Sunday, November 22, 2009

2008 "Our Special Ale"

I decided to crack open my last "Our Special Ale" from Anchor Brewing Co. in San Fransisco.

This is one of my favorite holiday beers. And probably one of the "spicier" beers of the season.
There is definitely a "figgy" component to the beer (I'm sure figgy is the technical term!). I can't really detect too much of a change from when it came out last winter. Although the beer sits at 5.5% abv, it is definitely able to be aged. I was listening to "Holiday Beer 4" from the Beer School podcast and they were sampling Our Special Ales from the late eighties, and it sounded like they held up beautifully. Well the beer is gone now. Goodnight!

Zucchini Fritters

I have started and deleted five different introductions to this post. I just can't really seem to get words flowin' this morning. I guess all I would really like to say is that even though I just ate these for dinner last night, I wish I had all the ingredients in my kitchen so I could make some up for dinner again tonight! Or even lunch. I modified this recipe from one that I found in How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman.

I started out with five zucchini and trimmed the ends and then grated them on a box grater. Then put them all into a strainer and sprinkled a big pinch of salt over the top and let it sit for about an hour.

After the hour, rinse the zucchini and put it in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze all of the water out. I even got Cody to help me with this part.

Then I put the zucchini in a large bowl and mixed egg, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, garlic, green onion and some parm cheese.

Fried them up in a little oil and BLAM-O!!

Wonderful on a plate. We put our fritters on top of brown rice and topped them with fresh tomatoes, basil and horseradish.

Zucchini Fritters
Modified from Zucchini Fritters recipe by Mark Bittman

5 zucchini grated
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
2-3 cloves of garlic
2-3 green onion chopped
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Grate zucchini and put in a strainer. Sprinkle with a large pinch of salt and let sit for an hour with a towel under the strainer. After that hour rinse zucchini and then put zucchini into a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out all of the liquid.

Put squeezed zucchini into a bowl and throw in all other ingredients.

Liberally coat the bottom of a skillet with oil and keep it at about med-high heat. I used a cookie scoop to make sure each fritter was about the same size and before I put them in the oil I flattened each one. The browner they get the easier they are to flip so I let them brown up quiet a bit, about 2 minutes on each side.

**A note about the parmesan cheese-The first time I made this I used shredded parm in the little tub, and this last time I used the Kraft parm cheese with the green top (just because I forgot to buy the other at the store) and both times it turned out great!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

2009 Abyss Hour Long Tasting-In Real Time

7:56 p.m.-Shay demonstrates the magnitude of the moment by wearing white gloves while displaying The Abyss.

8:00 p.m.-I finally open the beer, after spending 5 minutes on the demolition of the wax covering.

8:02 p.m.-Finally I take a sip, after spending a couple of minutes admiring the absence of color in this absolutely gorgeous beer. This just might be the finest brew ever crafted (excuse the hyperbole, but this beer deserves it).

8:21 p.m.- This beer is dangerously delicious. Even though this is one of my favorite beers of all time, I'm always taken aback at how good it is when I drink it. Though this beer is incredibly heavy it still presents a strong hop character.

8:28 p.m.-This is the fourth version of The Abyss in my collection. The question is...when do I drink them? I think I will collect the first 10 editions of this beer and then hold a vertical tasting with a group of my closest friends. Probably during the holidays. So you have that to look forward to. If that is what I indeed decide to do, it will take place in 2016 and I will be 32 years old. That is crazy to me.

8:36 p.m.-Working my way through this 22 oz bottle like a champ. Shay has enjoyed the several sips she has hawked from me. Ahh, this beer is delicious.

8:38 p.m.-I am kind of kicking myself for not going to the Abyss launch party at the Portland pub. But to be honest, I forgot about it. I guess they had 2007, 2008, and 2009 all on tap at the same time. That would have been fun to sample.

8:43 p.m.-I may or may not be listening to xmas songs. Okay, I am. I can't help myself. But I must say the best xmas album of all time just might be A Charlie Brown Christmas by Vince Guaraldi. Aaron Kayser, I am giving you credit for legitimately introducing me to this album.

8:45 p.m.-Damn, keeping this going for an entire hour is getting difficult.

8:48 p.m.-A cool pic of the Deschutes Portland pub. Just thought I would throw that it in. I once compared the atmosphere of the new pub to that of a Red Robin. This may have been an overreaction (damn, this Trans-Siberian Orchestra song I'm listening to sucks!). It is really cool inside. I guess it just doesn't feel as authentic as the public house in Bend.

8:52 p.m.-One more sip in the glass. Ahh, all gone. Ooh, I could really feel the alcohol burn in my nose on that last drink. Even though IPA's are my favorite beers to drink, I think this beer still remains at the top of my favorite beers list. But ask me again this spring when I am drinking a fresh Pliny the Elder and my answer might be different.

8:56 p.m.-Well it's been an hour. The Abyss has been consumed. I am listening to another crazy Trans-Siberian Orchestra song (you know, the majority of their songs aren't very good). Ahh, that's better. Harry Connick Jr. can sing christmas songs all day. Aight, good night!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

The most anticipated seasonal craft beer is finally here! THE ABYSS!!

I picked a couple of bombers from By the Bottle, one for drinking, and of course, one for aging. This is the Imperial Stout brewed by Deschutes Brewing Co. This beer is battling it out with Pliny The Elder for the designation as my favorite beer! The Abyss, 11% abv, is brewed with licorice and molasses, with 33% aged in oak bourbon barrels. According to the bottle, "It's dark. It's deep. It's mysterious. This imperial stout has immeasurable depth inviting you to explore and discover its rich complex profile. The flavor of this special brew draws you in further and further with each sip. The Abyss beckons. Enjoy the journey."

My collection now includes the Abyss from 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009!

I won't open this beer until later this week, so look for a post including tasting notes and pictures of the brew exposed and awaiting consumption.

Now, these aren't the only beers I picked up from By The Bottle. I also picked up the inaugural (in bottles) batch of Sleigh'r from Ninkasi Brewing Co.

According to the bottle, "A delicious northwest seasonal brewed with winter in mind. A dark double alt, malty, and delicious, it's sure to keep the winter at bay, and yes, Sleigh'r does rock!" I first had this beer last year at the Portland Holiday Ale Festival and loved it. I am so stoked that they bottled it this year. A great winter beer, and at 7.2% abv it is substantial, yet very drinkable.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Time for a quickie

Well I have once again forgot to update this blog. Something that I actually love doing, but you would never know it. I am constantly taking pictures and making new and exciting foods that I really want to share, but there is so much that I have not shared yet that I feel like I can't share the new stuff without sharing the old.

So here is a quickie recap of old adventures and if anyone REALLY needs more info on any of them then please let me know and I will elaborate accordingly.

HONEYMOON!! These pictures are just a few of my faves. They include a steak salad that I had on our first night in Victoria, BC. Flowers from Buchart Gardens. Cody and I at afternoon tea at the Empress. Fish and chips from Barbs. The Empress the night of our ghost walk. Whale Watching!! And quite possibly the best food item that I had on the whole trip...a Belgian Waffle from a food cart.

Wonderful soda from POP CULTURE here in Vancouver, WA. My Fave was the ginger ale and the Creamy Red Birch Beer from Boylan's.

GO COUGS!! This was our first attempt at tailgating. We had fun but we already have a long list of things that we will do differently next year. Maybe if we tailgate right the Cougies will win.
The GARLIC FRIES were good too.

GREEN DRAGON. This is one of Cody's favorites places!! I have no idea what beer he was drinking, but they have a huge selection and Cody always takes like 5 minutes oooing and ahhing over just the beer menu. And more fries. But these are serious fries. They have some kind of seasoning that I think makes them wonderful, but the guy would not tell me what it is. a secret i guess.

VOO DOO DOUGHNUTS!!! Yes that is a Bacon maple bar. The peanutbutter and jelly one was mine and was superb. I dream about it.

Last tomotoes of the season. Turned into Salsa and Guacamole.

Fingers. butternut squash. and the BEST SANDWHICH in the world-the goofyfoot from Surfer Sands in Long Beach, WA. I PROMISE there will be another long post about this sandwhich. Explaining exactly how to make it at home and what is actually in this veggie delight!!

Our first annual Halloween party was a total success and while there were many pictures taken that night I am only going to share this one of Code and I. Dracula and a witch.

For our next HUGE adventure Cody and I are going down a different path. We have desided to try out a pescatarian diet. No meat or meat products except for seafood. I have been cooking up a veggie storm in the kitchen and have lots of new dishes to share. But you will have to wait for next time for that.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday Night Dinner

We picked up some soup from La Bottega in downtown Vancouver! It is a cheese and ale soup made with Laurelwood Amber Ale, chicken stock, mozzarella, fontina, parmesan, potatoes, and spices. The soup was amazing! Since the soup used beer from Laurelwood, I decided I would drink a Laurelwood beer with the meal! I picked up Prevale, an IPA brewed on behalf of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This beer was amazing! I don't know how Laurelwood does it. Their IPAs are so incredibly fresh and then they refresh! Amazing! We also bought a baguette, and sliced up some radishes, Shay's new favorite vegetable! We enjoyed our dinner while watching a classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller, Rope. One of my favorites. I don't think Shay liked it as much. Now I'm blogging while listening to Jazz! This is what Saturday nights are like after marriage. I love it!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Dinner and beers at Widmer

Shay and I went to the Widmer brewery on Friday night for dinner and some beers. We took some cool photos to document the evening!

I really respect what the Widmer Bros. have been able to accomplish in the field of brewing. They have been around for 25 years and are going strong. But I'm sorry to say that their beer is sub par to many other breweries in the Portland area. Don't get me wrong, on a national level they are probably still ahead of the curve, but it is tough to keep up here in Beervana. Although their beer set a benchmark for many other breweries I feel like they have gotten too big to consistently put out a good product. The other night I had their Oktoberfest beer and a specialty IPA they brewed. I was underwhelmed with both. And while their brewery configuration is amazing and their location is prime, the atmosphere of the pub is lacking. It just feels like I am in a Red Robin.

Their food on the other hand is very good. Shay and I had a delicious fondue appetizer and they also serve a mean steak salad. But I am afraid the food is not reason enough to make the trip. Despite the somewhat negative comments I will continue to enjoy a select few of their brews. Their Hef is a great summer beer. Broken Halo IPA is no slouch. And their winter warmer Brrr was quite enjoyable. I really don't mean to dog on Widmer. I recognize their importance in the microbrewing scene of Portland. They just don't stand out anymore.

Fall has officiall arrived!

How do I know Fall is here? Because I am drinking Pumking from Southern Tier Brewing Company! This is one of my favorite beers of all time! It is an imperial pumpkin ale that sits at a ghastly 9.0% abv. This ale is quite literally a dessert in a glass. The beer has an exquisite "biscuity" character to it that reminds me of pie crust! It finishes off with delicious pumpkin pie spice flavors! The beer has a sweet, thick aromatic quality to it. Makes you think the beer is much thicker than it really is.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Beer Loyalist's Dilemma


This is one of my top ten favorite beers and I look forward to its release every fall! The dilemma is that they release it too early. I am weak so I buy it, but I wouldn't mind if they waited till at least October or early November. I am just now getting ready for fall and here come all of the delicious winter warmers. I would like to concentrate my efforts on more of the fall style beers before moving into winter. (Although at this instant I am enjoying a 2009 Jubelale in an elegant 2006 Jubelale pint glass!)

Another reason to look forward to this seasonal release is the fact that they pick a different local artist to design the label every year. I am enjoying this year's design, though it doesn't stand up to the classic labels of 2005 and 2006!
It isn't quite the same enjoying Jubelale in 80 degree weather, instead of a dark, frigid night in December. But I am excited that it has arrived and look forward to great fall/winter seasons and great beers!