We here at DrinkCraftBeer.com are big proponents of sustainable eating and drinking. Earth Day is fast approaching (April 22, 2009), and we decided that just any old food-pairing event wouldn't do. With that in mind, we've decided to do this tasting, titled "Eat Local, Drink Local - Beer Pairing Goes Green," in accordance with the 100 Mile Diet rules. What that means is that everything in the tasting was produced within 100 miles of Boston, MA. Eating local reduces your carbon footprint as food doesn't have to be shipped nearly as far. It also means that you're supporting your local economy. Lastly, it ensures that you're eating fresher since your food isn't spending days or weeks on a planes, trains and trucks going across the country (or even across several countries).
We've selected four local breweries, one of which is even organic, to showcase their local flavor. We've then paired three of these with local cheeses from Massachusetts. Our breweries are Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project, Peak Organic, Mayflower Brewing Company and Mercury Brewing Company. And, we've listened to our readers. Our homepage poll for "Favorite Spring Beer Style" showed that you love Pale Ales and IPAs, so we went with those for two of the pairings. Then we added in a Saison, #3 on the poll and our favorite style.
Hannahbells are tiny hand-made cheeses using a French recipe. But it's two sets of twins with 120 cows who make this local delicacy on Shy Brothers Farm in Westport, MA. They use a very hands on process to make their cheeses and, they believe, are the only ones making this style in the United States. We've never tasted cheese quite like this! See the cows and how Hannahbells are made here.
You may remember Westfield Farm's Capri Chevre from our "Drink Craft Beer, Eat Craft Cheese" event last spring. Well you all liked them so much, we're bringing back their Pepper Capri Chevre! Based in Hubbardston, MA they've been turning out hand crafted cheeses since 1971.
Do you want to come and try these combinations for yourself? Do you live in the Great Boston area? Then you're in luck! On Saturday, April 25, 2009 we'll be at the Wine Gallery in Brookline, MA from 3-6pm with each of these pairings for you to try! Come down, say hello and try some delicious local beer and local cheese!
Saturday, April 25, 2009
3pm - 6pm
Wine Gallery Brookline
375 Boylston Street
Public Transport: Take the D branch of the Green Line to Brookline Hills. Wine Gallery is around the corner.
We've been fans of Somerville, Massachusetts' Taza Chocolate for a while now. We did a beer pairing with them in February 2008 and found their chocolate to be amazing with a variety of beers. When we heart that Watch City Brewing in Waltham, MA had partnered with them to brew a chocolate porter we knew we had to go check it out. The beer, dubbed "Chocolate Thunder" incorporates 45 pounds of Taza's 70% Dark Stone Ground Chocolate and 5 pounds of Taza's Chocolate Mexicano Vanilla Bean. This is one really delicious beer! Any fan of Taza will be able to pick up the signature complexity of the chocolate in the brew as well as a raw subtle sweetness that helps round out the finish. While this is certainly no light beer it manages to be very drinkable and doesn't feel heavy. Aaron Mateychuk, the brewer at Watch City, has managed to blend the roasty malt flavors with the bitter dark chocolate notes without making the beer itself feel overly bitter.
Alex Whitemore, of Taza Chocolate, was on hand for the release. While this beer is amazing on its own, we were lucky enough to pair the beer with the chocolate which really brings it up another notch. While we can't guarantee the brewpub approves, bring in some Taza with you to the bar and do the pairing yourself, trust us on this one. The Chocolate Mexicano Salted Almond goes especially well with the chocolate in the beer, creating an almost peanut butter and chocolate experience.
On a side note, having tasted some of Taza's new chocolates, look out for an all new event with DrinkCraftBeer and Taza Chocolate coming soon. Stay tuned for more details.
A lot of people lately have been telling us that they're drinking cheaper and lower quality beer to save money. While we here at DrinkCraftBeer.com are feeling the economic pinch just as much as everybody else, we thought there had to be a better way to get around this issue without sacrificing the taste of our brew. Afterall, when the guys from DrinkCraftBeer.com stop drinking craft beer, what has this world come to? With that in mind, here are the DrinkCraftBeer.com Top 5 Money Saving Tips for the Craft Beer Drinker!
What's that? You think it's hard? You don't know how? You don't have a yard? Well those would be good excuses, if we hadn't already debunked all of them in our article, How to Homebrew Beer In Your Kitchen.
Yes, the initial investment may cost around $60 or so. But, after that, the beer you make can be much cheaper than the beer you buy! A typical session ale can probably be put together for $30-$40, and you'll get 2 cases out of that. That's 8 six-packs... Even at $40, that's only $5 per six-pack. Also, a brew day is a low cost activity that you can do with a bunch of your friends. When we brew, we normally have a bunch of friends over and just make a day of hanging out. And, if you do have an outside area, it's great to spend a nice day outside while brewing!
2) Drink at home
Not by yourself. You don't have to stop being social just because you're trying to save money. Have friends over, or go over friends' places. The cost of 2 beers at the bar can buy you a six-pack and then some at the beer store. Set up a night with your friends where each person buys a different six-pack. This way you still get to try new beers and be social... you just don't have huge bar tab at the end of the night. If you really need the ambiance, grab some bar stools and get some buddies together to build a cheap and easy home bar. You can combine this step with homebrewing, and have your own personal brewpub even!
Some of you may remember my recent trip to Mayflower Brewing Company in “Professional Brewer for a Day: Mayflower Brewing Company.” In that article, I stressed that professional brewer is very different from homebrewing. Not necessarily in the chemistry of how the beer is brewed, but in how your day goes. I told you that it’s not just sitting around with friends while you have a few beers. It’s not barbecuing or relaxing and ordering pizza. The ingredients cost a lot of money and you have to know you can sell it. There is no down time, there’s always work to be done. I went on and on about how it’s different and it’s a job…
Well that’s going to make this one of the most ironic articles I’ve ever written. I was invited back to Mayflower Brewing Company a week and a half after brewing with Matt Steinberg for a special brew day. We ended up having a day of hanging out with friends and drinking amazing beer, plus we ordered pizza. When there was down time, instead of cleaning tanks, we socialized and drank fresh Mayflower beer plus rare or limited beers from Cambridge Brewing Company, Portsmouth Brewery and Rock Bottom Boston that head brewers Will Meyers, Tod Mott and Scott Brunelle, respectively, hand bottled or put into growlers.
Terrapin Side Project Volume 1 - Hop Shortage Ale
Appearance: Orangy amber with very light white head. Heavy lacing as the head disapates
Smell: Floral hops with a nice fruity finish...this smells REALLY good.
Taste: Mmmmmm hops...delicious delicious hops. Very crisp and clean with a nice balanced malt sweetness. One of the best hoppy beers we've had in a long time. It's just bursting with hop flavor yet isn't overdone at any point. Its perfectly bitter, with a complex hop flavor and citrusy finish. If you were lucky enough to buy this drink it; if you see it buy it, it's that good. We really wish this was in 6 packs, and available all the time.
Portsmouth Brewery Kate the Great Imperial Stout February 2009
Taste: Roasty sweet chocolate, slight hint or dried fruits. Much sweeter than a lot of imperial stouts, but not too sweet. It actually comes over as incredibly smooth with a really nice mouth feel. Dangerously drinkable given then abv which is unknown but assumed to be around 10%. We'd split this 3 or 4 ways, it's really good, but the sweetness can get a bit overwhelming after 8 ounces or so, almost to the point it feels a little sugary.