February favorites and a fantastic Framboise recipe
Whoa alliteration. OK, this is gonna be kind of a monthly fave “Beer Diary” meets Monday food recipe, meets “Travel Edition” post mashup.
You know how much I love a good mashup. I mean who doesn’t? Guacamole – Mango Salsa, #AmIRight?
Basically, I have a problem because I want to tell you about my current beer obsessions, one of which is a ridiculous Russian Imperial Stout, but, I also need need need to share with you an amazing discovery: Lindeman’s Framboise reduction. I know, right?! Where to start.
OK, we’ll start with the Framboise syrup since it is technically Monday and that’s what ya’ll are expecting.
First, I need to be clear about something. I don’t typically advocate the drinking of Lindeman’s Framboise, unless you are using it as a dessert. It is super sweet and raspberry-tastic which can be great if that’s what you’re in the mood for (framboise is actually the French word for raspberry, so it kind of makes sense). Don’t get me wrong, it’s quite tasty, but when I want a beer, Framboise is not typically what I’m looking for. Reduced and drizzled on chocolate, or cheese though?
100 times yes.
Plus, you don’t even need a recipe for this one, because it is this simple:
Lindeman’s Framboise Reduction (Syrup)
Pour half of a 750 mL bottle of Lindeman’s Framboise into a sauce pot. Bring it to a low simmer. Reduce the liquid on medium low, then low once it’s half reduced, until the liquid becomes a dark lovely syrup.
Make sure to watch the pot, so it doesn’t boil over. Presto chango, you have delicious Framboise syrup.
Once it cools for about 10 minutes, you can pour it over a big piece of brie cheese, like I did, or you can drizzle it over french toast, brownies, chocolate cake, or cheesecake would be delish too.
So many options!!
With the remaining half bottle of Framboise (you don’t want to waste it!), make a few Black Forests. Never heard of a Black Forest? It’s the combination of Guinness (or sub Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro) and Framboise, which when poured together tastes like h.e.a.v.e.n. I first learned of this beverage at Sunset Bar and Grill in Allston, MA near where hubby and I went to school (what up my fellow Terriers!). Awesome stuff!
So, the way Sunset usually makes a Black Forest is 50/50 Guinness to Framboise, but I much prefer a 75/25 ratio instead (otherwise the Framboise overpowers the whole drink). Mmmm. Tastes like delicious college nostalgia.
Now on to my February favorites.
Being on vacation for a whole week this month meant that there was a lot of beer consumed. I’ll start with the beer I least expected to fall in love with.
#1. Jolly Pumpkin “Oro de Calabaza” – I say that I didn’t expect to like it, because most of Jolly Pumpkin’s beers are quite tarte, and not just a little sour, very sour. This one is considered a Belgian golden ale, and it definitely has some funky, slightly sour, wild yeast action going on, but as compared to some of the other Jolly Pumpkin beers, the sour on this one is mild. Which I like. Mike LOVES a sour beer, but I always feel overwhelmed after a few sips.
Oro de Calabaza strikes the perfect balance, it’s very drinkable, a little fruity, and overall very tasty. It’s like training wheels for people being introduced to the sour style, which is good because apparently I still need training wheels.
#2. Four Peaks, “Sirius Black” – a Russian Imperial Stout aged in Four Roses bourbon barrels. Yowza. File this with Ballast Point “Victory at Sea,” under New Dark Beer Obsession.
That’s hubby up there imbibing one of these amazing beers. You know, the one in the turtle (and hare) reversible bow tie being too cool for school. God, I love that adorable dork. What can I say, I have a thing for hipster glasses and a bow tie.
But back to the beer.
Damn. It’s one of those beers where you instantly know you’ve stumbled upon something special. It’s all at once boozy from the bourbon (but not really bourbon-tasting), smooth, and heavy on vanilla. Just crazy good. If you’re in Arizona, you need to track this beer down because I don’t think they sell it outside the state. We tried to pick up a growler of the stuff, but THEY WOULDN’T LET US!
What?!!? Apparently because the beer is 9%, Four Peaks didn’t think it was “responsible” to sell by the growler. Or at least that is what they told us. What’s more responsible, going home and drinking a growler of beer between three people? Or going to the brewery and putting down four of these, then driving home. I think their logic is faulty, just saying. Also, the Harry Potter reference definitely adds to this beers awesomeness. I am ridiculous.
#3.Stone “Enjoy By” 04.01.13 IPA – Thank God. I never thought that this beer would ever make it to our little section of the country. But it did! We were able to score some of this rare beer down at Dutch’s, one of our favorite go-to places for finding (and drinking) beer.
My first impression of this beer, is whoa, bright, grassy and fruity. In a good way. The flavor is also all about the grassy hops, with a well balanced sweetness and bitter hops to finish. The intent of this beer, as opposed to the Vertical Epic series I talked about about last week, which was made to age is to drink it immediately. Hence the blatantly obvious, drink me asap label. Since IPAs lose their aroma, and then their hop flavor relatively quickly, Stone wants to ensure this beer is drank at it’s absolute intended best. Boy did they know what they were doing too.
So that is what is I’m drinking and loving in February. Stay tuned for Thursday where I get to tell you more about our beer adventures in Arizona. And definitely try out the Framboise reduction. You will not be disappointed.