Endless Beers: Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout

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ABV: 7.5%

In my travels around the world of beer, I took out the bottle with the owl on top. Turns out my next stop was in Japan: Hatachino Nest. In the hours before bed, I’ve been craving more stouts and darker beers than IPAs and lighter beers. Must be the cold, dark (particularly without power) weather we’ve been having in Philly. Anyway, I digress…on to the Japanese espresso stout. This beer is a sipper, but in a good way.

With the name “Espresso Stout,” it better live up to its name and provide a rich espresso flavor. I’ve grown skeptical of many of these kinds of stouts, because I’ve found more chocolate or vanilla flavors than coffee. If you are looking for a stout that has a bold coffee flavor—this is it. The taste throughout the entire drink is remniscent of coffee beans followed by dark chocolate.

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Endless Beers: Innis and Gunn Original

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We had our engagement party last weekend and were showered with gifts from our family and friends. Included in these gifts was a basket of beers from around the world, thanks to my future sister-in-law. I placed the selection in the fridge and they are officially “on reserve.” Earlier this week, during out FIRST snow storm of the week (we are on our second today), I tapped into the reserve. First stop on my trip around the world: Scotland. I cracked open an Innis & Gunn Oak Barrel Aged Original.

Crafted in Edinburgh, Scotland, the Innis & Gunn Original is what “started it all” for the brewery…and by accident. A whiskey distillery near the brewery was looking to infuse their barrels with a malty beer flavor. Innis & Gunn whipped something up and sent it to the distillery. After fermenting in the oak barrels, the distillery dumped it out for the Scotch goodness. However, later, Innis & Gunn received another call from the distillery—this time asking about the kick-ass beer left in the barrels. Thus we have Innis & Gunn Original.

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Sons of Liberty: Single Malt of the North

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Craft Whiskey. I’ve never heard of it until a box containing two bottles of Sons of Liberty whiskey arrived at my door. I’ve enjoyed the occasional bourbon, a scotch here or there, but I’ve never tried this kind of whiskey. Most people think of whiskey as the stuff they mix with Coke while clubbing. Others consider it the burning liquid that they would live with during the college years “as long as it gets the job done.” Well time to wake up, people!  Read on, while I enjoy a glass myself.

Sons of Liberty was founded by Mike Repucci after years of making wine as a family tradition and learning more about the spirit of whiskey abroad. Repucci started in finance and along the way, said “fuck it — I’m doing what I want to do.” The name came about during conversation with his friend about the American Dream. Sick of worrying about taxes, the man keeping you down, and the game we all play from 9-5, Repucci realized that Sons of Liberty encompassed a lot of that feeling. Wanting to “revolutionize whiskey,” he decided that Sons of Liberty not only captured his journey for the American Dream, but also the American tradition of whiskey. The whiskey is American—in a bold way that us northerners have grown to know and love.

Sons of Liberty crafts their whiskey using the malts yeasts used to craft your favorite beers. After all, as their website explains—“whiskey starts with beer.” For instance, their Uprising was created using the grains used to brew stout beers. Using chocolate malt, roasted malt and much more, the distillery created a recipe that brings out caramel, chocolate, roasted flavor in the whiskey.

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How Much Peanut Butter is TOO Much Peanut Butter?

When we heard there was a new book about all about peanut butter, we got so excited that two of our bloggers had to test it out. Here’s Emily and snebbu’s dueling thoughts on Peanut Butter Comfort.

Emily: I’ll openly admit it: I’m a peanut butter lover. And I mean loooooooverrrr. Love it in savory recipes, love it in sweet recipes. Spicy Thai-style peanut sauce? Yep, love. I’ll happily take a peanut butter dessert over a chocolate dessert any day. So when does it cross the line? How much is too much?

Peanut Butter Comfort

Averie Sunshine’s new cookbook, Peanut Butter Comfort, helped me dive into this question. Or, to give you the full title, Peanut Butter Comfort: Recipes for Breakfasts, Brownies, Cakes, Cookies, Candies, and Frozen Treats Featuring America’s Favorite Spread. Whew—I’d say that covers a lot of ground. Pretty much anything you could put peanut butter in, Sunshine found a way to do it.

The good stuff: This book is very cute and definitely well-made. Novice cooks will appreciate the accessible and carefully explained recipes and background info. Plus there are plenty of appealing photos! The maybe-good, maybe-not-so-good stuff: all the recipes are pretty simple. Once again, fairly inexperienced people will like this, but I could have used some recipes that were a bit more complex in their flavor profiles or techniques. There is something to be said for familiar, back-to-basics comfort recipes, though.

Snebbu: I wouldn’t go so far as calling it “cute,” but it is very well organized. It is easy to navigate and is categorized in a meaningful way. For instance, you can create your own peanut butters, bake desserts, or even cook savory meals—all categorized in that way. I do agree with Emily in regards to the simplicity of the recipes. BUT, that’s not always a bad thing. I’ve found other cook books to cumbersome, lengthy, and expensive. These are recipes that won’t break the bank either.

Emily: So, the first recipe I made was the Marshmallow Butterscotch Fluffernutter Bars. I love all of those things (just look at all my Peeps posts, anything marshmallow is a-ok in my book) but I have to say this recipe fell a little short of my expectations. I don’t really see how I could have messed up the instructions, so I don’t think it was user error, but I wish the bars had come out a little drier and more balanced. They basically just tasted like tons of melted peanut butter and butterscotch chips that had been re-solidified. So maybe this recipe is truly… too much peanut butter. (Gasp!)

Snebbu: Damnit! I was going to try these out at a company party next week. They look so good. I may have to try these out anyway—I’ll let you know if I get the same results. I really can’t fathom such a thing as too much peanut butter, but the word “re-solidified” does not sound tasty.

Emily: Luckily, the second recipe I tested turned out to be much more exciting: Coconut Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Cookies. Oh man. Talk about more things I love: carrot cake, coconut, cream cheese?! I knew I had to make these, stat. I prefer moist, chunky cookies with a lot of stuff in them, and these did not disappoint. The finished product came out super tasty, but honestly I would rather just eat this dough by the spoonful. (And there’s not even any raw eggs in it, for those of you who actually worry about that. I’ve been eating raw eggs in cookie dough for 20something years now, and I’m still alive!)

Coconut Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Cookies

Coconut Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Cookies

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Bakeless Sweets

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It is officially summer time. Although most of us have been suffering from the humid heat for weeks now. That means it is the time of year we try to use the oven as little as possible. What else does summer call for? Parties and sweet desserts. Lucky for me (and the rest of you), I crossed paths with Faith Durand when compiling our graham cracker recipe list. Not only does Faith have some awesome graham cracker icebox recipes (including a s”mores icebox cake), but an entire book full of Bakeless Sweets ranging from puddings and panna cottas to fluff and icebox cakes. Hence the name of her book: Bakeless Sweets.

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Endless Beers: The Summer Shandy

ShandiesEvery season is craft beer season. Hopefully you are expanding your horizon in the beer world, putting down those bud light limes, and trying something made with fresh ingredients by people that give a damn about flavor. That’s what we’re all about here at ES anyway isn’t it? With flavor in mind, here is your guide to the best summer shandy for this summer.

If you don’t know, a summer shandy is a beer that is made out of lager and lemonade. There are a few out there that you can get just about anywhere: Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, Sam Adams Porch Rocker, and Shock Top’s Lemon Shandy. Classically, a summer shandy tastes like a lemonade with a hint of beer. On a summer day, this makes the perfect day-drinking beer, as compared to your Bud Light Lime.

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The Incredible, Edible… Ips

These days, people are really trying to watch their carbs yet somehow snack their faces off. I”m not criticizing at all—I, too, love a crunchy, salty snack but feel pretty guilty after mowing down half a family-sized bag of Cheetos in one sitting (and yes, whatever, that”s a thing that has happened in my past, let”s not dwell on it).

I usually stick to Pirates Booty and Terra Chips (although, really, how much healthier are those? I don”t know, better than Ruffles but it”s not like you”re eating a salad, let”s be real) BUT! There”s a new kid in town, and he”s made from… egg whites?!

White Cheddar Ips

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