Meadventures: Making basic honey wine

Scientists believe that the first alcoholic beverage ever made was a combination  of honey, and perhaps grains, that wild yeast and bacteria fermented spontaneously. Someone along the way decided to drink said beverage and voila!

This honey wine/ beer mashup was nothing akin to our modern understanding of mead or beer, but it was the foundation of some of the greatest beverages known to man. Over many years, the two have become distinct beverages. That’s probably because the official term for such a hybrid of beer and mead is braggot, and anything that rhymes with maggot  was clearly not meant to be popular.

Homemade orange blossom mead

At heart, mead, aka honey wine, is a truly simple beverage. It can be carbonated like beer, or kept still like a table wine. I have mostly preferred carbonated meads personally. If you let mead ferment fully, and do not add any additional sugars, which is my preference, you’ll end up with a delicious, champagne-like beverage (especially if you use a champagne yeast for fermentation). If you’ve never tried mead, I’d recommend trying offerings from RedStone and B Nektar – both excellent mead makers. Continue reading Meadventures: Making basic honey wine

Beautiful Baked Brie with Crispy Sage

As you may recall, one of my favorite things in life, besides beer of course, is cheese.

I love it bubbling on top of my favorite Porter Onion Soup, mounded on pastas, smothered in sweet and spicy Jezebel dip, or simply sliced and served with bread and honey.

I’ve been making a version of this baked brie for a long time now. It honestly doesn’t get much simpler, but I’ve mastered the folding technique and gotten the bake time down to a science. I just had to share my tips with you, my fellow beer and food lovahs.

DSC_0565

For those of you who haven’t ever used frozen puff pastry, get yourself acquainted, stat! It is extremely versatile. There are literally millions of things you can do with it. I’ve already told you about my Easy Apple Galette (with vanilla bourbon caramel sauce – eee!), and Jalapeño Puff Pastry Poppers – but this is even easier, just unbelievably pretty, and insanely delicious. Continue reading Beautiful Baked Brie with Crispy Sage

Stop Calling Your Beer ‘Hoppy’

Hoppy has practically become as ubiquitous a word as ‘beer’ in the craft world and I can. not. stand it anymore!

    “Wow, this beer is sooo hoppy.”

           “Ew, I can’t stand hoppy beers.”

  “What?! I LOVE hoppy beers!”

Sound familiar?

Sixpoint 'Beer is Culture' Glass

Before you get all in a huff, pointing out the zillion places I use the word hoppy in my blog posts, let me give you my reasoning. Continue reading Stop Calling Your Beer ‘Hoppy’

Porter vs. Stout: Really, what is the difference?

‘What exactly is the difference between stout and porter?’ someone  recently asked me. As I opened my mouth to explain, I realized that the answer is not as cut and dry as you might think.

While there are many varieties of so-called ‘dark beer’ such as schwarzbier, Scotch ale, dark American lager etc., the broad categories of stout and porter are probably the most well known. Actually, their histories are so intertwined that honestly I still get confused – what came first? The porter or the stout?

I was chatting recently with my friend Scott at Blank Slate Brewing Company about the differences and asked him how he approaches this topic with people. He responded that first, he likes to take a step back. He explains that as you go up the style chain, beers generally increase in flavor, body, and intensity (though there are some exceptions). If you think about the differences between a blonde ale and pale ale, or amber and brown ale this premise fits the bill. Porter and stout are a similar story, but with a lot more overlap.

DSC_0022Let’s take a look at what the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) style guidelines, the industry standard, say: Continue reading Porter vs. Stout: Really, what is the difference?

Seared Scallops w/ ‘Drunken’ Tomato Spaghetti

So far this morning I have eaten a quarter of a watermelon and a whole fresh tomato. Random, but so delicious. As you can tell, we have been eating quite well this summer – noshing away on farm fresh veggies and eggs from our CSA with the Eaton Farm.

But my favorite concoction so far has been this insanely delicious and easy seared scallop spaghetti with a fresh and spicy white wine tomato sauce.

Because just look at these tomatoes. . .

Fresh, beautiful summer tomatoes

Oh hello lovahhhs. Continue reading Seared Scallops w/ ‘Drunken’ Tomato Spaghetti

the brewing and culinary adventures of a Certified Cicerone®