Do the Aprihop, hop, HOP, HOP, HOP! If there's not a dance dedicated to this beer, there should be. Stayed tuned for that one.
Dogfish Head Aprihop may be my favorite beer in their lineup. Dubbed the "fruit beer for hopheads", this spring seasonal is brewed with Pilsner and Crystal malts, continuously hopped (of course) with Amarillo, and gets a dose of apricot juice. How refreshing!
Look at that color. Absolutely gorgeous! The nose is packed with tropical fruit notes and a streak of pine. You're hit on the front of the palate by an arsenal of juicy fruit and caramelized malts leading into a pronounced bitter finish. The apricot acts more as a backbone to the malts in this beer, elevating and complementing the hop and malt profile.
I love this beer because it is the right amount of refreshing and crisply bitter. It screams "springtime porch beer"! So, if you're wondering, I had to enjoy a pint on my porch before dinner. :)
This was a random pairing because I already decided I was going to partake in the Aprihop but did not know what to make for dinner. Then, the buffalo chicken came to mind. I was like, "Well, hope this pairing works!" It has certainly been one of my favorite pairings to date. Don't wait too long if you want to try this because Dogfish Head Aprihop is seasonal. :)
Before I go....a little rule of thumb: IPAs are wonderful companions to spicy food.
The hops give that spiciness a high-five but then fan those flames out!
Don't believe me? Try it yourself.
Three words: PEACH. GRAND. CRU. One of my all-time favorite brews AND one of my favorite memories from Ben and I's trip to Denver last October for GABF.
A Belgian Strong brewed with peaches and clocking in at 12%, it is not for the faint of heart! We spent most our days in the Great Divide taproom during our stay (shout out to my boy, Brotherbeer!). I ordered the small 6oz glass of Grand Cru, got up to grab some grub from the food truck, and came back to a full 12oz glass! Ben changed my order while I was gone. Part of me said, "Uh Oh" and the other part of me? Well, I think this sums up the next few hours:
But, I digress.
Pair this meal with a little jazz and a cool spring evening and you've got yourself a recipe for SUCCESS, my friends!
What else would I pair the Peach Grand Cru with?
Raise your glass and toast to the weekend, peeps! Cheers.
Honey Mustard Chicken Marinade:
1/2 cup honey mustard
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
Let 2 chicken breasts marinate in sauce for a few hours (reserve some for basting). Take out of fridge 30 minutes before grilling. Heat grill up to medium-low. Ten minutes per side (or until golden and cooked thru). Baste with sauce for another minute. Enjoy!
Stillwater Artisanal is a brewer that I was not so familiar with when I moved to Middle Tennessee. Their awesome packaging and interesting ingredients in their beers caught my eye and sent instant sparks thru my brain waves of dishes that would make lovely pairings. But who is this brewery? Let's take a moment for a little background info...
Stillwater is what you call a "gypsy" brewery: basically they brew their beer at other breweries. A lot of breweries actually get their start this way. It's cost-effective and you can save money to open your own facility. Their headquarters are located in Baltimore and New York. Other famous gypsy breweries include Mikkeller & Evil Twin. Definitely some good company!
Check out Stillwater's statement of purpose:
The goal of Stillwater Artisanal is just that, living art. Although packaged within a medium often overlooked for its artistic merits, our desire is to offer something new and intriguing. We present more than just a fine crafted beverage, rather an occasion that evokes an emotion and inspires contemplation. For art is not a sum of actions but rather an approach to life. We draw our inspiration from the world around us, whether that be a season, location, or even humanity itself. Our intent is to encapsulate this muse, exhibiting an artistic rendition to the best of our abilities.
This really touches on the reason why I love craft beer. My favorite part of this quote is calling the beer "an occasion". I've always believed craft beer is like a book: the label is the cover, the liquid is the story...a story hand-crafted from the mind and hands of a brewer. In a matter of minutes, I went from not knowing anything about Stillwater to being swooned and being an instant fan! Cheers to that.
I'm digging it! Really cool concept. Definitely a conversation piece for people who love saisons (like myself). Now the real challenge...what to pair this with?
Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you the Sausage and Rice Stuffed Bell Pepper. Sweet, savory and slightly herbaceous, I'm sure this will be a good counterpart the the dark saison. You can find the recipe here, although I charred my peppers on the grill first for about 15 minutes to get a nice smokey flavor and sweat them before being filled and going into the oven.
The dark malts of the beer melted into the caramelized bark of the pieces of sweet Italian sausage making the sausage taste juicier. The herbal character of the malts and funk from the yeast was a nice partner to the oregano and earthy green pepper flavors. The spicy yeast was a good balance to the crushed red pepper flakes while the sweetness from the added spices and brown sugar in the beer helped calm the flames. The bitterness from the malt and hops acted as a cutting agent to cut thru the richness of the dish and helped it not feel too heavy. Which of course led to me eating the whole pepper plus some!
Overall, I was pleased with this pairing. Very interesting beer making for an interesting dish. This is what I consider a food beer, which is not a bad thing! I would serve this during a beer tasting/food pairing party. As for enjoying a pint at the bar or after dinner, not so much.
But I do strongly recommend you create a six pack of six different Stillwater brews and have some fun figuring out your own pairings! They have really challenged me to think hard about how their beers work with food and I believe it has taught me a lot. And that's all part of the fun, right?
Cheers, freaks! See you on the other side.
Lana Del Beer
Working later hours can only mean one thing: take-out food! Can I get an "Amen"!?
I find it very comforting knowing when I get home, I can turn on the TV, pop open a beer, and instantly have dinner in my hands and ready to eat!
[ Hmmm...either I sound 30 years old or a middle-aged man.... ]
Sometimes the struggle is real.
Pouring a straw-gold color, the initial sip is a kick to the jaw because it is tart and ready to party! The following tastes reveal notes of lemon rind, key lime, and white grape. Following that are flavors of eucalyptus and salt, finishing crisp and refreshing. At 4% abv, this beer has "porch pounder" written all over it!
Now on to the real mission....what food will pair with this tasty libation?
This glorious dish is called "Chirashi" which is basically an assortment of fish on top of a bed of sticky rice. An undone sushi roll of sorts!
My initial thought on pairing anything tart or sour (other than the obvious desserts) is always seafood. Seafood contains a natural sweetness that provides an appropriate contrast to the tart flavors of certain beers. In this case, the citrusy bright flavors of the beer will add an element of freshness while providing an elegant texture due to the higher level of carbonation. Compliment and contrast are key!
This was one of my favorite pairings to date. The Chirashi provided an element of freshness, the Pad Thai provided the savory elements, and the beer was crisp and refreshing!
The mission was Gose. I came, I conquered, I GOSED.
Ok, that doesn't work. But now you have your own mission: find yourself some Gose.
Challenge: accepted? I hope so.
And if you're ever in Franklin, TN, swing by Zushimaki. You won't regret it.
Prost, freaks! -Lana
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!