Bread and beer are, by far, two of my favorite food and drink. They are intertwined by virtue of similar ingredients and fermentation processes The only difference is the lack of flour in beer, hence the moniker "liquid bread." After so many posts about baking, I found myself thinking how strange I haven't been talking about beer with as much gusto as bread?
When I was in the Army in Germany, we drank lots of bier. Luckily, I was in the bosom of hops and visited amazing beer institutions like the braühaus. A good thing! Tankards, boots, steins, almost anything that could hold the beverage had a traditional name,a song, a method of ordering, even how to drink, all symbolizing something in ceremony of the culture that is beer.
In the past few weeks as the weather has warmed up, the seasonal urge for "a cold one" emerges as something offering satisfaction, flavor, and delight. And so preparing for our Memorial bar-b-que, perusing the shelves at Fairway market for sundry sausages and cheese, I spotted some fantastic looking beers and tucked a few in between the apples and pate!
Never one to shy away from a cold glass or room temperature ale like in Wales a few years ago, I picked out a wonderful brew from Brooklyn beer company. It's a recent addition to the wide selection of homegrown beers offered, but this beer is sort of a specialty Brooklyn Local 2, a golden brown colored ale with flavors of citrus, just perfect with Memorial Day grilling. Sharing it, my cousin concurred, offering up her quickly finished glass to be re-filled!
The other specialty or novelty beer I found on the same shelf was called "Hebrew, The Chosen Beer." Looking at the label, I thought it was a joke. On closer inspection, something stood out, the words "rye malt IPA.: Hmmm, speaking those words to myself, my ears peaked and the hair on the back of my neck stood up straight. Rye! This one I am tasting over the weekend. I have to be in the mood and maybe have to think of food appropriate to pair with this one?
So the other day after a trying shift at work, I stopped at Superiour Market, my local beer store. When I say "beer store," it should be pointed out that this store's windows are covered with all sorts of labels, some that I have never seen.
There are Belgian ales, fruit flavored, even one made with bananas and another with coffee! They also carry weisse biers from areas of Germany through which I have never passed, or at least I don't recall. There are also lots of American artisan beers, as well as French and Canadian and… you name it, they have it! This visit I limited myself to these two new brands, as my previous purchases were waiting at home for an indulgent weekend of good food and beer. So I spied a small bottle of beer called Cane and Ebel, with the interesting combination of Thai palm sugar and rye malt.
The other is Unibroue, a beer from Quebec that my brother told me about and swears it's a keeper, lots of yeast fermented in the bottom of the bottle!
I popped open this bottle after cooling it down, and was really pleased. It was sweet and reminded me of a beer I used to drink at a favorite beer pub, years ago. This would go so well with a onion tart. It's got a beautiful head and reddish color, almost smokey with a definite note of the rye I am happy to say.
The next few bottles I will open and try with some notes,suggestions for pairing perhaps? Beer is an old friend. Like wine, it's full of depth, sometimes maligned and misunderstood, but it's a drink that hearkens back to our early days as humans, cracked grain, a little water and heat, fermentation! It's magic.
Oh and please don't drink and drive, that is just stupid!