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Beer and Food Pairings Popping Up Around the City


ED’S NOTE:The date of the Sustenio dinner has been changed to Oct. 18.

Oktoberfest is in the air. So naturally there are several events happening in the coming weeks that offer savory reminders of how wonderful food and beer pairings can be.

Brewniverse at Central Market

Central Market, 4821 Broadway, is focusing on beer every day through Sept. 25, offering tastings in the wine and beer department as well as classes adding the food element to beer appreciation.

One class, set for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 21, will focus on craft-brewed beers paired with American artisanal cheeses. “You’ll be amazed by the delicious results,” the class description promises. The cost is $45. Call (210) 368-8617.

Beer and Bacon Pairing Dinner at Whole Foods

The culinary team at Whole Foods Market at the Alamo Quarry, 255 E. Basse Road, is planning a five-course dinner pairing beer and bacon. It’s set for 7 p.m. Oct. 3.

Specialty beers from around the world will be paired with the pork favorite. The cost is $30 a person. Prepaid reservations required. Call (210) 826-4676.

Pork and  Jester King Beer at Sustenio

Sustenio at the Eilan Hotel, 17101 La Cantera Parkway, is pairing South Texas Heritage Pork and Jester King beers in a three-course dinner, from snout to tail, that’s set for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 18.

The pig for this dinner will have been fed a special avocado diet for two weeks prior to the dinner, according to South Texas Heritage Pork, a highly sought-after pork purveyor in the region.

Jester King Craft Brewery is an authentic farmhouse brewery committed to making artisan ales. “Like the small, farmhouse breweries that inspired us, we seek to embrace nature and local terroir in our brewing, giving our beers a true sense of place,” says the brewery, which is located south of Austin. “We draw water from our well at the brewery to make our beer and at times call upon naturally occurring yeast from the Texas Hill Country to shape our unique flavors. We use as many organic ingredients as possible with the majority of our beer being USDA Certified Organic. We do not rush beer to market, but instead allow it to mature naturally – often in oak barrels – prior to re-fermentation in the bottle, cask, or keg.”

The dinner begins with a meet and greet featuring folks from South Texas Heritage Pork and Jester King.

The cost is $75 a person. Call (210) 598-2950 for reservations.

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Beer of the Week: Grilling and Swilling Some Great Brews


Memorial Day weekend is a perfect chance to put a few six-packs on ice, light up the charcoal and relax.

But what beers go best with grilled or smoked meat? The easy answer is whatever you like, of course. A light treat like a Pacifico will go great while you’re sweating over a fire. But is it the best choice for the burgers you’re cooking up or the brisket you’re smoking?

My thought is always to have some fun, go for something new, something that adds to the party. Here are three choices to bear in mind when you’re at the store.

With burgers, one option would be Shiner’s new Wild Hare Pale Ale, which is floral and nicely hoppy, certainly bold enough to stand up to the beef. Or pork. Or even rabbit, as Jeff Balfour of Citrus demonstrated recently when he was drinking the Wild Hare while making cheese-stuffed rabbit burgers.

I asked Mark McDavid of Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling for a recommendation from his lineup. “Our Mesquite Smoked Porter is perfect for a barbecue,” he says. “It’s not the beer you’ll drink while you’re grilling. It really shines as an ingredient/marinade, so you can drizzle some on your burgers while grilling or marinate your sausages in it. It’s also a great beer to drink with your food. The roasty, smokey, dark chocolate flavors from the beer pair well with grilled red meats and can bring out new dimensions of flavor in food. Plus, our Mesquite Smoked Porter is a beer made for Texans, and grilling is also made for Texans, so enjoying both together can make you feel like a very proud Texan!”

A third choice would be the Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout, which I like to pair with a big slab of blue cheese or aged cheddar on that burger. The beer has a certain creaminess that matches the cheese, while the bitterness, with flavors of coffee  and chocolate, provides a rewarding contrast.

All three would add life and more than a little flavor to your weekend.

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Beer of the Week: Old Speckled Hen


 

Beer of the Week is sponsored by the Lion & Rose. Each week, we introduce you to a wonderful brew that’s a little bit different and well worth seeking out.

 

 

 

 

Old Speckled Hen

Guys, if you’re out on a first date, take a few words of advice: Don’t order an Old Speckled Hen for the lady. As good as the beer is, and it is quite good, she may just take the name as an editorial comment, and there won’t be any such thing as a second date.

On just about any other occasion, order this British ale with gusto.

The drink dates back to 1979, when the Morland Brewery decided to craft a beer in honor of the 50th anniversary of the MG sports car factory in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, according to the beer’s website:

Named after an old MG car which was used as the factory run around, they would park the old MG Featherweight Fabric Saloon outside the paint shop where it would normally get spattered in paint and so it became known as the ‘Owld Speckl’d Un’. This turned into “Old Speckled Hen” when the beer was unveiled.

Pour it into a glass and you’ll notice its copper color with a nice fizz. A head builds up and then falls back to about 1/4 inch, and that foam lingers through most of the drinking time.

The aroma is fruity and malty in good measures of each, suggesting the smooth balance that is the hallmark o this brew. There’s a touch of honeyed sweetness, too that adds to its appeal.

Flavors of yeasty whole grain bread, again with a touch of honey, come to the fore with a light funkiness that is mixture of both hops and citrus fruit. But the flavors aren’t quite as important as the refreshing nature that the Hen brings to your mouth. Its zing lingers even as the ale itself passes through to a dry, hoppy finish.

This is a beer that the Brits made with a pub in mind, and at the Lion and Rose, you can pair this beauty off the tap with just about any of the pub grub on the menu, from fish and chips or bangers and mash to the vegetarian plate made up of side dishes. This is an ale that would love a potato in just about any form, especially the bubble and squeak.

If you like a brew early in the day, try it with the breakfast dishes now being served at the Lion & Rose’s Stone Oak location, 700 E. Sonterra Blvd.

Or try it by itself.  This is a smooth talker, a welcome addition to your regular beer repertoire if it isn’t already in the lineup.

 

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