BOTW–High Tide

High Tide.

Port Brewing’s High Tide Fresh Hop India Pale Ale located at local bottle shop City Beer Store.  I can never pass up trying a Fresh Hop beer.

In glasses.

All about the grapefruit in the nose and taste.  Nicely balanced, though, and not sharp.  Very drinkable.

Dinner.

Experimental Roasted Pumpkin and Apple Risotto with sage.  Pretty tasty.  Salad of Arugula and Persimmons.  Portobello Mushroom Sausages.

BOTW–La Goudale

My super hero wife was again away last weekend, this time in LA working on a ridiculously high profile project for what she calls “The Place”.

I had an evite to a fantastic party, but was feeling like I needed a bit of downtime.

Between B.A.R. certification, friends being in town, and birthday celebrations, recent events had gotten a bit off the rails.  Too many blurry nights.  I really needed a night at home with the dog and cats to regroup.

Everything better with pork.

But I was just feeling too lazy to put together my usual bachelor dinner, a pot of jambalaya.  Fortunately, bone-in chicken breasts were on sale at Good Life.  I rubbed them with Gremolata, put a sage leaf under the skin, and draped some, (unfortunately not Boccolone,) Pancetta over the top and threw them in the convection oven at 375F.  Then I covered some potatoes with water and set them to boil.

La goudale.

La Goudale appeared this week at our local grocery.  Interestingly, the brewers claim La Goudale is based on, “…an original medieval recipe, Goudale is a historic name.”

La Goudale.

I tend to like lighter Belgian Saisons and Singles, which seem to be relatively rarely brought into this country.  Just kind of tired of overly “big” beers.  You can keep your triples and your Imperials.  Just give me something nice that goes well with food and doesn’t hit me over the head with the hammer of sweetness and alcohol.  Goudale fits into this profile, being fairly dry, not overly sweet, or particularly strong.  Initially not seeming overly complex, it did show some enjoyable subtleties of flavor as it warmed.

Mmmmm.

Pulled the breasts out when they hit 145F.  Sauteed some sliced spring onions and spinach in butter.  Drained and smashed the potatoes.  Stirred the sauteed veg into them along with some sour cream.

Dinner.

Sliced the chicken breast and served it with the potatoes.  Shoulda maybe made a pan sauce, but like I said, this was a lazy, bachelor dinner, not an impress the significant other kind of thing.

BOTW–Carnegie Porter, 2004

Bar after close.

Bar top.

Empty seats.

Something, I dunno, peaceful, about being in the bar after a busy night. You’ve taken care of all your closing responsibilities and are waiting for your cab or ride. Between when the dishwashers finish and the cleaning crew shows up.

Botw.

While you’re there and contemplating the universe, or at least the small portion of it you experienced that night, you might as well have a beer, if you haven’t had a shift drink. Maybe the Carnegie (aka Pripps’) Porter? Nice stuff, vintage dated and from Sweden.

BOTW–Mousquetaires Rauchbier

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This is another beer from the Plump Jack Beer Club.  I’ve belonged to this club for several years now, and the organizer never fails to find something interesting new for me to try.  Rauchbiers are an acquired taste for some.  Like Islay Scotch, the Malt is dried over an open fire, lending a smoky character.  Being very fond of Alaskan Brewing’s Smoked Porter and Stone Brewing’s Smoked Porter, I was quite looking forward to this beer from the Les Trois Mousquetaires Brewery in Quebec.

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Interestingly, the Trois Mousequetaires Brewery started when Imperial Tobacco of Canada shut down its Montreal locations, sending the three founders into a quest for a new source of income and inspiration.

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The beer is nice, not as smoky as some German Rauchbier, but enough to take notice.  According to the information I have, they use partly smoked malt and the beer is then cold aged and bottled unfiltered.  Pours with a healthy head and is a bit on the sweet side.  Nicely Porter-esque and a perfect accompaniment to a honking big slab of…

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When I was heading home from work on Friday, I stopped at Avedano’s to pick up something to grill.  Like the Plump Jack Beer club, Avedano’s never fails to have something interesting which inspires me to cook.  It was truly far too hot outside to think of turning on the oven or even the stove top.  They had some beautiful dry aged ribeye that I just couldn’t resist.  Ribeye is just about my favorite easily available steak.  Well, OK, bone in, thick cut ribeye is my absolute favorite.  But since I was on my own for dinner, that would be a bit over the top.

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Grilling steaks always reminds me of growing up in Wisconsin.  My parents would often buy half a cow from the local butcher and then freeze most of the meat, giving us steaks and summer sausage for a good portion of the year.  The old adage, “Dad Cooks Outside, Mom Cooks Inside,” always held true.  While Dad got the coals going, Mom would peel and slice potatoes, chop plenty of onions and wrap them in foil with plenty of butter, salt, and pepper.  These would then be cooked over the coals outside.  When they were done, they would be spooned into a bowl.  My favorite bits were always the browned and caramelized potatoes that stuck to the foil.

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Nothing more than salt, pepper, and a little bit of olive oil, for a ribeye this nice! Not the best job of cross hatching, but not bad for cooking on a Weber!

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Really that does seem like a lot of potatoes and a big steak.  I hope I can finish them!

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OK, well, I finished the potatoes.  Half the steak will make a nice sandwich for lunch tomorrow!

BOTW-Rip Tide

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Recently our local grocery has started carrying beer from a small Scottish Brewery called “Brew Dog”. Fond as I am of Stouts, I’ve been curious about their Rip Tide Imperial Stout.

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Martin and James were bored of the industrially brewed lagers and stuffy ales that dominate the UK market. We decided the best way to fix this undesirable predicament was to brew our own beers. Consequently in April 2007 BrewDog was born.

Both only 24 at the time, we leased a building, got some scary bank loans, spent all our money on stainless steel and started making some hardcore beers.

We are dedicated to making cool, contemporary and progressive beers showcasing some of the world’s classic beer styles. All with an innovative twist and customary BrewDog bite.

Well, that’s cool.

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With Mrs. Flannestad away for the weekend, I’d not done real well on the whole feeding myself front this weekend. Figured I should at least give it a go tonight.

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Got some nice Salmon and Fingerling potatoes at Avedano’s. Fennel and Kale at Good Life. So… Thinly sliced fingerling potatoes, fennel, and chiffonade of tuscan kale. Some olive oil and cream. Idea is a quick gratin. Tossed in the oven at 400 F.

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Salmon fillet, with a rub, garnish, I don’t know what you call it… Mustard, finely minced onion, thyme, tarragon, lemon zest, splash of vermouth, olive oil.  We used to make a main course something like this at a restaurant I worked in.

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Hm. Rip Tide is tasty, but more of a UK style Porter than an Imperial Stout. OK. But doesn’t quite have the backbone to stand up to the alcohol level.

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Salmon on top of the mostly cooked gratin. Oven at 425 F.

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Sorry for the focus. Really this was one of the more successful and interesting dishes I’ve cooked recently. Nice textural contrast. Crispy potatoes and kale at the edges. Delicious rich salmon towards the middle.

Just hope I can make it again once Mrs. Flannestad gets back!

BOTW–Buffalo Stout

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Recently it seems like there has been a lot of Belgian brewers who are attempting to adapt American beer styles to Belgian beers.

I guess it is sort of tit for tat, as so many American brewers are now attempting to brew Belgian style brews!

Buffalo Stout caught my eye at the local grocery. A cowboy-themed Belgian stout! Crazy!

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No idea what the text there says. Ingredients, however, are, “water, malt, hops, yeast, and refermentationsugar.”

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It’s on the sweet side, it must be admitted. But not cloying.  I had no problems finishing most of the bottle while making dinner, and I don’t have a huge tolerance for overly sweet beers. Probably less sweet than many of the Imperial Stouts made in the US.

Plus, the use of Belgian yeast strains plays out nicely in the late flavors, giving it a interesting complexity not usually found in American Imperial stouts.

Dinner, Aug 7, 2009

Speaking of cross over attempts, a video was recently made public which showed Anthony Bourdain (Of the Travel Network’s No Reservations), Chris Cosentino (Of San Francisco’s Incanto restaurant), and Lance Winters (Of Hangar One/St. George) cooing over an experimental flask of foie gras vodka (Winters: “the distillation room looked like a lipo suction clinic while we were making this!”). If chef’s are gonna start getting all up in bartender’s grills, I figured I might as well do the same.

Stopped on the way home to pick up some chicken breasts to convection roast. Made a sort of paste or rub out of juniper berries, black pepper, lemon peel, rosemary, salt, and olive oil. Moistened it further with Anchor’s Junipero Gin.

Roasted at 400 F until cooked through.

Served with a porcini mushroom and summer squash risotto. Salad with capay farms heirloom tomatoes.

I don’t know about the “Foiedka” cross over, but I can say that both the Buffalo Stout and “Gin Marinated” roast chicken were both successes!

BOTW–Ommegang Abbey Ale

Ooof, been a while since I did a Beer of the Week Post!

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We resume your regularly scheduled programming with an old favorite, Brewery Ommegang‘s Abbey Ale.

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An American version of Trappist Ale, Ommegang Abbey was the first beer brewed by the Brewery and one of the first very good American beers in the Belgian “Dubbel” style. Sweet, but not cloying it is a great beer to serve with pork, duck, or other rich roasted meats.

Dinner.

2 Pork Chops.
2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and thinly sliced.
1/2 teaspoon Caraway Seed.
Sauerkraut.
1/4 # Pancetta.

Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Sear Pork Chops in an oven proof skillet. Remove chops from skillet and skillet from heat. Toss apples with caraway seed and line the bottom of the pan with the apples. Place pork chops on top of apples. Cover with Sauerkraut. Pancetta on top of Sauerkraut. Place in oven until pork chops cooked through.

Remove pancetta from top and chop. Remove sauerkraut to bowl. Remove chops to plate. Toss apples, sauerkraut, and chopped pancetta. Spoon on top of chops and serve with roast potatoes and cold beer.

Dinner.

Say a Brewery Ommgang Abbey Ale!

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BOTW–Blue Apron

Blue Apron

Last week Mrs. Flannestad and I had the pleasure of traveling up to Napa for a long weekend.  We were celebrating our ninth wedding anniversary, so we decided to do it up a bit.  I even left work a bit early so we could make our dinner reservation at Ad Hoc in Yountville.

Ad Hoc is a restaurant concept from Thomas Keller & Co, of French Laundry fame.  Like the French Laundry, it only offers one menu a day.  Also, like the French Laundry, it sources much of it’s produce and supplies locally.  It is, however, a much less formal, and somewhat cheaper, restaurant than the French Laundry.

The two highlights of the meal were a salad of fava beans, haricot verte, and small lettuces from the French Laundry Garden and a bottle of Blue Apron Ale.

Blue Apron, so the story goes, was created for Mr. Keller’s New York outpost Per Se.  They asked Brooklyn Brewing to make them a special batch of beer as a special gift for their investors to celebrate some anniversary or another.   However, Brooklyn Brewing couldn’t make just 30 bottles, they had to do a whole batch.  Per Se didn’t really know what to do with the leftover beer, as it is a very upscale restaurant, so they shipped the remainder out to their more casual outpost, Ad Hoc.

As the label below states, it is a delightful Belgian-Style Brown Ale.  We found it a very nice accompaniment to both our salad, described above, and main course of roasted pork tenderloin.

Blue Apron Back Label

BOTW–Gordon

Godon Can

The Beer of the Week is Gordon from Oskar Blues in Colorado.

Gordon in a Glass

One of the other breweries in America experimenting with putting craft brews in Cans, Oskar Blues makes several beers including their delicious Ten-FIDY Imperial Stout.    They describe Gordon as a hybrid between an Imperial Red and a Double IPA.  To me it ends up closer to the Double IPA.  Delcious, in any case.

In regards the name, I’ll quote from their website, “We brew Gordon in tribute to the late Gordon Knight. In addition to opening some of Colorado’s first microbreweries, Knight was a Vietnam vet, grade-A citizen, and huge promoter of craft beer. He lost his life in 2002 while fighting a wild fire outside of Lyons, Colorado.”

Gordon Crushed

Obligatory crushed can shot.

Miss Clementine

I don’t know how Gordon Knight felt about cats, but Ms. Clementine approves of the beer named after him.

BOTW–Hop Stoo… Errr.. Henge!

Hop Stoopid Label

At Beverages and More the other day, I noticed a new beer from Lagunitas Brewing Co. Hop Stoopid is a great name and it had a nice label, with the patented Lagunitas eccentric writeup.

Hop Stoopid in Glass

Not only that, it poured a beautiful orange into the glass.

Hop Stoopid Bubbles

And I got this picture, which is even cooler, of the constellations of bubbles on top of the surface of the beer.

Sadly, neither Mrs. Flannestad nor I really enjoyed the beer.  It is very, very hoppy.  According to the bottle, it has an IBU of 102.  Also, according to the bottle, with this beer Lagunitas experimented with created a “hop extract” to flavor the beer, instead of using whole hop flowers.

I don’t know if this is where the problem starts or what.  But for both Mrs. Flannestad and I the resulting beer is unpleasantly vegetal.  Mrs. Flannestad compared it to Moylan’s Hopsickle, the beer both of us had previously found hoppy to the point of unpleasantness.  In terms of raw hoppiness, I get her point, but the hop flavor profile of the two beers are very different.  With Moylan’s being ridiculously hoppy in a sort of normal extreme beer kind of way and Hop Stoopid tasting kind of cabbagey and straw-like in it’s hop character.

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Fortunately, a trip down the coast for lunch (and pie!) resulted in a favorable coincidence.  Duarte’s Tavern is something of a classic California landmark.  Operating since 1894, Duarte’s is  justifiably famous for their pie, artichoke soup, and seafood.  It’s somewhere we like to go, from time to time, when we need to get out of the city and recharge.

The coincidence was that another beer I’d recently purchased on a hoppy beer buying spree, Deschutes‘ Hop Henge, was on tap when we stopped there Saturday.

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Even with the vestiges of some sort of cold or flu-like virus running through my body, I could appreciate the well balanced extreme hoppiness of Hop Henge.  I know I’ve banged on about Deschutes before, and how much I enjoy their beers, but this is one very well balanced beer.  Not quite sure it is quite up there in the stratosphere with Russian Rivers’ Pliny the Elder or Younger, but it is a very nice extremely hoppy beer.  And, yay!  I still have a 22oz bomber of it at home to enjoy at my leisure!