Friday, December 6, 2013

Practicing What You Preach

There are a lot of beer reviews out there.

And MOST of them cover the main characteristics of a beer which are:
  • Pour
  • Aroma
  • Taste
  • Mouthfeel
  • Finish

And like those points, most reviews conclude with some type of food pairing of sorts:

"I would love to have this beer with a grilled chicken sandwich... or I would like to have this beer with some apple pie."  

And that's where the review ends.  Move onto a new beer and a new review.  But the question is... did you REALLY pair that beer up or do you just THINK it would go good with that type of food?  You took the time to review the beer, why not go the extra mile and pair it with the food you THINK might go well??  I hate to admit it, but I'm guilty of said crime.  I always like to imagine what certain beers might go good with certain foods, but RARELY do I actually go through with the pairing.  Well, after I read a great post by Ashleigh and Kristie of Two Girls, One Beer I decided that enough was enough.

In their post, they threw out some suggestions on what beer styles go with various parts of your Thanksgiving meal.  What goes with turkey, apps, dessert, etc.  So I wrote down a few ideas... hit up the local packy the day before Thanksgiving and made it happen.  I'm not going to go into crazy detail with each course, but hopefully you'll take way just enough so that the next time you're planning out a meal, you think about your beverage as well.

With appetizers:

I wanted to kick things off with a light, refreshing beer.  One of the most well known Belgian Saisons is Saison Dupont.  At 6.5%, it's highly carbonated, has cider-like characteristics, apple, fruity, sweet, biscuity.  Awakens the palette so to speak.  We had various meats and cheeses laid out that worked very well with this.

The Meal:

I brought two options to the table as we took our seats.  First was Relic Brewing's Duality, a Belgian Dubbel, also at 6.5%.  Don't let the color of this beer fool you.  It was a little dark, but actually drank very light.  The Belgian yeasts that were used gave this beer just the slight tartness to it.  Mild fruity esters.  The subtle sweetness matched PERFECTLY with the salty brine that my sister used for the turkey.  Come to think of it, there were a lot of salty things on my plate btw the stuffing, gravy, kale... from the beer to food and food to beer, this worked great.

The other option was Slumbrew's Attic & Eaves (7.5%).  Brown Ale in style, and the heaviest one on the day thus far, played well with my mashed potatoes and squash.  Not gonna lie, I was definitely slowing down at this point in my meal.  Whatever room I had left in my stomach was filling up with malty goodness.  Slight coffee notes also made a great ending to my thanksgiving meal.


Lastly, after the food had settled and there was JUST enough room for dessert... I broke out the obvious choice, Mayflower Brewing's Thanksgiving Ale.  It doesn't get more fitting than that... and it also came recommended from Ashleigh and Kristie.  Clocking in at 8.0%, this English Strong Ale was EXACTLY what I needed.  Boozy, sweet, carmel, toffee notes... This was delicious when I paired it with Apple Pie.  My tastebuds were having party and everyone was having a great time.

Also, not pictured, I brought up some of my homebrewed Pumpkin Ale that I made a few months ago that I call Capt Jack's Pumpkin Ale (named after my godson).  This tasty offering checked in at 7.3% and was brewed with pureed pumpkin and butternut squash.  I also added some Vanilla infused Bulleit Bourbon that my friend Adi so graciously let me use.  The sweetness of this beer (and again the obvious choice) was great with my mom's coconut chocolate chip pumpkin cookies.

So here's my challenge to you all... do a little research BEFORE you sit down to your meal.  Rather than think of what MIGHT go well... think of what WILL go well... then go out and make that pairing happen!!  Again thanks to Ashleigh and Kristie for the inspiration behind this post.

********COMING NEXT WEEK*******

As tradition holds true, my cousin Katie and I will be bringing back the BEER411 - 12 BEERS OF CHRISTMAS!!!  Tune in next Monday as Katie kicks things off.

Tis the season!!

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