BOTW–Hop Off!

First, just a reminder that Sunday, April 24, 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.

French Style Potato Salad.

Most potato salad in the US is made according to the mayonnaise dressed model. Another tasty way to make Potato Salad is, according to Julia Child, more French. I am not an expert in French Cuisine, so I cannot say. I do, however like this kind of Potato Salad. What are the characteristics? Start some potatoes boiling or steaming. While that is happening, make the dressing, (or maybe Marinade is a better term,) by finely mincing some shallots and herbs (Fresh Tarragon FTW! Fresh Dill is also great!). Splash in a little White Wine or Sherry vinegar, olive oil, a teaspoon of coarse mustard. Liberally dash in Salt and freshly ground black pepper. When the potatoes are just barely cooked, drain them and toss them in the marinade. Allow to stand for a bit, check the seasonings, and serve at room temperature. I embellished this version by also including steamed green beans along with the potatoes. Very tasty.

I like to add things to hamburgers.

Different people have different philosophies on Hamburgers. Are they just beef or do you season them? Fabio Viviani got dinged for hamburgers which were too much like, “Meat Loaf,” by the judges on this year’s Top Chef Season. Personally, I like to skirt the edge of Meat Loaf by adding some bread crumbs and seasonings.

Flannestad Hamburgers: In a large bowl wet a couple tablespoons of bread crumbs with wine and olive oil. Finely mince a couple cloves garlic and a teaspoon of onions. Decide on a regional seasoning theme. I like Spain lately, and season with Spicy Smoked Paprika, Thyme, and Oregano. Add a pound of ground beef and knead lightly until combined. Divide into three patties. Before cooking season with salt and pepper.

These Ledbetter’s English Muffins are my current favorite Hamburger Buns. However, they are a little thick, so I like to take about an eighth of an inch out of the middle when cutting them for burger accessories.

Wherein I deviate from my commute in search of beer.

The other Friday I was at work and remembered that we needed more beer at home. However, after a few years I have exhausted most of the typical choices at the two nearest stops on my commute. I thought to myself, “Man it would be awesome if there was some way I could stop off at one of this cities great bottle shops for some unusual beers on the way home.” Then I saw a comment from the manager of local bottle store Healthy Spirits, and thought to myself, “Wait, if I took the 6 MUNI Bus to Haight and Divis, then walked to Healthy Spirits, I could get some tasty beer. Then, the 24 MUNI Bus stops right in front of the store and takes me all the way to Cortland Avenue! Score! Cool beer, and it probably won’t take any longer than usual.”

I had been drinking dark beers recently, so I asked for a selection of Hoppy beers, thinking Mrs. Flannestad and I could do a bit of a taste off among a few we hadn’t yet tried.

Sierra Nevada, Hoptimum

A group of hop-heads and publicans challenged our Beer Camp brewers to push the extremes of whole-cone hop brewing. The result is this: a 100 IBU, whole-cone hurricane of flavor. Simply put —Hoptimum: the biggest whole-cone IPA we have ever produced. Aggressively hopped, dry-hopped, AND torpedoed with our exclusive new hop varieties for ultra-intense flavors and aromas.

Mr. Flannestad: I liked this, but found the finish a tad overpoweringly bitter for my liking.

Mrs. Flannestad: The most hoppy delicious beer of the evening. Winner and Grand Champeen!

Drake’s, Hopocalypse IIPA – 9.3% ABV, 100+ IBUs

Large amounts of American two-row malt and English Pale malt are combined with Vienna, Rye & Crystal malts, then balanced with German magnum, Simcoe & Chinook hops. Then, of course, we then dry hop it with additional Simcoe & Chinook. Finally, this deep orange monster is loosely filtered to keep the integrity of the malt and hops in tact. Enjoy the massive aromatic revelation and prophetic flavor of this beer now and forever after.

Mr. Flannestad: I seem to remember finding Hopocalypse my favorite of the evening, just enough hops to balance out the malt.

Mrs. Flannestad: Tasty, but a little too over-hopped to take the lead.

DET LILLE BRYGGERI, Humlemord

Humlemord er en ølserie, hvor vi bruger så store mængder humle, at vi kalder det humlemord. Facts om Passion of Hops: OG: 1104 FG: 1030 Alkohol 9,9% vol.Brygget d. 11. december 2009, tappet d. 8 februar 2010, IBU 160. Indhold 33 cl.Brygget på malt, vand, gær, sukker, humle (Sorachi, Amarillo, Chinook, Simcoe, Columbus, Palisade) Ufiltreret og upasteuriseret Bør opbevares mørkt og køligt. Mindst holdbar til: 10. marts 2012

Mr. Flannestad: This was kind of weird, not a great fusion of Belgian and American styles. More interesting than outstanding.

Mrs. Flannestad: I had high hopes for this one as I smuggled it home for Mr. Underhill from Denmark. The woman in the shop in Copenhagen told me that the translation was “HOP MURDER” so I was very intrigued.  However, the additional aging spent waiting for this HOPPY occasion was not kind to the carbonation. Note to self: drink souvenir beer immediately after landing in celebration of making it home alive.

Burgers were grilled over lump mesquite and garnished with arugula, tomato slices, and sauteed onions.

Firestone Walker, Double Jack

Double Jack IPA is our first ever Imperial IPA. It features a big malty middle to cloak the high alcohol and mouth puckering hop bitterness. Huge tangerine, grapefruit and juicy fruit aroma blossom over the herbal blue basil and malt earthiness of this aggressive beer. Best enjoyed in moderation.

Mr. Flannestad: The maltiest entry of the beers we tried this evening, very good. I would rank it No. 2 among those tried.

Mrs. Flannestad: This was my second favorite of the evening, but I felt that it could have used some HOP in the name to qualify for the competition.  Double Jack didn’t quite fit in, but was very delicious. and hoppy good.