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  • Happy Thanksgiving (time to get the beer and turkey together).

    The (Thanksgiving) holidays are upon us, and there is no pair quite like turkey and beer (Frambozen, specifically). But it's so much more than that. I also like pairing beer with giving thanks to all the awesome people and experiences in my life. I like pairing beer with soft pretzel stuffing. I like pairing beer with more beer and heated discussions on the cost/benefit analysis of building a giant pirate ship in the empty lot next to my house. 

    This is the greatest holiday of all time, please enjoy it. And, from all of us, to all of you... Happy Thanksgiving.

    Next, you're going to ask "Did this guy stuff Fat Tire into his turkey? And why isn't he wearing a shirt? Is that sanitary?" And the answers are "yes," "I'm not sure," and "probably not."

    Again, happy Thanksgiving everybody. Remember to bring out some nice beers and share them with your friends and family, and remember to call the family and friends that you don't get to see on Thursday (and tell them that you love them), and remember to make soft pretzel stuffing (seriously, it's the best).

    Talk to you next week!


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  • Beer and food, you should make this for dinner!

    I went camping the other night, some friends, some bikes, some beer, and some delicious soup. It was a touch towards the fall-in-Colorado side of the weather, a bit cold, no need for puffy coats, but we weren't wearing flip-flops either. The first perfect soup night pf the year, and my pal Lance came through. It was full of veggies and beans and sweet potatoes. I enjoyed this soup to such a degree that a mere five nights later I recreated it at home (to the best of my available memory/culinary skill). Then I paired it with Ranger IPA (and even put some in the soup)... It was a perfect match, let me give you the recipe/directions and you can go home tonight and make it for dinner.

    I went with things that I had in the house (luckily it's what I needed for the soup), some celery, carrots, onions, garlic, a standard mirepoix, with garlic (for those keeping track of my French cooking (language) cred). I sautéed them up in a little olive oil until the onions were translucent, then I added the sweet potatoes, some chopped fresh oregano and salt and pepper. I sautéed it a bit longer, then added the Ranger IPA, a whole can. It stewed up for about 30 minutes, and then I added wild rice and some more veggie stock to cook said rice. As the rice started to soften up, I put in a can of northern white beans and a can of kidney beans (drained, rinsed), some crushed red pepper and dried basil. I let it cook for about an hour. The soup really started to thicken up and get stew-y, so I knew it was about ready. Before I put it in a bowl, I toasted up some pine nuts, got the parmesan shredded, and chopped a bit more fresh oregano, all for toppers. I ladled up a serving into a bowl, dropped the oregano, parm and pine nuts to the top, and then cracked a fresh can of Ranger IPA for pairing. Marvelous.

    This pair was great, the soup had a subtle spice from the red pepper and garlic, and the hops brought it out even more. It was a complimentary kind of thing, just perfect. The soup was also pretty rich, and the Ranger's dry finish has a palate cleansing quality, it wiped my tongue clean, post food-in-teeth-mashing. The Ranger has a touch of sweetness too. It's the malt coming to life, and the sweet potatoes favored that aspect of the beer, also very complimentary. This was a really a well rounded pair. The only thing missing was a nice, crusty bread. But I didn't have time to hit the store. Next time ( Probably tomorrow, there's about eight pounds of left-overs).. 

    There it is, an idea for dinner. And you should make this soup tonight, because it's awesome. Thanks to Lance for the details/inspiration. 

    And PS, without the cheese this is very vegan (you know, if you eat that way...).

    Until next time,


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  • I put a can of Fat Tire into that Chicken's can!

    Food and beer pairings are bigger than grizzly bears right now (but not nearly as cute (or ferocious)). The reason beer and food are coming together is they really make the perfect fit; the perfect, two part meal. The huge variety of both beer and food can unite to make the right two choices sing sweet, sweet Motown right in your mouth. The other great thing about beer and food is that you can use one to aid in the cooking of the other. Throw some Trippel in your green chili, or 1554 in your gravy, get creative, go with what feels right. And last night it felt right to stick a can of Fat Tire into a chicken's butt, and then cook it.

    We have all heard of beer can chicken, right? The general idea is that you take a can of beer, drink half of it, and then stick the half-full can right up the backside of a whole, roasting chicken. Then you stand the whole dinner-tower (chicken and beer can) upright and roast it in your oven, or on your grill (whichever fits the tall, and very top-heavy meal-time obelisk). Light lagers work really well for this dish, the easy hopping and well-mannered malty flavors transfer pleasantly to the chicken. In New Belgium's portfolio I would point to Shift Beer as the clear choice for beer can chicken. But this night I wanted something else from the beer. I wanted a stiffer sweetness, and some carmel-y tones for my chicken, and those things could only come from a Fat Tire. So I choose Fat Tire. And I went with a 16oz can because it was more upfront beer drinking for me, and the longer can would stabilize the chicken a little better. I only have a post-roast picture to show, as the pre-roast pictures looked kind of gross. 

    Let me walk you through the prep and cooking of this wonderful dinner. First crack the beer and start sipping. In a bowl make your dry rub. I went black pepper, salt, red pepper flakes, oregano, and cumin (in descending order of pinch sizes). Rinse your chicken, inside and out, with cold water and then pat dry. Take a few more sips of your beer and then rub your spices all over that chicken, again, inside and out. Have the oven pre-heating to 350º. In cooking a beer can chicken you can use your oven, or you BBQ grill, depending on the vertical space, and seeing as I have the world's smallest BBQ, I went with the oven, and it was pre-heating to 350º. Get out a glass roasting dish, 13x9. At this point your beer should be about half way finished, so poke 4 more holes in the top with a church key for more ventilation and flavor transforming. Take the last of your dry rub and dump it into the half full can of beer (more flavor!). Take the spiced up chicken, turn it upright and cram that beer can up its butt. Then carefully set the chicken tower on the 13x9 and put the whole thing into the warm oven. 1 hour and 30 minutes later pull the chicken out and let it rest (this time frame worked for the size of my Colorado chicken, it might not work for yours. Make sure to cook the chicken until it is done at 165º internal temp). Using caution, tongs and a gorilla-like grip remove the chicken from the Fat Tire can. Cut it up and plate. Viola, beer can chicken!

    I made roasted jalapeño and cheddar mashed potatoes with a basic green salad for accompaniment. You should make whatever sides you deem appropriate.

    And then, all plated up, what beer could pair with this lovely dinner. Fat Tire would be a good (even great) choice. We used it in the cooking and the flavors are already roasted into the chicken. But is it too obvious? I thought it was, so I went with Sunshine Wheat. There was a gentle heat to the meal, from the pepper flakes on the chicken and the jalapeño potatoes. The Sunshine complemented that heat. And the sweetness of the beer did wonders to the rich, carmel-i-ness of the Fat Tired chicken. I also poured my Sunshine into sweet, vintage Hamm's glasses to class things up (see photo). This was the greatest dinner I have had all week and I would implore you to try this at home.

    Beer can chicken is a fair bit of work, but the fruits of your labor will be enjoyed. Go forth and create wonderful food. 



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  • Beer and chocolate anyone? A pairing for Valentine's Day

    Valentine's Day is a pretty big deal around the ol' beer factory. It always reminds us of love and love is the number one ingredient in the beer we make, it is our thing, our goal. So, Happy Valentine's Day to you all, and remember to do something nice for your sweetie today. Maybe a candlelit dinner, some flowers.... Ooo, or maybe a beer and chocolate pairing served on a rose-petal-covered table, completely lit by candles of the romantic and aromatic variety! Yep, that's what you should do.

    Alright, but Valentine's Day is today so if we want to pull this off we will have to get started now. Here is a shopping list of the important stuff-



    Perfect, but when you get to the stores you have to consider what beer and chocolate will go together well. So today I am going to take a few of our newest and best Lips of Faith beers and pair them with some easily found chocolates from Chocolove and Viola'! The Valentine's Day of your dreams is just one quick trip to the store away.

    A quick word on ChocoLove. They are a wonderful, Boulder based chocolate company that makes treats of the highest class and best assortment, and their chocolate bars are available at Whole Foods (as well as other places (but nationally, at Whole Foods)). The quality and variety of their chocolate is why I figured them into these pairing. Also, the word love is right there, it's as if this stuff was made for Valentine's Day beer pairings. So let's get to the skating...

    First Beer and Chocolate Pairing: La Folie and ChocoLove's Strong Dark Chocolate, 70% cocoa

    The really bold cocoa content of this chocolate will give the La Folie something to cut through. Both sides of this pairing are big and a bit electrifying, but in two completely different ways. I think the sour of the La Folie will act as a cleanser to your palate and cut through the richness left on your tongue from the dark chocolate. A contrasting pair to win the heart of your Valentine.

    Second Beer and Chocolate Pairing: Biere de Mars and ChocoLove's Orange Peel in Dark Chocolate, 55% cocoa

    The orange peel in the chocolate is complimentary to the citrus peel in the Biere de Mars, as well as the overall fruity tone to the beer. Most of the citrus/fruity tone comes from the lemon peel and lemon verbena, but the pineapple sweetness in Biere de Mars comes from the wonderful and wild yeast- brettanomyces. This tropical, citrus punch would pair perfectly with the orange hinted chocolate. Trust me on this one folks, I am a professional.

    Third Beer and Chocolate Pairing: Cocoa Molé and ChocoLove's Chili's and Cherries in Dark Chocolate, 55% cocoa

    I am most excited about this one. The pair is obvious because of the chili's? right, Yes, but the cherries too. These little bits of tree-fruit-heaven will fall elegantly in line with the cocoa and cinnamon in the Cocoa Molé. Not to mention the cocoa/cocoa pair of the beer and chocolate. This could be the world's first perfect pair, it is sure to blow the mind of the lucky person you share it with.

    Alright, you are now armed with the tools to make this the best Valentine's Day ever, get out there get some chocolate and beer  and love on your sweetie (or find yourself a new sweetie)!



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  • Beer, Food... Together

    Lately, dinner around Juicebox Acres has been an exercise in classy dining with winter season vegetables. Squash, beets, chard, etc, and I have also been very into big, hoppy beers since the weather has turned here in Colorado a couple weeks ago, it's cold and dark outside and some very nice food pairings have been blossoming in my kitchen.

    Dinner from Monday night: a red chard, bacon and rice goulash (thank you Rachael Ray (she calls it Red Chard and Rice (and she also calls it a side dish, we went main course and put our own spin on it with beer and brown rice))).


    Yep, I know goulash is typically a noodle dish but I had no better way to describe this and I didn't like Red Chard and Rice. We fried up five or six slices of bacon that had been cut up into "bits". A few minutes of browning happened and then we threw in some garlic and let that cook up too.  Then comes the chard, 1 bunch, stemmed, rough chopped, dropped into the pan. As the chard is carrying on, take this time to spice the whole deal with a little nutmeg, salt, pepper and paprika (of the Hungarian variety (another reason to call it goulash)). Let this cook until the chard has a chance to wilt and heat through. Before starting the bacon we steamed up some brown rice and put it to the side. Now that the chard and bacon and everything is cooked, throw the done rice in, add some chicken stock and a little hoppy beer just to wet everything down and let it simmer for a little while.  Once the liquid is all soaked up put it in a bowl that also contains a fork and crack a Fresh Hop IPA. The bursting citrus of the hops in the beer go well with the savory nature of this dish. While not the spiciest dinner (typical IPA pairing is with spicy food), the richness of the bacon and chard use the hop oils to their advantage and the bitterness of the beer compliments the earthy nature of the chard. A major dinner success.

    Then we have last nights dinner: butternut and beet soup with a yogurt and cilantro sauce-like-topper.

    We took this recipe from food blogger extraordinaire Foy in her regularly updated- Foy Update. I would normally take this time to explain how we cooked the dish but Foy does that task so well I better leave it to her, so follow the link above and take in her wonderful descriptions and pictures. I will, however, take this time to talk about the Ranger IPA pairing that we served with it. This soup is a bit sweet and a bit spicy. The yogurt sauce has Siracha in it and the beet and ginger in the base soup make for a wonderful juxtaposition of toothsome and hot. This two part flavor plays right into the hands of Ranger IPA. The bitterness in match with the citrus and maltiness of this beer offer the fun two parter as well. The hops play with the spice and the malt plays with the sweet. The citrus flavors compliment the ginger and the lingering slickness of the soup is cut through by the dryness of the Ranger.  Really, a great pair. You should try it (and you should read the Foy Update more regularly, maybe my favorite food blog).

    These hoppy beers and these late harvest veggies are making for a great dinner-time-hours and eating and drinking (at least close) to seasonally is a wonderful challenge. I never thought I liked chard, turns out I do (especially with bacon).


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  • Bend, Oregon, it has beer and fun and stuff...

    I spent the recent Thanksgiving holiday in the great Pacific Northwest of the United States of America (Bend, Oregon (specifically)) and it was super fun.  I have some family up there, a brother, sister-in-law and their lovely and obedient child.  My wife and (equally as cheerful) child accompanied me up there and when all was said and done my parents also graced us with an appearance.  Family gatherings are the bees knees, there are hugs and kisses and big meals, reminiscing about the good ol' days, hilarious and kind of mean jokes about the clothes that we all used to wear in the 1990's and free baby-sitting.  This last one is pretty special because it is about the clearest win/win of all time.  The grandparents want to spend as much time as possible with the little ones and the parents are looking to have some laughs and time away from their loved (but ever-present) children. 

    Wednesday afternoon was the perfect escape.  The grandparents were primed for some babysitting and the parents loaded up and headed into town to explore some of the local craft beer offerings.  Bend is known for beer, there are something like 12 breweries in town varying in size from pretty big to really small.  There were 4 of us and reaching a tap-room consensus was close to impossible, but with the help of some rock-paper-scissors and one round of spirited thumb wrestling we settled on Bend Brewing and 10 Barrel Brewing Company.  A short list indeed, but the baby-sitting time was limited and the sister-in-law performing the designated driver duties was also performing dinner cooking duties and still needed to do some shopping and roasting and chopping and such. 

    First stop 10 Barrel.  When we got there I was taken aback by how busy it was.  It was 11:15am on a Wednesday.  They do serve food and it was a holiday week, but wow, there were a lot of people in there (very good sign).  We ordered a sampler, 10 beers organized on an arching stainless steel tray that suspended the beers off the table top, giving the beverages a very modern feel, so I used an old-timey camera app on my phone for a great juxtaposition.  The tray came with every beer that was on tap that day minus the cask conditioned Big Black Stout (which I ordered separately).  They were all pretty tasty but the Sasquatch Session was great.  Hoppy but not overly so, just bitter enough to be quenching and a good sweetish, malt backbone for balance.  But I do have to say upon my first sip I didn't like this beer.  After I put it down that first time I figured I would just concentrate on the rest of the beers, but a few minutes (like 10) later I went back to it by accident, I thought I was grabbing the IPA but took the Sasquatch by mistake.  In that 10 minutes this beer opened up.  Maybe it was the warmth it took on, giving it time to breathe, whatever, that beer started to sing a little louder.  This beer turned from a side note to a symphony and I am glad I went back, even if I meant to grab something else.  The malt was more pronounced and struck a better balance with the hops.  The bitter profile was still present but after warming the Sasquatch became more of a two sided beer.  And I love the low alcohol, session beers, it's written into my genetic code.  So when a craft brewery makes an approachable, low octane beer my heart rejoices, nice work 10 Barrel, Sasquatch is a winner.  Some other highlights from the tray were the Pumpkin, the Red and the non-cask Stout, wonderful beers.  After working our way through the tasters and noticing that soft pretzels were not on the menu (that otherwise looked delicious) we moseyed towards the door with Bend Brewing Company on the mind.

    We walked in the door and were immediately hugged by the greatness that is the Bend Brewing Company.  This has been a favorite place of mine since I first went to Bend in 1999, way back when I was not much into beer, but the friendly nature of the staff as well as the wonderful libations have always kept BBC close to my heart and here and now, in 2011, their spot (in my heart) is growing.  Again we ordered the taster tray.  All the beers came on a branded tray marked with a spot for each beer.  Along side the full time offerings were a few seasonal and special release beers, the two that caught my eye right away were Sexi Mexi and Ching Ching.  Sexi Mexi was inspired by Mexican spiced chocolate and carries the sweet/spice of a deep and rich mole' sauce.  Drinking this beer was a deep and warming experience.  Sexi Mexi is strong and bold and if I ever encounter it again I will have a full glass, it was very good. Ching Ching was also sitting on the tray begging to be tried.  I missed this beer at GABF and I am really kicking myself for not trying it there, Ching Ching took home a bronze medal in the American-style Sour category in 2011 and that is a category special to all New Belgium co-workers (think Le Terroir).  Ching Ching is a tart Berlinerweisse spiced with hibiscus and pomegranate.  Looking at the taster glass on the tray Ching Ching looks like pink champagne, very light in color, vaguely turbid, bubbly but little head to speak of.  I sipped this beer and was blown away.  It was markedly sour with a punchy and crisp flavor, the pomegranate jumped out to sweeten the tongue and fine bubbles of carbonation tickled the back of my nose.  It finished dry and clean and really made me want more (and more) Ching Ching, so I bought a bottle that will make an appearance at the next classy bottle party that requires my attendance (send me an invite).  We also sampled some food at BBC.  Alas, they didn't have soft pretzels either but at this point we were to hungry to be picky, fries with mustard and some dip of the spinach/artichoke variety was consumed and I relaxed with a big glass of Outback (which is an Old Ale and a very good beer) for the pairing.  After plates were cleared and beers were finished we headed towards home, happy, satisfied and ready to relieve the baby-sitters.

    This trip to Bend was a great one and if you ever find yourself there drink some beer, you will not regret it (at all).


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  • Prickly Passion Saison, some history (and some drinking)

    Onward and upward my friends, it's time to talk Saisons.  French for season, Saisons were originally brewed in Wallonia, the southern (and French-speaking) region of Belgium.  These beers were brewed during the autumn/winter in the farmhouses and stored over, aged past the spring, until the migrant pickers showed back up for the next, late summer harvest.  At the end of the previous season's harvest, whatever was grown, be it barley, wheat, etc... that stuff was gleaned from the fields thrown into a mash tun, once boiled off, the yeast of the day would take over. This was way back in the olden days when the water wasn't safe to drink, so the land owners would offer Saisons to the pickers to keep them healthy and invigorated for the harvest.  It is said (on Wikipedia (un-cited, naturally)) that the pickers were entitled to 5 liters of beer per workday to fend off dehydration and fatigue as well as to pack on some much needed calories.  Saisons were originally brewed to be in the low single digits of ABV (like 3%-ish) so no one would be stumbling around the fields looking for their sickle, but strong enough that a hearty smile could be seen on every picker's face.  These beers were different from farm to farm, farmhouse to farmhouse.  Phil Markowski (in Garrett Oliver's The Oxford Companion to Beer) says these beer makers were farmers, not brewers so "the fact that they were not sold commercially is reason to believe that these Saisons were probably made with little mind too repeatability"(711).  The traditional malt bill and hop profile of Ye Ol' Saisons can be seen in this vein too, Phil goes on to state "with the unpredictability of the growing season and the practice of crop rotation it is probable that these brews were made with varying amounts of different grains such as barley, wheat, rye, and spelt.  In years hops were scarce, herbs and spices were likely substituted"(711).  Although the total flavor package of classic Saisons is a little unknown, one thing that is widely assumed is that a delicate, funk (bordering sour) was likely present, and this flavor profile is what has carried Saisons over into the modern brewing age.

    Like sands through the hour glass so is the history of Saisons.  That low digit ABV has climbed steadily, most breweries that offer a Saison these days are living in the 5% to 9% ABV range, as no pickers need to stay sober for the harvest (the Farmhouse Grisette, a sessionable Saison from Breakside Brewery in Portland, OR is a lower ABV and excellent exception (thank you boys, that is a special and delicious beer)).  Complete with Saison dedicated breweries (like Fort Collins own Funkwerks) the current day in American Craft beer is chocked very full of these lovely farmhouse ales.  Here at New Belgium we made our first Saison back in the middle 90's and have made more than one other over the ensuing years, which brings us to the latest edition of the New Belgium Lips of Faith family, Prickly Passion Saison

    As the name suggests this beer is spiced with prickly pear and passion fruit and has been top-fermented with our house Saison yeast.  The fruit is present, some sweet-tanginess is prevalent in the nose while the tongue is rich and earthy.  The malts in the beer stand up to hug the spicing and the overall profile is one to be savored.  Glowing amber in color and not really any hops to speak of, but at 8.5% ABV this Saison is not to be trifled with, the heat from the alcohol warms the belly and the funk warms the soul.  The Saison yeast gives the beer a (not very) subtle punch to the underbelly of sour.  While not a sour, the funk of Prickly Passion Saison is strong enough to be reminiscent of wild beers.  Sip-able and strong, full and rich, Prickly Passion Saison is paired best with a bold cheese or maybe, a fully marbled cut of meat.  22oz bombers only and going fast

    As always the availability of this beer will be short lived (like all Lips of Faith), but the distribution should be wide enough through our markets for you to find some, and it is on the shelves now.  Check the Libation Locator for more details (sorry Texas, the Locator doesn't work in the Lone Star State (we didn't want to mess with Texas)).

    On that note, I'm going home.


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  • Who Wants a Beer Cocktail?

    My love of Blue Paddle and orange juice is widely known.  I have written about it a few times and even produced the most loved recipe (see link).  I would like to take today and show off some other beer cocktails that are close to my heart and taste good on my tongue.   These drinks are good and the mixer procurement should be pretty easy, so if something strikes your fancy- mix away (but make sure to send me the royalties check).  I also added some pairing ideas to ice the cake (if you know what I mean).

    Drink one: The Depth Charge- 10oz of 1554 mixed with two shots of warm espresso.  The warmth of the coffee thaws the cold beer to just the right slightly-lower-than-room temperature kind of temperature to bring out all of the rich dark tones of the 1554.  I recommend this beer in the AM hours as an eye opener, the caffeine is definitely present and the acidity of the coffee brings a pleasant bitterness to this not so bitter dark beer.  Pair with pancakes and maple syrup.

    Drink two: The Brass Shandy- 12oz of Ranger IPA mixed with 4oz of your favorite mango/lime juice (I chose Odwalla Mango Lime Twist).  This cocktail was great for the hoppy beer drinker.  It was bitter and awesome.  The Cascade hops leapt off the nose and the taste was a spicy-citrus punch of bitter and lime.  The lime enhances the bitterness to big levels and the overall grapefruit-ed-ness of the Ranger was sent rolling in the hay with the soft fruit tones of the mango.  Pair with tofu pad-Thai, extra spicy.

    Drink three: The Frenchie- 3oz of La Folie mixed with 1oz of pomegranate juice.  HOLY SMOKES!  This is amazing! The sweetness of the juice mellows the sour of the wood aged La Folie and makes it taste almost like a fruit beer (which I guess it is with fruit juice in it).  The sour, when mixed with the strong, sacchariferous juice turns into the sharp blade of the beer rather than the broad edge.  This has dessert written all over it.  Pair with vanilla ice cream with strawberries placed atop. 

    Drink four: The Sunshine Spritz- 12oz of Sunshine Wheat mixed with 4oz of San Pellegrino's Limonata.  The Limonata on its own is almost to much for my palate.  It is a very spritzy lemon drink that registers very low on the sweet scale.  I like tart stuff a lot, but this drink is cranked to 11.  However, when you pour one part Limonata to 3 parts Sunshine Wheat the tartness of the lemon is called to a background role and the sweetness of the lemon steps up front to hold hands and bow in time with the deafening applause of Sunshine's orange peel spice.  And the extra bubbliness of the San Pellegrino gives this beer cocktail a spritzer like feel that is down right refreshing.  Pair with a melon-heavy fruit salad.

    Drink five:  The Baby Blue- Blue Paddle served over ice in a globe glass.  The piece de resistence (so to speak) of beer cocktails.  This takes my all time favorite summer beer and makes it even summer-i-er.  Keeping the Blue Paddle cold and (eventually) lowering the ABV as it melts, the ice enhances this beer into the upper stratosphere of drinkability.  It is so simple and so perfect and you should absolutely try this at home.  Pair with a warm-to-hot day full of Lawn Darts and bar-b-qued meat (still on the bone).

    Beer cocktails are delicious and coming up strong in the press right now, everybody is concocting their own gems and I felt I could add to this spreading fire.  Hope this inspires you to get your mix on and try something new.



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  • An (almost) perfect pairing...

    A few months ago I mused about one of my favorite beer and food pairings, hot dogs with yellow mustard paired with Sunshine Wheat.  This pair has everything, complimentary flavors, ease of preparation and just enough of that low-brow shenanigan to have mass appeal.  I was in heaven then and I should be in heaven now because the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile just stopped by the brewery!  That's right, a giant hot dog driven by a real person pulled into the New Belgium parking lot.  Let's face it, I love anything that looks like food, but huge.  Just look at the really large pretzel necklace I wore to GABF in last week's post, or that gi-normous cherry on a gi-normous spoon in Minneapolis (pictured to your right with the Tour de Fat crew in 2009).  So when this gargantuan grandstander pulled into the lot I got gitty with glee (and alliteration).  I saw this as a perfect opportunity to launch the Sunshine Wheat/ hot dog pair into the internet stratosphere!  I went running (literally) to the Wienermobile.  Upon getting to the Wienermobile I realized that in my haste I had forgotten the Sunshine, so I went running back to the Brewery, inside I grabbed a sixer of SW and then went running again towards the fortuitous frankfurter. 

    Back at the giant hot dog I was told that normal sized hot dogs will not be made available.  With further questioning I was let in on the meanest joke of all time, the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile does not give away hot dogs.  In fact the Wienermobile is not even equipped to cook cylindrical sirloins for even the most rabid fan.  Downtrodden (and weighed down by the seemingly useless six pack of Sunshine Wheat), I hung my head and started to wonder if the perfect beer and food pairing would ever go viral.

    I decided, right there in the parking lot that I would not let this cruel joke sway me from trying.  I figured that maybe the giant wiener paired with a Sunshine six pack in photos would be enough.  So here is my attempt, in full go-ahead mode:

    Tonight, after work (or whatever you may find yourself doing in the pre-dinner hours) go to the grocery shop and purchase a ten pack of delicious Oscar Mayer Wieners and a dozen of your favorite hot dog buns (an aside, this is a link to an awesome post about the 10 pack of dogs versus the 12 pack of bun conundrum facing many tubed meat enthusiasts).  When you arrive home prepare your dogs in the method that suits you best.  I prefer the straight forward boiling water approach, but you may like the bar-b-que, or maybe even the microwave (warning: microwaving hot dogs may drain the nutritional value directly out of the dog and into the atmosphere (and you may want avoid that)).  Once cooked place the steaming hot dog into the pre-opened bun (toasted if you like). The next step is a very important one, mustard selection.  Some of you may prefer the fancy brown or spicy mustards (I like to call them boutique mustards) but let me caution you away from this choice.  It is in the best interest of the beer and food pairing to go with straight "yellow mustard" (of the French's variety).  Take the squeeze bottle of that French's Classic Yellow Mustard and drizzle three fine lines across the dog laden bun.  As your mustard is becoming more viscous on the hot meat and soaking further into the bun proceed to the refrigerator and extract one bottle of Sunshine Wheat.  Crack the beer and pour it into your favorite beer glass.  With the plated up dog and glassed up beer in hand mosey over to the table and mentally prepare yourself for the pairing of the century.

    As you take in the hot dog's first bite chew thoughtfully, take in the light spice of the mustard and the warm fragrance of the dog.  Notice how the bun playfully dries out the mouthfeel.  Right when that dryness of the bun is coming to a head and you still have a partial mouthful of masticated hot dog take a swig of that Sunshine.  Feel how the beer reinvigorates the bite, moistens it back to perfection.  The orange peel and coriander of the Sunshine start to wrap themselves around the mustard spice.  Finish chewing and then swallow, your mouth is awash with wonderment.  Take a minute now and lean back, enjoy the first interaction with the pair because the rest of that hot dog and beer will not take very long to finish.

    Now, I wish (in my heart of hearts) that the Wienermobile and I could have shared this together, but alas, it was almost a perfect pair.


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