Cocktail O’Clock: Apple Ginger Brew

Apple Ginger Brew

Has anyone else noticed that ginger shows up as an ingredient on every single cocktail list lately? Not that I’m complaining. It adds just the right mixture of sweetness and bite to any drink.

Here’s a perfect fall  that I can’t believe I haven’t thought of before — mixing ginger beer up with apple for a spicy-sweet autumn mix (and of course adding a l’il rum).

Apple Ginger Brew

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The Espresso Machine for Your Car: Handpresso Auto

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Mornings suck. What’s worse than waking up early in the morning last minute and realizing that you either didn’t set the coffee maker or don’t have time to make any? Stopping for some java on the way to work may run you the risk of arriving late, while going without it runs the risk of being a cranky curmudgeon. Well, what if I told you that instead, you could brew a nice jolt of caffeine right in your car? That’s right, Handpresso crafted an industrial-esque espresso machine that plugs into your 12-volt carjack and fits in your cup holder (with the power cord wrapped around the machine with a compartment even for the plug). Handpresso claims in 3 minutes, you can brew a fresh cup of espresso right in the comfort of your car. They sent us a machine to test and it’s my caffeinated pleasure to bring you the results.

The Handpresso Auto is designed in a way that looks like it was part of a jet engine and belongs in the newest sport version of your next Ferrari. It looks luxurious while also durable and easy to handle. I did not realize there were so many European languages until I got the manual for the machine, but luckily the device operates off of a few easy steps and you can follow along a numbered diagram. After plugging in the machine, you pour water into the reservoir until the last clear dot is darkened. Then, you place an E.S.E. Espresso pod on top of the spring-loaded platform and screw on the top of the machine. Next, simply press the power button and let it loudly work its pressurized magic. Once the machine beeps, you are free to invert the machine over your cup and press the coffee button. Once poured to your liking, press the “stop” button and enjoy.

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Endless Beer: Dogfish Head Beer Thousand

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10% ABV

Every beer has a story. Dogfish Head continues on with their music series to bring you Beer Thousand. This time, it is Guided by Voices’ turn. To celebrate the band’s 20th anniversary of their record BEE Thousand: the Beer Thousand. For Dogfish Head, the title is not just a clever play on words, but is also born of a delicious formula. This formula is: 10 grains, 10 hop varieties, and 10 ABV (10x10x10). If anything else, you have to give credit to the brewery for their creativity and precision in crafting a unique and high-powered lager. Here’s the verdict:

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Endless Beer: Ommegang Three Philosophers

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Ommegang famously brings us the Game of Thrones series beers, but also offers other varietals that pack their own punch. Speaking of fame, one of Ommegang’s more well known brews is the Three Philosophers. Weighing in at 9.7% ABV, the Three Philosophers promises to relax if nothing else. Three Philosophers was born when Ommegang asked homebrewers what the “perfect brew” would taste like. The answer was flavors of caramel, chocolate, and cherry. Ommegang messed with various variations until the reached a mixture of 98% ale and 2% kriek (lambic). Here are our tasting notes:

ABV: 9.7%

Poured into tulip glass.

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The ES Summit: Top 10 Beers and Booze for Politics

The tides are shifting in American politics. A new party is in control and our President is willing to work with them to make a better America. Blah blah blah. Yet another cycle has completed and we now have another lame duck president. BUT WAIT. Obama and US Senator Mitch McConnell are going to solve all of our problems with a Bourbon Summit. Now that’s something we can get behind. A little Kentucky booze may be just what our leaders need to get things done. This got us thinking…what would an ES summit look like? Other than the usual gallivanting around, bitching and moaning about irrelevant things, and gorging ourselves with food, we would pick the best beer and booze to offer for the occasion. If it were up to us, here’s what the Obama-McConnell summit would consist of:

10) Flying Dog Raging Bitch

What better to drink while BITCHING and moaning about the great problems of the world (or what to have for dinner)? Raging Bitch is an in your face IPA with a nice sweetness that makes it very drinkable at a high ABV.

Arrogant Bastard Ale

9) Arrogant Bastard Ale

Need I say more? Not only does the name sum up just about every one of your very proud “ES’ers, but it also sums up the jerks in Congress. What’s more? The brew is one of the highest ranked in the United States with complex flavors that will also kick your ass.

Knob Creek® Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

8) Knob Creek

A little bourbon never hurt nobody. Knob Creek is about that level where you stop drinking whiskey with coke and actually start enjoying the sweet and oak-aged flavors of bourbon.

7) Titos Vodka

What’s more American than an all-American made vodka? We have to be at least a little patriotic, right? Plus, this is some of the smoothest Vodka we’ve ever had! Try it with water and lemon…just be careful – you won’t taste the whiskey.

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Cookies and…Beer? Flying Dog Holiday Collection

image1 (3)What’s the best drink to have with cookies? BEER. Why not, people? The holidays are coming; we’re celebrating getting fat and doing it with our families and friends. To support our mission, Flying Dog created The Holiday Collection: Four Otterbein’s Cookie Inspired Craft Beers.  While I was hoping that the kit would come with Berger Cookies, the Otterbein’s cookies did not disappoint.  But what about having them with beer? Well, luckily I’m here to do the hard work of tasting and drinking each beer and cookie. After our DIY beer pairing, we continued on with dessert, complements of Flying Dog. We judged the beers, the cookies, and then the pairing. Here we go!

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Endless Pairings: Negra Modelo

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Mexican beer and fall-themed food. The perfect complement? Well, that’s what were determined to find out when Negra Modelo sent us a “pairing kit” to put it to the test. When presented with the opportunity to taste test, my answer is almost always yes. Negra Modelo sent us a box full of spices from The Spice House, two tulip glasses, a wooden cutting board, and a $50 Visa gift card to purchase the goods. Challenge accepted. Think of it as the at-home version of Chopped. Being seasonal food fans (mainly fall), we began planning a menu of fall foods that would highlight the spices (follow The Spice House recommendations) and pair well with a Vienna (dark) lager. Yes – a European beer style from Mexico. Here’s the menu:

  • Aged Cabot Cheese with apples, fig jam, balsamic glaze, and crostini
  • Spiced roasted brussels sprouts
  • Sweet potato puree with nutmeg and cinnamon
  • Ribeye steak with Quebec beef spice
  • Cornish Hen with bicentennial seasoning
  • Pork with bavarian style seasoning

We had a friend over and made a beer pairing tasting menu. Negra Modelo was served with the appetizer, followed by a taste of each protein with the sides. The beer and food was judged based on the flavor of each, whether the spices complemented the food, and if the beer paired well with each “course.” On to the tasting notes:

Negra Modelo (ABV: 5.4%)

Appearance: Dark caramel with a red hue

Aroma: Sweet scents with subtle scents of toast

Taste: Sweet malts give caramel flavor, biscuit flavor with light herbal and earthy tastes

Mouthfeel: Clean and crisp with lingering sweetness

Overall: A pleasant surprise, Negra Modelo provides more character than expected. While it is an InBev beer, I can forgive that if the brew offers some flavor. For a lager from Mexico, it offers the basic profile of a lager with extra sweetness of caramel and a toasty flavor as well. Tastes like it would pair well with fall foods. So here we go!

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