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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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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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Negra Modelo & Shrimp Tacos

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Negra Modelo is a Vienna lager-style beer made by Grupo Modelo and in produccion since 1926; first brewed by Austrian Immigrants. Negra Modelo has become one of Mexico’s popular beers next to Corona, the latter being one of my least favorite and one I drank for years. This beer is one of my favorite Mexican beers and I like to pair it with Mexican dishes. Mexico is currently experiencing a craft beer renaissance, if we can call it that, and I can’t wait to get my hands on some of those beers brewed in that country. I’ve contemplated a trip to Tijuana just to get a few of those beers; maybe one of these days.

The pictures above and below are of a panko breaded shrimp taco, a recipe I put together with a delicious chipotle cream sauce; keep reading for the beer review and recipe.

The beer has a nice funky yeast aroma mixed with malt. The body of the beer is light, watery if you will.  In the sip  you’ll taste a bit of  citrus, biscuit and malt with a faint hop aftertaste . Carbonation in the beer is light and coats the tongue. The alcohol is so low for the beer, that you don’t get to taste or smell it, making it easy quaff down a few. It’s a good tasting beer, nothing fantastic, but as I mentioned above, it’s one of my favorites and if you’ve never had it, I’m sure you’ll like it. This is also safe beer you can bring to a backyard boogie, I’m sure you’re neighbor wont mind a six or case of it.  Don’t forget to grab your sombrero!

Three Beer Caps on the Kalifornia Beer Scale.

Chipotle Crema

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Shrimp Taco Recipe:

I’ll assume most of you already know how to bread shrimp, just add panko for my version of the taco. If you can find La Tortilla Factory tortillas, I recommend you buy them, they are like handmade! If you’d like the recipe for the shrimp, leave me a comment and I’ll update the post with it.

You’ll need three shrimp per taco, so keep this in mind when making the panko breaded shrimp; below is the recipe and the rest of the ingredients.

1 can of chipotle in adobo sauce 7oz
1 container of Cacique crema 17 oz
2 to 4 tablespoons of brown sugar – depending on taste
1/2 a cucumber sliced – more depending on total of tacos
1 bunch of cilantro
1 avocado sliced
Tortillas

For the chipotle crema:

In a bowl add half of the creama, about 1 cup.

Open the can of chipotle and drain about 3/4 of the adobo sauce and mix with the crema.

With a knife, carefully half the chipotles and try to scrape out as many seeds as possible; be gentle with the chipotle as they can tear easily.  After seeding, chop length an crosswise, they’ll become like a paste and add to the bowl with crema and adobo.

Add 2 Tb of brown sugar to the bowl and mix all ingredients.

Sometimes the chipotles can be spicy other times just sweet, add a few pinches of salt and taste the cream sauce.  If you like how everything tastes you don’t have to add more brown sugar, but if it’s still too spicy, add 1 or 2 more tablespoons to balance the flavors.  Depending on how it tastes to you, you might need to add more crema.

Putting the taco together:

After heating tortillas, add 2 slices of cucumber, 2 slice of avocado , 3 shrimp, drizzle the chipotle cream sauce, and garnish with a few sprigs of cilantro. ENJOY!

*If you can’t find the cacique brand, any Mexican sour cream will do.  You might end up with extra cream sauce, store in fridge and you can use it for breaded or grilled fish tacos too; the possibilities are endless!

Throw one back for me with each taco bite ~ cheers!

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Beer & Food

 

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Pontius Road Pilsner

This is a short and sweet review I’ve had ready for months, but it just sat there and now that I’m finally done posting pictures from my recent trip, I’ll get the wheels rolling on the beer reviews.  I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed a pilsner on the blog and as I think of it, not a lot of love is out there from the breweries I frequently drink beer from or the popular ones.  I can’t name 10 maybe not even 5 pilsner’s off the top of my head from the craft breweries.

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This beer is from Short’s Brewing, a beer for a spring or summer day when you don’t need to mow the lawn or work on the car, but you do it anyway to get away from the wife and kid.  It has very low alcohol, so you can drink a few while you enjoy the weather on a hammock.

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Aromatically smells of piney citrus, dry straw, and just enough malt. The flavor is exactly the same with just enough bitterness to linger; great color as well.  A simple beer and nothing great or bad about it, but when you start to pick it apart and compare to pilsners, this has more character.

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Solid. I’ll rate Three out of Five Beer Caps overall, but amongst it’s peer group of pilsner’s it’s a Four.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2012 in Empty Bottles

 

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Hoppy Feet 1.5

Clown Shoes – Hoppy Feet 1.5

I got this beer in a trade after I sent a few bottles to the city of Chicago. It’s a very peculiar name for a brewery and I had to go online and read the reason for it and luckily, it was on their website and this is what it read… “Clown Shoes? Very long story, but to condense it a group of us submitted the name to the Beer Advocate contest that resulted in The Wrath of Pecant. Our submission didn’t crack the top 5. This burned me up inside. While driving one day the epiphany came: I could make my own Clown Shoes beer.

What’s with the odd brewery name and now a 1.5 in the beer name?! They might not have liked the first batch, upgraded the software, and the new release worked out a few bugs and worked. All joking aside, this was a good beer.

Turns out Hoppy Feet is available year round, but for their anniversary they decided to dry hop this beer twice and thus they present to you, Clown Shoes 1.5. This is a Double Black India Pale Ale with an aroma of malt, lots of hop, alcohol, and I caught a bit of roasted coffee. The beer was creamy, a really nice feel on the tongue. Almost all beers you find out there have a dominant flavor, but not with this beer. Each sip was very enjoyable as it gave me a balanced combination of hop and malt; I haven’t had this in a beer. You’ll find sweet notes of malt and toffee and will have a hop bitter finish.

This is a very solid beer and I’d say that it’s one of the best Black IPA’s I’ve had. Black anything seemed to be the thing that everyone was doing during 2011 in the beer world here in the States, it’s caught on and with this beer Clown Shoes has really nailed it. I had this beer with some chicken tika masala (a spicy tomato sauce); it was a good combination as the spiciness from the dish went really well with the malt/hop flavor in the beer. This is an IPA I truly enjoyed and will rate Five Beer Caps out of Five. I was surprised by the beer, especially when the label has a clown on it and I couldn’t take it seriously. I’ve done this before where I’ll skip the beer and won’t buy it based on the label, but lesson learned, again, don’t judge by the label or name! Sadly we don’t get any beers from Clown Shoes in the Los Angeles area and can only hope to get some more when and if I trade. Thanks RVD for sending this one my way.

Throw one back for me ~ cheers!

 

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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!

 
5 Comments

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

 

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Mackinac Island Fudge Stout

I took a holiday from the blog but I’ve been at it with drinking new beers and I have badges to prove it! This was suppose to be the first post of the year, but I had a little mix up and I posted the Sam Adams Black & Brew first, a beer I enjoyed and you can read the post again or read it for the first time in case you missed it. Just before the year ended I checked in my 200th different beer. If I were to line up all 200 beers… whoa, what a site that would be, but I only need to lift my shirt as proof. I’m sure lots of you are way beyond that, but it’s been a steady pace for me and makes me wonder where I’ll be a year from now with the count. I haven’t posted much recently, but I have a few drafts (not beers on tap) ready to finish up and edit, so those will be coming shortly. One thing that will be making it easy for me to post more frequently, will be the fact that I will only be posting pictures from my iPhone. I should’ve taken this decision months back, instead of using my DSLR and editing the pictures on the computer; hard work, I know.

Here’s the image of the badge for that 200th beer.

OK, so now let’s get to the beer talk. With this entry I will be reviewing Arbor Brewing Co’s Fudge Stout, but I won’t rate it; continue reading and you’ll find out why.

You would think that with a big nose I’d be able to smell all the beer goodness, but no, damn sinus issues and a recent ear infection are not letting me pick up the wonderful smells in a beer. I was only able to pick up the strong smells, the alcohol, the malt, but not much else; none of the roasted aromas or the fudge. There were sediments that might’ve been a tell tell sign of having kept this beer far too long in the fridge. Lots of carbonation in it, craft beer never makes me burp, but this one did after a few sips. The beer was malty and surprisingly sour, not sure what that was about. The beer was thin, rare for a stout, and sadly I did not taste any of the fudge, only some of the roasted flavors came through after it warmed.

I encourage you to read and drink beer.

I won’t rate it as I might have ruined the beer for keeping it for so long, I think it’s the only fair thing to do. Perhaps and maybe if the Dodgers beat the Tigers in a series, I’ll get this in a trade again.

Throw one back for me ~ Cheers!

 
4 Comments

Posted by on February 6, 2012 in Empty Bottles

 

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