in your photos @LanaDelBeer
Happy Thanksgiving! I'm thankful for all of you who read this blog.
Makes my heart smile.
It's the most wonderful time...
FOR A BEER!
If you'd like to throw your own beer and candy pairing party (hey, there's Christmas candy too), search my blog for "beer and candy". The "how-to" guide should pop up!
Here are the lucky six, YES I SAID SIX, pairings of Halloween 2017:
Thank goodness I have another bottle of this beer, because it was one of my favorites of the evening (Thank you, Max)! A very light kiss of tartness, this dry yet fruity beer was complimented by the fruity candy yet could cut thru the chewiness with its dry effervescence. A fun way to start off the evening!
Oh! Now I've thrown you for a loop, huh? Technically not a beer, but fun nonetheless! We have recently gotten these meads at Red Dog and they are damn delicious. Necro is a mango mead with black pepper, making it an off-dry mango dance party in your mouth. Since mead is made from honey, I paired it with candy corn made with real honey. This allowed the mango to shine thru while cutting the marshmellowy goodness of the candy. This was a crowd favorite!
Alpha King is a pale ale with a caramel malt backbone that supports a juicy, bright hop profile with an abv of 6.66%. I had to use this one, right? I chose skittles to compliment the juicy hops letting the caramel goodness of the beer to come forward. Nom!
Upland Vinosynth Red + Nerds
Vinosynth is a lambic style ale that has been aged in Oliver Winery red wine barrels giving it a tart, cherry pith sourness. This will wake your guests' tastebuds back up! Pairing the beer with Nerds will take the tart edge off the beer while complimenting the candy and preparing your palate for another sip! This would also work with Pop Rocks for a fun palate teaser!
Southern Tier Cinnamon Roll + Dark Chocolate Grand Marnier Pecans
I just got goosebumps. This was my personal favorite pairing of the night. Southern Tier Cinnamon Roll taste like a straight up cinnamon roll. No joke. I could drink a small cordial glass of it, but paired with the dark chocolate grand marnier pecans......I am moved. Emotionally. It helped take the sweet edge off the beer, leaving the cinnamon and caramel to play with the nutty orange flavors of the candy. You can buy both of these at Red Dog, fyi!
Perennial Abraxas + Dove Sea Salt Caramel & Dark Chocolate
Abraxas. I've been cellaring this beer for a long time, so I was excited to share it with my guests! The lovely folks at Perennial brewed this 10% imperial stout with ancho chili peppers, cacao nibs and cinnamon sticks to create a mouth filling, dry, yet flavorful stout with a pin prick of heat. Pairing it with the chocolate allowed the adjuncts to play with the caramel and add a little salt to your sweet. A big finale to a great tasting!
The beer and candy pairings just get better year after year!
This was my largest party yet. Can't wait to see what next year holds.
Is it too early to start planning? ;)
Happy November! Be on the lookout for my 2017 Thanksgiving picks coming up in the next couple of weeks.
Anybody who knows me well knows that my heart lies with Belgian beers.
This certain beer is Sierra Nevada's collaboration with the monks of Abbey of New Clairvaux in California....about a 30 min drive from Chico where the original Sierra Nevada brewery resides. Not a bad idea to have monks as your brewing compadres!
Sierra Nevada says,
The monks at the Abbey of New Clairvaux hold themselves to a higher standard. So when they challenged us to create a beer that transcends all others, our brewers blended Old World tradition with modern-day mastery to deliver the perfect expression of Belgian witbier worthy of a goblet but comfortable in a pint.
All of the Ovila beers I've had in the past have been high gravity (and amazing) but I was looking forward to trying something a bit more sessionable!
Enter, Ovila Abbey White!
The beautiful cloudy golden color...the pillowy white head...the refreshing aroma of bread dough, spice and banana.
I can already tell I'm going to love this beer.
Mouth-filling flavors of juicy apricot with a touch of banana and clove are balanced out by a ever so slight touch of tartness from the addition of wheat which all leads into a bright, refreshing finish.
This is a very "to style" beer that I could drink a few of in a sitting!
So, what did you pair it with?
We seasoned the fish with some of our Lane's BBQ shakes, salt and pepper. You can use whatever spices you prefer. Herbs de Provence is another one of my personal favorites. Then, get your cast iron skillet hot (about medium-high heat) with a drizzle of oil and throw that bad boy in there! Saute about 5 minutes or until a nice golden crust forms, then flip it! Saute another 5 minutes or until golden, then throw the skillet with the fish into a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until cooked all the way through. Easy. As. That.
How did the beer and food pair together?
A match made in heaven (no pun intended)! The weight of the beer met the weight of the fish perfectly while the citrusy, fruity character of the beer added a spritz of brightness to the fish (think of the way a lemon changes the food profile when squeezed on fish). In that same fashion, the slight tartness of the beer helped cut thru the small amount of fat in the fish. The fish came out so succulent and juicy on the inside, with a small amount of flavorful crust on the outside, this beer complimented both elements so perfectly, it was hard to eat this meal at a slow pace! I always recommend eating slow, savoring each bite. It's an experience, enjoy it! Not everyone has this luxury.
It's 77 degrees in Nashville today...thank the Lord!
I may or may not have performed a ritual for the cooler weather the other night. I drank a Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest and lit my pumpkin spice candle....
Have a great weekend!
Tag me on Instagram with your featured beer pairings!
@LanaDelBeer or #LanaDelBeer
DRINK. EAT. SHOP.
And that brings me to the subject of my blog today: 2 of my favorite local spots, Mill Creek Brewing Company and Subculture Urban Cuisine & Cafe!
Make sure you have a cold beverage to go with these bad boys...how about a Mill Creek Woodshed IPA? This is one of my go-to session IPAs because it's dry, citrusy and bright....and only 4.5% abv! I had no idea this was "sessionable" when I had my first can because it has such flavor. Sometimes a session IPA can fall short for me, but not this one. Subculture always has great local beers on tap, and Woodshed was the one I finally decided on!
Did the beer & food pair well together?
Can't wait for next #TacoTuesday :)
What meal pairings are you excited about this week?
Let me know!
Have a great week, ya'll!
Of course, we don't eat red meat all the time. We just like to treat ourselves to a steak or burger once in a while! So when we do eat it, it is a treat. Especially if Ben is cooking because he makes the best steak! (Shameless plug so I can continue to get...said steak.)
Recipe for Ancho-Espresso Strip Steak
- 2-New York Strips from the butcher (doesn't necessarily matter the size, just what looks good to you! Ours were about 6oz each ,1 1/2 inches thick)
- A good quality, high smoke point oil (I prefer avocado oil....grape seed is another good one)
- Lane's Ancho Espresso Rub (or similiar rub you can find at your grocery...but this one's the best)
- Sea Salt/Pepper/Butter & Cast Iron Skillet!
1. Pull your steaks out of the fridge an hour before you're ready to cook so that they come to room temperature.
2. Coat your steaks with oil on both sides and season with a hefty pinch of salt and pepper. Start heating your skillet up to about medium-high heat.
3. Next, coat your steaks with the Ancho-Espresso rub on both sides. Pat the rub into your meat.
4. Test your skillet to see if it's hot enough. Wet your hand and drop a few drops of water into the pan. Be careful, don't touch it. If it sizzles, it's ready baby!
5. Carefully lay your steaks in the skillet and enjoy the sound of the sizzle! Let your meat cook (without moving it), for about 5 minutes a side. You can take a peek to see if there is a crust forming because that is what you want! But if the meat won't give, it's not ready to be moved yet.
6. Once you have flipped your steaks, add a pat of good quality butter to the pan (we use Kerrygold). Using a spoon, pour the melted butter over the top of the steak. You could even add herbs here if you would like, such as herbs de Provence or rosemary.
7. Once you've cooked the steaks on ALL sides (yes, seal in the flavor on the whole thing), your meat should be done! If you prefer more of a medium to medium-well steak, throw your skillet in the oven at about 400 degrees to cook a few more minutes.
8. Time to let those bad boys REST. Place them on a plate or a pan and let them sit for at least 10 minutes. This lets the juices in the meat redistribute.
9. Slice your steaks and top with sea salt! We paired our meal with sauteed kale and a fried egg. It was reminiscent of breakfast!
THE BEER PAIRING
It pours the color of a Coca-Cola. Dark but somewhat see-thru. The palate boasts notes of vanilla bean, roasted malt, dry espresso, and a hint of bittersweet chocolate. The beer definitely stood up to the ancho-espresso rub but not so much as to overpower the delicate flavors of the meat. They played well because since the beer and rub found solace in each other, the flavor of the meat was allowed to shine. Awesome!
Peace & love,
It's May and it's hot af here in Tennessee.
That means....GRILLING TIME!
...Or smoking on the smoker!
I bought a pack of two tenderloins each weighing 2 pounds each for a total of 4 pounds of meat. I got the Kroger brand which works fine, but i suggest buying organic wherever possible.
Here are my three main ingredients in my arsenal:
I first covered the meat in avocado oil (olive oil works as well). Next, i sprinkled both sides with a pinch of the Jacobsen smoked salt along with a pinch of pepper. A little smoked salt goes a long way! It's a good investment if you don't have any. If you're local to Nashville, you can find it at this store. Then, I covered both sides with the House Divided shake and patted it into the meat. Be generous! Feel free to use the shake of your choice, but the Lane's line is awesome.
Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees. Place your meat on the grill and close the top. I recommend using a meat thermometer if you have access to one. You want the meat to reach 143-145 degrees internal temperature. My pork reached that in about 2 hours when I had anticipated 2 1/2-3 hours. Thankful I had my temperature probe. Baste the meat with BBQ sauce about 30 minutes out from your desired temperature. I basted mine at about 140 degrees.
I pulled the pork off, wrapped it in foil, and placed it in my Yeti cooler to rest while I cooked my sides: sweet potato fries and green beans. Sweet potato fries are delicious, healthy and easy: cut into thick wedges, cover in oil, sea salt and cinnamon. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, broil for 5 minutes. Boom! Green beans I sauteed in seasonings till bright green and charred.
The finished product.....*drum roll please*....
Absolutely mouth-watering, juicy and sweet pork. Sweet Atlantic Ocean.
- It is white meat
- The rub/sauce blend is sweet and a touch spicy
- It is a lean cut of meat...so not much fat to cut thru
I ended up choosing Blackberry Farm Boundary Tree (shout out to Matty for bringing us a sample to try). It is a farmhouse ale brewed with Hallertau Blanc and Citra hops that lend a citrusy, orange, tropical note to the beer. It's 6.3% abv so there is enough body to stand up the heat and sweetness but not overpowering to the lean element of the meat.
It was a perfect choice because it had enough cutting power to cut thru AND also compliment the sauce while also cleansing your palate for another bite! Definitely recommend trying this pairing with this beer or their Fenceline beer as well.
I hope everyone has a wonderful "Friday Eve"!
Take my survey really quick if you get a second. I'd appreciate it!
We drove into Mills River on a sunny 62 degree Thursday morning to arrive at the beautiful gates of Sierra Nevada Brewery when they opened for the day.
We were lucky enough to fit into the 11am tour as opposed to our scheduled noon tour. The "Brewhouse Tour" is 90 minutes long with a free tasting at the end. You start off by watching a video about the Grossman family and how Sierra Nevada came to be while enjoying a small pour of fresh-to-death Pale Ale. Delicious. Then, you start your journey into the back-of-house. Lots of different corridors that lead to various parts of the brewery, you might get lost if you didn't have a guide!
This concludes the part of our day spent at Sierra Nevada!
I also think it's really cool the Grossman family are still sole owners of both breweries. Congrats to them on such success.
Next time we go, I'd like to spend more time in the backyard of Sierra Nevada. They have lots of rocking chairs by fire pits you can enjoy. There's also an amphitheater and outdoor bar! It was a little chilly during our visit, so there wasn't much going on back there.
Just another reason to go back, right!?
Cheers, my friends! Thanks for reading.
I would like to mention really quick I got him an awesome apron from Medium Rare Chef Apparel. It is great quality, good looking, and has a pocket for your iPhone! So legit.
We got this cut of meat from Butchery Fresh. They're based out of Kentucky and work with farms that provide fresh, all-natural, sustainably raised, hormone free meats. We love ribeye steaks so we decided to give this showstopper a try!
WOAH! What up, homeboy!? How impressive is that steak? Here's a description from the website:
This large bone-in ribeye steak is a customer favorite due to its impressive stature, rich marbling and delicious flavor. Perfect for anyone that loves premium meats and bone-in steaks like a T-Bone or Porterhouse, the Tomahawk is Premium Black Angus from Creekstone Farms and brings that same, rich meaty flavor you can only get from well-marbled meats cooked on the bone.
Wet-aged for a minimum of 25 days, this Black Angus steak is hand-cut based on the thickness of the rib bone, typically 2 inches thick. Weighing in at more than 2 pounds, a Tomahawk from Butchery Fresh makes an ideal steak for sharing and can easily feed two people.
....and it did feed 2 people, alright! With leftovers, no doubt!
We used this Ancho Espresso Rub from Lane's BBQ to season this beast. The rub consists of Brown Sugar, Espresso, Ancho Chili Powder, Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, Garlic, Cayenne, Coriander. Oh my! We love using the Lane's BBQ rubs because they are great quality and the people who own the company always send a hand written letter of thanks to us.
We smoked the ribeye on our Traeger grill for an hour at 180 degrees. Then it was reverse seared it till the internal temperature was about 130 degrees. We let it rest for 10 minutes on the cutting board before slicing.
The flavor was OUT OF THIS WORLD. Sweet, savory, melt in your mouth GOODNESS. The crust was very flavorful from the rub which led to the smoke layer then into the delicious, juicy meat. Talk about an explosion of flavor in your mouth!
And now for our featured pairing....Blackberry Farm Abbey Series Quad!
A dark and robust Belgian Abbey style Quadrupel with notes of darkfruit, reminiscent of cherries or strawberries, and a rich maltiness.
-Blackberry Farm website
Pouring a deep brown color and clocking in at 10% abv, this full-bodied Belgian style beer is dry and robust with notes of toffee, nuts, figs and raisins to greet you on the palate while finishing nice and crisp. An excellent representation of the style!
How was the pairing?
The pairing was an absolute match made in heaven. The weight of the beer and the weight of the food were made for each other. The flavors of the beer melded so well with the ancho espresso rub used on the steak. Savory elements of the beer met savory notes of the meat with a handshake. Meanwhile, the dryness of the beer was a perfect contrast to the sweetness of the meat bringing everything into balance.
I would recommend trying the Blackberry Farm Quad with any cut of steak or even as a digestif! And don't miss out on their Tripel and Dubbel beers either!
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Let me know what you're drinking/eating in the comments section.
Loved by some, feared by others.
I remember one Valentine's Day back in college when I was single...I was in the grocery and decided to veer down the red and white heart speckled isle in search of a chocolate bar for myself.
As I was shopping, "All by Myself" started playing over the loud speakers. Valentine's Day, you can be a cruel mistress!
But really, in all honesty, it should be a day to "treat yo'self"!
Buy the candy...and buy the beer to go with it!
Today, I'll list a few of my featured pairing suggestions for 2017.
Thick, rich and decadent! This is definitely a beer to be enjoyed after dinner. It is full of flavors of mocha powder, dark chocolate, and a touch of roasted barley with an undertone of juicy pomegranate fruit. It is pretty unique!
Try pairing this one with chocolate covered strawberries (my favorite) or German chocolate cake. Swoon.
This special release from Stone is on tap now at the Red Dog Growler Station in Franklin, TN. This beer could be my favorite Enjoy By so far! It's like a mix between a double IPA and a golden stout. It starts with aromas of bittersweet chocolate and coffee on the nose. The first sip starts off with juicy malts and fruity hops, leading into notes of dark chocolate and finishing with flavors of bitter roasted coffee. It is really spectacular.
I originally took home two 12oz bottles of this beer to try. One for me, one for my husband. Well, spoiler alert: I drank both of them! The next day, my husband texted me saying, "I can't wait to try that Enjoy By tonight!" Whoops.
Try pairing this beer with a good quality piece of PARMESAN REGGIANO! Sometimes you can find espresso rubbed ones...that would be perfect!
When I was in France over the summer, they would serve us a cheese course after dinner....and I was totally cool with that. Give it a try!
Hell Broth is a collaboration between Off Color and a brewery in Denmark called Amager Bryghus. PorchDrinking.com provides a detailed description of this beer on his site:
Hell Broth is a Danish Style American Wild Ale featuring cranberries, juniper berries and lemon blossom honey. It comes in with an ABV of 6.3% and 21 IBUs. The fruity ingredients give this wild ale a really great flavor from start to finish. Notes of the cranberries are very apparent and the honey adds a sweetness to the beer that pairs nicely with the natural sourness of the wild ale-style brewing.
Try pairing this wild ale with CHEESECAKE! If you've never had a fruit sour with cheesecake before, stop what you are doing right now and go try it. You're welcome.
The beer alone would make a wonderful after dinner cordial, or you could pair it with some chocolate. Try pairing it with Olive & Sinclair's Mexican-style chocolate!
What are you drinking for Valentine's Day?
Let me know in the comments!
Watch my Instagram for my featured Valentine's Day pairing.
Let's just say it involves a 38oz tomahawk ribeye....
I kid you not.
Hoppy Valentine's Day, my friends!
Welcome to my blog! I want to show the world a simple meal paired with craft beer can elevate their dining experience to unique levels. Cheers!