Expert Picks for January 2018

By the time January gets here, most of us have had enough of winter and are already looking forward to spring. We want something refreshing, optimistic, satisfying, which is why we lead off with Sam Adams Cold Snap this month. But there’s still plenty of winter left to enjoy richer, more filling brews, and that’s […]

By the time January gets here, most of us have had enough of winter and are already looking forward to spring. We want something refreshing, optimistic, satisfying, which is why we lead off with Sam Adams Cold Snap this month. But there’s still plenty of winter left to enjoy richer, more filling brews, and that’s why Atwater’s Vanilla Java Porter is here, too. And in-between are two offerings from Roak and Old Nation that stretch the “haze craze” envelope. There’s a little something for everyone to enjoy while you’re packing away the holidays.

Samuel Adams Cold Snap

The crisp character of this unfiltered White Ale gets a kick from a bright blend of spring spices. Orange peel and plum add subtle sweetness, while coriander contributes a peppery bite, creating a refreshing flavor that signals spring is on its way.

Pairings

Cold Snap’s unique ingredients make it a perfect pairing with flavors ranging from subtle to bold. The wheat and citrus complement lighter flavors – like sushi and smoked salmon – by enhancing similar citrus notes, balancing saltiness, and cutting through their rich textures. Cold Snap’s blend of exotic spices also tames the heat of bold dishes like Indian and Thai by standing up to their warm, earthy flavors, and it pairs perfectly with a sweet and spicy dessert like spice cake.


Atwater Vanilla Java Porter

Vanilla Java Porter is an easygoing dark beer with the personalities of both a sweet vanilla coffeehouse java and a smoky English style porter. Despite looking every bit as black as a cup of dark roast coffee, it goes down like it’s frothy with cream and sugar. Coffee malts and caramel malts to add dark bitterness, while coffee and vanilla flavoring bring up sweetness and blend to make a smooth finish.

Pairings

No guesswork here. Serve Vanilla Java Porter with any decadent dessert of your choice. The richer the better. Our quick and easy favorite is a Vanilla Java Float: Pour Vanilla Java Porter over vanilla ice cream and enjoy a rich, creamy and coffee finish.


Roak Flavorful Five Double New England IPA

If you’ve been paying any attention at all to new craft brew releases, you know that New England IPA’s are all over the place. Dubbed “the haze craze,” New England IPAs are unfiltered IPAs or double IPAs that have been aggressively hopped. They’re usually smooth, citrusy, and bitter. Flavorful Five’s hazy, hoppy, citric juiciness put it in a very small class of
NEIPAs you want under your belt if you ever plan to demonstrate your HQ (Hop Quotient).

Pairings

Flavorful Five’s soft, silky mouthfeel and aggressive citric and juicy flavor make it a great choice for shellfish and seafood, especially tuna steak, salmon and shrimp. Also try it with grilled and roasted poultry and spicy Asian cuisine, particularly Thai. For dessert? Cheesecake and crème brulee. And if you’re planning a charcuterie, be sure to include aged and sharp cheeses (Parmigiano-Reggiano, Fontina, Gorgonzola) and cured meats (prosciutto, capocollo, sopressata salami).

But nothing compares to a good beer cheese soup, and this recipe using Flavorful Five is one of our favorites:

Flavorful 5 Beer Cheese Soup

  • ½ lb Smoked slab bacon, ¼ inch dice
  • ½ cup Celery, small dice
  • 1 cup Onion, small dice
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 cup Flavorful 5 IPA
  • 3 cup Chicken stock
  • 4 Tbsp Unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup All-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Heavy cream
  • ½ lb Sharp yellow Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz Smoked Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over moderate heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp (~7 minutes). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a bowl.
  2. Add the celery, onion, jalapeño, garlic and thyme to the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened (~8 minutes). Add half of the beer and cook until reduced by half (~5 minutes). Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
  3. In a small skillet, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned (~2 minutes).
  4. Whisk this roux into the soup until incorporated and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened (~8 minutes).
  5. Using a stick blender to incorporate, add the heavy cream, cheddar cheeses and the remaining beer and simmer. Stir in the bacon and season with salt and pepper. Add a few tablespoons of chicken stock if the soup is too thick.

Old Nation Boss Tweed Double New England IPA

Boss Tweed is the most hoppy-aromatic and flavor-forward of Old Nation’s New Orthodox IPA series, and another outstanding entry in the NEIPA “haze craze.” The Boss fairly bursts with pineapple, mango and passion fruit from the use of careful hop timing, selection and technique that can’t be faked. Everything in the beer is on the label, so you can be sure that you are buying one of the best NEIPAs brewed in Michigan.

Pairings

Old Nation recommends serving Boss Tweed with grilled fish, Punjabi lemon chicken, bánh mì (Vietnamese bread), Caprese salad with balsamic vinegar, or grilled steak with this delicious cilantro mint sauce:

Cilantro Mint Sauce for Grilled Steak

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Loosely-packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup Loosely-packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper, seeded
  • 1 piece (about 1 inch) Fresh ginger, peeled
  • 3-4 cloves Garlic, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh lime juice
  • 1-2 Tbsp Water
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • ½ tsp Salt

Directions: Blend together in food processor or blender and enjoy warm or cold!

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