Tag Archive | "food and beer pairing"

Tuk Tuk Taproom to Serve Up Some Asian Street Food with Beer

Chef David Gilbert, who opened Sustenio at Eilan Hotel Resort and Spa with Stephan Pyles, is teaming up with Steve “Beard” Newman from the Friendly Spot Ice House and Alamo Street Eat Bar on a project that will pair Asian street food with beer.

David Gilbert (left) and Steve "Beard" Newman are teaming up on Tuk Tuk Taproom.

David Gilbert (left) and Steve “Beard” Newman are teaming up on Tuk Tuk Taproom.

The project, called the Tuk Tuk Taproom, will be at 1702 Broadway, north of the the downtown area near the Pearl Brewery.

Expect a menu inspired by many of the dishes Gilbert encountered on his trips through Southeastern Asia, journeys that he related in his book, “Kitchen Vagabond.”

Gilbert and Newman have been at work developing the beer list, which is being selected to partner with the food. Plans are for 60 taps, which will include non-alcoholic offerings as well as beer.

According to a press release announcing the restaurant, “The combination of street food in Asia and beer is the most common food and beverage pairing amongst the locals” across the Pacific.

No opening date has been set yet.

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Beer of the Week: Full Sail IPA

The label on the Full Sail IPA lets you know you’re in for something fun when you pop the top on this beer: “Independent employee-owned Full Sail IPA. 12 fluid ounces of ridiculously tasty India Pale Ale concocted by our massive brewforce of 47. Specialists in the liquid refreshment arts since 1987.”

I like ridiculously tasty beer. I like beer with attitude, on both the inside and the outside of the bottle. And I like IPAs.

I can’t say that Full Sail, brewed in Hood River, Ore., quite achieves the lofty goal on its label, but it is mighty good.

Perhaps my reservations are because Full Sail plays it somewhat safe when it comes to the trademark hoppy bitterness of traditional IPAs.

Open the bottle and the intense floral notes you expect are balanced by caramel and cereal. That’s even before you begin to pour it. Soon, a deep golden color lights up the glass with a little bit of foam that settles into a fairly steady lace across the top.

The first taste is full and rich rich and pleasantly bitter; but instead of being overwhelmingly brassy, like some intense IPAs, Full Sail goes more for a middle ground, with that caramel sweetness keeping the hops in check before ending with a citrus-y finish that’s leaves you primed for more. That’s great if you’re looking for something fun, a beer to relax with after a long day’s work.

Full Sail is also great if you want to pair your brew with food. The hoppy nature makes it perfect with spicy foods, such as street tacos with a habanero salsa, onions and cilantro; with salty foods, such as fried fish or french fries; or even the crackly skin of a roast chicken.

Maybe that qualifies it for being ridiculously tasty, after all.

Beer in the news

President Obama has taken up beer making as a hobby, and a growing number of the beer lovers want to get their hands on one of his recipes. To do so, several activists have filed a Freedom of Information Act request.

The president is said to have made several styles, including a honey ale that reportedly uses honey taken from the bee hives in the White House garden. It is the honey ale recipe that people want.

In order for the FOIA request to be filed, 25,000 signatures are needed on the request by Sept. 17. As of Wednesday, only 14,732 had signed. To add your voice to the growing chorus, click here.

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Beers of the Week: Pedernales Brewing Co.

These days, the town of Fredericksburg and the surrounding Hill County area are known for producing some of Texas’ finest wines. The folks at Pedernales Brewing Co. are hoping to broaden that picture.

The brewery, which opened in March, has introduced four beers to the market so far, two in two different lines,  and a little something to please all tastes.

The Lobo line, with the wolf on its labels, includes:

  • Lobo Texas Lager is billed as a 1910 Pre-Prohibition Lager and is made from a recipe that dates actually to 1907.
  • Lobo Negro is a dark lager, or “dunkel,” which comes from a recipe that dates back to Germany in the 1950s.

The Classic line currently features:

  • The India Pale Ale, which is made in the American style.
  • The Hefe-Weizen, which is said to be unfiltered in the traditional German style (and is the only one of the four I haven’t tried).

All are made in keeping with traditional recipes, because one of the brewery’s founders, Lee Hereford, was looking for an old-fashioned beer that, when you finished your first, all you wanted was another.

So, he and his crew “are taking great recipes and we’re bringing them back,” says Hereford, who once owned a Hill Country winery called Wimberely Valley Wines. “We’re not trying to get out on the cutting edge with the weirdest beers of the decade.”

So, don’t expect a choc-van-straw porter or a brussels sprouts stout any time soon.

Yet making a century-old beer recipe work today is not as easy as it may seem. Brewmaster Peter McFarlane admits on the company’s website that he’s tinkered with the recipe for the Hefe-Weizen for several years.

There’s also a question of getting just the right Hill Country well water for the Texas Lager, the appropriate “dry malting” for the IPA and cold enough temperatures in the Texas heat for the dark lager.

The efforts have been worth it, based on a recent sampling. The Texas Lager was a pleasant, refreshing drink, smooth, but not so polished that it’s lost a cleansing bitter finish. The Lobo Negro managed to hit the right notes of cocoa and malt and was sweet enough to go nicely as a topping for Blue Bell’s vanilla ice cream.

My favorite, though, was the IPA with its hoppy bitterness mixed with a pleasant toffee-like sweetness and an herbal touch. It’s perfect for spicy foods or just something  bold to stand up to its layers of flavors. I had it with ribs at Tycoon Flats.

You can find Pedernales’ offerings at a variety of places around town, including the Alon H-E-B and Green Fields Market as well as Barriba Cantina, Chama Gaucha, the Friendly Spot and Myron’s Prime Steakhouse. You’ll also find it throughout the Hill Country; I saw it at the Silver K Cafe in Johnson City this past weekend. Click on the website above to find a full list of people selling this solid new addition to the burgeoning Texas beer scene.






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Beer of the Week: Shiner Ruby Redbird

These are the bird days of summer, and Shiner’s got just the beer to wet your whistle. It’s Shiner’s Ruby Redbird, the second time that the brewery in Spoetzel has released its Texas twist on a shandy, the classic beer-lemon mixture.

As you might be able to guess from the name,  the citrus in this beauty of a brew is Texas Rio red grapefruit juice from the Rio Grande Valley, and it’s mixed with a taste of ginger.

It pours a light golden color that fairly gleams when it catches the light. There are flecks of red, but little visually to suggest the ruby red component. The bouquet is redolent of ginger over wheat and hops that rises robustly as you pour it.

This brew pours more like a ginger ale than a beer, all fizzy but without much of a head at all. That’s the mouthfeel you get, too, with a light carbonation that is reminiscent of a soda.

But the taste is not like a ginger ale or even a ginger beer. The folks at Shiner have blended the grapefruit, the ginger, the hops and the malt (“pure Munich malt and Mt. Hood, Citra and Cascade hops,” according to the label) so that they’re well balanced, fruit goes with spice with malt with hops. Nothing stands out or dominates. Everything is fairly smooth. It’s also relatively light, with only a 4.01 percent alcohol level.

In other words, it’s meant to refresh,  to go down clean, to be a summertime treat.

But some people aren’t having any of that. The complaints I’ve heard about this beer include: “It’s too light.” “It’s not Shiner Black Label.” “It tastes like ginger ale.”

Well, guess what folks? If you want to drink Shiner Bock or Shiner Black Label, then drink those beers. That’s not the song Ruby Redbird is singing. It’s a different beer, as different as sourdough is from a baguette. Thankfully, there’s room for all tastes.

Frankly, on a day on which the thermometer hits triple digits, a dark beer is the one of last things in the world I want to think about drinking. (A California Cabernet Sauvignon is another.) That’s where Ruby Redbird comes in. So, enjoy a pint with some fish tacos or a spicy po’boy from one our food trucks, and chill out with a new Texas brew that most welcome in our seemingly endless days of summer.


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Beer of the Week: Brooklyner Wheat Beer

How much do you like the flavor of bananas in your beer? If you do, you probably know about Wells Banana Bread Beer, which emphasizes its banana quality in its name. But if you pick up a beer that just calls itself a Bavarian-style wheat beer on the label and yet you smell a bunch of bananas from the moment you open the bottle, what then?

That was my reaction to Brooklyner Wheat Beer, which is also called Weisse Beer on some labels. An overwhelming scent of banana emerged as I poured it into the glass. A deep yellow, almost brown, filled the glass and was crowned by a light foam that slowly dissipated into a lacy ring. The hefeweizen was unfiltered, so it was slightly cloudy, yet the golden color gleamed in the light.

Take a deep sniff and you’ll notice there’s plenty going on under the banana, from honey and citrus candies to grass and wheat. But the banana is going to be the make or break element for many beer drinkers.

Many of those characteristics, including the banana, carry over into the flavor with the addition of a pleasant bitterness to cut a little of the sweet. They are further enhanced by a slice of lemon or orange. By itself, the mid-palate had a slight sour quality that the citrus would also temper leading to a lengthy wheat-filled finish. The mouthfeel is fairly full with plenty of fine carbonation.

This is a beer that speaks of summer and would be great with summer food, whether you pair it with watermelon or a green salad. Think of pairing it with simply prepared fish or roast chicken. And don’t forget the banana pudding for dessert; they’d be great together.



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Beer of the Week: Leinie’s Summer Shandy

Beer is good. Lemon is good. Beer and lemon together? Well, it depends.

Cultures throughout the world have long mixed citrus drinks and beer, sometimes to good effect. In Germany, some people will mix their beer with a lemon soda to create what they call a Radler. The first time I had this, I thought it was a joke, with the sweet fighting the bitter, but my sister drank it up — and she never touches a beer otherwise.

The Brits use lemonade and beer to create what they call a shandy.

That works better, especially when you let the brewer do the mixing for you. Why? Because the end result is less like a soft drink than a style of beer in which all of the ingredients work together to create a refreshing drink. (Think of a hefeweissen complete with a spritz of orange, only much lighter.)

The Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company out of Wisconsin has introduced Leinie’s Summer Shandy, which is more than a novelty brew.

Pop the top on a bottle and let the lemon aroma leap out. Pour it into a glass and a decent foam builds up before settling into a nice lacy foam at the rim. The beer itself is cloudy yet boasts a yellow color that promises a touch of sunshine.

As you admire the look, that dominant lemon aroma begins to take on wheat aromas in a blend that is both tart and sweet. Both carry over into the flavor, with the lemon ranging from zest to candied lemon drops. Together, they create a drink that is uncomplicated, light and fun. The addition of citrus has also dropped the alcohol content to a lower level, meaning you could pound a couple of these after mowing the lawn and not lose the rest of your afternoon.

But once again, this combination is not for everyone. You have to like the idea of lemon invading your beer — or even beer invading your lemonade — for it to work. Don’t try this if the idea has no appeal.

Leinie’s Summer Shandy will pair with just about any food, from burgers off the grill to lemon meringue pie. Spicy foods, fried foods, salads all would get a lift from tart, bright lemon. The brewery offers a recipe for Summer Shandy Grilled Shrimp Tacos, which sounds like just the antidote to summer heat.


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Beer of the Week: Five for Fiesta



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.





Let’s face it, Fiesta is not just a party for one day. It’s a party that tests endurance as well as wallet, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, here are five beers that won’t tax your wallet. They also taste great without taxing your attention too much. Plus, some of them are light enough to enjoy if the temperatures get hot, which they have been known to do this time of year.

As always, remember to drink responsibly, during Fiesta and any time. Have a designated driver or call a cab if you’ve had to much, whether it’s at a friend’s house or NIOSA.

Red Stripe — This Jamaican beer adds life to the party. It’s a great sipper and it’s perfect with street food, such as overstuffed gorditas sizzling hot out of the fryer.

Real Ale Firemens #4 Blonde Ale — This local favorite would work with pretty much any dish you might set out. Or you could just enjoy a few by themselves. Your mouth will enjoy the treat.

Harp Lager — Good ol’ fried food, whether it’s chicken on a stick like they serve at the Oyster Bake, fried mushrooms or calf fries, goes down much easier with a clean, cold brew. Simple yet full of flavor, Harp fills the bill.

Pilsner Urquell — Add a little Czech touch with this brew from the town where pilsners originated. One sip will make you want to enjoy many more.

Dogfish 60 Minute IPA — Grilling up some sizzling anticuchos at your home to share with friends? Or a ceviche with plenty of serrano to give it an extra kick? Then reach for this hoppy treat, with a pleasant bitterness that stands up to the heat.


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Beer of the Week: Blanche de Bruxelles



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.





Blanche de Bruxelles

It’s a good thing Carly Simon wasn’t a Blanche de Bruxelles drinker back when she wrote “You’re So Vain,” or we might all have been singing, “I had some dreams, they were clouds in my beer.”

There certainly are clouds in this beer, clouds of yeast that swirl around with each sip.

The unfiltered brew from Belgium, a white or weiss beer (or “Witteke,” according to the beer’s website), can be had on tap at the Lion and Rose or you might be able to find it in the bottle. I had a pint with dinner the other night. When the glass arrived at the table, the head had already settled into a nice lace at the top, which also boasted a slice of lemon.

That spritz of lemon added to the lively orange peel and coriander aromas mixed with wheat and a touch of hops and a faint sense of clove.

The hoppy element becomes more prominent on the palate, as a bitterness with a twinge of freshly mown grass is evident, along with the same notes of orange, spice and wheat. Nothing is particularly strong, everything seems to work together in harmony as it slides down easily to a clean, dry finish.

In other words, waitress, bring another.

If you want to pair this with food, think of dishes as light as the beer. At the Lion and Rose, bangers and mash would work well, with the nutmeg of the sausages sidling up nicely to that hint of clove. Begger’s Pouches, pasta with four types of cheese, would also be perfect, as would the King William’s Turkey BLT or the Vegetarian Pita.

Whatever you choose, be sure to welcome the clouds in your beer. You’ll love the rustic texture that comes with the flavor.


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Beer of the Week: Pilsner Urquell

Pilsner Urquell

I remember visiting the town of Pilsen, or Plzen, in the Czech Republic about 20 years ago. My sister and brother-in-law had taken me to Prague and we drove through on our way back to their home in Germany. There wasn’t time to tour the beer museum there, but there was time to have a cool, refreshing stein of Pilsner Urquell.

This is the beer that is the standard of all pilsners, and it’s a beauty.

Pour it into a tall, thin glass and enjoy the luscious yellow color that suggests straw in the summer. The head builds but settles so quickly it’s fairly negligible.

The nose is filled with yeast with some grassy, floral hops underneath.

Your first sip is filled with malt and yeast. It’s only on a second sip that you get a hint of sweetness —lemon and honey, maybe — as well as bitter hops and a touch of straw to match the color. The finish is clean and slightly bitter, drawing you back for more.

It’s not terribly complicated. It’s more about pure liquid refreshment. And in that, Pilsner Urquell delivers.

It also goods great with food. At the Lion and Rose, think fried for some fun match-ups. Try Chips and Petals (fried potato coins and onions), Limerick Fries (fried green beans) or Bloke’s Mushrooms. The Fish, Feather and Shell (fried fish, chicken strip and shrimp) would work just fine, but so would a pairing with a salad or even Parmesan-crusted Tilapia. Just forget about the dessert; it’s a little too bitter for sweets.

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Beer of the Week: Stella Artois


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.





Stella Artois

This lager is probably Belgium’s most famous beer. Not necessarily the best, mind you, but certainly the most popular.

Popularity is, after all, determined by those qualities that are most desired and yet can also appeal to the public at large. So, don’t expect Stella Artois (pronounced R-twah) to provide the same complexity you’ll find in the Chimay brews or an Orval. But do expect a finely crafted beer that’s great for quaffing on a hot day.

In other words, grab a six-pack of this if you’ve got to mow the lawn and put in any spring flowers this weekend. You’ll be able to reward yourself for a job well done. And if it rains, you can still reward yourself for your good intentions.

What you’ll notice first when you start pouring the beer is a gorgeous golden color that shows off the wheat to good effect. The head builds nicely but soon dissipates to little lacing around the edge.

The brewery suggests you pour it into a chalice, and it even offers deals on its website where you can get your own engraved chalice to drink it from. Click here to learn more.

The nose is filled with wheat and a slight skunky quality that’s not off-putting, just somewhat odd.

The taste is what makes the beer so popular. It’s pleasant, with a refreshing lightness and clean feeling that has a touch of wheat and an even lighter note of hoppiness. The finish is dry and a touch bitter, in the best way possible.

This is lager at its most essential. It tastes like beer, like what you think of when you think of beer, like beer on a Platonic level.

So, don’t think. Drink.

That’s what people love about Stella Artois and it’s what will have you wanting more.

It’s perfect with a great deal of flavors, so you can have with whatever you have a hankering for. At the Lion and Rose, you could start with spicy Hackney Hot Wings or go with something as comforting and earthy as Holloway Road Hummus. Then move on to a Lion and Rose Garden Salad with cheddar, bacon and egg or Fin, Feather and Shell, a fried plate of fish, chicken and shrimp.

You might want to finish the Artois before dessert, because its bitterness will fight sweets. Or you could have another instead of dessert.



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