Monthly Archives: March 2014
I love lasagne. For me, half of the joy of making one is that you can play around with different meats, unusual layers, and basically tweak it to your hearts content. In the past, we’ve even made ‘nacho-sagne’ using chilli con carne, tortilla chip and jalapeno layers, and a hell of a lot of cheese, salsa, and sour cream. This lasagne was a little more tame than that, but it tasted amazing!
I’m not going to patronise you by putting up a recipe for lasagne here. Basically, we made lasagne as we usually would, but used pork mince for the bolognese, and added chipotle chillies, finely chopped chorizo sausage (well, we actually used Peperami Hot because we were improvising, but it was chorizo in spirit!), and a bottle of Duvel into the mix. The Belgian character worked beautifully with the pork and the smoky heat of the chillies. Marvellous stuff. What comfort food should I pour beer into next?
In the interest of full disclosure: As you may have guessed, I’m not a natural in the kitchen. I do, however, love food, so I’m lucky to have landed a partner who is a pretty decent cook. This meal was my idea, but he did all of the technical things. I mean, I chopped some garlic and chucked the beer in, but that’s about it.
We all know that feeling where you take to Twitter to rave about a beer, but find that 140 characters are’t quite enough, and multiple tweets seem self indulgent. MINI-POST TIME.
BrewDog Blitz Cherry (2.1%). I know it’s a little crass to rave about a beer made by the company you work for, but this is a lovely little Berliner Weisse. The most mouth-puckering of the range so far, this is actually kinda sour, while the varieties which have come before it - Blitz Apricot and Blitz Raspberry - have, to my gueuze-ravaged palate, just been tart. Finding sours very compulsive drinking, I throw them back like fruit juice, often getting through a big bottle of Cantillon in half an hour, so it’s nice to have a beer at an ABV which allows me to drink almost as much as I want without worrying about the booze creeping up on me. Even five percenters add up over the course of an evening…
Mikkeller SpontanCherry Malaga Barrel Aged (8.2%). Brewed at De Proef, this beer has a sticky, heavy aroma which reminded me of Christmas cake… Big boozy cherries, a little marzipan, dark fruits, and vanilla. On the palate, the richness of the nose gives way to fresh, sour, cherries and red grape skin, almost citrus-y clean and slightly funked. A seriously enjoyable beer, though I wish I could afford to buy it more frequently!
Mikkeller Imperial IPA, Citra (8.9%). Also brewed at De Proef, this IIPA is insane. It’s such a good use of Citra! Like biting into fresh fruit and seeing the juices run all over your hands and you’re all sticky but you don’t care because it’s SO GOOD. Ahem. I’ve spent way too much of my wages on this beer recently. I know some people have said it’s a bit malt-heavy and usually I’d be the first to agree with that statement (GIVE ME ALL YOUR HOPS) but I think that in this context, if this beer was any more bitter the full glory of the juicy aroma and flavour might be masked a little bit… The firm biscuit backbone provides a counterpoint for the fruit character to stand out against. Maybe that’s just me, though. The Simcoe version is pretty nice, too.
Another beer and cheese post! What can I say? I love a good cheeseboard, we lead beer and cheese pairing sessions at the bar (Dead Pony Club and Manchego, anyone?), and I’m slowly becoming obsessed with the idea of hosting a beer and cheese evening at home for friends - sorry, vegan pals!
Today’s pairing is The Celt Experience Bleddyn 1075 (5.6%) and Kit Calvert Wensleydale. After sampling some of their range at Craft Beer Rising, I can firmly say that The Celt Experience are making some bloody excellent beer, and Bleddyn 1075 is no exception. The name references a Welsh king who died in 1075; which, as it happens, is also the number of this beer’s original gravity. An IPA with a lovely bitter bite, we taste huge grapefruit, citrus flavours, with a little toffee sweetness to balance. It is crisp, almost dry, yet full bodied. Well balanced, a big beer for the ABV, and wonderfully quaffable. Bleddyn‘s fruitiness compliments the slightly honeyed, fresh flavour of the Wensleydale, and the dry hop bitterness cuts through this cheese’s rich, crumbly creaminess. Marvellous.
Of course, when we’re talking about The Celt Experience and cheese, a special mention has to go to their Ogham series Ash imperial porter (10.5%), which we sampled alongside a very smelly blue cheese at CBR.Man, talk about matching flavour intensities… Thanks, Tom!
As per usual, I picked up both the beer and the cheese from Booths.
So, while I was exploring the offerings at The Celt Experience bar, I happened to bump into their head bloke, Tom, and, erm, the king of wine. After playing it semi-cool, I kind of went into nerd mode, and asked for a photo. What is it the kids say these days – yolo? Anyway, this is a photo of Oz (who I politely told off for not visiting any of the pubs on the Otley Run that actually serve cask-conditioned beer when he was on telly with whats’isface, hah, representing Leeds University Union Real Ale Society til I die) and me and Tom, who is an utter star and let us try some of a beer from Celt‘s Ogham series; Ash (10.5%), an imperial porter. Oh my, it’s a big beer. We sampled it with a very smelly blue cheese, which I can’t usually stomach too well, but paired with this beer it was absolute perfection. I love Celt‘s stuff, with Bleddyn (5.6%) rocking my world earlier this year paired with some Kit Calvert Wensleydale, and I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for their beers in and around Manc.