Archives for category: Beer Tasting

Here we are, at the last course of our beer tasting journey… And boy was it a journey.  By now, your guests should be pleasantly wobbly,  and you, as the Maitre D’ from Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life, says “And Finally, monsieur, a wafer-thin Mint”.

🙂

Your guests may feel like Mr.Creosote, but the Chimay Grande Reserve (Blue) from Belgium is probably the finest beer of the entire tasting, and not one to be missed.  Chimay Blue is a strong beer at 9%, with stone fruit and chocolate/caramel sweetness.  It’s a very creamy and smooth beer, and recognized as the best beer in the world by many.

I paired Chimay Blue with a sticky toffee pudding style cake, made with pureed dates, toasted walnuts, and toffee sauce which is traditionally made from brown sugar, heavy cream, and butter.

You can bake this cake as a whole and cut into bite size pieces for your guests, or baked them into mini cup cakes. Since your guests are most likely stuffed by this time of the beer tasting, they only need a bite of the cake to enhance the fruity and caramel flavours from the beer.

Nutty Toffee-Cake Recipe : http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/nutty-toffee-date-cake

Chimay Blue from Beer advocate: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/215/2512

 

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With course 5, we move to the dessert portion of the beer tasting. The beer of choice is Fuller’s ESB (Extra Special Bitter) out of the UK.  It’s not as bitter as you would expect something that is called “Extra Special Bitter”, but it is very very malty, almost syrupy, with caramel and nutty.

With this beer, I decided to pair it with one of my favourite cakes to bake: the Chocolate Cake with Fleur De Sel Caramel Filling and roasted almonds. I have to admit I’m not a fan of dessert, usually because I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, and I prefer flavour over sweetness. However I LOVE making this cake. There are 4 layers of moist chocolate cake made with dutch pressed cocoa powder. Each layer is filled with a dark chocolate ganache, creamy salted caramel, and crushed salted almonds. Making it is a little bit like a construction project.  Since the caramel filling tends to pour over the edge of the cake, you can build up a dam using the dark chocolate ganache frosting to keep it from going over. Also you can place the crushed almonds smartly to even out the cake if your cake layers aren’t cut evenly. The cake is pretty tall due to 8 total layers of components, so you want to make sure as you build it up, it’s as flat and as even as possible.

 

I did not take a photo of the cake during the beer tasting, but because i’ve made the cake so many times before, I have included photos from previous documentations.
Chocolate Cake Recipe: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2008/09/chocolate_cake_with_fleur_de_sel_caramel_filling

Fuller’s ESB from Beer Advocate: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/71/219

Spaten Optimator is not a beer I would drink normally.  It’s very dark and heavy with undertones of bread, malt, and brown sugar.  Although I myself prefer lighter beer, I love this combination of the Optimator and the Byggybeef Sandwich.

Dewey Dufresne is the father of NYC chef Wylie Dufresne, who was probably one of the first people to really make “Molecular Gastronomy” popular. Dewey has plans to open a sandwich shop called BYGGZ in 2012 in NYC, and one of the featured sandwiches is the Byggybeef. A few weeks before the beer tasting, I came across a NYMAG.com article deconstructing the Byggybeef. Since I was looking for a braised short rib recipe for the beer tasting, I thought that this would be an excellent choice for the pairing. Now the NYMAG.com article only describes the ingredients that goes into the Byggybeef, without giving out recipes to each of the ingredients. So I guesstimate and made my own versions of what I think goes into each component of the sandwich.  Read the rest of this entry »

For the 3rd course, we moved on to a stronger tasting beer, the Ranger IPA made by the New Belgium Brewing Company from Colorado. The Ranger IPA can be a deceptive beer, the alcohol content is not significantly higher than normal beers, but it is one of those beers that’s a precursor to “What the F happened last night!” type of mornings if you are not careful.

Like any IPA, it’s hoppy, but not overwhelmingly so. It has a very clean taste and a light lingering bitter taste. This beer is the perfect fit for something game-y, like goat or lamb or quail or even duck. I slow roasted a shoulder of goat in whole milk for a few hours, then cooked a tomato based sauce around it. I paired it with Orecchiette pasta, which is italian for “little ear”,  because I thought the little scoops of pasta would be perfect to for packing in bits of sauce. I then topped it with some shaved Pecorino Romano made from sheep’s milk.

The bitterness from the beer does blend really well to tone down the creamyness of the sauce, while accentuating the game-y-ness of the baby goat.  There are lots of local Mexican grocery stores that sell whole goat shoulders and legs. For a party of 15- 16 people, one 2-3 lb goat shoulder was enough to feed everyone with leftovers if you portion it right.

The sauce and the goat meat needs to chill over night (or more) for the flavor to blend, so this dish should be started at least a day ahead of time

Milk Roasted Goat Ragu: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/pappardelle-with-milk-roasted-baby-goat-ragu

Ranger IPA from Beer Advocate: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/192/55081

For the second course, we wanted to showcase the Belgium beer, Leffe Blonde, which is actually one of my boyfriends all time favourite beers. I actually had this beer for the first time on our first date! Read the rest of this entry »

This is the 3rd time my boyfriend and I hosted a beer tasting. This particular one is to celebrate our recently move to Austin Texas. We usually start with a light beer and move to darker beers by the end of the tasting. I usually do a little bit of research on websites like Beeradvocate.com to figure out the flavour profile of the beer, and try to pair food that would bring out those specific notes from the beer. Portion control is very important when planning a large menu, since the food will be competing with the beer for space in the stomach. If you want your guests to go all the way to course/beer #6, you really have to be aware of how much food/alcohol a person can actually eat,  so it’s always better to serve portions that’s smaller than what you think a person will eat in a 6 course meal, because guests can always go for left overs if they really like something. Remember, it’s a TASTING menu!! Read the rest of this entry »