Guest Blog #3 Beer and Food

Cameron sent me this blog a couple of weeks ago so its my bad I didn’t get it posted fast enough. He timed this subject for a specific week in the world of beer…..

It’s Christmas this week! Oh sorry I guess it’s just American Craft Beer Week, pretty much all the same to me. I thought we could focus on the tastes of beer and paring with food for this post. Now put down that Bud Light and let’s focus on some nice craft beers!

Tasting beer is very similar to wine. It should always be poured into a glass, start with the smell, and look at the color, is it hazy? Clear? Then we can begin to taste. There are so many variables here, does it start sweet like caramel and end bitter like lemon or pine? You are probably holding a double IPA  Do you taste coffee? dark chocolate? then you are probably tasting a stout or a porter. Analyzing your beer will really help you enjoy the experience.

Now for some pairings – its grilling season so let’s start with something lighter. A great pairing for chicken, pork, veggies straight off the grill would be anything lighter, and maybe slightly fruity. I would suggest a pilsner, saison, or a light Belgian beer like a tripel or a Belgian blond. For spicer foods you can step it up to a maltier and hoppier pale ale or maybe an IPA. For that burger there really is no better pairing then a good American style pale ale. Now onto dessert – chocolate anyone? Pair that with a stout, preferably a milk stout or a coffee/cappuccino stout. These are perfect ways to round out your meal!

There are literally thousands of ways to pair beer with food. Once you really start to understand the tasting experience, it gets a lot easier to pair food and beer!

A few quick (and delicious) examples of those types of beers listed above:

Pilsner: Oskar Blues – Mamas Little Yella Pils

Saison: Anchorage Love Buzz Saison

Belgian Blond: Epic – Brainless Belgian Style Golden Ale

Belgian Tripel: La Fin Du Monde

Pale Ale: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale; Oscar Blues Dales Pale Ale

IPA: Russian River – Pliny the Elder

Firestone Walker – Union Jack

Bear Republic- Racer 5

Stout: Left Hand – Milk Stout; Lagunitas – Cappuccino Stout; Firestone Walker – Velvet Merlin

Cheers!

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Guest Blogger #2 Home brewing with Cameron

For your blog reading enjoyment may I introduce my friend Cameron…. He makes Beer and he was so kind to share his mad skills with us. Take it away Cameron……

Mmmm beer. Thought I’d input a little beer knowledge into this food blog, thanks Sarah for the forum. Thought I’d do a couple different posts. This first one will be about homebrewing.

These are hops – seriously I know what the leaves look like.

Ah, the smell of malt and hops, the foamy head on your lips, the quenching refreshment of that first sip. How about a little introduction to the basics of beer. Their are four main ingredients in beer: water, malt, hops, and yeast. Water, I won’t bore you with the chemistry of water and how brewers treat it to make it perfect for their beers, just know 90% of beer is water so you want to start with some tasty water! Malt, the background of most beers, this is usually malted barley, barley that has been germinated to just the correct state and then dried. Malt is what gives you the sugars that the yeast eat to make alcohol, little more about that later. The malt can also contain other grains, wheat beer anyone? Yeast, this is the worker, the yeast take the oxygen and the sugars and make alcohol and carbon dioxide, without it we would just have bitter sugary water. Oh and last but not least, my favorite, hops, they balance the sweetness of the beer and give off the wonderful piney, florally, citrusy aromas!

OK, OK, enough of the boring stuff, let’s brew! Here is a (quick) lowdown of the brewing process. First we take hot water and crushed grains and mix them to extract the sugars. Then we wash and drain the grains and get a sweet wort. We take the sweet wert and boil, during the boil we add hops, this extracts the bitterness and taste from the hops and infuses these luscious flavors into the beer. After this we take the boiling water and cool it down and add yeast. That’s it, finito! Well almost I guess, we still need to let the yeast work, but after about 7-30 days, (while maybe adding another set of hops for aroma, for us hop heads) we have beer. We need to put it in something to drink from, either a keg or bottles and after its carbonated it’s Happy Hour!

Big thanks to Cameron for sharing his knowledge and passion for BEER! make some….. it’s so good.