2013 Absurdly Early Absurdly Awesome Savor Preview

So, we are 6 (or 5 days) away from the Savor Craft Beer & Food Experience.  The best food and beer pairing event in the country of America which logically makes it the best food and beer pairing event in the world.  I attended the party last year and have been eagerly awaiting this year’s festival.  However, it is not in DC this year because apparently there is some issue with having the Craft Brewers Conference hosted in the same city as Savor.  So, those of us in the District will have to commute up to NYC for this years blow out.

Every year, I like to take a look at the beers brewers are taking to the event and compile a plan of attack for the event  There are over 50 breweries, and its not possible to sample every one of these fabulous pairings; so it’s important to highlight the things you want to see the most.  Last year, I literally wrote something up on every single brewery, which was fine but I realized that I couldn’t put these beers all in the same category.  How do I rank something I haven’t tried vs. something I want to have again?  How do I rank a brewery I don’t know vs. a beer from a brewery I like?  Well now I have broken the list down into 4 different categories:

1.Beers from brewers that I like – I can speak personally to these beers, and think that everyone should try them.

2. Beers from brewers that I know that I haven’t tried – These beers have a reputation that precedes them and I can’t wait to get my hands on them.

3. Breweries that I haven’t seen and want to try- Small breweries out of market that I haven’t tried.  Always good to try something new.

4. Beers that just sound cool.  Self explanatory.

I.  Beers that I have tried


Avery Brewing Company – Table 1 – Odio Equum – Tart and funky

Brooklyn – Supporter – Black Ops – Big flavorful bourbon stout.  Be careful there are a lot of these. this year

Cigar City Brewing – Table 12 – Jose Marti – Roasted and flavorful

Denver Beer Co. – Table 8 – Oak Aged Graham Cracker Porter.  This beer was at the event last year sans the Oak aging.  I fell in love with it.  They actually put crushed up crackers in the mash and last year you could find me basically killing a glass of this and asking the brewers to fill it again.  So excited.

Epic Brewing Company – Table 10 – Sour Apple Saison – Not a jolly rancher but their fruit beers bring out some great flavors.

Firestone Walker Brewing Company – Table 1 – Parabola – I have read that they age this stout in pappy van winkle barrels.  Their aging program is top notch.

Heavy Seas Beer – Supporter – Holy Sheet – Brandy barrel aged uber abbey ale?  I like all of those words!


One of the better casks I have ever had

Stone Brewing Co. – Table 3 – Stone Espresso Imperial Russian Stout Vintage 2013 –  I love the espresso stout.   Its a cool carbonated iced espresso.  I would drink this instead of morning coffee (but I don’t, I swear…).

The Lost Abbey – Table 1- Deliverance – I don’t think anything can deliverance me from evil but a beer blended from a bourbon aged stout and a brandy one is a great start.

II.  Brewers I love bringing new beers for me to try

Ballast Point Brewing Company – Table 10 – Habanero Sculpin IPA and Toasted Coconut Victory at Sea Imperial Porter – I love peppers in beer and until I have a bad experience, I am going to go for these beers every time.  I like coconut in beers so adding it to a smooth stout I already love can’t be bad.

Bell’s Brewery – Table 14 – Raspberry Wild One – It’s the second tart raspberry beer on this list that comes with a great reputation.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery – Supporter – 61- 61 just sounds like fun.  I want to see how the grape flavor plays with the IPA.

Founders Brewing Company – Table 5 – Rubaeus – Rubaeus is another big fruity raspberry beer.

Ninkasi Brewing Company – Table 9– Believer; Tricerahops – I love all of the Ninkasi beers so I am anxious to try anything from a brewery carrying the name of the goddess of brewing.

Samuel Adams –Supporter- Samuel Adams Honey Queen; Samuel Adams Tetravis – Samuel Adams has a special place in my heart and I will continue to try every new Sam beer that I can as a tribute.

The Bruery – Table 1- Bois – A special barrel aged beer from the Bruery is a must try.

Three Floyds Brewing Company – Table 10 – Zombie Dust – Ever since I first read this beer on a bucket list, I have wanted to try it.  If you put a pale ale on your bucket list, it has to be good.

III. New Breweries That I’m interested to try:  I plan on reporting back on these breweries, but I wanted to throw their names out there because they are not common to the DC area.

Crux Fermentation Project (OR) – Table 1 – Crux Imperial Stout

Empire Brewing Company – Table 6 – Golden Dragon

Front Street Brewery (NC) – Table 2 – Dram Tree Scottish Ale

Laughing Sun Brewing Company (ND) – Table 9

Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery (CA) – Table 7- Bonnie Lee’s Best Bitter

Manayunk Brewery (PA)-Table 14 – B.L. Barleywine

No-Li Brewhouse Table – Table 9- Wrecking Ball Imperial Stout

Thomas Hooker Brewing Company (CT) – Table 7

IV. New Breweries with beers I’m excited to try:  These beers have cool names.  Some sound like candies.  I would like to drink these candies.

Bull & Bush Brewery – Table 14 – Man Beer; Turnip the beets

Hops & Grain Brewing (TX) – Table 13 – Bourbon Barrel aged ALTeration

Joseph James Brewing Company (NV) –Table 12 – Red Fox Russian Imperial Stout

Kane Brewing Company (NJ) –Table 5- Bourbon Barrel Aged Solitude

Linden Street Brewery (CA) –Table 7- Burning Oak Black Lager

Santa Fe Brewing Company (NM) -Table 3- Imperial Java Stout

Spring House Brewing Co. (PA)– Table 13 – Big Gruesome Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout; The Astounding She Monster Mango IPA

Wild Wolf Brewing Company (VA) – Table 2 -Strawberry Schwarzcake

Willimantic Brewing Company (CT)-  Table 14- Six Shooter Oatmeal Oyster Stout

Willoughby Brewing Company (OH) – Table 12- Peanut Butter Cup Coffee Porter

Anyway, these are my greater hits for this year’s Savor.  I hope this is helpful for those of you who will be attending.  And those who aren’t attending….I will be reporting back on the event so you can live vicariously through me.  So, sorry.

Anyway, cheers and happy drinking!


Posted in Beer and Cheese, Beer Dinner, Beer Events, Beer Lists | Leave a comment

ACBW 2013 Beer Pron

This past week was another week dedicated to craft beer.  Which one?  Well depending on the time of year, place you are located, and people you associate with….any week can be a long celebration of craft beer.  American Craft Beer Week just happens to have a few websites dedicated to it; you can always be your own celebration. Perhaps that was a little too crass.  I do think there is a point buried in that sarcasm….beer weeks are simply what you make of them.  This “craft beer renaissance” has afforded the average consumer countless shops, bars, and breweries to purchase quality American craft beer from, and there is no real method for celebrating a beer week except that you kinda have to drink.

Many people want to know how to celebrate such an event and they can even  be intimidated as though their is some snobbish ritual that needs to be obeyed, but really there isn’t.  Beer drinkers like me will try to do something special every night but that doesn’t mean you have to go out every night or have a beer with every meal.   Check the internet, check bars in your area, there will be information on special releases, tastings and events for you to choose from.  It’s all up to what you consider interesting.   I personally decided to have some fun this year by dipping into some of my reserved bottles because I have a lot of them and after a while aging beer seems stupid if you don’t drink any of it.  I will go through three of the beers I enjoyed the most over the week and I will leave you with some nice beer pron shots at the end of the post so you don’t get bored with my descriptions.

I will go more into detail on aging beer another time, but I will just say that the general rule of thumb is to age beers that are above 7/8% and that don’t have a lot of hops because the flavor erodes.  Higher alcohol content aides preservation and you need to age in a cool dark place.  Anyway, first beer:  Heavy Seas Greater Pumpkin: Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale


Arrrrrrr I guess?

This is a fun beer put out every fall by the Heavy Seas Brewery out in Baltimore.  The beer starts out a huge pumpkin spicy malty mouthful with a generous kick of bourbon at the end.  It’s very sweet and the bourbon adds a nice twang of fruitiness to it, and these characteristics made me decide to put a bottle down for about 8 months to see what would happen.  The beer really changes a lot.  The booze mellows and becomes a nice back flavor.  The reduced sweetness lets you really taste all the pumpkin pie spices like cinnamon, clove and allspice without having them be overpowered.  It’s a drier drinking experience that doesn’t knock you out because of the boozy bourbon.  I like the juxtaposition because I can see merits to aging this beer and merits to enjoying it right away.

Avery Odio Equum Aged 7 months

20130514_201218This is a sour beer, which can be a little off-putting for some people.  The beer uses natural yeasts which can create a very acidic sour taste ( the usual culprit is called Brettanomyces or Brett for short).  This beer adds to that by using red raspberries and spending a good amount of time in cabernet savignon barrels.  This creates a very rich sour beer that reminds me a lot of raspberry juice.  The seven month aging was just not enough time.  I have heard that aging sours will reduce the acidic flavor while actually smelling more acidic than before.  I just didn’t give it enough time for this to take effect.  The beer is still fun to drink with its nice seedy fruit flavor mellowed by a nice wine finish. Again this isn’t an exact science but at least I didn’t ruin it.

Rogue Voodoo Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ale


What…it can’t…that can’t be good…right?

I know what you’re thinking….is it chunky?  No.  This was not aged but I just had to write about this beer.  It tastes like the ingredients mentioned in the title.  I have encountered many beers like this that claim to taste like maple bacon, blueberry muffins, peanut butter and jelly…and for the most part these names aren’t misleading.  The beer starts with a rich chocolate malt flavor, the peanut butter flavor follows in the middle and finishes with a hint of banana.  Nothing was overpowering, just a nice smooth balanced drinking experience.  It’s the beer I want to drink while I’m watching a movie.  You might not see it in stores, but you can actually order it from the Rogue website in a pack with their wonderful maple bacon brown ale.

These were just some of my favorite choices from the week.  I had a fantastic drinking experience and I am looking forward to the next awesome beer week in August thanks to DC Beer Week (see you don’t even have to wait a year for the next beer week).  As always, these choices of beer reflect my preferences and shouldn’t be yours if it’s not what you like.  Some people don’t like having their beer taste like an after school snack, some people just want a simple brown ale.  That’s why you need to go and try to find things that you like.  Cheers!

P.S. I just bottled my latest beer so stay tuned for another brewing post soon!


21st Amendment Lower Da Boom: A hoopy barleywine served in red bull cans


Founders Doom: Bourbon Aged IPA- A rare find even in Michigan that paired fantastically with an assortment of cheeses


The Alchemist Heady Topper– Supposedly the best beer in the world. A rare find from Vermont

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Brewing Diaries: Minneola Wheat Beer

Why not make the first post a homebrewing post (first in almost a year!).  So, as the season turns, I get that incurable itch to make my own beer for summer.  I like to make my own summer beers for the simple reason that most summery wheat beers taste relatively similar.  I am not saying they taste the same, but the goal of any wheat beer is to taste the wheat malt, maybe add some form of citrus, and some form of spice as an accent.  That might remind you of macro mico beer versions such as Shock Top or Blue Moon; these beers are good and relatively simple to make.  The gap between a fantastic wheat beer and a good wheat beer isn’t that huge.  And I can definitely say I have not had a bad wheat beer, so, why not make my own?  These brewing opportunities are usually good opportunities to take a simple clean slate and see how new flavors mix with beer.  A couple years ago, I had a lot of success using kiwi in a lighter kolsch which was very successful.  While that was fun, I almost cut my fingers off several times slicing the slimy 5 lbs of kiwis….so something else.


U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Minneolas!  A funky fruit I had seen while shopping at Trader Joe’s (Yes I shop at Trader Joe’s, don’t judge).  The sweet and tart combination of a mandarin orange and a grapefruit has a peel that is unique, bright and tart so I decided to give that a try.  Now, as a homebrewer, I have noticed brew shops selling things like orange peels by the check out, and I can’t deny that I have purchased them for brewing.  Well, I am never going to do that again.  I will be buying the whole fruits when I am just using the rind.  It’s like when we all were little and making collages with things like candy bar wrappers.  Why would you ask for a candy bar wrapper when you have an excuse to buy and eat a delicious candy bar?  Why would I buy rinds when I could also be eating a delicious minneola?  It doesn’t make sense to buy someone’s trash.


Ingredient List:

6.6 lbs Wheat malt extract

1 lb Crystal malt

1.5 oz Cascade Hops.

1 Tablespoon toasted corriander

1.5 oz Minneola Rind

Basic wheat yeast (I use anything that imparts a bubble gum flavor because I find it funny when sophisticated beer snobs sample a beer and say “It has a nice bubble gum flavor.”  Possibly the only time this considered positive in food judging)

The process was a simple 20 minute steeping of the Crystal Malt at 155 degrees Farenheight in 2.5 gallons of water.   The goal is to maintain the 155 degree temp because the sugars in barley are best extracted at that temperature.  If its too low, not enough energy to coax the sugar out.  Too much heat, you run the risk of extracting something you don’t want.

After I removed the grain bag and I brought the pot to a boil.  The liquid malt extract was added as were an ounce of the Cascade hops.  Extract can be added during the boil because it is the sugar that has already been extracted from the grain.  During the first part of the boil, I prepared the minneolas by removing the rind and shaving off as much of the white pith on the rind as possible.  I did this because the pith has no flavor, and can only negatively effect the batch (all the oil/flavor is in the skin).  The The corriander seeds need to be toasted shortly to release their essential oils and then quickly added to the boil at the same time as the remainder of the hops.  The rind, hops, and seeds were added at the 50 minute mark.

The total boil time was an hour, and the batch was poured over ice in the fermenter along with chilled water that was sitting in the fridge.  The batch dropped very quickly down to 70 degrees and I pitched the yeast at that time and popped the lid on.  I didn’t check the gravity because it was such a simple recipe and I didn’t want to worry about that.  This is a session beer and, as long as I did everything correctly, I should hit around 4%.

I let the beer ferment for a week and did a secondary fermentation for another week.  I normally let the beer sit for a 2 week secondary fermentation, but this is a beer that I wanted to see be a little cloudy (and I was impatient).  The secondary fermentation is usually optional, but it is good to let dead yeast cells settle at the bottom of the vessel because they can be unsettling and make the beer cloudy.  After the secondary fermentation, I primed the batch and bottled the beers.  I gave them a week to sit and here is the finished product.


Such a nice ‘after’ shot

As you can see, the beer pours a deep slightly cloudy orange color with a nice soapy head.  You get a nice whiff of citrus off the bat and a good wheat presence.  The beer tastes refreshingly of wheat and citrus without being overpoweringly fruity.  The flavor of coriander comes through and the grapefruit notes of the cascade hops add a nice spice and accentuate the minneola’s citrusy note.  Overall, I am very happy with my first summer beer of the year (though it won’t last very long).

Anyway, I hope this post was informative and stay tuned for more posts including my next homebrew (an Irish Red).


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More Posts on Tap!

So, I apologize for not giving you all more content.   I wanted to give you all something to look forward to because there will be a lot of new posts coming:


Summer Beer!

So, as you all can see, I have some homebrews to open up.  I will be posting updates on the brewing and the ingredients of this summer beer.  I also have a more traditional session beer that is fermenting so there will be TWO homebrew posts coming up.  I also will be attending some new beer events such as the National Homebrew Celebration in Columbia, MD and SAVOR.  I am really excited about the trip up to NYC and I will have a lot of posts leading up to the event including a floor guide for anyone who might be attending.  Plus, I’ll give you all some musings on the changing beer seasons.

Anyway, stay tuned more great content is coming!Cheers!


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California Beer Pron

Well, that was a fun long weekend in California…I am devastated so happy to be back in Washington D.C. where the temperature is still under 50 degrees.  This was a really great trip to take because I had been reading about the amazing quality craft beer being produced in California, and this was my chance to sample from the cornucopia of hops.  I started with a Hanger 24 Double IPA and never looked back…

I knew Californians loved their hops because almost every west coast brewery seems to offer a robust bitter, fruity, piny hop punch to your mouth.  It’s not for everyone but if you can appreciate it, the American double IPA will really will wake up your palate.  But wait, how do you find which bars/restaurants to go to when you have never visited a certain location?  I started by posting a question on Reddit to get suggestions from locals.  I always prefer going to local spots because I hate going to tourist traps.  They tend to be overcrowded and generic.  What do you do when you have are in a place not on a list?  You need a beer map right?  Well, unsurprisingly, there is an app for that.

The Beer Mapping project is an app that catalogs all of the beer bars, pubs, beer stores, home brew shops, and breweries in an area and displays them on a map based on your current location.  This was a lifesaver.  Los Angeles is a place where you really have to drive to get anywhere, and traffic does cause delays all the time.  We got stuck in the Hollywood area after a long day of driving around and needed a good place to eat and grab a beer.  A quick search showed me a little place called the Lucky Devils Tavern.  This place had a fantastic bar menu with fun burgers and a great tap list.  They also had that special something I was looking forward to trying in California.

The reputation precedes it

The reputation precedes it

Pliny the Elder.  A beer that is so important to this brewery that they recommend that you drink it as soon as you get it because they don’t want the flavors to dull with time.  This beer is freaking delicious.  Tropical fruit, pine, slightly bitter, malty and realistically the best Double IPA (or imperial IPA depending on who you are talking to) since I first sampled Bell’s Hopslam.  This beer was that good.  If you are ever out in California, you should try Pliny the Elder.  So that was a good start to the experience, and it only got more impressive from there…



I like beer bars that have low-key look, good beer selection, a great bottle list and good music.  The Surly Goat is just that kind of place.  Frankly, I am a huge fan of the movie Eurotrip and I have always wanted to go to the Feisty Goat portrayed in the movie.  This bar was my Feisty Goat sans soccer hooligans and an endearing singing number (though I am sure they would have obliged had I requested it).  They had great breweries such as Hair of the Dog and Sierra Nevada’s 25th Anniversary Celebrator.   Hair of the Dog has some delicious beers worth trying and all of them are named after people the owner knows (or knew).  They also had a real small but rare bottle list.  I could not believe that they had the Rumpkin, the beer I spent most of my winter scouring the DC area for.  I had to have my girlfriend buy 4 bottles when she was home for Thanksgiving because it was only available in Pennsylvania.  They also had this gem from Lost Abbey

A religious experience?

A religious experience?

So this rich chocolaty beer had nice notes of oak to balance it out.  It tasted like chocolate milk.  I was drawn to this beer because there happens to be a bourbon with a similar name.  Angel’s Share is based on the old understanding of barrel aging.  When alcohol sits in a barrel, the liquid evaporates and also seeps into the wood of the barrel.  Being that centuries ago they didn’t understand the concept of evaporation, they had to make sense of what the reduction in barrels meant.  They called that the Angel’s share.  The liquid that seeps into the barrels is called the Devil’s cut and has been immortalized by Jim Beam (if you were wondering, they crush the barrels to get the liquid out).  The Angel’s Envy is the liquid left behind that the Angels didn’t get and we get to enjoy.  Isn’t marketing fun?

Anyway these were some of my greatest hits from Los Angeles.  I hope this can help all of you plan your next travel adventure.  Just doing a little research can make a huge difference.  Half the fun of traveling is getting out to support other local breweries.


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Beer Event: Heavy Seas Real Ales and BBQ 2013

What’s that?  Another Heavy Seas beer event revolving around smoked meat and specially crafted cask ales?  Yeah, it was just another one of those days.

You know you want it

You know you want it

As you can see, the food was awesome as always.  Nothing better than getting in a line to get your plate filled with ribs, coleslaw, pulled pork, potato salad, and enough sauce to drown the entire plate.  There are always great assortments of cheeses and the brewery keeps offering these bacon bbq wings that always fit the theme of the event.  The real treat of this event was the collection of cask/real ales they provided.  Cask or “real ales” are beers allowed to naturally carbonated in barrels without added carbonation.  This makes them smoother and easier to drink.  Expert brewers like Heavy Seas are able to condition the cask with added ingredients to play with flavors and create different sensations.  I really enjoy these events because I see some stuff that I may never be able to find again.  I have seen beers with peppers, pineapple, brown sugar….the list goes on because the possibilities are really endless.

More people would vote if they knew this was what they were voting for

More people would vote if they knew this was what they were voting for

Ideas for casks can come from anywhere and sometimes they come from polls sent out over twitter.  Not too long ago, Heavy Seas tweeted out a simple poll that allowed voters to select hops and ingredients to add to a special cask of loose cannon for this event (I see my bacon suggestion didn’t make it in, sigh).  The added citra hops and orange peel made the already fruity Loose Cannon amazingly orangey and citrusy.  It was so luscious that it started to make my mouth water.  Following it up with a nice pulled pork sandwich just kept me wanting more of the beer.  The grains of paradise and oak added a dry peppery finish that kept the beer from being too acidic.  Fantastic combination.

Don't be quick to judge, they only get stranger from here

Don’t be quick to judge, they only get stranger from here

The golden ale was used in two special casks that had fruit added.  Golden ales are good blank canvasses for other flavors, so they really let the brewer play with the ingredients.  One of the casks had a crazy amount of dried cherries and honey.  It was really crisp and tart, and I was lucky enough to get some from the bottom of the barrel which really made my mouth pucker from all the cherries.  The one featured above took this clashing of beer and food to another level.  These parts may seem random but you could really taste everything down to the marshmallow.  The strangest part was that there was no coconut in the beer, but it made me think there was because I associate it with the mixture of flavors in the cask.  The beer gave me great memories of enjoying Ambrosia with its gooey tangy combination of apples, citrus and sweetness.  To be clear, the beer is not chunky, it just has a fantastic rich flavor.

Something more traditional

Something more traditional

For the record, I love any IPA that has spent some time in oak  The dryness makes the hop flavors mellow and the oak helps the esters and piney aspects of the beer.  This beer had a very pronounced grapefruit note as well.  This is one of the new releases from Heavy Seas and it was awesome to get to try it on oak cask.  I was not able to try the regular draft because it ironically was kicked before this cask.  Even with no original point of reference, I can still say this was a fantastic beer, and anyone who gets the chance to try the Big DIPA, should.

Quite the hipster look

Quite the hipster look

Now this gets a little weird, in a good way.  This was the Heavy Seas Black Cannon (Black IPA) with several spices common in Thai cuisine.  When you first look at it, the color concerns you because you wonder if there is any soy sauce in it.  There isn’t, by the way.  The beers flavor really does take you on a journey to that slightly bitter robust pad thai we all enjoy.  It has the bitter spices working with the beer to enhance the flavor without letting any of them dominate.  This went great with the food because it was like a sauce being added to the meat as you continued to drink it.

The cask everyone was waiting for

The cask everyone was waiting for

Imperial chocolate stout in bourbon barrels?  Fine.  Bourbon vanilla beans?  Yes, please.  Cinnamon and oak aging?  Why not?  Habanero… Hmmmm.  Not as far out there as you might think.  These flavors do work well together.  Cinnamon and peppers are used a lot in Mexican desserts and hot chocolate.  The combination sounds odd but if the flavors are balanced properly, they cinnamon’s spice can be brought out by the pepper.  This beer was the best cask at the event by far.  It was like balancing tastes on a knifes edge. At first you taste chocolate and bourbon, then you get that nice vanilla and oaky flavor. After that you get some cinnamon and you think, “oh wow that was nice, I didn’t really taste the peppers.”  That’s when they get you.  You get some nice peppery flavor mixed with the cinnamon as a finish.  The peppers don’t get spicy at first, but the more you drink, the more you notice they light burning sensation that is crescendoing in your mouth.  However, the heat level never gets overpowering, so you can keep sipping it without ruining your palate.  This beer must have taken a lot of effort and I can’t thank the brewers enough for giving us the chance to experience.

So another successful event and I can’t wait until the next one.  Everyone should always keep an eye on their local brewery because many of them try to have events like this.  If you get to attend an event, you might get to try something as awesome as this special Siren Noire cask. I will be in California this weekend, so, I hope to have some great west coast beer stories to share with you (Please let there be Pliny the Elder, PLEASEEEEE).

As always, Cheers!

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Beer ‘n’ Cheese Pairing #4: FRANCAIS in America

Another random weekend, another beer and cheese pairing.  Sometimes there is nothing better.

Funky and fun cheeses to try, check.

Funky and fun cheeses to try, check.

Cheeses: Crave Brothers Petit Frere: An American interpretation of a French style cheese.  It’s one of those cheeses with a rind that smells funny, but those are sometimes the best cheeses.  I can’t really tell you what to look for because the conventional wisdom is that the cheese needs a little funk.  Try to ask the seller if you have questions and it all depends on how much you want to explore.

Beehive Barely Buzzed: Hey, I know I post about this cheese a lot and, sorry, I love this cheese.  Its funky flavor profile with the coffee crust allows it to pair with a lot of different beers.  I know what I like.

Trader Joe’s Double Cream Brie:  I haven’t really done a lot of French style cheeses, so this if my first foray into Brie with beer.  I chose Trader Joe’s because I enjoyed their Double Cream Gouda so much.

Maui is always awesome because you know there will be some new fruit in the beer that you have never heard of

Maui is always awesome because you know there will be some new fruit in the beer that you have never heard of

Beer #1:  Maui Brewing Company & DogFish Head Collaboration Liquid Breadfruit

I was intrigued by this beer for several reasons.  The yeast was taken from a peach farm close to DogFish Head; the beer uses the starchy fruit known as bread fruit (which I have never had so I am basing the fruit on the beer); and papaya seeds.  Sweet, nice acidity from the seeds and overall nice fruit character.

Crave: The cheese is creamy and really allows you to sense the fruity character of the beer.  You also sense a peachiness to the beer.  The two pair well and don’t overtake one another.

Brie:  The brie brings a lot of acidity to the beer and the beer already has a lot of acidic fruitiness.  They clash and you really do sense the breadfruit more but it can be a little clawingly sweet and acidic.

Buzzed: The coffee really does a good job bringing out the toastiness of the papaya seeds.  I also really taste the sweetness of the fruit and it brings out the bright acidity without overwhelming the palate.  This cheese always seems to do well with every beer it pairs with.

You have NO idea what I had to do to get my hands on this

You have NO idea what I had to do to get my hands on this

Beer #2: Troegs Nugget Nectar

This is sometimes billed as the cheaper Hopslam.  There are some similarities in that this beer has a nice sweet tropical fruit flavor and aroma that is derived from an avalanche of hops.  This beer has also been restricted by stores.  I happen to find this beer a little sweeter and has a stronger citrus/piney note.

Crave: These two just don’t work together at all.  The buttery cheese didn’t mix with the citrusy strong beer.  This cheese clearly doesn’t go well with overly hoppy beers.

Brie:  The beer really pairs well with this.  The acid notes of the brie actually are softened by the fruitiness of the beer.  It has a nicer butter note which was missing from the other cheese.  Again not an ideal pairing but a better attempt that worked with the intense hop flavor.

Barely Buzzed: The cheese has a nice firmness that melts into a good creamy cheddar like flavor.   Very rich.  The coffee crust doesn’t really work well with it.  This may not be the ideal pairing beer for these cheeses.

These big bottles really are fun at the end of the night

These big bottles really are fun at the end of the night

Beer #3: Uinta Cockeyed Cooper Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine

Vice rich licorice and bourbon aroma.  This beer is very hoppy and malty but doesn’t overly feel like a barleywine.  It’s a strong beer that opens up as you sip it longer and let it warm up to room temperature.

Crave: The beer clashes at first but brings a rich hoppy flavor that becomes a creamy flavor with some nice sweetness and rounded hop character.

Brie: The brie is nice but the beer has a big flavor which overruns the cheese.  These don’t mix well at all.  You spend most of the time trying to find flavors to make sure that you are tasting a beer and a cheese.

Buzz: The coffee and lavender with the hops and malt to bring out a nice combination of the sweetness and the lavender really mixes well with the bitterness of the hops.  The bourbon character really has been lost in these cheeses.  I have noticed barrel aged beers don’t always work well with cheese.  But you have to keep trying until you find something that you like.

I found Pleepleus!

I found Pleepleus!

Anyway, get out there and enjoy the beer in cheese out there and stay tuned for more blog posts.


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