Friday, August 28, 2009

Schafly Dry-Hopped APA Cask Night at the 'Tag!

I know that some of you have not been out to the Ragtag in a while for happy hour. That's OK. This is your time for redemption.

Between 6:00 and 6:30 this evening, Barry will tap a cask of Schlafly's wildly popular and very sessionable Dry-Hopped American Pale Ale. He will be offering specials before breaking into the free beer in a wooden cask.

I'll see you there!

(Image lifted from STL Hops.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Get It Together: Alpha King and Pizza

Is there anything better than beer and pizza? I'm not sure there is. Tonight, I had my partner's chicken/bacon pizza with pesto and some veggies on her whole-wheat crust. This pizza was the inaugural pie on her new pizza stone. To wash it down, I broke open a Three Floyds Alpha King Pale Ale. There isn't much to say beyond that. Words would ruin the whole experience.

Columbia Beer Enthusiasts

I know that I've mentioned their events before on this blog, but I can't imagine where my beer drinking and brewing would be without the Columbia Beer Enthusiasts. Every community should have a beer club.

have learned a ton about great craft beer and homebrewing. Some beers that I would have never tried or even heard of have touched my lips thanks to some of the generous members of our crew. All that and I now have a solid pack of drinking buddies, something I've never really had.

This past Sunday, the CBE had a picnic at Cosmo Park in Columbia. At first, I figured people would bring a few decent, summertime craft brews, a lot of wheat beers. However, to my surprise, folks came proper with an impressive collection of beers, some I've never had before.

I brought a Boulevard Pilsner which was OK. Also, there was my Simcoe-Dependency which still receives rave reviews. There was the Victory Hop Wallop so that I would not disappoint other members who supplied great beers. Additionally, I whipped up a batch of my Expedition Stout chocolate ice cream. It seemed as though folks like the dessert.

It was a nice evening to hang out with so many beer enthusiasts. It really made me appreciate this community of beer drinkers, collectors, and brewers here in Columbia. Even Lucia had a good time...

Beer and Music

I came home late last week from work to find my partner had fixed a nice chicken dinner. It was a long day, so this was very welcome. Also, waiting for me at the door were some records I had mail ordered a while back. This all made me want to pour an Oaked Arrogant Bastard.

As I sat there, enjoying my dinner, drinking my beer, and unwrapping my new music, I thought of another perfect pairing: beer and music. It will take me some time to get something together, but I think I'll start to write about some of the these pairings.

Shall I pair a Three Floyds Alpha King with a Pavement album? Would a farmhouse ale go best with The Afghan Whigs' Gentleman? What would I listen to while drinking a Stone Russian Imperial Stout?

These are questions I shall ponder and share on this page of html code.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Beer and Chocolate Project: Trappistes Rochefort 10

As mentioned before, I'm making it my goal to find the perfect beers to pair with my friend Alan's chocolates. Honestly, I had no idea where to start. I figured imperial stouts may match the flavors and lambics could possibly compliment. Otherwise, I really had no clue.

At a chocolate and wine tasting a few months back, Alan suggested a Trappistes Rochefort 10 would pair well with his chocolate. I bought one of these shortly after that event to give it a try, but the opportunity never really presented itself.

So, the other night, I gave it a try. The chocolate I had with which to pair was Alan's new nib bar, a 70% cocoa bar with chocolate nibs embedded on one side.

This bar is by far my favorite of the Patric Chocolate line. This bar combines the creamy sweetness of the molded chocolate with the roasted nut and berry flavors of the nibs. It may be the perfect chocolate bar in that gives you all the possible flavors found in chocolate in one bar.

The beer is a Belgian quad and easily one of the finest I've ever tasted. It's dark, dark black, smells of bananas, and tastes of raisins. (Sorry, that's two posts in a row where I use raisins to describe how beers taste.) Even if the beer didn't go with the chocolate, I was sure trying it out would at least be a pleasant experience.

Honestly, the beer was too much for the chocolate...or the chocolate was too much for the beer. I'm thinking that the beer may balance better with Patric's other bars, sans nibs. Maybe even the nibs alone with the beer might pair well. I don't know. It certainly requires more investigation.

What I did learn was that I needed to have either more beers or more chocolate so that I could compare flavors and choose the best pairings. Maybe I should try to gather each of the four bars and a bag of nibs to pair with a variety of beers.

So, it's back to the drawing board for the beer and chocolate project. One place I will look for inspiration is Stone as they have been a leader in extreme food pairings, particularly with chocolate. However, the biggest difference is that they pair with flavored chocolates or truffles. So, it's quite a bit different. I figure something out.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Beer on a Sunday

I invited over a friend to have some beers Sunday. I have several beers in my stash that not just anyone would enjoy. On top of that, I don't know that I should enjoy them alone. So, there they sat on their shelf under the basement stairs until yesterday.

My friend Alan is a major foodie. In fact, you might have heard of his chocolate. He brought over some super dense rye bread, this great cheese with a strip of ash running through the middle, some chorizo, Branston pickle, and some homemade pickles. The pairings of all these slightly off, mostly sour foods went well with the beers I chose to sample.

We started with a Jolly Pumpkin La Roja. The nose of this beer is quite sour, but somehow balance is maintained with just the right amount of bitterness. If all sour beers were like this, I may drink more of them.

It was cool to bring out the Jolly Pumpkin as Alan has been talking to the brewer and founder at JP concerning some projects. I won't divulge any information at this time, but I think it will be a great partnership.

When that beer was done, we moved on to the very excellent Mikkeller Monk's Brew. What a fine example of a quadruple. Again, the beer paired well with the foods. It's a cliche to say that I tasted raisins, but I tasted raisins. That's probably all some people need to know about a beer.

It was a nice afternoon of discussing beer styles I don't often consume. The food pairings and Alan's profession have convinced me to make pairing his single-origin chocolate with with the perfect beers. Stay tuned for those developments.