willandmegan

"Stuart rose from the ditch, climbed into his car, and started up the road that led toward the north…. As he peeked ahead into the great land that stretched before him, the way seemed long. But the sky was bright, and he somehow felt he was headed in the right direction." (from Stuart Little by E.B. White)


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No Guts No Glory – Pumpkin Ale Tasting

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On Sunday September 15th, Megan and I had an adventurous day spurred on by our desire to enjoy an approaching fall-like climate. We completed a blog more fit for the month of October, but figured it should be shared sooner than never. After a quiet date in the park with talks about our family and upcoming wedding, we decided to bike to Penfield. On the way home a beautiful monarch butterfly specimen appeared before our feet on the sidewalk. It was fully intact and fully dead. Score one for our butterfly/moth collection!

We then took the monarch in a plastic case and continued onward with plans to start a pumpkin ale tasting. While Megan prepared pasta for dinner I setup a simple arrangement with mason jar mugs and faux Fall berry decor. Not bad eh? Here are the results of our tasting with notes on flavors/aroma. I opted not to go into specifics with color as there clearly isn’t an extreme variation from one ale to another.

-w&m

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AMERICA’S ORIGINAL PUMPKIN ALE

ALE BREWED WITH REAL PUMPKIN AND NATURAL SPICE FLAVOR

BUFFALO BILL’S BREWERY

This beer has a complexity of flavors which we noted as uncommon for pumpkin ale. To me it smelled like a vanilla flavored tootsie roll. 

There was a subtle sweetness like molasses with the consistency of syrup. The flavor of molasses was complimented by bitter black cherry and oats. The aroma also came through as artificial spice similar to men’s deodorant.

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Wolavers fine organic ales

Pumpkin Ale

BREWED WITH VERMONT PUMPKINS

This ale brewed in Vermont had a bland flavor from start to finish. It has floral aromas and a lasting sweetness like nectar, but really too much spice and not enough pumpkin. We both noted what smelled like lavender, but why in a pumpkin ale?

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Dogfish Head (7% Alc.)

Pumpkin Ale brewed with pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg

We were excited about this ale from Dogfish Head as they listed specific ingredients as well as alcohol content. As much as it seemed to smell like moss/dew, It was very malty with the satisfying sweetness of caramelized sugar. The bitter notes came through like a salty pretzel and the vanilla-like undertones reminded meg of marshmallow.

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Blue Point Pumpkin Ale

Malt beverage brewed with pumpkin and spices

This ale was highly aromatic and reminded Meg of some “hippy head shop”. It had the aroma of incense, creek water, pine, lemon peel and patchouli. The flavors came through as too intense and sickening for my likes, but I could taste something like sandalwood oil which reminded me of bitter chocolate. Along with the standard nutmeg, cinnamon, spice you expect from a pumpkin ale this one offers a unique variety of flavors. Maybe more acceptable to those who aren’t a fan of pumpkin beers.

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Post Road Pumpkin Ale (5% Alc.)

Ale brewed with pumpkin and spices

This ale had a nice peach aroma that reminded me of a White Ale by Hitachino Nest. The flavor is zesty like orange peel with a crisp opening, but overall watered-down experience. There are some light notes of nut and floral and a lasting bitterness.

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Short and Stout – Irish Beer and Cheese Tasting

cheese . stout display edit

Last Thursday while Megan was away as a church chaperone for the youth group in the Adirondacks, I inherited her Irish beer and cheese. For me that meant a solo tasting late at night in the comfort of my room. The setup for this tasting was as simple as a cutting board, knife and basic pint glass to hold our savory stout. The combination makes for a nice movie date snack or addition to relaxing with Irish / bluegrass music. Here are the details for color, flavor profile and consistency for both. Enjoy!

-w&m

MURPHY’S IMPORTED STOUT (DRAUGHT STYLE)

Color: Dark cola with 1/4 – 1/2″ cream head. From above the appearance is similar to a malted milkshake.

Consistency: Silty, thick, after pouring separation is entertaining and reminds me of a cola waterfall.

Flavor: Toasted bread, smoky, liquorice.

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KERRYGOLD DUBLINER CHEESE WITH IRISH STOUT

Color: Green wax outer, light tan/buff cheese.

Texture: Creamy, dense, oily outer, crispy pieces throughout.

Flavor: Bitter, salty, sharp.

stout . cheese display edit 2


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Rothaus German Beer Tasting

rothaus display edit

It’s crazy to think that we are already into the month of July. Birthday events, full time work schedules and a wedding engagement have thrown Megan and I into a whirlwind of planning. Somehow we managed to prepare at least two upcoming blogs and one from the month of May that was never brought to completion. We prepared a tasting of three different beers from Rothaus.

Rothaus is a brewing company in Grafenhausen, Germany. They have a highly successful line of beers including a Pils that is rated as one of the best. Comparatively, we felt that all three compared to the American standard of beer such as Budweiser, Labatt, Pabst etc. The notable difference however, was Rothaus’ unique bottle graphic and foil seal.

Rothaus Ef Weis edit

Hefeweizen Zäpfle (Alc. 5.4 % Vol.)

Taste: Citrus, orange zest, fruit pulp, metallic.

Aroma: bubblegum, watermelon rind, banana bread.

Color: Caramel, hazy amber.

Lacing: Heavy

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Märzen Export Eis Zäpfle (Alc. 5.6 % Vol.)

Taste: Floral, apple

Aroma: Buckwheat honey, mild pine, buttered meat.

Color: Clear, golden

Lacing: Little/none

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Pils tannenzäpfle (Alc. 5.1 % Vol.)

Taste: Floral, pine, “Labatt”

Aroma: Marigold, honey, urine

Color: Clear yellow, “Redbull” lemon

Lacing: Medium/low

bottle series edit


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Herbaceous Hare Hoagie Recipe (Vegetarian *Spicy*)

This past Saturday Megan and I ventured out into the Western New York woodlands to traipse the trails of Letchworth State Park. We faced three miles of meandering footpaths. Compressed earth twisted and intertwined with gnarled tree roots and bone-dry shale stream beds. After a bit of uncertainty and an access road detour, our path lead to  a luxurious lean-to. To much of our excitement the solitary shanty came adorned with a picnic bench, fire-pit, complementary stashed moonshine (garnished with a dead beetle), and garment hanging nails.

After returning home today with a renewed appreciation for fresh vegetables, gas stoves and running water I threw together this recipe for vegetarians and fans of spicy cuisine.

You will need:  

1/2 large carrot

1/3 green pepper

1/4 large zucchini

2 slices of bread ( I used homemade honey-wheat)

3 leaves of romaine lettuce

2 tbs clover honey

2 tbs hummus

2 tbs habanero salsa (or your favorite)

1 tbs cooking oil or coconut oil etc.

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Step 1: Slice all your veggies into sandwich-size slivers.

Step 2: Coat your pan in a light amount of oil and turn on to medium-high heat.

Step 3: Lay out your veggies and grill evenly on both sides. (Cutting slices of equal width will ensure even cooking)

Step 4: Drizzle honey over veggies and add cracked pepper/any additional seasonings.

Step5: Toast both pieces of bread within the last minutes of grilling.

Step 6: Remove bread from toaster and using a butter knife apply spicy salsa, hummus and lettuce to your bread.

Step 7: Carefully remove all veggies from the pan with a spatula and distribute/stack evenly on bread.

Step 8: Put sandwich on a plate, cover and eat.

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*Note* Almond milk or a cold summer wheat beer goes great with this sandwich as both beverages quell the spice. Enjoy!


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Local New York State IPA Showdown (Beer Tasting)

Link to our IPA Showdown

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Last Monday (August 20, 2012) we got together with another couple (thanks Ray and Malaina!) to do our first beer evaluation. Now, let me preface by saying we are certainly not professionals. But we are, rather, enthusiasts. We chose 4 different local breweries, each carrying an IPA (2 of which were double IPA). While sniffing, tasting, and laughing together in a kitchen (settled in the middle of some nice patches of forestry) we embarked on our first informal tasting. The following beers are rated based on these four categories: