Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Beer is deep and wide and tall.

Garrett Oliver - Beer Expert

The Conde Nast-owned website Epicurious has been posting a series of videos in which it challenges a food or beverage 'expert' to correctly identify the more expensive of two choices (implying that choice to be of higher quality) in blind taste-tests.

A recent episode was a beer challenge given to the brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery. Gently entertaining; gently educational.
  • "I'm Garrett Oliver and I'm a beer expert," he said, as he tasted two unidentified samples each of Pilsner, Belgian White, IPA, Munich Dark Lager, Barrel-Aged Beer, and Fruit Sour.

  • "Boom!" "Zap!" Mr. Oliver exclaimed, like the Batman of Beer.

  • Delivering a history mini-lecture, Mr. Oliver said: "Now, when brewers mention barrel-aged beers, a lot of people will say to us, 'Oh, you've gotten some wonderful ideas from the wine people.' Well, actually, we've putting beer in barrels for about two thousand years now. The stainless steel keg only showed up in the 50s or 60s. But until then, it was wood."

  • "Beer is deep and wide and tall," Mr. Oliver summarized.


Saturday, December 15, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Bird on a rail

Bird on a rail
In 2018, we mark the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the most powerful and important bird-protection law ever passed. In honor of this milestone, nature lovers around the world are joining forces to celebrate the “Year of the Bird” and commit to protecting birds today and for the next hundred years.
National Geographic.

On 7 December 2018, a wee fellow found temporary purchase on the grounds of Fernbank Museum of Natural History, in the Druid Hills neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia. Would the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher be heading further south for the winter?


Thursday, December 13, 2018

2018's best cookbook, "with beer."

Melissa Cole's Malt Loaf
I love malt loaf [made with dried fruits, wholemeal flour, mild ale, and malt extract, among other ingredients]. It's something that was a feature of my childhood because either my Mum had made it or because my friends' Mums had or it was from a yellow packet — whichever way it came, it was always handed to me toasted and with lashings of salted butter on it. ¶ My heart doesn't want to give you a beer pairing for this, because I think it should be enjoyed for the innocent treat it is so, just like fish and chips, Grandad Biscuits, and any form of breakfast. I'm not going to directly suggest a pairing, I'm just going to mention that the mild [ale] you cooked it with wouldn't be terrible on the side.
Magnificent Malt Loaf, p. 126.

Published in October, The Beer Kitchen: The Art & Science of Cooking & Pairing, with Beer, by U.K. beer author Melissa Cole, lives up to its subtitle. The chapters:
  • Why Beer & Food
  • How to Assess a Beer
  • How to Pair to Perfection
  • Store-cupboard & Fridge Staples
  • Most-used Bits of Kit
  • So simple [recipes]
  • Some Effort [Ibid.]
  • Show Off! [Ibid.]
  • Sya Cheese! [Ibid.]
  • About the Author
As to the science, or the application thereof, Ms. Cole expounds gently. Take, for example, these two salient points:
Don't deglaze your pan with beer — all this does is burn the sugars in the beer, which creates bitter compounds, concentrates hop bitterness, and drives off all the aroma compounds. ¶ Don't just think about adding beer, think about how it will enhance the flavours — what does it actually add to the dish should always be your first question. If it's basically nothing, then save it for your mouth, not the pot.

Vegetarianism being a subplot of this blog, I should note that the book is far from a vegetarian cookbook. (It wasn't written to be one, although several recipes are vegetarian.) Who's perfect? But there is that Magnificent Malt Loaf. (pictured above)

And, of course, cheese. (Beer-baked Cheese!)
Cheese and beer are the most perfest of partners. It may sound odd, as we are always told about cheese and wine but, trust me, try it, and you'll never look back.

My snapshot review of The Beer Kitchen? For the home-cook, it's the best cookbook of 2018, "with beer."

The Beer Kitchen


Saturday, December 08, 2018

Pic(k) of the Week: Krampus Christmas trees?

Krampus Cristmas trees?

Would you take the risk?

As seen (or not seen) from the Trolley Trail, through deep fog, in the Kirkwood neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia, on the morning of 5 November 2018.


Sunday, December 02, 2018

A warming St. Bernardus Christmas Ale

A warming St. Bernardus Christmas Ale
St. Bernardus Christmas Ale
Brouwerij St. Bernardus (Watou, Belgium)

Not Trappist, but derived from that ecclesiastical pedigree (and mycological filigree).

On draught, at My Parents' Basement, a pub (and comic book shop) in Avondale Estates, Georgia, 30 November 2018.

Dark brown/red, tinged with purple. Scant head, but lasting carbonation. Tasting of (but not derived from) raisins, peaches, apples, anise, cinnamon, circus peanuts, marzipan, malt syrup. At 10% alcohol-by-volume (abv), you know it's strong, but, by Yule, it's smoothly sweet, finishing only just off-dry. Delicious.

Fire extinguished; beer not char-boiled; drinker warmed.

Drinking, Again!
A series of occasional reviews of beers (and wine and spirits).
No scores; only descriptions.