Fall beer season isn’t over. Remember – fall really isn’t over until Thanksgiving is over. So pack up the winter decorations, don’t you DARE say the “C word” or anything related to peppermints, candy canes, or mistletoe. Now, open your mind to even more fall beers! We looked at Anchor Big Leaf Maple last year and enjoyed the taste of a balanced sweetness of malts and spices.This year, we’ll give you the handy tasting profile, but we also have some suggested pairings and FALL concoctions made of the Big Leaf Maple. As always, the tasting notes:
Appearance: Copper, but lighter than last years – more translucent but still with a red hue.
Aroma: Sweet scent with slight hints of maple and caramel. A bit of a floral scent follows (mostly from the hops combination during the boil and dry hopping).
Taste: Malty with caramel undertones (maybe a little maple syrup flavor too), followed by spices and the slight bitterness of the hops.
Mouthfeel: A dry, crisp brew at the finish.
Overall: Definitely a warming brew, but without the strong alcohol flavor. Sat out on my porch on a cool evening for this drink and enjoyed it. The Big Leaf Maple fits the fall season and is a satisfying drink. It has good balance if you aren’t up for the sweetness of most Oktoberfests and Pumpkin brews. I also appreciated the hops that came through the beer. Still a refreshing brew – and pretty much sticks with the same flavors as last year’s vintage.
Another fall evening, another delicious salad for us all to enjoy. This one has plenty of sweetness – cranberries, pears, pecans, slightly caramelized brussels – but the saltiness of the bacon evens everything back out. This salad works especially well as a chop, so don’t be afraid to dice everything pretty small!
Sweet & Salty Autumn Chopped Salad
We’re always looking for new ways to play with our avocado, and here’s a take that we haven’t seen yet, even in our extensive ES guac-a-wanderings.
At New York’s excellent Mexicue, they make a guacamole with grilled serrano peppers, bringing a slow, deep heat that plays perfectly off of a fresh avo. Here’s the not-at-all-complicated recipe.
Grilled Serrano Guacamole
1 Serrano pepper, halved and seeded (use 2 for heavier heat)
4 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice (plus more to taste)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more to taste)
½ teaspoon chipotle powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cumin
½ cup finely chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1. Place Serrano pepper over high heat either on a grill or gass stovetop. Flip with tongs until both sides are slightly charred and it is soft. Cool and roughly chop.
2. In a large bowl add the pepper and remaining ingredients and use a potato masher to mash all ingredients together.
3. Taste for additional salt and lime juice.
On a recent visit back to my hometown of Seattle, my friends and I were in a dire hangover situation. We needed greasy goodness but after a night of questionable “dining” choices (midnight quesadillas and – dare I admit it? Domino’s pizza) we also wanted something that was actually well-made and worth our time. No ordinary diner breakfast would do.
Luckily pub/restaurant Lot No. 3 had us covered. This is their grilled cheese (made with Beecher’s – some of the best cheese ever, also Seattle-based) with three important additions: a runny fried egg, caramelized onions, and BACON. But not just any bacon. House candied bacon. Be still my heart (literally, I think I had a mini heart attack while devouring this, but it was worth it). Plus, it doesn’t come with some bullshit salad on the side or whatever. It comes with a miniature bowl of tomato soup. TOMATO SOUP! What else could you possibly need when you’re hungo and hangry?!
While it’s clear we that love craft beer here at ES, we do not play favorites. Which is why we took advantage of an opportunity to attend a four-course wine pairing dinner at Emeril’s Chophouse at Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA. The event was based on South American Wines (from Chile) and some fall-themed foods. My expectations for this event were pretty simple – learn more about wine (how it’s made, how to choose a wine for particular meals, what’s so special about Chilean wine?), have some great food that I couldn’t have otherwise, and taste wine that truly complements the food I’m eating with the wine. Rather than boring you with my oh-so-important and attention-worthy opinions of every course, I’ll give you the cliff notes version.
First, let’s talk about my educational expectations. Whenever I go to these kinds of events, I want to leave knowing more than I did when I first arrived. The woman in charge of the “educational” aspect of the event was a very well-versed representative from Southern Wine. She did a great job of explaining why she chose Chilean Wines for this event (it is under-represented and often under-rated) and giving a good run-down of the people that made the wine. Something that I appreciated was learning about what the winemakers intended for the wine, what kind of grapes they picked, and why they picked a particular region. For instance, when drinking my favorite wine of the night (Ritual Pinot Noir) I learned that the grapes are pressed with the berries still in a bunch. When this occurs, more pronounced tanin flavors come through in the wine (which is something that I look for in a dry red). The one thing that was missing from the education aspect of the event was that she really did not discuss why she chose the particular wine for each course. Like I said – she gave great information about the wines, but not as much about why the wine was chosen for the courses. continue reading…
If you ask me, October 15 means it’s officially time to start thinking about pumpkin, pumpkin everything…especially in our drinks.
Here’s an autumn cocktail for you that takes its pumpkin seriously, mixing a hearty spoonful of P up with some rum, honey, OJ and bitters for a seriously soothing fall drink.
2oz Privateer Silver Rum
1oz Orange Juice
1 Spoonful Pumpkin Puree
1 Dash Angostura Bitters
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and give a shake. Serve on the rocks, garnish with grated cinnamon (optional).
Who doesn’t like cheese? Where I used to work, we determined that chocolate and cheese are the only foods that could really go with just about anything. Including each other. Go ahead – try to say otherwise. Add in the fall mood of us good-hearted folks, and my fiance and I decided to try out a twist on The Chew’s acorn squash fondue. We’re both trying to watch what we eat, so we tried to modify it to a “light” version. I was skeptical of whether or not you would taste the squash in the fondue, but the flavor is there, adding a slightly sweet and buttery flavor to the creamy cheese.
As we were picking our acorn squash at the farm, we looked up “how to pick an acorn squash.” While things like bananas, tomatoes, and most other produce have specific ways of showing they are ripe and ready, acorn squash isn’t as easy. So here’s the scoop – you need to find an acorn squash that is “heavy for its size.” Then, you want to find one that also has a balance of orange and green color. So there you have it – now you know you’ll have the perfect acorn squash. For our fondue at least, we followed the guidelines and the squash came out well.
The recipe is pretty simple. You’ll need to pick a balance of cheeses that you enjoy. The Chew recommends using Mascarpone cheese in the mix to add texture. I don’t think it was needed, but she did enjoy it so it’s really up to you. We picked a blend of Swiss and Smoked Gouda (since that’s what we had) and it turned out well. Dippers are up to you – we limited our bread intake, but that is the clear front runner. We also had radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, and apples. My favorite dipper was the apples.
Acorn Squash Fondue