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Tag Archive | "Beer of the Week"

Beer of the Week: Guinness Stout


 

 

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.

 

 

 

Guinness Stout

Thirsty yet?

Vintage Guinness ads.

Guinness Stout needs no introduction. This beer has been enjoyed by folks from Ireland and around the world for more than 250 years. More than 10 million glasses of Guinness beers are poured every day.

But here are some facts about Guinness that you might not have known:

  • The Guinness brewery was founded in 1759, when glasseArthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease on the property near St. James Game in Dublin. “It costs him an initial £100 (about $147 U.S. dollars) with an annual rent of £45 (about $66 U.S. dollars) — this includes crucial water rights,” the Guinness website says. “The brewery covers four acres and consists of a copper, a kieve, a mill, two malthouses, stabling for 12 horses and a loft to hold 200 tons of hay.” His first beers are porter and ale.
  • Irish people come by their love of Guinness seemingly naturally. In Ireland, new mothers were once given Guinness to drink in the hospital to aid lactation.
  • Guinness is not high in alcohol. Though the stout is hefty on the tongue, it’s not terribly loaded. Its alcohol level is 4.1 to 4.3 percent, which is in the average range of beers. A Busch beer, by example, has 5.11 percent alcohol, while Miller Genuine Draft has 5 percent and a Molson Golden has 6 percent. (For a list of alcohol levels of beers, click here.)
  • Strict vegetarians should not drink Guinness. You won’t find any beef floating in your beer, but the makers do you isinglass, which is made from dead fish. This is used in filtration, and some may end up in the find product.
  • Guinness in Ireland tastes differently from Guinness in America. Believe this all you want, but taste test after taste test shows that tasters cannot tell the difference in where the Guinness comes from. If you enjoyed it in Ireland more than here, it probably has more to do with the fact of where you were, who you were with or what you were eating with the beer. The Guinness website states it this way: “We always use pure, fresh water from natural local sources for the Guinness stout brewed outside Ireland. That said, in blind tests (with a bunch of highly cynical journalists) none of our sample could tell the difference between Irish-brewed Guinness and the locally produced variety. All the Guinness sold in the UK, Ireland and North America is brewed in Ireland.”

You can also cooked with Guinness. Here is a recipe for Irish Lamb Stew with Guinness Stout. (Use beef if you don’t have or like lamb, but don’t use any stout but Guinness.)

 

 

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Beer of the Week: Party Favorites for the Big Game


 

 

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.

 

 

 

There’s always a soccer game on one of the TVs at the Lion & Rose, and the football game of football games — the Super Bowl, that is — is fast approaching. So, I felt it would be a great time to talk about beer and sports pairing this week, in case you wanted some tips for getting ready for the next game.

Get some good beers together for the big game.

Downing a pint or two during a game has been a tradition ever since the Sumarians and the Egyptians developed something to drink after a long day of building pyramids or towers to the heavens.

The Sumarians, who eventually became the Babylonians and later the Iraqis, once had about 20 varieties of beer on tap in their repertoire. But what did they down on the weekends?

We’ll never know. But we do know a few rules that are good to follow.

One: Put away the ultra-fancy stuff. You don’t want to waste your best beers on an occasion like this. Why? Because your attention is going to be on the game. No focusing on bitter hops finishes or caramel tones allowed. It’s all about what goes down smooth, clean and nice.

Two: Don’t skimp. If you like your friends, get something better than a few 12-packs of canned water that passed through an idle horse. If you don’t have the money to buy decent beer in quantity, then ask people to bring a six-pack for a shared tasting. You’ll never know what you’ll end up with.

Three. Think fun. Crowd-pleasers we’ve written about in the past include:

  • Newcastle Brown Ale — The perfect beer for hot wings. Any questions?
  • Redbridge Beer — This gluten-free beer is great to keep on hand in case any of your guests is living with celiac. But it tastes good, regardless, and would be great
  • Red Stripe — The most popular Super Bowl food seems to be guacamole, which would be great with this light lager. But then again, so would chili, fried onion rings with ranch dressing, or chips with onion dip.
  • Smithwick’s — This Irish beauty is great if you’re serving up grilled sausages, bratwurst or bangers of any sort.

We’d also recommend a specialty drink or two, such as black and tan, which you can learn how to make by watching the following video:

 

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Beer of the Week: Lindemans Pomme Lambic


 

 

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.

 

 

 

Lindemans Pomme Lambic

Pomme is French for apple. So, guess what the flavor of this beer is? Yes, it is a beer, not a hard cider.

This is a Belgium lambic from the same company that makes the spectacular Framboise, or raspberry beer, that we wrote about a few months ago.

It’s also a beer that many won’t recognize at first sip as a beer. That’s because of the dominant apple flavor. But give a second sip and you’ll notice a touch of floral, bitter hops in the mix. Yup, it’s beer all right.

But first, take note of the summery golden yellow color as you pour it into a glass. A hefty foam builds up quickly, but dissipates almost as quickly into a thin strand around the edge. But as you pour it, your nose is greeted by a hefty dose of fresh, tart apple, such as the Granny Smith on the label or a Fuji.

The robust apple flavor carries over to the taste, but there’s more. The hops flavor I mentioned is there, as is a lively citrus tang, a bracing sweetness and even a touch of pear mixing with the caramel-tinged malt. Imagine an adult candy apple in liquid form.

The fizz of this medium-bodied treat is crisp and clean on the palate, leading to a pleasantly dry finish.

Because it’s such a sweet treat, the Lindemans Pomme would be best with a dessert. At the Lion and Rose, the best choice would be the Yank’s Apple Pie with a welcome touch of cinnamon and a scoop of Blue Bell Vanilla. The Pear William Cake with vanilla chiffon cake and Bavarian pear mousse would also be good, while the Sticky Toffee Pudding with its toffee sauce would also cozy up to it nicely.

Or just grab an apple and taste how it compares with the lambic. Enjoy.

 

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Beer of the Week: Boddington’s Pub Ale


 

 

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.

 

 

 

Boddington’s Pub Ale

If you ever wanted to get a beer mustache to rival those in the “got milk?” ads, then pour yourself a Boddington’s and dive right in. I don’t know what the carbonation causes all the foam that rises from this beauty when you pour it, either from the tap or the can (with its nitrogen ball inside), but expect a generous head, white, frothy and creamy on top.

The beer itself, a British brew that has been around for more than 200 years, displays a polished light golden glow. It is perfectly clear, luminous and enticing.

Subtle aromas of yeast and malt with a mild sweetness and a faint sense of hops emerge. The flavors enlarge the aromas. Suddenly, in your mouth, the yeast has become all bread-like, the malt more intense, the hops more pleasantly bitter and citrusy.

But it’s the mouthfeel that really grabs you. It’s full bodied and creamy, coating your tongue in a richness you didn’t quite expect. This is the real lure of Boddington’s, and it will stay with you, calling you back for another and another.

The finish is hoppy and bitter and altogether welcome.

A good acid level that manages to assert itself in all that unctuousness makes this a perfect beer to pair with something spicy. At the Lion and Rose, that would be the spicy Hackney Hot Wings, hands down, though Scotch eggs would also be a good match. Grilled Jerk Chicken would work well, too, for the contrast, while a side order of Bubble and Squeak or Guinness Mac and Cheese would offer succulent proof that rich food and rich drink can make for a great meal.

Just make sure you remember to wipe the foam off your upper lip every once in a while.

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Beer of the Week: Red Stripe


 

 

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.

 

 

 

Red Stripe Lager

I’ve been drinking Red Stripe for so long now that I forget not everybody knows — and loves — this Jamaican brew as much as I do.

But I found myself recommending it to someone who’d never tried it, so I decided to spread the gospel a little further in case there are more of you who haven’t given it a try.

This is a beer well suited to San Antonio, because it was meant for people who like to party and want something oh-so-easy to drink.

I think the makers of this brew go out of their way to make something enjoyable and as smooth as possible without being watered down for mass consumption. In other words, there’s more to Red Stripe than you’ll find in many American beers.

Pour it into a tall stein and you will get a decent layer of foam on top of a golden brew. The head dies down, but not too quickly.

The nose is faint and pleasant, no funky yeast aromas. Just a light, sea breeze call of sweetness and a faint, floral note of hops.

The hops carry over into the flavor, but not in a bitter way. They just sort of slide into a malty presence that tingles your taste buds. And the mellow flavors continue from front to back of the mouth.

In short, it’s beer — really good beer. The kind you can drink a six-pack of on a hot afternoon when you don’t have to go anywhere. Or the kind you stock for a party when you know you’ll have some finicky drinkers on hand.

It’s the kind of beer who sip while watching a soccer game on one of the TVs at Lion and Rose. Kick back with a basket of Bloke’s Mushrooms, beer-battered buttoncaps with ranch dressing, or share an order of the deep-fried Onion Petals. Lager goes great with just about everything, so have your fill of the rest of the menu, from the South Bank Spinach Salad to the Portsmouth Po’Boy filled with fried clam strips to the Vegetarian Pita with hummus.

And let the party begin.

Happy New Year and may your beer choices prosper in 2012.

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Beer of the Week: Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout


 

 

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.

 

 

 

Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout

You may be singing a chorus of “In the Bleak Midwinter” when you open a bottle of this English stout.

The color is black as pitch, thick and impenetrable as it sinks into the glass. Hold it to the light and you may see some sparkle off it, a touch of red maybe, but that could be the glass as much as the beer itself. You’ll not likely see much looking through it.

A nice head builds up but it dissipates to a lacy foam at the edges after a minute or so.

The aroma that greets you is one of sweet toffees and malts, a little dark chocolate, a touch of coffee grinds, and yes, a little oatmeal.

The Samuel Smith website tells us this brew was made with water from “the original well at the Old Brewery, sunk in 1758, (which) is still in use, with the hard well water being drawn from 85 feet underground.” Later, it was “fermented in ‘stone Yorkshire squares’ to create an almost opaque, wonderfully silky and smooth textured ale.”

You’ll notice just how smooth when you take your first sip. Though there is carbonation, it isn’t overwhelming. Instead, it adds richness and a subtle life that thrills as it goes down.

The flavors are similar to the aromas, with brown sugar-flavored oatmeal mixing nicely with cocoa powder, coffee and toasted malt. The finish moves from the sweet to the slightly bitter on the finish.

This isn’t a beer to chug like you would a pilsner on a hot day. Instead, let it warm up a little before you open it. This beer should be drink at about 55 degrees, which isn’t icy cold. The warmer temperatures will also release more flavors for you to enjoy.

Its natural complexity is one that you could sit and drink by itself all evening, contemplating all those dense flavors. But this oatmeal stout also goes well with food. The Samuel Smith site suggests pairing it with lobster with drawn butter or steak and kidney pie. I would add a few great partners off the Pub’s menu: Dockland’s Shrimp and Chips, Mushroom Ravioli and Mum’s Meatloaf.

If you’re looking for a little warmth this winter, give Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout a try.

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Beer of the Week: Beer Drinks to Enjoy During the Holidays


 

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.

 

 

 

 

Beer Drinks

In pubs, it has long been popular to layer Guinness or your favorite stout on top of a lighter beer, creating what is known as a black and tan. At the Lion and rose, the bottom brew is usually a Bass Ale, though Newcastle could be used as well.

There’s an art to pouring a proper black and tan, as Cara Anderwald of the Lion and Rose tells us in this video. And the art is the proper use of what is known as a Guinness Pouring Spoon, which you can order online at Amazon.com.

Or you might want to call any of the three San Antonio beer supply stores to see if they carry the magic spoon:

  • Home Brew Party, 15150 Nacogdoches Road, 210-650-9070
  •  San Antonio Homebrew Supply, 2809 N. St. Mary’s St., 210-737-6604
  •  Home Brew Fetish, 6533 Bandera Road, 210-680-1877

Once you have the proper equipment, you could try any of the drinks Anderwald mentions in the video. Or you could go to the Lion and Rose at 700 E. Sonterra Blvd. and have her make one for you.

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Beer of the Week: Five Brews to Go with Thanksgiving


 

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.

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving is coming up in a few days. Have you stocked up on beer for the big bird day?

Usually, food writers like to talk about wine with the meal and how hard it is to find something good that goes with everything on the table. (“Cabernet Sauvignon is so bold that it dominates the bird so where you just can’t taste the meat.” “Nothing but a sweet wine can stand up to the cranberry sauce.”) If you find all of that talk too confusing or too dull, so be it. Just remember, the easiest answer is one that applies to beer as well as wine: Drink what you like.

But if you enjoy studying the nuances of a drink and trying to figure out what on the table would go with a certain beverage, then pop a few tops and start sampling.

The easiest way to start is to think about all that food you’ll be serving. If you’re following a traditional Thanksgiving, it will be turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rolls, green bean casserole or some variation. Just about everything on that list is a seasonal item, brown or earthy in color, suggesting for fall and winter.

So, why not think seasonal with your choices?

Darker beers or winter warmers are natural partners to this magnificent feast, as are pumpkin ales or yeasty bock beers. Here are five beers that have been featured in previous Beer of the Week write-ups that would do justice to your harvest celebration.

Chimay Grand Rèserve — Flavors of bread warm out of the oven and caramel candies mix with autumnal pear, fig and apple all mingle in this extremely rewarding creation. Think of how they will enhance the flavors of every item on your table, including the notoriously fussy cranberry dish. You may want to get this in 750 milliliter bottles and impress your wine-loving friends with how fine a beer can be.

St. Peter’s Old-Style Porter — Porter is a winter warmer, the kind of brew you want with mashed potatoes, gravy and buttered bread. You could even mix it with sparkling wine in a 5:3 porter to wine ratio for a very different party drink known as a Midnight Sloosh.

Newcastle Brown Ale — The “never bitter beer,” as this satisfying brew has been dubbed, adds a pleasant sweetness to the meal, whether in contrast to butter-basted meat or as a malty complement to the bread in the stuffing or the spice in the pumpkin pie. It is so food friendly, it could sidle up to just about everything on the table.

Franziskaner Weissbier — Though this beer generally goes best with lighter fare, which is anything but Thanksgiving dinner, there’s something about the citrus quality with notes of clove and nutmeg swirling aroun the palate that suggest it would be wonderful with sweet potatoes, all buttery and topped with toasted pecans and a dash of warm cinnamon and vanilla. With a bowl of those, who needs the rest of the meal?

Crispin Natural Hard Apple Cider — Refreshing in summer, Crispin is an equally welcome antidote to the heaviness you can feel while eating your way through the massive spread. Its acidity helps cut through the denseness of the gravy, the soup-sauce in the green bean casserole, even the weight of pumpkin pie.

 

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Beer of the Week: Wells Banana Bread Beer


 

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.

 

 

 

 

Wells Banana Bread Beer

And now for something completely different.

What else could you say about a beer that promises the flavor of banana bread?

Naturally, the first thing you’ll do is read the label to clarify matters, but that won’t help much entirely. Sure, it tells you the beer is made in Bedford, England, by Wells and Young. And it does remind us that beer has long been known as liquid bread, so that explains the bread part of it. And it is made with bananas, free-trade bananas actually.

But then it goes on to say that it’s made with something called banoffee, a word that sent me to the dictionary. It’s “a filling for a pie, consisting of toffee and banana,” according to thefreedictionary.com, and the word is a combination of “banana” and “toffee.” Makes sense, but what doesn’t is the overriding question of whether banana has a place in beer.

The only way to answer that is to pop the top and take in a good strong breath. Sure enough, bananas, ripe and artificial, seem to emerge from the bottle along with a sweet sense mixed with malt, giving the feeling of, you guessed it, banana bread.

Pour the beauty into a glass and notice the coppery color tumble into it. A medium head forms and quickly dissipates into a nice lace on the rim of the brew.

Take a sip and you’ll notice at least two things at once. One is that, yes, it tastes like banana bread, although perhaps the flavor is not quite as forceful as the aroma. The other is that it is not as sweet as it smells; the toffee is kept in check.

Then the rest of the beer’s flavors come into the picture. There’s a pleasant warm spice feeling, suggestive of mace or allspice, and the finish is quite dry, clean and hoppy. There isn’t a great deal of carbonation, so it’s soft in the mouth, yet a good sip leaves your taste buds tingling and anticipating more.  It’s not exactly complex; in fact, it is little more than what the label says it is: banana beer bread.

If you’re still not convinced, perhaps you’ll want to share this brew over a dessert at the Lion and Rose. The one that springs naturally to mind is the Sticky Toffee Pudding, which is not made with banoffee, but has the requisite, delicious sweetness to match it. The King’s Bread Pudding or the Pear William Cake with its Bavarian pear mousse would also work beautifully.

By the way, my pet cockatoo, who eats a fingerling banana every day, also gave his approval to a drop that he had.

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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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