October 4, 2010
One of my all time favorite meals is brunch. It is such a delicious combination of foods from all courses coming together in perfect harmony. Everything from eggs and pancakes to bacon, roast beef, shrimp, pastas, desserts and more make it onto the table. Beyond that, there is usually a wide selection of juices, coffees, cocktails, beers, spirits, and usually mimosas; the classic brunch drink of orange juice and champagne.
I do love champagne, but honestly the classic mimosa leaves something to be desired. It always ends up a bit to sharp, and unless you are using very expensive sparkling wine, a bit to tart. Ah ha, beer to the rescue. Here is one of my most favorite beer cocktails that people are always shocked, and then astounded by; the Blanch de Chambly Mimosa! It is smoother, creamier, has a soft vanilla and warm spice character to it, and just compliments orange juice better than champagne can. Read on for the directions, and I dare you to try it! Read the rest of this entry »
August 25, 2010
One of the most remarkable things about beer is how well it can compliment or contrast with food and create a perfect pairing. I always try to recommend food and beer pairings, or beer and cheese pairings to people, but I am often met with a lot of resistance. So many people are still so focused on pairing wine with food and cheese that they can’t see beyond the vinyard. Others only know of commodity grade beers, and of course those are terrible pairings – they are not beers designed for flavor.
Real beer though; real beer with ripe and distinct flavors and aromas, unique textures and ranges of flavor can create food pairings that can not be rivaled by any beverage. Not even wine! I just happen to be doing some cooking the other day, and took advantage of the opportunity to write about this perfect pairing. The Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA and a Spicy Asian Stirfry. Read the rest of this entry »
August 24, 2010
A few weeks ago I was in the mood to do some beer cooking (as usual) and whipped up a Spaghetti Squash with Veal Meatballs, Unibroue Maudite and San Marzano Tomato Sauce. I’ll tell you this much, it was delicious! So delicious in fact, than Uniboue has just posted it in the recipe section of their website! Thanks Unibroue! It should be no surprise by now that I love Unirboue’s beers, and the Maudite is for sure among my favorites. Next us I am going to find something spicy to make with the Fin du Monde!
August 20, 2010
My love and passion for real beer… In video form.! Read the rest of this entry »
August 4, 2010
Not only is beer a wonderful pairing with food, but it can also be a wonderful ingredient to incorporate in your cooking. Real beer has a distinct range of flavors that few other beverages can match, and certain dishes simply call out to a certain flavor.
A spaghetti squash has been sitting in my pantry for a week or so now. I was getting sick of seeing it there, so I decided to finally cook it. If you have never had spaghetti squash before, it is exactly what it sounds like. After 40 minutes in the oven this squash’s flesh will fork into strands of spaghetti like vegetable noodles. Its a low carb, and light way to replace your pasta but still get the pasta sauce! It also gave me an idea for a new pasta sauce, one with San Marzano tomatoes and Unibroue’s Maudite! Read the rest of this entry »
August 2, 2010
Beer Muffins? You got it! In an effort to prove beer’s versatility I have been cooking and baking with beer every time the opportunity arises. Late last week I was pondering a banana muffin with beer, and decided to make it rather than ponder. I had some frozen bananas already, and the rest of the ingredients are basic – so the next step then was to pick the beer.
What beer goes with banana muffins? It had to be something smooth and creamy with mellow malts, not much bitterness, and a nutty or chocolaty side to it. While I was dreaming of Belgian Dubbels, what ultimately ended up in the mix was the Neustadt 10W30. This Mild Dark Ale from Neustadt Ontario fits the bill perfectly. It is smooth and elegant with nutty malts, hints of espresso, and light cocoa. Its one of my favorite beers on its own, so I thought it would be the perfect pairing! Read the rest of this entry »
July 30, 2010
Slowly but surely people all over the world are realizing the pleasures of pairing food and beer. More and more restaurants are featuring craft beer on their menus, pubs are springing up that exclusively cook and pair their dishes with beer, and people are starting to bring bottles of beer to dinner parties realizing that a good Belgian Dubbel will match that succulent roast beef better than most any Merlot can.
But its still a new world, and as people open themselves into this vast world of flavor that is real beer it is important to have a guide along the way so that you can make informed choices about how to pair beer with food properly. The Brewers Association has created an easy quick reference guide that briefs you on the flavor characteristics of a beer, what glass to serve it in, at what temperature, and what meats, cheeses and deserts it would work well with. Download a copy here, it is a great guide to real flavor.
July 21, 2010
Yes, beer has many friends; snacks, cheese, hamburgers, pasta, chicken, fish, etc.. Really any food can find the appropriate beer pairing. But if you are a beer connoisseur, and also love cigars, do you ever find it challenging to match a beer, rather than a more potent spirit with your stogie? Its easy to see why this can cause issues.
Cigars by nature are hugely aromatic and potent creatures. Even the lightest shade claros are going to be filled with a variety of perfumey tobacco smoke. Then when you start to get into Colorado or Maduro wrappers you really begin to unleash the full power and potency of a cigar. I mean, thats why we love cigars in the first place. And they do fit the world of spirits exceptionally well. But what about beer? Read the rest of this entry »
July 5, 2010
Yes its true, after thousands of years of research we finally have unlocked the secret; beer and pizza is an amazing combination! Wow, I know, we all knew this before. But I think people often take pizza and beer both for granted. We get so used to ordering delivery pizza and drinking any cold beer with it that we forget that both beer and pizza have a huge range of flavors that can be married in so many different ways!
The best way to test this is by grabbing a few unique and delicious beers, maybe one you know quite well, and one you have never had, then go ahead and create a pizza yourself! Pizza is really easy to make, and when you are doing it at home, you have limitless opportunities to incorporate any flavor you like! Read the rest of this entry »
June 14, 2010
There is a smattering of resources on the internet today for anyone looking for recipes, pairing suggestions, or any wide range of serving suggestions. Now though there is a beer authority on the subject coming straight from the Brewers Association. CRAFTBEER.com offers a wide range of resources for people interested in learning more about beer and its enjoyment. But now they also offer a series called 30 Days 30 Pairings where each day a specific dish is discussed, and then several Craft Beer pairing options are also discussed.
This is not only a great way to try some amazing pairings, but its a great way to get out an learn more about craft beer, artisan food, and how to pair them yourself. With the huge amount of amazing craft beer available in North America, and the world, the combinations are endless.
May 17, 2010
Finally a beautiful weekend in Toronto! Sunday was 20C and sunny, so my roommate and I had to do some grilling. Beer and barbecue seems like such a natural combination, and they are. But so many people miss out on the perfect combinations by substituting real beer for light fizzy pale yellow commodity grade beers. The main thing than a grill offers food is caramelization; the charred marks on your steak, sausage, hamburger and vegetables. This caramelization is sweet and savory, and can be perfectly matched by the caramel and male malt flavors in real beer!
Commodity Grade Beer just can’t offer you more than a cold carbonated watery drink – but a rich a flavorful, still crisp and quenching Liberty Ale can offer you so much more. Read the rest of this entry »
May 5, 2010
Beer and food? Yes! Really, beer is such an amazing companion for food; its huge range of flavors make it the best beverage in the world to pair with food. A couple weekends ago I was at a friends cottage enjoying the sun, nature, good friends, great beer and some good old school grilling. That definitely may be one of my favorite combinations
A quick stop to the local grocery store is all I needed to turn a gorgeous evening into a magical night of flavor. The primary catalyst for this journey of flavor was the Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. This is a rich and robust IPA with massive hop characteristics and thick aromatic malt flavors. The perfect compliment to a thick juicy steak! Read the rest of this entry »
April 24, 2010
… Part 9
Sunday: November 30, 2009
Its Sunday morning now and our food coma has resided to a glow of satisfaction and excitement. Wait, excitement? We’ve already had the beer dinner, why am I still excited? Of course – on Saturday I prepared Rage’s Brioche French Toast for this morning! This breakfast is so sweet and delicious it may be more appropriately called desert. Nonetheless, I was ready to make it! After some cleaning at Alana’s we got in the car and headed back downtown to my apartment where the Sourdough bread has been lovingly sitting in a broth of cream, vanilla, spices, orange peel, eggs and brown sugar. Honestly, this breakfast is worth the prep. Read the rest of this entry »
April 19, 2010
… Part 8
So now it’s about midnight, we are parked on the couch watching Ace Ventura, and slowly sliding into a deep food coma. We are so full and so satisfied, beer is seemingly the last thing on our minds. However, if you know me, you know that that’s the opposite of what is going through my mind. Right now I am contemplating a light and refreshing beer, something with some spice and excitement to lift us and entertain our palates. It’s going to have to be light and crisp to combat the combination of 8 and 9% beers we have consumed. Luckily the beer I had in mind was in the fridge, and one I have been waiting for since it came out in October.
The St-Ambroise Pumpkin Ale is a fall season that weighs in at 5%. Yes, only 5%, and I know it will offer us an energizing spike of flavor. St-Ambroise is probably Canada’s most well traveled Craft Brewery, beyond maybe Unibroue. It was established in Montreal in 1989 and has achieved recognition around the globe as an award winning brewery. I dare you to find a more quenching beer than their Apricot Wheat Beer. Honestly, you will find that test near impossible! Read the rest of this entry »