BOTW–Ovila Saison

Ovila Abbey Saison

For centuries, the monastic tradition has followed the Rule of St. Benedict–Ora et Labora (prayer and work.) This Saison farmhouse ale is in honor of the noble labor in which the monks engage. Hazy blonde in color, these rustic ales are designed to be complex and contemplative but also refreshign and drinkable after a day in the fields. With earthy and spice aromas this Saison has notes of green grass, and a faint citrus tang. The body is light and layered with fruit and spice accents and a dry, peppery, and refreshing finish. Released June 2011.

Sliced tomatoes, Basil, and vinaigrette.

Cap of the Saison. A very, very enjoyable beer. You’ll often catch me enjoying a small one of these when I’m off the clock after Savoy Night at Alembic Bar.

Steak rubbed with salt, pepper, and spices.

Heat that cast iron skillet up hot and sear the first side.

If you don’t set off the fire alarm, you’re doing it wrong.

Roasted potatoes, coming out of the oven.

After searing, we rest.

Tomatoes with Basil and Arugula in a Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Joseph Swan 2006 Zeigler Vineyard Zinfandel

According to winemaker Rod Berglund: “Noticeably sweeter with aromas of fresh blackberry cobbler. In the mouth it is a big wine with the richness and acidity of a light port. The fruit is bright and focused, and, like the Stellwagen, it has excellent balance. Great by itself, with cheese or with dessert. I can’t wait until the wild blackberries ripen as I am going to pick a bunch and make a blackberry cobbler to try with it. Yum!”

Cast Iron Seared Ribeyes, Braised Russian Kale, and oven roasted fingerling potatoes.

Who can resist a St. George Single Malt Whiskey Flavored Gelato Bar?

BOTW–Ryed Piper

First, just a reminder that Sunday, September 25, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails, (they also have a great beer selection,) on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders, (and me,) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

Picked up Ryed Piper on the recommendation of the staff at Healthy Spirits.

Ale Industries, Rye’d Piper 5.8% ABV

This hoppy red rye is a rich and flavorful beer with a touch of rye spice that compliments the roasty chocolate flavors of the malt. This beer will speak to the hop head in all of us.

This is the second beer I’ve had from Ale Industries, the first was the delicious Sour Peche they donated to the SF Chefs Unite dinner.

I tend to be a bit dubious about Rye based beer, about 9 out of 10 times they end up with an extreme alcohol nose. I also am not usually a fan of most “Red” beers, most of those are just far too sweet.

So it was a little trepidation that I approached Ryed Piper.

Those concerns proved to be completely unfounded.

This is a delicious, well balanced, hoppy California beer. Definitely worth searching out.

Come to me, my little hops, listen to my siren song…

…and into the kettle with you!

Love the label, love the beer!

BOTW–Late Harvest 2010 v.2

First, just a reminder that Sunday, September 25, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails, (they also have a great beer selection,) on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders, (and me,) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

With both of us working more than full time jobs, some weekends it is nice to get away. Leave everything behind and stay somewhere with “No Service”. Fortunately, there are still places as close as Western Marin County which have resisted the siren song of comprehensive cell coverage.

Upright Brewing Late Harvest 2010 v.2

Just last week we released a second blend of Late Harvest, a brew we like to call a provision beer because while it’s quaffable now, is bottled with the intention of cellaring for up to 3 years. This batch uses the Six as a base. It’s a blend of 4 former pinot noir barrels: one with chocolate syrup from Alma here in Portland, two with different forms of black pepper and one straight up, each filled at different times ranging from as little as several weeks to nearly a year ago. The peppercorns, long pepper and Tasmanian peppercorn, are very aromatic, the first being remarkably fruity and bright while the latter are earthy and intense while also lending a numbing sensation to the mouthfeel. The finished beer is very tart and dry with lots of bite from the pepper as well as some from the rye and hops. That bite will mellow with age and the beer will round out with more chocolate and oak flavors coming through down the road.

When visiting Portland in early December 2010, we were had the good sense to visit the Upright Brewing Tasting Room. While there, we tasted a number of fantastic beers, but one of the standouts was this Late Harvest v.2. We knew we had to get a bottle to take home. Chocolate and Peppercorns at first seems like an unusual taste combination, though when you think about it, Chocolate and Chiles is a classic combo, so maybe Chocolate and Peppercorns, not so odd.

Even last December, I remembered the Peppercorns being more dominant in this. 10 months down the line, it is the mild sour character and chocolate which stand out. Not sweet enough to be a dessert beer, this is still a very rich tasting brew. Delicious and a treat to enjoy it in Northern California.

It wouldn’t be a trip to West Marin, without a nice hike. This time we hiked with a friend along the Bolinas Ridge. We spotted this mystery herb at the beginning of our hike and saw it throughout the trip. Smelled delicious, minty with a hint of camphor. I suspect it is Pennyroyal. If so, it’s fortunate we only smelled it, as it appears Pennyroyal is fairly poisonous.

These are the flowers of the mystery herb, probably Pennyroyal.

I didn’t take a picture, but it was nice to also notice for the first time Yerba Buena growing along the trail. One of my favorite native mint-ish plants.

Hm, wait, if we are walking in a quadrangle, and this juncture is the second corner, that means it’s half way?! Wait, if I add that up, it comes to about 8 miles… About half my friends will think I am a wimp for finding 8 miles is on the edge of my hiking tolerance, and the other half will think I was crazy for walking it.

Well, it was very beautiful. A great weekend (not too far) away.

BOTW–Jack D’Or


Pretty Things Jack D’Or

Inspired by some of our favorites saisons like Saison DuPont, but also DeRanke’s XX Bitter, De Dolle’s Arabier, and local table IPAs like Smuttynose, our Jack D’Or starts off with North American Pils, Vienna, Wheat and Malted Oats (among others) and is hopped with a combination of four hops, finishing with Palisade and Nugget. The bitterness is the real backbone of the Jack D’Or. It’s a proper plant-like bitterness with all of its jagged edges, beginning deep in the soil, then to the stem of this beer and up into to the very tippity heights.

Definitely, as they describe it, a “Table Beer”, it went well with cheese and proved a satisfying aperitif.

Miso Glazed Black Sea Bass, Quinoa Pilaf, Braised Russian Kale and Merry Edwards 2008 Olivet Lane Pinot Noir. I even garnished the fish this time, with scallions and black sesame seeds, how about that?

BOTW–Autumnal

First, just a reminder that Sunday, August 28, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails, (they also have a great beer selection,) on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders, (and me,) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

Friends gave us a bunch of really awesome Meyer Lemons. What better to do than to turn them into Lemon Merengue Pie?

Stillwater Autumnal

This deep amber hued ale takes it’s inspiration from Germany while still nodding to the Belgian farmhouse tradition. The base is comprised of German two-row, wheat, Cara-Munich, and roasted barley. Generously hopped with a blend of Perle, Spalt, and Hallertau Mittelfrüh and fermented with a rustic Belgian farmhouse ale yeast. These elements together provide a melange of earth and fruit aromas backed with hints of caramel with a dry clean finish.

I hadn’t researched a lot about Stillwater, aside from trying a couple of their bottles when I saw them in liquor stores. Interestingly, turns out, the brewer is a “Gypsy Brewer”. He rents overflow capacity from breweries and then visits and brews collaborative brews with them.

‘Gypsy Brewer’ Spreads Craft Beer Gospel (on npr)

We’d tried their sage spiked Saison Cellar Door before, but I think we liked Autumnal even more. It was pleasing and easy to drink.

Risking life, limb and fingertips running some amazing patty pan squash through the ceramic mandolin.

Balsamic vinaigrette, marjoram, arugula, and small tomatoes.

On the plate!

Roasted a pork tenderloin on top of a winter squash with onions and potatoes.

Got advice on this wine from one of the wine guys at K&L Wines. 29 Songs is a big ass Northern California Syrah, juicy and delicious. The wine guy suggested it, “wasn’t exactly a food wine,” but we enjoyed it with our dinner anyway.

Unfortunately, the lemon meringue pie didn’t turn out quite as well as I was hoping. For some reason the custard didn’t quite set. On the other hand, the Meringue was awesome. Ah well, nothing wrong with Lemon flavored version of, “œufs à la neige” in a pie crust! Great dinner anyway!

BOTW–Hellhound on My Ale

So this is another of Dogfish’s big bottles, Hellhound. It’s basically one of their IPAs with some Lemon Peel added to “the whirlpool” in their parlance.

It’s their second collaboration with Sony Music, the first was the Bitches Brew, an OK beer. This one is supposed to be celebrating the legacy of Robert Johnson and Blind Lemon Jefferson.

And as much as I like some Dogfish Head Beers, Robert Johnson and Blind Lemon Jefferson, unfortunately “Robert Johnson’s Hellhound on my Ale” is not really very good.

It basically tastes like you poured their 90 minute IPA over a couple crushed Lemonhead candies.

Sometimes it gets too late, and you don’t even feel like having dinner. What is the solution? Popcorn!

Ms Sweetpea agrees and would like to bat some popcorn kernels around the kitchen.

Monty just wants to eat them, even though they aren’t very good for him.

COTW–Wandering Aegnus

First, just a reminder that Sunday, July 31, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails, (they also have a great beer selection,) on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders, (and me,) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

Cider of the Week for a change!

Spatchcocked!

Rancho Gordo Santa Maria Pinquitos!

Small, hearty and pink, Sta. Maria Pinquitos are the perfect accompaniment to your barbecues and cookouts. A regional favorite in sunny Santa Maria (California), these quick-cooking beans hold their shape and can be used in chilis as well.

New plants for the garden in back. Julep Mint!

Greek Oregano.

English Thyme.

Agastache ‘Apricot’.

What San Francisco back yards look like. At least I don’t have to mow.

Monty and I both wish Michele would hurry up and get home from Mountain View.

Roasting veggies for Salsa.

Cider of the week, Wandering Aengus Wanderlust.

Modeled after English ciders, a full bodied cider with a long ginger spice finish. Pairings – barbeque, pork, turkey, sausage, or acidic cheese such as aged cheddar. 6.9% Alc., 1% Res. Sugars, 6 months-apples to bottle.

Cider in a classy jar. I liked this Cider, not so sweet as most American Cider. Tasted very natural.

Laid back Chicken, ready for roasting.

“Conv” Roasting Chicken at 375 F.

First stab at recreating Papalote’s Roast Tomato Salsa. Not entirely successful.

Roasted Chicken.

Dinner! Roast Chicken with Beans, Greens, and salad.