November 24, 2010

Four Peak's Andy Ingram: Cheese and Beer's Secret Weapon

Andy Ingram
Andy Ingram, head brewer and  co-owner of Four Peaks writes about Thanksgiving pairings in a new weekly beer column for the Arizona Republic. The focus on cheese and beer's carbonation caught my eye.
In our house, pre-dinner bites usually involve cheese, and there are few culinary marriages better than beer and cheese. Over the years, wine has co-opted cheese as a natural partner, but honestly, cheese is far better with beer, thanks to beer's secret weapon: carbonation
Carbonation cuts through some of the heavier aspects of cheese while brightening its subtle flavors. (Andy Ingram)
Cheese has been co-opted by wine, Ingram writes, but I took it a step further when I  talked about cheese during my Ignite Phoenix 8 presentation, "Let's Put Beer on the Dinner Table". I said that wine is frequently paired with cheese since cheese's creamy texture and rich flavors do such a good job of masking a wine's flaws. Without carbonation, the cheese stays in your mouth.

November 23, 2010

Where in the Phoenix Beer World?

Do you know where in the Phoenix Beer World, this photo was taken?

It ain't Milwaukee

November 19, 2010

What Are We Pairing? - Brown Ales and Comfort Food

The weather turned and that puts us in the mood for heartier ales and comfort food. Fall reflection must be the reason why we gravitated to adult versions of childhood favorites. We chose meatloaf and sloppy joes to go with a couple of locally available Brown Ales, each with a slightly different character.

Meatloaf and Moose Drool at Rico's
The first dish is a billed as a Wicked Meatloaf Sandwich from Rico's American Grill at the Squaw Peak Hilton.  It's served open-faced on Texas toast, covered with white cheddar, a haystack of fried onions and tangy house bbq sauce.  We decided on a Moose Drool from Big Sky Brewing.

Moose Drool begins with a caramel cocoa flavor but finishes with a roasty bitterness. It's a classic example of an American Brown Ale- more aggressive than an English Brown with medium body and just shy of a porter in terms of robustness.  The malty caramel and slightly sweet flavors in the foretaste are perfect for ground beef dishes like meatloaf, the bitter roasty finish provides a relief to the tangy barbecue sauce.

November 15, 2010

Where in the Phoenix Beer World?

Do you know where in the Phoenix Beer World, this photo was taken?

Donde esta la cervesza?

November 12, 2010

Ignite Phoenix 8 - Let's put Beer on the Dinner Table video has posted.

Empty now, but daunting full!
For those of you that missed the personal social media onslaught that I engineered leading up to Ignite Phoenix, the presentation I did at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts has finally posted to the Ignite Phoenix YouTube Channel. For everyone else, I promise, this is not a purely ego driven post. Beer is important in shaping our enjoyment of Phoenix life and I'd like another opportunity to expound upon the 15 slides per second,  brutal, yet elegant Ignite format.

See the video and more commentart after the jump!

November 8, 2010

Where in the Phoenix Beer World?

Do you know where in the Phoenix Beer World, this photo was taken?

Where in the Phoenix Beer World?

November 3, 2010

Firestone Walker XIV Release Parties

Recently, Rob gave a brief overview of beer blending, describing different draft-beer blends you can get at local breweries and beer bars. As an aside, he mentioned craft breweries that experimentally blend. This trend is growing in popularity, and one of the best at it is Firestone Walker in Paso Robles, California. Beginning next week, three local beer bars are hosting Firestone XIV Anniversary Release Parties, where you can sample blended beer at its best, and even take home a bottle or two.

Firestone Walker was founded in 1996 in Southern California wine country. Co-founder Adam Firestone wanted to apply his family's wine industry experience to brewing and ferment beers in oak barrels. This led to the installation of a union system modeled on the famous Burton union system of Bass Breweries in Burton-on-Trent, England. A natural progression lead to a barrel aging program. A barrel-aging program leads to a reserve series of beers, some of which end up in blended offerings. Last year's anniversary beer, Firestone Walker 13, was a blend of six different beers, presented in a boxed 22-oz bottle including a fact sheet describing the blending process and beers in the final blend.