This past Thursday I had the pleasure of attending a beer dinner showcasing the wonderful brews from Wiseacre Brewing Company out of Memphis, TN. What a great turnout! It's exciting and inspiring to see people embrace the movement of craft beer in West Tennessee.
First Course: Bacon Mac & Cheese + Tiny Bomb Pilsner
At first glance, it may seem a light beer such as a Pilsner would fall into the shadows when put up against this creamy, savory dish. But not Tiny Bomb.
Named for it's low abv ("Tiny") but big flavor ("Bomb"), this American-style Pilsner is brewed with local wildflower honey which dries the beer out while adding a flavorful backbone to the malt profile. This crisp and clean beer has a zippy bitterness to cut thru the creamy sauce of the macaroni while the carbonation lifts the fat from the bacon, creating a nice but not too heavy start to the evening!
Second Course: Beer & Cheese Soup + Ananda IPA
Warm cheesy goodness served with a toasted crostini paired with Ananda IPA which showcases the tropical side of hops (Bravo, Centennial, Cascade) with notes of juicy mango, citrus and kiwi on the nose and palate. At 61 IBUs, the hops provide a cutting power thru the richness of the dish while the tropical essence tames a little bit of heat from cayenne pepper.
Third Course: Pear & Walnut Salad + Holy Candy Dubbel w/ figs
Holy Candy is a medium bodied beer with flavors of raisins and wheat berry bread. The vinaigrette was made with this beer, so it makes sense to pair the salad with it. The sweetness of the malts and the addition of figs complemented the sweetness of the strawberries, pears and red onions in the ruff-age. The tang of the vinaigrette added a nice element of contrast to the sweetness of the dish as well.
Fourth Course: Pork Osso Buco + Kung Fu Representative Imperial Brown
Tender caramelized pork falling off the bone on top of sautéed greens and grits, with shoestring fried onions on top of all that...paired with a rich malty brown ale. Let us have a moment of silence to ponder the awesomeness of this pairing.
And yes, I indulged in the marrow of this dish. If you did not, you're missing out.
P.S.-This beer is on tap NOW at Party Mart. Keg Only.
Every now and then, I like to play a game I call "Pantry Roulette". Sounds dangerous and like I'm living on the edge, right? Nope. I'm just a hungry almost 30 year old who sees what ingredients she has readily available and makes a meal out of them!
So here's what I had on hand: leftover grilled chicken, califlower, carrots, kale, craisins, and quinoa. I decided to throw all this in the wok with some sweet chili sauce, garlic, soy sauce and wah-la! I'll attach the recipe at the bottom.
I already knew in my head I wanted this sucker to be SPICY. What goes with spicy? IPA. This meal was going to have enough salt from the soy sauce so that led me to grab an Imperial IPA out of the fridge. Introducing Evil Twin Molotov Cocktail. Clocking in at 13% ABV, this fella is not for the faint of heart.
To be totally honest, this beer wasn't as "hot" as one might expect. The nose was exploding with notes of juicy mandarin oranges, pine & citrus. I could already tell this was going to be magical with my stir fry! The palate echoed those flavors along with a sweetness mid palate finishing in a slick bitter finish.
Molotov Cocktail was a perfect companion to this dish. The nutty notes of the beer matched those found in the quinoa while the mandarin orange, citrusy qualities from the malts and hops added another dimension of flavor that complimented the Asian flair I was going for. The sweetness of the beer helped soothe the flames from the massive amounts of Sriracha I added on top! The oily texture of the beer was a pleasant sensation in contrast with the grainy texture of the quinoa and crunch of the veggies.
I give this pairing an A+! Try your own game of #PantryRoulette and tell me what you come up with. Don't be afraid to get weird. Cheers, weirdos!
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 grilled or boiled chicken breast shredded
1 cup chopped califlower
1 cup chopped kale
1 carrot cut into thin medallions
1/2 cup reduced sugar craisins
1 clove garlic
Soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, Sriracha
Heat up your wok with whatever oil you have on hand (I was looking for sesame oil but had ginger wok oil...it added a citrusy flavor). Once it's nice and hot, toss in the kale, carrots and califlower. I cooked mine until the kale was bright green and wilted. I like my veggies with some crunch, so if you don't, cook your carrots and califlower before you add the kale. Next, add in your garlic, craisins and quinoa. Toss around for a few minutes then throw in your chicken. Add a heaping tablespoon of sweet chili sauce and about 4 tablespoons soy sauce. Stir fry for another few minutes. Plate your food and top with sesame seeds and Sriracha! And of course, must use chop sticks. Enjoy!
I found this Jamie Oliver oven-roasted chicken recipe while perusing the Internet and could almost smell the deliciousness of the roasting chicken emitting from my keyboard.
Thyme, balsamic vinegar, and paprika come together to deepen the sweet and savory flavors of juicy chicken thighs, sweet onions, tomatoes and peppers. The chicken was tender and melted like butter on your tongue. The tomatoes popped adding another element of sweetness. The onions and peppers were roasted just enough to add a crunch to the dish.
I have already blogged about this beer before, but it was too perfect of an accompaniment to pass up. Since I was using an aromatic such as thyme, I wanted a Saison. The herbal qualities of the malts are a wonderful companion to any herbal dish. Plus, the body and dryness of a Saison is at the exact level for chicken thighs. This dish also seemed like something I could order in the French countryside, so yes please, I'll order the Saison.
This beer just hits all the right spots for me. Yeast and barnyard notes tickle the nose, while the palate is full bodied with flavors of water cracker, spice, bubblegum with a moderately bitter crisp finish. The herbal sweetness of the malt complements the thyme and deepens the flavor of the reduced balsamic vinegar. The roasted chicken has a buttery element and the beer melts into that while the carbonation cleanses the palate at the end, lending another element of texture to the crunch of the peppers and onions.
Saison Dupont: how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. A perfect pairing. Give it a try. Cheers!
Find the chicken recipe here: www.jamieoliver/recipes/chicken-recipes/hit-n-run-traybaked-chicken/#PX2BmEXbkzBmYoCS.97
I enjoy the small things in life: a delectable steak, a barleywine, and fresh sheets! And since the high's in Tennessee haven't peaked over 32 degrees in a few days, these three things are the only cure!
Barleywine always bring a tear to my eye. American or English, I do not discriminate. The idea of a mash tun overflowing with malted grain goodness makes my mouth water. All those extracted sugars producing a sweet rich wort for the yeast babies to get a hold of.....yum! And on a bigger scale, have you seen the time lapsed video of Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot in action?
I digress. Let's start with my thoughts on Stoudts Old Abominable Barleywine. 8.5% abv, it was brewed with 80% Maris Otter & a single variety of domestic hops then bottled conditioned. I know for sure this bottle is YEARS old, which excited me BUT since it was bottled conditioned, there was a chance the yeast in this baby had gone bad. It ended up having a decent flavor but you could tell it had "died" a little. Notes of nutty caramel malts with little to no mid-palate flavor, ending in a bitter harshness. Disappointed, but it was drinkable.
Thankfully, this recipe (at the bottom of the page) for cast iron skillet steaks came to save the day! In a perfect world, this barleywine would have been fresher, and I would have said the nutty sweet malts melded into the caramelized crust of the meat, while lifting the fat and showcasing the savory essence of the steak. I also topped my steak with a hefty dollop of crumbled Gorgonzola, so the nutty flavors of the beer really helped cut thru & complement the cheese. Not the best barleywine, but it worked out ok with the meal.
What else could you pair with a steak? I like for my beer to have a strong backbone to stand up to the weight of the meat, so I would recommend a Baltic porter or even a Russian Imperial Stout. Especially if you grill your steaks, try a beer with enough roasted barley to echo those grill marks. Black Ale? Sure! Firestone Walker Wookey Jack would be amazing with this dish. Cheers, friend!
Cast Iron Skillet Steaks
Pat down your steaks with paper towels. Coat each one with a good quality olive oil. Salt and pepper each one then press the seasoning into the meat to help keep it adhered. Meanwhile, heat your skillet on medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes. When you're ready, place each steak carefully into the skillet. Hear that meat sing! Let each one develop a crust (depending on the size of your steak, about 5-8 minutes a side). Sear all sides. Then, top each one with a tablespoon of butter. Pop into the oven, 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Check for doneness (internal temp of 125 degrees for medium rare).
It is no secret that Great Divide Brewing Co. is my favorite brewery. Their Yeti Imperial Stout is what inspired me to start home brewing! And I am forever grateful for that. So when I found this gem while on holiday in Atlanta, I had to have it. It's a Belgian Golden Ale brewed with Viognier grape juice. Did I mention I love a nice Viognier? Oh yeah. Let's do this.
The spritzy effervescence of the beer helped cut thru the creamy richness of this dish. The fruity components of the beer was a nice contrast to the flavorful rich sauce of the casserole. The topping on the casserole is crumbled buttered Ritz crackers, so when you got a bite of casserole along with the crackers, the beer melted into the flavor of the crackers, essentially, highlighting the belgian flavors and viognier juice in the beer. This all lead up to the palate being cleansed by the spritzy carbonation of the ale so you could enjoy bite after bite after bite....want to recreate this recipe? See below! Cheers.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil chicken & bouillon cube until chicken is cooked thru & tender. Shred. In another bowl, combine can of cream of chicken & mushroom soup with the container of sour cream. Add 1 TBsp poppy seeds. Add chicken. Once it's all mixed together, put into a baking dish & top with Ritz Crackers. Drizzle butter & 1 TBsp poppy seeds on top. Bake for 30 minutes. Serves 4!
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!