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Abbey – Belgian Style Ale

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Craft Beer can be expensive as we all know, so every once in a while I go to my local grocery store and get one of those 12 packs that has a variety of beers, in the end, those cases of beer can cost the same or even less than that $18 bottle. I have to say that every time I pick one up, I’m never disappointed in the product they put in those boxes, sure they have some that I wouldn’t buy on its own, but since it came in the pack, I’m glad I picked it up and it helps me try new beers. The pack I purchased a few weeks ago was from New Belgium Brewing, it was the Folley Pack that had their Spring offerings and in the case, I found three bottles of the Abbey Style Ale. I drank two of them and the third bottle, I used it to make dinner on a Sunday night and I made a Beer Braised Chicken dish, it was delicious and I include the recipe in this post and you’ll definitely want to stick around for it.

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The Abbey Style Ale had some of the common aromas you’ll find in this style, it was a bit boozy with some alcohol being very present, some of those biscuity smells too like bread and some yeast funk, and this beer was very malty, it smelled delicious. The Ale has a medium body with low carbonation. The taste is primarily malty, you’ll get lots of malt throughout the sip and will combine with a bit of banana and vanilla sweetness up front, finishing with a yeast and alcohol flavor. The bottle noted it had some anise, but I failed to smell or taste any of it, even though I let it sit to reach room temperature.

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This is a a beer that really surprised me, I was not expecting it to be up there in my rating system. As I previously mentioned, these 12 packs I tend to buy, have a mix of bottles that please me, on average they are Three Beer Caps, but this particular Abbey Belgian Style Ale merits Four Beer Caps from me. If you’re reading this, get to the store and pick one up and make sure you also get the rest of the ingredients for the Beer Braised Chicken recipe I have below for you.

Rating4

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The Abbey Ale marries well all of the ingredients from the recipe. You’ll experience a nice and creamy broth with great earthy flavors from the ale, mushrooms, and beans. It’s a lovely home-made flavor made for these cold winter days. I got the recipe off the Food & Wine website and didn’t have all of the ingredients available, like the anise seeds and saffron, but the flavors came out great.

Throw one back for me ~ cheers!

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Ingredients:

  1. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  2. 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  3. 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons pure olive oil
  4. 8 skinless chicken thighs
  5. 2 tablespoons anise seeds
  6. 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  7. 1/2 teaspoon loosely packed saffron threads
  8. 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  9. Salt
  10. 1 cup shelled fava beans
  11. 1/2 cup fresh peas, preferably English peas
  12. Freshly ground black pepper
  13. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  14. 1 pound button mushrooms, halved
  15. 8 scallions, thinly sliced
  16. 2 thyme sprigs
  17. 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  18. One 12-ounce bottle Belgian beer
  19. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  20. 1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  1. In a small skillet, toast the anise seeds over moderate heat, shaking the skillet, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let the anise seeds cool slightly, then crush with the side of a knife.
  2. In a mini food processor, combine the toasted anise seeds with the chopped garlic, saffron, paprika and cayenne. Add the lemon juice and puree. Transfer the mixture to a large, shallow bowl and stir in 1/2 cup of the olive oil. Add the chicken thighs and turn to coat with the marinade. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add salt and the fava beans and cook for 1 minute; using a slotted spoon, transfer the fava beans to a small bowl and let cool slightly. Add the peas to the boiling water and cook until tender, 5 to 6 minutes; drain. Peel the fava beans and add to the peas.
  4. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large enameled cast-iron casserole. Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade, scraping off the excess. Season the chicken with salt and black pepper and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken thighs to a platter.
  5. Wipe out the casserole, add the butter and heat until melted. Add the halved mushrooms, sliced scallions and thyme and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until any liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are browned, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Slowly stir in the beer and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the casserole.
  6. Return the chicken thighs to the casserole and season with salt and black pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat until the chicken is tender and cooked through, about 25 minutes. Add the cream, fava beans and peas, increase the heat to moderate and cook uncovered until the sauce has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs. Serve the chicken stew in shallow soup bowls, sprinkled with the parsley.
Make Ahead: The braised chicken can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently and garnish with parsley before serving.
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Posted by on February 12, 2013 in Empty Bottles

 

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Santa’s Little Helper Bourbon Barrel-aged

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It’s late in the day and Christmas is almost over, but I have enough time to post my recent beer tasting I’ve reviewed. This is a beer by Ports Brewing in San Marcos California, the beer is called Santa’s Little Helper, a fun name for a Russian Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels.

This beer had a strong aroma of bourbon that was followed by roasted malt, dark and bitter roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and alcohol. Santa’s Little Helper had a medium body with very little carbonation. The sip is slightly dry with nice tones of vanilla, roasted coffee, and dark chocolate, and the bourbon is present throughout . At 12% ABV, the alcohol is a lot more present in the aroma than in the taste and its turning out to be an easy beer to drink. The beer warms the stomach once it deposits there, but no alcohol burn in the wash.

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I tend to shy away from high alcohol beers as I rarely enjoy them, they tend to be on the sweet side and the strong alcohol finish is off putting. This beer is an exception to that, and as I mentioned, the alcohol was not a strong presence when drinking. I enjoyed drinking this beer today and today being Christmas, I think the fat man in the red suit wouldn’t mind drinking this one after delivering all the toys. A lot of good things going for it, but it was not worth $18 and was missing a lil something; Three Beer Caps for this one.

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Rating3

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2012 in Empty Bottles

 

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Old Jubilation Ale

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Old Jubilation Ale is of the Strong Ale variety made by Avery Brewing Company in Boulder Colorado.

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Malt was the beers primarily aroma followed by roasted coffee, dark chocolate, some yeast funk, all combined with a strong alcohol presence. A malt backbone with some roasted notes, but the holidays don’t come to mind when I sip. I thought of a chocolate and nut biscotto when I first took a sip. Old Jubilation Ale has a nice creamy body and just the right amount of carbonation. The beer had a sweetness from the malt that I really enjoyed. Dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans are discernible, but its a boozy sip and the alcohol will overpower while the malt brings around. The finish is bitter from some hop flavor and leaves you with a dry mouth.

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At 8.4% ABV, Old Jubilation Ale is one that can get you to bed early if you don’t mind what you’re drinking, so take it easy with it. The beer can be cellared for up to 2 years according to the bottle, I just might consider doing that to see how the character of the beer changes. I’ve enjoyed drinking this beer, but I was looking forward to some holiday spices in the beer, but it can go both ways as this can be an alternative to the heavily spiced winter warmer available at this time of year. Three Beer Caps for this one.

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Rating3

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2012 in Empty Bottles

 

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Breakfast Stout

Stayed home from work today as I wasn’t feeling the drive and I’ve been pissed about not finding Pliny The Younger or just missed it incidents here in Los Angeles, but that’s another tale. It turned out to be a great morning as I had my tasty oatmeal pancakes with one of the best Oatmeal Stouts I’ve ever had and it’s from Founders Brewing; a Double Chocolate Coffee Oatmeal Stout. This is a beer I got in the birthday package, and I gotta tell ya, the pancakes and the beer tasted great and took my mind off of The Younger for a few hours.

Stout patiently waiting for the pancakes.

As soon as I opened the bottle I could smell the roasted coffee, the malt, no chocolate, but lots of alcohol and at 8.3 ABV it was definitely present. A lot of the stouts I’ve had recently have been thin, but this one had a great body to it and was creamy. Nice bitterness from the chocolate and coffee, but very little from the hop. I got a lot of roasted goodness from the coffee and chocolate; these two were the main ingredients you could taste along with the alcohol. The syrup I poured over the pancakes enhanced the malt in the beer and cut a bit of the alcohol aftertaste and burn, but even without the syrup, the flavor would’ve been great. You can taste the oatmeal in this beer, the first time I ever have in a beer of this style, but could’ve been the pancakes too.

Overall a great tasting beer, I have to agree with Beer Advocates 100 points, but here at cervezaplease, we give beer caps, and its going into the Five Beer Caps Hall of Fame. When I open my bed and breakfast, this is going to be at the top of the menu, Kalifornia Oatmeal Pancakes with a Breakfast Stout by Founders. Keep reading for an easy oatmeal pancakes recipe and you can pair with milk, coffee, or beer of course.

Oatmeal Pancake Recipe:

    • Makes four pancakes.
    • 2 bags of your favorite microwavable oatmeal
    • 3/4 cup of pancake mix
    • 1 pinch of salt
    • 1/2 cup of milk or water (or more), add a bit at a time and stop at your desired consistency
    • Mix all ingredients and you’re ready to rock and roll!

Oatmeal is ready.

Add the pancake mix.

Mix all the ingredients

One ladle of the mix for a big pancake.

Butter the pancake when you flip it.

I don’t have a sweet tooth so I prefer butter and just a bit of syrup.

Throw one back for me ~ cheers!

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Empty Bottles, Five Beer Caps Club

 

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Allagash Black

Belgian Style Stout

I’ve had an issue with aroma lately and it’s all to the fact that only one nostril is open, the other always shut and it makes it difficult to smell things.  The only smells I could pick up with this beer were dark chocolate and alcohol, though it was very faint.  I enjoyed the taste of caramelized brown sugar (like syrup), the roasted coffee, and I liked the bitterness that came through; a dark chocolate or coffee bitter, but not the herb hop kind.  Extremely smooth, no alcohol burn, very pleasant on the tongue, nice coat from carbonation.  Alcohol was more present when it warmed, but still pleasant to sip on.

Corked beers are sexy.

A chocolate color when exposed to the sun.

When a beer is somewhat cheaper than their sisters on the lineup, you expect it to show up in the quality, but Allagash doesn’t cheat you because you only paid $8 for the bottle, they still make it very damn tasty.  I think it’s one of the best stouts I’ve had in my short drinking career and will keep it stocked with the rest of the WMD’s.  Pick one up and enjoy this before the weather warms up.  Five Beer Caps.

Throw one back for me ~ cheers!

 

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Le Freak

Le Freak by Green Flash Brewing Co

Green Flash Brewing Co is one of the many great breweries in San Diego county; Green Flash’s selection of beers are all highly rated and the ones I’ve tried have been very good.  I’m reviewing Le Freak this time around, it’s labeled as an “extreme ale converging San Diego-style Imperial Ale and Belgian-style trippel. I enjoyed sipping on this beer; keep reading for more of my thoughts.

A very inviting aroma that made me drink it immediately.  I got a bit of funk from the yeast, sweet notes of banana and malt, citrus, and alcohol which is expected with this beer at 9.2 ABV; aromatically a trippel.  Citrus up front and a peppery middle bite with a hint of sugary sweet notes.  The finish was hoppy but fades to the alcohol burn left on tongue.  When the beer warmed a lot more of the Belgian sugary sweet notes came through.

This is a great tasting and overall great beer with a mild body that you will surely like.  Didn’t really pick up on the whole San Diego/Trippel thing, but it was a good tasting beer; pick one up and enjoy it.  The one-man team of CervezaPlease rates this beer four caps on the Kalifornia Beer Rating System.

Throw one back for me ~ cheers!

 
4 Comments

Posted by on January 22, 2011 in Empty Bottles

 

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Yetti Imperial Stout by Great Divide

Yeti Imperial Stout a beer by Great Divide that is very tasty. This is the first time I drink something from Great Divide and it’s all thanks to Stone Brewery. Stone is also in the business of distributing other brewer’s beers, and I was lucky to find this at the Beverage Warehouse in Culver City. When I grabbed the bottle it was still cold; it had been delivered just minutes earlier.

This beer has a great aroma and it immediately makes me think of the cold fall/winter months; while you reach for your hot chocolate, I’ll reach for this stout! A full bodied stout with with a great coat on the tongue from the carbonation; take a look at the picture above. The taste of roasted malt come through along with molasses, dark chocolate and bitter hops; throughout the entire sip, alcohol was present. When the beer got warm, toffee and bitter goodness from the hop come through very strongly.

This is a definite Five Beer Caps rating and I’m glad I picked up two of them. I loved everything about the beer and I started thinking about pairing it with a “winter dish”, but nothing came to mind. Any of you out there have any suggestions?

Throw one back for me – cheers!

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2010 in Empty Bottles, Five Beer Caps Club

 

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