Posts

thanksgiving

Despite what some of you may think, there are those of us around Thanksgiving that are not daydreaming about wolfing down turkey for the feast. Some of us are looking for an alternative to the traditional centerpiece and main course, and I figure it’s only fitting that we get some beer to pair with our new entrees as well. Thankfully, Michigan provides some killer beers for us to pair it with.

thanksgiving

I wanted you all to know that, yes, there is such a thing as stuffing stuffed pork chops. It’s exactly what it sounds like—in that our beloved stuffing is in fact jammed right into your juicy chops for an extra level of enjoyment. The pork lends its meaty flavors to the stuffing, while the stuffing itself creates an almost “inside-out” sandwich like effect. I’m thinking that we’ll want a beer to resonate with, or connect matching flavors in both the food and beer, for this dish. Cedar Springs Brewing Company offers up the Küsterer Munich Dunkel, and I think it would be the perfect accompaniment. The bready and slightly nutty flavors along with the subtle chocolate aromatics of the beer will match with the obvious “breadiness” of the stuffing. The clean and balanced profile of the beer, as well as its carbonation, can cut through some of the fats from the pork. This creates a balanced back and forth between both the beer and food, because the beer acts as an extension of the stuffing flavors to connect the pairing. Though the beer is not bottled or canned, be sure to grab yourself a growler of it on tap at the brewery or from local bars carrying their product.

thanksgivingHoney glazed ham is a personal favorite of mine, and it finds quite the companionship when paired with beer. Because of its sweeter flavor, and its powerful salty and savory deliciousness, we’ll need a beer that matches in intensity. I’m proposing Odd Side Ales’ Barrel Aged Sweet Potato Souffle Rye. It’s big, bold, boozy, and—quite literally—a sweet potato pie tasting beer. When lining up its sweetness (though not cloying in any manner) with the honey sweetness of the ham, you find a tasty similarity. Even the honey and the sweet potatoes will find harmony together! The rye and spice characters from the beer are then highlighted by the sweetness and create the added layer of difference or complexity to the pairing. The alcohol warmth will cut through the fat, meld with the sweetness, and make your insides feel hot and happy. I mean, hey, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard of booze and ham having a relationship together (rum ham anyone?) so let’s see what the delicious fuss is about. This is one of those pairings that can create a lot of interesting flavor combinations, so sip slowly, savor every bite, and enjoy the layers.

thanksgivingSausage stuffed butternut squash is a new one for my list, and of course it sounds oh so perfect for beer. With the combination of potential herbs and spices in the sausage, and the sweetness of the squash, this portion of the meal would be quite happy with Stormcloud Brewing Company’s 228 Tripel. It’s a Belgian Tripel, built ‘to style’, that would tackle just about any combination of sausage or squash types that one would want for this dish. Squashes tend to lend a subtle sweetness that can be whisked away with the drier, more highly attenuated and more highly carbonated body from the Tripel. It can also contrast and create layers with the various spices and herbs that are in the sausage, depending on which variety you choose. Pepper, sage, garlic, and beyond, the Tripel’s yeast and their resulting phenols and esters will highlight and enhance the spices you encounter. The Tripel is a beer lover’s ultimate pairing tool, especially when a multitude of flavors are present. In this situation, with a couple of unknown creative opportunities with the recipe (again, type of sausage and squash), all you have to worry about is cracking it open and enjoying it, because this beer will be able to stand up to the job regardless.

thanksgiving

Though we see this next dish on many occasions, it can make a seamless transition into your Thanksgiving meal as well. Beef short ribs are savory little niblets of awesome that can be absolutely crushed and enjoyed thoroughly with the Penetration Porter from Kuhnhenn Brewing Company. We’re once again encountering salty and savory characteristics in our entree, so let’s take a new route and join it with the roasty, toasty, citrusy, and bitter brew that is the Penetration Porter. The roasty bitterness of the beer will cut through the meat’s fats, as the toasty bits will gain a friend along the charred and crispy edges of our beef. Add that layer of citrus to gain a roast and orange citrus tasting blend, and the meal has officially transformed.

thanksgivingGoing on the ‘gamey’ realm, duck can make for a delicious alternative bird to the traditional turkey. I recommend doing a roast duck with a cranberry glaze, and pairing it with Greyline Brewing Company’s Schadenfreude German Wheat. The soft and pillowy mouthfeel from the wheat is going to coat the duck and embrace it. The cherry glaze is going to find a home in that wheat and allow itself to be highlighted by it. Those roasted, caramelized edges on the duck will contrast beautifully with the sweet cherries, and the higher carbonation from the beer is going to absolutely clear our palate between each bite so we can keep diving into more food and never stop because it’s Thanksgiving and we must press on. Be sure to grab the Schadenfreude from Greyline Brewing’s taproom, which offers 32oz sealed crowlers of their beers as they are not in bottles and cans for distribution.

You see? Turkey isn’t the end all be all for Thanksgiving. Go a different route if you are so inclined, and we’ll just keep providing ways in which you can enjoy it thoroughly with our favorite beverage. For this day of thanks, I just want to be sure you all have some suggestions for imbibing on those fine hours of gluttony. It seems to only make sense.

Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

halloween

Are you about to eat some of the worst Halloween candy? Do you have kids who gave you all the crap they don’t want after pillaging the neighborhood? Are your pockets filled with terrible treats you drunkenly took from that bowl at the party? Did you encounter old people who insisted you not leave until you’ve taken a piece with you? Are you worried about what to do next with your undesirable treats?

MittenBrew’s got your back. Just pair the worst Halloween candy with beer!

halloweencandy-4I think we all know this first culprit: candy corn. This last resort in a candy dish is this unenticing looking kernel, whose only credibility stands on the fact that if you stack up all the kernels, it looks like an ear of corn. When pairing it with beer, the best way to choke your way through it is with Tapistry Brewing Company’s Mr. Orange, their Witbier brewed with blood oranges, chamomile, and rose hips. The soft nature from the wheat malt in the beer will coax out the slight marshmallow like quality of the candy corn. Now that this base of mallow sweetness is established, the chamomile and rose hips can be featured and shine through, thus enhancing the experience and creating more complexity. Starting to feel fancy yet?

halloweencandy-2

You remember that Bazooka Bubble gum and how it loses flavor within 15 seconds of chewing it?
No problem for us. The best thing to pair with something that loses its flavor entirely, is yet another thing that has next to no flavor—Natty Light anyone? No, in all seriousness, just spit the damn thing out and take a big step up and drink
Our Brewing Company’s Vienna Lager as you cheers to Bazooka Joe instead. Maybe buy him a beer too, because his wrapper comics blow (get it?) just as much as his bubble gum so he probably needs it.

halloweencandy-5Circus Peanuts have a weird, marshmallow banana flavor and soft texture that I think can only be tamed by coating it with Roak’s Devil Dog Oatmeal Stout. The banana flavor finds companionship in the beer’s roasty bitterness and bready burnt toast notes, making it almost taste like some sort of chocolatey banana baked dessert. Plus, part of the proceeds for the beer go towards a local VA hospital in Detroit. Now you can genuinely feel good about eating this candy, so long as you steer clear of eating it on its own…

halloweencandy-1I know this one is rated low on Halloween candy lists, but I personally love this stuff, besides the fact that I feel like I might choke to death every time I have one. Those hard Butterscotch Candies that make you feel like you’re at your grandma’s house create a fun pairing with the Cranker’s Coconut Porter. There’s just something about chocolate, butterscotch, and coconut that really make the palate sing.

Black Jelly Bhalloweencandy-3eans are ominous looking. More of an acquired taste, it’s not exactly a crowd pleaser amidst all the super sugary, waxy chocolate covered, non-complex candies out there. Perhaps Short’s would resurrect their Black Licorice Lager for it? But in the meantime, I’ll settle for pairing these unfavorable beans with an appropriately spice-forward Grand Pumpkin from Harmony Brewing. It’s brewed with pumpkin, chai tea spices, ginger root, cinnamon bark, darjeeling tea, cardamom pods, nutmeg, clove, and vanilla beans. The multitude of spices and herbs together can now combine with the black licorice notes of the jelly beans to create a sweeter, more harmonized pairing with plenty of complexity.

(P.S. I recommend bringing your unwanted Good & Plenty to this anise party too.)

I choose Dots candy with Jolly Pumpkin’s La Roja for our next pairing. Partly because this candy is fruity, and partly because this beer is sour, but mostly because this candy tastes awful and I need a powerful, funky, tart cherry, balsamic-like, Flanders sour to wash it down. You’re welcome.

halloweencandy-8

Candy buttons. They confusingly don’t look like candy, their flavor is lackluster, and each button comes with a piece of paper stuck on it. What’s not to love, right? Love it even harder, as you pair this sheet of sadness with Latitude 42’s very own Nectar of the Goddess, which is a blood orange and passion fruit, honey-infused wheat beer. Just pop in a button, take a sip of beer, pop another button, take another sip of beer…and soon enough you’ve got an inebriated sugar buzz to prepare you for handing out candy to strangers. The softness from the wheat, and the sweetness from the honey align with the sweet candy, while the passion fruit and blood orange characteristics resonate with the artificial “fruitiness” of these bizarre buttons.

halloweencandy-6Taffy candy never really reveals its flavor due to the opaque wrapper, but insteads shrouds itself in mystery by only revealing its Halloween themed wrapping. What’s inside? Untrustworthy taffy candy of course! What better beer to pair with an unknown, chalky, chewy, kind of fruitiness than Rockford Brewing’s Michigan Weisse! Their take on a German style Berliner Weisse, lends tasting notes of banana, pear, and clove, that combined with its slightly tart character, will quell any further disappointment caused by dear, sweet mystery taffy.

Mints. Do you think I just came back from dinner or are you simply trying to tell me something? These “candies” make such a heartbreaking “thunk” when dropped into the candy bucket, but at least you’ll have something to aid your foul beer breath before you unleash it on the person you were about to talk to. However, since this is a place for pairing, do the traditional ‘mint and chocolate’ route by eating these with Dark Horse’s Plead The 5th Imperial Stout to cap off your night.

halloween

 

Beer pairs with all, so don’t underestimate the power of boozy goodness on top of sugary, sweet sadness to make a perfectly palatable night. It can change a meal, make or break a pairing, and can now officially resurrect your Halloween. Eating copious amounts of sugar for no real reason never felt so good!

TRAVERSE CITY — If you’re looking to expand your knowledge in the world of beer, look no further than Brewtopia presented by Right Brain Brewery.

Brewtopia is a monthly educational beer and social group. It has emerged from the previous Beer B.I.T.C.H. Coalition, an education group for women brewers and beer lovers. Brewtopia is open to both men and women and provides a great opportunity to understand and appreciate beer in new and intriguing ways.

I attended the second Brewtopia meeting Thursday evening, which featured chocolate pairings. I’ve enjoyed beer with dinner, but have never thought of it as coordinating with dessert.

“We love beer. We love chocolate. And we think they go well together,” said Ryan Engemann, Right Brain’s Resident Beer Geek and Certified Cicerone.

The meeting began with Engemann teaching the group about the roasting and fermenting processes of both chocolate and beer — they are ironically similar in nature. Engemann and Right Brain bartender Jessica Laffin then served six courses of Right Brain beer and chocolate. With each course, Laffin explained the features of the chocolate and beer and why they were paired together.

The Menu:

  • Course 1: White chocolate pecan bark (from Kilwin’s of Traverse City) with Pecan Pie Whole
  • Course 2: Homemade chocolate caramel pretzel with Northern Hawk Owl
  • Course 3: Homemade peanut butter fudge with Thai Peanut
  • Course 4: Dark chocolate with dried cherries (from Chocolate Exotica) with Debauchery Wheat Wine
  • Course 5: Maya Truffle (from Grocer’s Daughter) with Fire Starter Chipotle Porter
  • Course 6: Moomer’s Mint Chocolate Ice Cream with Naughty Girl Scout

A little weary at first, I was pleasantly surprised at how well each pair complemented each other. The butterfat in the chocolate lingers in your mouth and reacts with the high carbonation of the beer. As it reacts, you experience bubbles dancing and cleansing your palate for the next course. My favorites were the peanut butter fudge with Thai Peanut and the Maya Truffle with Fire Starter Chipotle Porter.

Brewtopia truly was a new experience for me and brought about an even greater appreciation for beer. Each Brewtopia meeting has a different focus, with the first meeting featured cheese pairings. In the future, look for more food pairings, homebrewing tips, grain demos, guest speakers and more.

To get information on upcoming Brewtopia meetings and other Right Brain events, visit rightbrainbrewery.com.

TRAVERSE CITY — If you’re looking to expand your knowledge in the world of beer, look no further than Brewtopia presented by Right Brain Brewery.
Brewtopia is a monthly educational beer and social group. It has emerged from the previous Beer B.I.T.C.H. Coalition, an education group for women brewers and beer lovers. Brewtopia is open to both men and women and provides a great opportunity to understand and appreciate beer in new and intriguing ways.
I attended the second Brewtopia meeting Thursday evening, which featured chocolate pairings. I’ve enjoyed beer with dinner, but have never thought of it as coordinating with dessert.
“We love beer. We love chocolate. And we think they go well together,” said Ryan Engemann, Right Brain’s Resident Beer Geek and Certified Cicerone.
The meeting began with Engemann teaching the group about the roasting and fermenting processes of both chocolate and beer — they are ironically similar in nature. Engemann and Right Brain bartender Jessica Laffin then served six courses of Right Brain beer and chocolate. With each course, Laffin explained the features of the chocolate and beer and why they were paired together.
The Menu:

  • Course 1: White chocolate pecan bark (from Kilwin’s of Traverse City) with Pecan Pie Whole
  • Course 2: Homemade chocolate caramel pretzel with Northern Hawk Owl
  • Course 3: Homemade peanut butter fudge with Thai Peanut
  • Course 4: Dark chocolate with dried cherries (from Chocolate Exotica) with Debauchery Wheat Wine
  • Course 5: Maya Truffle (from Grocer’s Daughter) with Fire Starter Chipotle Porter
  • Course 6: Moomer’s Mint Chocolate Ice Cream with Naughty Girl Scout

A little weary at first, I was pleasantly surprised at how well each pair complemented each other. The butterfat in the chocolate lingers in your mouth and reacts with the high carbonation of the beer. As it reacts, you experience bubbles dancing and cleansing your palate for the next course. My favorites were the peanut butter fudge with Thai Peanut and the Maya Truffle with Fire Starter Chipotle Porter.
Brewtopia truly was a new experience for me and brought about an even greater appreciation for beer. Each Brewtopia meeting has a different focus, with the first meeting featured cheese pairings. In the future, look for more food pairings, homebrewing tips, grain demos, guest speakers and more.
To get information on upcoming Brewtopia meetings and other Right Brain events, visit rightbrainbrewery.com.


Home     About     News     Services     Contact Us



Sign Up To Get The Latest Brews