Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Beer of the Week: Goose Island Sofie

Goose Island Sofie
Beer of the Week 2/12/11 to 2/18/11

One of my favorite craft breweries is Goose Island from Chicago. They have a wide variety of beers ranging from standard offerings of IPA and wheat ales to the extreme such as Bourbon County Stout (one of the girl and my favorites). The girl and I have decided that we want to try all of their less standard beers. We decided to pick up a bottle of Sofie. It is listed as a Belgian Style Ale. Neither of us would list Belgian style beers amongst our favorites but we thought we would give it a shot.

The beer pours a very nice champagne/golden color. It held a nice frothy head for a bit and the carbonation was a bit higher than normal as Goose Island describes it as a "sparkling ale." There are some definite citrus and pepper notes in the taste and smell. Overall we really enjoyed this beer. I have to admit that as it started to warm up, the flavor started to change (started reminding us of warm Sam Adams Summer Ale..) but I would definitely get it again.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Beer of the Week: Fuller's Organic Honey Dew

Fuller's Organic Honey Dew
Beer of the Week 2/5/11 to 2/11/11

I've recently been trying to sample different varieties of beers made with unique ingredients. The Fuller's Honey Dew pictured above was given to me as a gift by the girl's Mom, and was specially selected to help me with my goal - it's brewed with real organic honey. While beer normally has some kind of sweetener, I'd never heard of using this one. Honey is usually used for mead instead (also called honey wine).

I poured this into a nice oversized wine glass (the Fuller's website showed it in that style glass so I figured it was a good choice). It pours out a nice dark orange, with a frothy light head. The head disappears pretty quickly and leaves behind very little in terms of lacing. I could definitely smell the honey right away. The flavor is sweet, with some hops in there as well. This beer is definitely very drinkable, but I would suggest keeping it cold. I found the flavor was not as good as it warmed up. However, I will be keeping this on hand for summer drinking for sure!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Beer of the Week: Long Trail Brewmaster Series Coffee Stout

Long Trail Brewmaster Series Coffee Stout
Beer of the Week 2/19/11 to 2/25/11

One of my favorite types of beer has to be stouts. Especially in the winter, there is nothing better than pouring a nice dark stout and sipping it through a cold winter night. The Long Trail Coffee Stout is listed as an Imperial Stout by Long Trail which generally means that it will have a slightly higher alcohol level. This coffee stout comes in at 8% ABV but since I like to sip these beers, it doesn't really feel that strong.

The smell of the beer is definitely coffee. You know for sure that you are about to drink a coffee stout. I've read reviews of this beer that liken the smell to that of coffee left in the pot from the day before. That sounds about right. The taste is also bitter like coffee but then you do get some sweeter notes of chocolate and even some coconut. It is mildly carbonated and pours a nice head. I haven't had too many coffee stouts before but I definitely would like to try some others. This one was definitely a good one!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Beer of the Week: Stone Brewing Company San Diego County Session Ale

Stone Brewing Company
San Diego Session Ale

Beer of the Week 1/29/11 to 2/4/11

One beer trend that is starting to obtain a strong foothold in the market is "session" brews. The term was coined in England, and describes a beer that you can drink over a long session without getting "pissed" as the Brits say. In contrast, a lot of the beers on the craft beer market have a very high alcohol content. I, for one, am happy that these lower-alcohol beers are appearing in stores as they still have a lot of good flavor.

The session beer pictured above is a collaboration by three San Diego based brewers. Stone Brewing Company joined up with Balast Point Brewing and the home brewer Kelsey McNair. This ale comes in at a 4.2% ABV and is sold in 12 oz. bottles (generally in singles).

It pours a nice orange color with a small white head. The nose and taste are definitely hoppy, with lots of grapefruit. While I'm not usually a huge fan of such a strong hop flavor, this was still pretty good as it's light and not overly carbonated. (I think the low alcohol helped). I can't wait to try out some other session beers as they come out!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Chicken, Spinach, and Pear Stew

What's better on a cold winter night than a nice bowl of stew? I would say pretty much nothing. No set recipe here, just more of a basic idea from a dinner we had recently.

The girl and I browned off some chicken thighs in one pan while sauteing onions and carrots in another. We then added the thighs to the veggie pot, and added enough chicken broth to create a stew-like consistency. The girl seasoned it using yellow mustard seeds and a few spoonfuls of mostarda (we modified this recipe slightly).

Once the mixture came up to a simmer, we added torn spinach leaves (remember, spinach cooks down a lot, so don't be stingy!). Since the mostarda already has pear in it, the girl decided to roughly chop up a pear and toss it in towards the end to enhance the flavor. We didn't let it cook for too long after that, however, because we didn't want it to become mushy. We let it cook just long enough to soften the pear and the spinach, and then it was time to eat! We toasted up fresh whole wheat rolls to soak up any broth left in the bowl.
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