It’s Wild: Peach Lambic Ale Cranberry Sauce

One of the main reasons that we Beer Chicks became Beer Chicks is because we value the authentic. So come the holidays, one thing that we cannot abide (especially when it’s so easy to make) is the bastardized version of cranberry sauce, sold to you in a gelatinous mass in an aluminum can. Sad face.

You’ve spent way too much time on the perfect beer brined turkey, or the succulent beer braised prime rib to sully your table with a mass produced, manufactured and, let’s face it, weird cylinder of jiggly, super sweet, plasticy cranberry resembling substance – made with Cranberries (good), High Fructose Corn Syrup (bad), Water (neutral) and also more Corn Syrup (bad).

You deserve more than that. Authentic and delicious cranberry sauce is super easy to make and is even better when you add citrus, herbaceous honey and a tart Fruit Lambic Ale to the pot. Try this cranberry sauce and you’ll be wowed – just like the first time you had that craft beer instead of the fizzy yellow water you were used to drinking!

Lambic Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients

• The juice and zest of 2 Blood Oranges
(Seasonal starting Dec.)

• 1 & 1/2 cups of a Fruit Lambic Ale
(We use Lindeman’s Peche Lambic)

• 1/2 cup Pure Cane Sugar
• 1/2 cup Honey
(We like orange blossom honey)

• 1 pinch Sea Salt
• One 12 ounce bag of fresh Cranberries

Directions
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add the Blood Orange juice, the Fruit Lambic, the Sugar, the Honey and the salt and bring to a boil. When the sugar has dissolved add the honey, the Blood Orange zest and the cranberries. Reduce your heat to low and simmer until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens – about 15-20 minutes (The natural pectin in the cranberries will thicken the sauce as you cook it).

Serve immediately with your delicious holiday meal, or preserve in small jars and dole out as a perfect homemade beer-centric gift!

Show Us The Way Home: Ballast Point Navigator



What would make an Autumn seasonal beer even more delicious?  A Brandy Barrel baby!!  We know that Barrel-ageing is the new black when it comes to craft beer, and we say kudos!  We can’t get enough of that barrel-aged madness.  The wooden barrel-infusion in beers offers a depth of flavor that elevates many craft beer styles to legendary status.  



Ballast Point Brewery hails from San Diego, California, and has offered craft beer-geek favorites like Sculpin, an impressive IPA with stone fruit notes and a big hop bite, and Calico Amber, a complex award-winning amber ale.   At 9% ABV, Navigator is a seasonal Doppelbock that’s perfect for the cooler fall nights.  

A Doppelbock is a German style Lager, typically showing notes of toasted bread, raisin, prunes and a nutty character. 

Brandy, (the word comes from a Dutch word meaning ‘burnt wine’), is made from distilled grapes and can have notes of rich burnt orange, sweet fig and wine flavors.  In Navigator, the richness of these flavors layer around the Doppelbock and travel along with the warming alcohol and oaky, vanilla finish.



Though hard to get, (as many barrel-aged seasonals are, sigh), Navigator is worth seeking out at your local craft beer bar.  Or look for other barrel-aged beauties at your local brewery or craft beer bar!



Ballast Point Brewing Company

10051 Old Grove Rd.

San Diego, CA 92131

858.695.2734

www.ballastpoint.com

Beer in The Alaskan Frontier: Haines Brewing Co.

We Beer Chicks love to travel. And wherever we go, big town or small, our first course of action is to locate the nearest craft brewery, (shocking, we know). Besides being the best bet for the most delicious brew, the local brewery is often an epicenter of culture. Breweries tend to have the inside scoop on the food scene, nightlife, and the history of the area.

So it was, a couple months ago, that we found ourselves at the Haines Brewing Company in Haines, Alaska. Haines is a tiny town in Southeast Alaska near Juneau, a breathtaking section of the state – complete with rainforest, bears, whales, bald eagles, glaciers, and all the smoked salmon you can stuff in your face.


The brewery, established in 1999, is located in a section of the town that was originally built as a set for the movie White Fang, and is now the Southeast Alaska State Fairgrounds site. Haines Brewery’s idyllic old-west storefront gives way to a bar mere steps into the brewery, behind which stands Paul Wheeler, brewer, owner, (complete with full ‘I’m at home in the outdoors’ beard), and basically, along with Jeanne Kitayama, the whole operation.



Paul proved to be just what we would want/expect in a small-town Alaskan brewer; a man full of stories about the town, the great outdoors, and a refreshings sign in the brewery that forbids cell phones. He has a true passion for his product and a great sense of humor. To our great pleasure, Paul even had a copy of our book The Naked Pint, and remarked that it helped him explain craft beer to tourists who just got off the cruise boat, and were craft beer-challenged. 



Though Haines Brewery is tiny, the beer is high quality. We sampled brews like; Devil Made Me Do It IPA, Dalton Trail Pale Ale, Longer Hammer Barleywine (which placed in the annual Alaskan Barleywine competition), then a life-changing beer moment came when we tasted his Spruce Tip Ale.

 Spruce Tip Ale is a seasonal ale Paul makes using young spruce tips which he harvests from the trees surrounding the area (he used to be a forester). Paul told us that spruce tips were one of the oldest ingredients specific to American-made craft beer, with the added health benefit of vitamin C.

The flavor was stupefying, (in a good way!). The tips offer an almost blueberry, raspberry flavor, while finishing with an earthy, piney woodiness that grounds the beer. Paul’s Spruce Tip has just enough hops to balance the beer, but finishes light and bright, making it a beer for every palate.



Though we managed to smuggle home a tiny growler of the spruce tip to share with a select few beer geeks back here in LA, sadly Haines Spruce Tip is only available in Haines at the moment. This is the nature of craft beer, and part of why it’s important to seek out the local craft beer on your travels; you may get a rare taste of a very limited brew. 



We’ll be drinking Spruce Tip in our dreams…. amidst images of whales breaching, glaciers cracking, and the rich colors of the Southeastern Alaskan rainforest. And no, we did not see Russia from the brewery.


Haines Brewing Company
PO Box 911
Haines, Alaska 99827
907-766-3823
www.hainesbrewing.com


For more pictures of Haine’s Brewery and The Beer Chicks, visit thebeerchicks.posterous.com

The Beer Chicks Rad French Onion Beer Soup

In Los Angeles, we Beer Chicks know that fall is here when the clouds come onshore all the way up to Beverly Hills and it finally starts to rain (read mist).  We know it by the crazy drivers who apparently only come out when it rains.  But mostly we know it by an intense craving for our special Rad French Onion Soup made to perfection with the addition of Flanders Red Ale!  

In order to make the perfect French Onion Soup, we've experimented with several "best" recipes featuring different "secret" ingredients ranging from Cognac, Sherry, Port Wine and dry white wine, but it wasn't until we heard about the addition of Balsamic Vinegar as the celebrated element that we got that spark of beer inspiration.

Why are we so excited about Balsamic Vinegar you might ask?  Well, because the same fermentation (Lactobacillus) that gives Balsamic Vinegar its sizzle of puckering sour acidity is also used in one of our favorite beer styles, Flanders Red Ale.

A Beer Chick's mind is always going in ways that try and figure out how to add beer to everything, so out goes the Balsamic Vinegar and in goes the Flanders Red Ale.  In this recipe we used a beer called Rodenbach from Brouwerij Rodenbach out of Roeselare, Belgium.  Brewed since 1836, this beer is a blend of 75% young beer and 25% aged beer.  This deep, dark red-brown ale is fruity, slatey and oaky, with a puckering tartness that harmonizes perfectly with the carmelized onions and cuts through the melted French Gruyere cheese of our perfect French Onion Soup. 

The Beer Chicks Rad French Onion Soup

Ingredients:

1/2 stick of butter
6 onions sliced
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 cup Rodenbach Flanders Red Ale*
6 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon Sierra Nevada Porter Mustard**
1/8 teaspoon truffle oil (optional)
Salt & pepper
4 French bread slices, toasted
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Directions:

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are tender and very brown and carmelized (about 40 minutes). Add the Flanders Red Ale to deglaze the pan and simmer about 3 minutes. Combine beef broth and mustard and add to the saucepan. Simmer about 35 minutes. Add truffle oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat broiler. Ladle soup into broilerproof bowls, making sure there is room for the toast and cheese. Top each bowl with slice of toast and grated cheeses. Broil until cheeses melt, brown and bubble.

Enjoy with a Flanders Red Ale or for a completely different but equally delicious pairing, try a peppery and citrusy Belgian Saison!

Other Flanders Red Ales that would be great with this recipe are Duchesse de Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe, Vichte Belgium or La Folie from New Belgium Brewing Company, Fort Collins, CO.

*We love this mustard that we bought during a visit to Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, CA.  You can substitute it with any Dijon mustard.

The Beer Chicks Picks for the LA Craft Beer Crawl

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow – LA Craft Beer Crawl is only a day away!  We have over 60 great beers being poured at 7 venues from 3-8pm in historic downtown tomorrow.  The word on the street is that we are going to sell out within an hour so.  The beer is in the walk-ins, the brewer's are practicing their pouring methods… This thing is HAPPENING people!

We know that 60 beers can be a bit overwhelming, even to us Beer Chicks, so we've decided to work up a little sheet that has some of our favorite – not to be missed- beers that will be on the Crawl.  That's not to say that the other beers don't rock.  We're just saying, if we were holding your hand throughout the LA Craft Beer Crawl, this is what you'd probably be drinking (as if you possibly could drink as many beers as we're listing!)

Amongst the great beers, we will have some special and limited pours happening at certain times. We're doing Maui Brewing Company CoCoNut Porter ice cream floats at CANA RUM BAR at 4pm. Craftsman Brewing Company is bringing something super special at 6pm at 7 Grand, and shots of Jim Beam will be served with Allagash Curieux (which has been aged in the very same whisky barrels) from 7-8pm!  

And the food trucks – Oh, the food trucks!  Hand-picked by Pulizer Prize winning writer Jonathan Gold, we will have Ludo Bites at Broadway Bar, Manila Machine at 7 Grand, The Grilled Cheese Truck at Golden Gopher and Guelaguetza will be set up at Las Perlas!

Click on the image below to download a pdf of our beer picks, a schedule for special and limited pours, as well as a list of notable beer people that will be making appearances and pouring some brews!  Print it out with your tickets and take it on the crawl for your reference!

CLICK HERE TO GET PDF
Don't forget to TWEET at the Crawl. 
Use the hashtag #LACBC

Follow:  @thebeerchicks, @LACrftBeerCrawl, @213DowntownLA

GABF Winners coming to the LA Craft Beer Crawl

The First Ever Los Angeles Craft Beer Crawl on September 25 **Updated**

The First Annual Los Angeles Craft Beer Crawl will be here in less than a week!  This  Saturday, September 25th will showcase and celebrate all things craft beer in lively and vibrant historic downtown Los Angeles.  Taste as many samples of over 50 delicious craft beers across 7 different unique venues all within easy walking distance!

We Beer Chicks are curating the beer and are collaborating on this event with Cedd Moses of 213 Ventures (think 7 Grand, Varnish, Las Perlas, Cana Rum Bar, etc.) that will feature some of the top Craft and Artisanal Brewers in the country!  We are also proud to have Pullitzer Prize winning author Jonathan Gold involved, curating food trucks (think Ludo Bites) and hosting the VIP room.

A portion of the proceeds will go to Heal the Bay. an organization dedicated to making Southern California waters healthy, safe, and clean. 

Tickets are ONLY AVAILABLE ONLINE and cost $49.00.  A bargain for what it includes: a 6oz tasting glass and wristband gaining access to all the venues featured in the festival, unlimited tastings of over 50 different taps in 7 different locations from 3pm-8pm. 

A choice of food trucks along the crawl route will be curated by Mr. Gold himself, and a Craft Crawl after-party will take place at Casey’s Irish Pub from 8pm until close featuring live music.

VIP Tickets are $89.00 and include access to the VIP room at The Varnish and will feature exclusive beer cocktails made by some of the world's best mixologists and a chance to rub shoulders with Jonathan Gold and some big names in local Craft Beer!  Also in the VIP room will be a super secret beer brewed by the awesome Hot Knives guys!

BUY YOUR TICKETS ONLINE NOW!

For more information go to:  www.lacraftbeercrawl.com

Follow LA Craft Beer Crawl on Facebook.

Follow LA Craft Beer Crawl on Twitter.

***

UPDATED BREWERY LIST
Allagash
Ballast Point
Brouwerij West
Chimay
Craftsman
Deschutes
Dogfish Head
Eagle Rock
Gentleman Scholar
Green Flash
Jolly Pumpkin
Ladyface
Lagunitas
Lost Coast
Maui
Moylans
New Belgium
Schneider & Sohn
Sierra Nevada
Skyscraper
Stone
TAPS
Telegraph
The Bruery
Uncommon
Unibroue 

Hot Knives and Alex Macy Brew Tonka Bean Porter

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Evan George and Alex Brown are Los Angeles based beer and food fanatics, cooks and bloggers that share their hipster culinary exploits on the popular blog called Hot Knives. Recently, they teamed with beer expert Alex Macy to make an extreme, truly one-of-a-kind homebrew. Good thing for us is…they filmed the whole thing!

Home-brewed in Echo Park, "F*** the FDA Porter" (censored by The Beer Chicks who don't want to make the FDA mad!) is in the style of a traditional Vanilla Porter, but with tonka beans substituted instead.

Hot Knives and Macy decided to use tonka to ensure that they were brewing a beer that had almost certainly never been made before. Tonka beans are a South American seed pod that boast a sweet, nutty taste not unlike marzipan. Though harmless in moderate doses, the federal Food and Drug Administration does not recommend tonka beans for human consumption because of a chemical compound found in them that can thin the blood. However, the seed has long been popular among French pastry chefs for its sublime cinnamon-like flavor. 

The video home brew exploit is like car camping meets experimental chef José Andrés. We can't wait to try what promises to be a very interesting and delicious beer.

(Warning: This video contains adult language and beverages.)

CLICK HERE to watch Homebrew from Hot Knivez on Vimeo.

Maui CoCoNut Porter

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We’ve been way into coconut lately. Maybe its because the end of summer has come and we’re mourning the end of sun-drenched days spent on the beach. Suffice it to say that we’ve also been searching for coconut in our beer! Our favorite one is a canned porter from Maui Brewing Company called (what else?) Coconut Porter, and it will be featured at Cana Rum Bar on Saturday during the LA Craft Beer Crawl!

Wait…did we say a “can” of beer? You bet your bumpkiss we did. Craft brewers are putting some great artisanal beers in cans. But don’t worry, these aren’t the cans of old. New beer cans have a lining that prevents any kind of tinny, metalic flavor from imparting on your favorite beverage. Also, regardless of what some “born on date” people say, “skunkiness” in a beer has nothing to do with how old your beer is.

Skunkiness comes from a chemical reaction that takes place when LIGHT strikes your beer. That’s why most of the great beers in the world come in very dark bottles. Imagine how much more your beer is protected if its in a can? Don’t be a can snob!

Back to the beer. Maui Brewing Company is in Kahana on beautiful Maui, where the company practices “Malama i Ka Aina” or “Caring for the land.” They use vehicles run on vegetable oil, and many other environmentally safe practices, including the aforementioned use of cans, which protects Maui beaches from broken glass, and are more easily recycled and shipped than bottles. Because of their environmentally conscious nature, we were predisposed to like Maui Brewing Company, which is a dangerous thing in our profession and often leads to disappointment. Thankfully, this was not the case with their Coconut Porter.

This beer is delicious. It’s dark and toasty and nice and rich without being cloying. As per the name, this beer is made with toasted coconut, which gives this beer a bright balance and beautiful aromatics, followed by chocolate and coffee notes. You might think that we’re describing a big beer, but we’re not. The flavors are great, but they don’t smack you across the face. It’s a waft of smoke and just a nip of hops at the end that supplies this nicely nuanced beer a nice dry finish. This beer is the perfect gateway beer to lead you from the summer beach to the winter fire!
Try the other Maui Beers this Saturday at Cana Rum Bar! We’ll also be featuring their Big Swell IPA and their Bikini Blonde Ale!

Smoked Beer Braised Ribs

As Labor Day approaches, visions of our last great bar-b-que of summer dance in our heads.  This time we're dreaming of one of our favorite beers of the season: the smoky goodness of Smoked Beer.  This year, we're not just going to drink this elixir with our "Q" – we're going to braise delectable baby back pork ribs in Shiner Smokehaus to infuse the sweet ribs with smoky goodness. 

Smoke exists in a couple of different styles of beer that are both ales and lagers.  Usually the smoke comes from smoked malts used in fermentation.  Shiner Smokehaus is a Munich Helles Lager made by the reknowned Texas beer stahlwart Spoetzl Brewing Company, most famous for Shiner Bock.  Just like their 101 Pilsner, this beer from Shiner really surprised us with its delicacy of smoke and the nuance of toasty woody crispness that comes from the Texas mesquite wood-smoked pale malts. 4.9 ABV.

Bill Perozzi’s Delicious Smokin' Ribs

(Note, this recipe is very vague in terms of amounts of spices.  That's just how Bill is!  Read "some" as "a general application" of!)

1 slab of baby back ribs or pork spare ribs

Sprinkle with some onion powder, garlic powder, celery seed and black pepper and rub mixture into the ribs.

Place ribs in shallow pan and half-cover with Shiner Smokehaus.  Cover pan securely with aluminum foil.  Cook at 350 degrees until fork tender but not falling apart, about 1½ to 2 hours.

Place cooked ribs on BBQ grill at high temperature until well seared on both sides (about 5 minutes per side).  Move ribs to side of grill without flame.  Cover with your favorite BBQ sauce (Bill uses a 1 to 1 mixture of KC Masterpiece and Bull’s Eye.)  Let sauce soak in for about 15 minutes.

Serve and enjoy.  Eat with a Smoked Lager or a Rauchbier! 

Can't find Shiner Smokehaus in your neighborhood?  Try using the following:

Alaskan Smoked Porter:  Alaskan Brewing Company, Juneau, Alaska. Smells like bacon, super smoky, sweet malt, best when aged awhile.
6.5% ABV.

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen:  Brauerei Heller-Trum, Bamberg, Germany – Smells like smoked ham, a bit of sweetness with a touch of tangy hops, and huge smoke all around.
5.4% ABV.

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock:
Brauerei Heller-Trum, Bamberg, Germany – Smells like a fireplace, huge smoke, touch of caramel, dry on the end.
6.6% ABV.

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