What’s your favorite pastime? Mine would most likely be apple picking in late October with the New England fall foliage in the background. Recently my family and I went to Honey Pot Hill in Stow, MA to go apple picking. With the erratic weather in the spring throughout the country, farmers were looking at a loss of crops. Plus, consumers were ready to face higher prices for mediocre quality so I thought it would be best to go earlier this season. Somehow, most of New England dodged a bullet while the rest of the country suffered. There was an abundance of choices and all were delicious.
You know you pick more than you need after you make your cobblers and pies and still have an excess. Having the whole, “waste equals high food cost,” theory embedded in my head day-in and day-out, I couldn't just let the rest of these apples rot. So I decided to share one of my favorite autumn recipes with you. With some amazing diver scallops from the shores of Massachusetts, some peppery local arugula, flavorful smoked bacon and, thanks to Sarah’s review of Rhody Coyote Hard Cider, here is a collaboration of all my favorite things fall.
For The Scallops:
5 each Diver Scallops
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Oil
For The Sauce:
2 strips Applewood Smoked Bacon
1 Cortland Apple, Peeled, Cored and Medium Dice
2 Tbsp Shallot Minced
1 Cup Hard Cider
2 Cups Vegetable Stock
1 Tbsp Thyme
¼ Cup Heavy Cream
For the Parsnip Puree:
4 Medium Sized Parsnips Peeled and Cut to Medium Dice
1 Cortland Apple Peeled, Cored and Cut to Medium Dice
2 Tbsp Onion Small Dice
20 oz Vegetable Stock
4 Sprigs Thyme
3 Bay Leaves
½ Cup Apple Cider
1 Tbsp Shallot
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Vinegar
2 Tbsp Apple Cider
1 tsp Fresh Thyme
Salt and Pepper
3 Tbsp Pomegranate Seeds
1 Bunch Baby Arugula
Salt and Pepper
Heat oil in pan and then add onion, apple and parsnip. Saute for about 5 minutes or until the parsnips and apples start to color. Add remaining items and simmer for about 30 minutes or until parsnips are soft. Add ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Keep hot until ready for plating.
Add diced bacon to a hot pan and cook until all the fat has been rendered and the bacon is crisp. Drain out bacon fat into a bowl and let bacon dry on a paper towel. Add 1 tbsp of bacon fat and then add apple. Saute until tender and then let dry on a paper towel. Saute Shallot until translucent, add hard cider and reduce by half. Add vegetable stock thyme sprigs and heavy cream and reduce until you can dip a spoon in the sauce and it leaves a thin coating on the back of the spoon. Strain through a china cap and keep hot until plating.
Whisk all ingredients together until emulsified.
Add butter and oil to a cast iron pan. While waiting till your pan is nice and hot dry off your scallops with a paper towel and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add scallops to the pan and cook on one side for 3-4 minutes. Once there is a nice sear and caramelization flip and then cook on the other side for another 3 minutes.
Add parsnip puree to the center of the dish. Position scallops around the outter edge of the puree. Ladle the sauce around the scallops. Add a small amount of vinaigrette to the salad ingredients and mix. Place the salad in the middle of the scallops. Garnish the plate with remaining bacon, apples and pomegranate.
A strong flavor of spice and pumpkin with a subtle caramel finish was the deciding factor for this beer bread. ( Yes and also the cool label and the fact that it has been bewitched and brewed with Pagan spirit.) This is a slightly dense bread with a great crumb. Adding cajeta compliments the beer while not much more spice is added because of the imperial ale. Try this quick bread this season with a light spread of maple walnut butter.
8 oz Pumking Imperial Ale
1 ½ Cup Flour
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
½ Cup Brown Sugar
1 tbsp Baking Powder
½ tsp Baking Soda
½ tsp Kosher Salt
¼ Cup Melted Unsalted Butter
15oz Canned Pumpkin
2 Tbsp Cajeta
¼ tsp Cinnamon
¼ tsp Ground Ginger
⅛ tsp Nutmeg
⅛ tsp Allspice
1 Large Egg
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix all dry ingredients together and sift.
3 Mix all wet ingredients together.
4. Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet mixture and whisk together.
5. Add mixture to a greased bread pan and bake for 40- 50 minutes
It's not everyday that you hear about a hard cider that is fermented and aged for four months in bourbon and rye barrels like Fatty Bampkins Maine Hard Cider, so it had to be tried. This 22 oz bottle was brought out and tasted with a group of friends so it was exciting to hear the different interpretations and impressions, especially considering no one had any information on this cider before we poured.
Out comes the cider with a moderate amount of fizz and bubbles that quickly calm at the top, the liquid with a rich clear golden tone. As you lift the glass you can tell this cider had a sharper smell, making multiple people think of green apples. At first sip you notice a green apple taste (maybe Granny Smith?) but tempered with a soft caramelization, as if they were briefly sauteed. The overwhelming comment from peole was that it reminded them of the buttery taste that people say many chardonnay wines have. Also, several people mentioned that they felt it had a slight woody tone that made them think of a barrel aged beer. Lo and behold, a little research confirmed our thoughts. This buttery cider pairs really well with BBQ, both chicken and pork (we were snacking on both!) and seems like it would hold up to most pork dishes in particular - light but with a little bit of weight to hold up to the flavors of the meat.
If you love a rich cider and buttery chardonnays, I think you've found your dream drink.
Let me start by saying that when I heard people talk about beer cocktails for the first time I dismissed the idea. At some point along the line we've all probably had a boiler maker or a sake bomb; I'm sad to say now that I allowed those drinks to cloud my judgement. Looking back it was the same type of thinking that makes people say "I don't like beer," when what they actually didn't like was the one crappy light beer they tried. While at Park for a friend's birthday party I began perusing the menu looking for a drink. I looked over the beer menu, which had no shortage of great craft beer offerings, and moved on to the cocktails section. Suddenly one drink caught my eye, the Tom Terrific. Aside from craft beer I'm a huge fan of good gin; this cocktail combined Old Tom Gin, lemon juice, cherry heering, simple and...wait what's that...IPA. All the ideas about beer cocktails not working left my head, I placed the order and since I'm writing this article I think you can guess what happened next. I loved it. The beer added an amazing bitterness to the drink while adding just a bit of fizz to brighten things up.
Fast forward a month or two and I was back at Park. I'd since become a huge fan of pretty much everything they do but, on this particular night, I was on a bit of a mission. I heard from Chris Lohring, the owner/brewer of Notch Brewing, that there was a bit of a secret beer cocktail menu. I sat at the bar with my friend Brian and asked our bartender if there were any more beer cocktails. The short but all important answer I got was simply, "Lots...what do you like?" A number of incredibly tasty cocktails later I knew we had to let more people know about this. A couple weeks later we went back before hours and met up with Chris Olds (pictured below), the bar manager at Park, who put together five amazing beer cocktails. Not only that, but he was kind enough to share the recipes with us so that we could share them with all of you. At this point we'd recommend you do three things:
- Read the rest of this article
- Go to Park if you live near Cambridge, MA and order one or many of these awesome off-menu craft beer cocktails. Be sure to order them by name.
- Make some of these at home and come up with some of you own. Embrace the awesomeness that is craft beer cocktails.
Now without further ado, on to the good stuff!
1 1/2 oz Hayman's Old Tom Gin
1/2 oz Simply Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
Slumbrew Flagraiser IPA
Shake all the ingredients excluding Slumbrew IPA with ice. Then, strain and pour over cubed ice in a highball glass. Top with beer.
As mentioned, this is the one that got it all started for us and got the craft beer cocktail program going for Park as well. Hops, gin and lemon...how could it possibly go wrong? The beer lends an awesome bitterness, especially given how little IPA is actually used. The cherry really rounds and smooths the whole thing out, as the gin and hops together might be a little sharp alone. It's not medicinal or cloying, but just a light, fruity flavor. The cherry works so well because of the carbonation from the beer; without it the drink may have been a little thick but those bubbles open it right up.
If you're not local and want make your own, just substitute any big, hoppy IPA and either an English gin or your local craft gin.
Victory at Sea
1 1/2 oz Privateer Rum
3/4 oz Lime Juice
Dash Lemon Bitters
3/4 oz Demerara (Simple syrup made with sugar in the raw)
Notch Brewing Saison
Shake all the ingredients excluding Notch Saison with ice. Then, strain and pour over cubed ice in a highball glass. Top with beer.
You'd think a drink with dark rum would be on the more warming end of the spectrum but, thanks to the citrus and saison, it's a bright and refreshing cocktail. Both the rum and beer are made in Ipswich, a coastal town on the North Shore of Massachusetts, and this is a great way to showcase some amazing local ingredients. The lemon is the first thing that hits you like a ray of sunshine in this below ground bar. While it's quite refreshing, like we mentioned above, the rum adds a wonderful smooth sweetness. This is a well rounded cocktail that will quiet any anti-beer cocktail folks.
If you're not local and want make your own, just substitute any lower alcohol saison and your local barrel aged craft rum.
1.5 oz Berkshire Distilling Ethereal Gin
3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Aperol
1/2 oz St. Germain
High & Mighty Beer of the Gods
Shake all the ingredients excluding High & Mighty Beer of the Gods with ice. Then, strain and pour into a champagne glass. Top with beer.
This cocktail is a little sweet upfront but there's a good balancing bitterness in the finish. The acidity from the grapefruit juice is toned down by the gin and beer, but provides a very important bright note to the drink. There's a bit of fruit and flower up front, which makes this drink especially refreshing. This is one we kept coming back to again and again.
If you're not local and want make your own, just substitute any hoppy blond ale and your local craft gin...although Berkshire Distilling Ethereal Gin is a bit of a creative take on gin, so let us know how yours turns out.
1.5 oz A.H. Hirsch Small Batch Reserve Bourbon Whiskey
3/4 oz King's Ginger Liquor
Dash Jerry Thomas Bitters
Jack's Abby Smoke & Dagger
Shake all the ingredients excluding Jack's Abby Smoke & Dagger with ice. Then, strain and pour into a champagne saucer. Top with beer.
First off, if you like bourbon then you'll like this drink...and we love bourbon! The beer adds a great smokiness and a little roast. This concoction is a cocktail first by far, not just a beer drink! Between the beer and spirit, it's a little sweet but far from unbalanced. At the end, the ginger comes through and makes the drink complete. Up until now, these drinks were bright but this is a drink to smooth out the evening and warm yourself in cold or hot weather.
If you're not local and want make your own, just substitute a smoky, dark lager (or clean ale) and some great bourbon.
1 oz Liqueur Cassis
Portico Brewing Fuzzy Logic
Pour the Cassis into a champagne flute, then top with beer.
As Chris put it, "it's tough when every cocktail is, like, 75 ingredients." And sometimes simple is good! Start with a delicious base beer and add just a little bit of fruitiness from the Liqueur Cassis and you've got yourself a drink. The light Belgian esters of the Fuzzy Logic work great with the fruitiness, reduced by the addition of beer. If the Dabney Coleman is a cocktail first, the Tarantino is a beer drink first and that's just fine by us. Something like this shows us just how diverse this area can be!
If you're not local and want make your own, just find a local kölsch...you'll need this liqueur, but hopefully you can find it. That said, Portico uses a Belgian yeast strain in their kölsch, so yours will be a little different. But we're sure it'll still be tasty!
Now, let us know your favorite craft beer cocktails! Use the comments section below to tell us what concoctions you've enjoyed.