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
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!