Category Archives: seasonal

Beer Nog, Holiday Message, and Good Tidings

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Well, it’s that time of year again, where a bearded fat man, in celebration of Jesus, breaks in to your house in the middle of the night, eats your food, and leaves a few things before moving on to the next house. For others who don’t recognize this bizarre annual disturbance, it is also the holidays and a good bit of time off work.

There are many ways (and reasons) to enjoy beer over the holidays and the variety is, as it has always been, limitless (though in the cold winter months I’ve noticed many folks tend to go with the dark and/or boozy beers like Imperial Stouts, Belgian Tripels, or Dark IPAs). While of course nothing quite beats enjoying them in a glass on their own to either wrap up a day of gift wrapping or in an attempt to shut out the family arguments, there is a way to combine your beer with the OTHER favourite drink of the holidays. I refer, of course, to the ‘Nog.

Yep, you can indeed mix eggnog with your beer, though picking the right beer isn’t as easy as it sounds. It can’t be too bitter or too dry, so something creamy and a touch on the sweet side would do marvelously. Beers I would suggest to use are Mill Street‘s Vanilla Porter, New Holland Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout, or North Coast Old Rasputin Imperial Stout. Though thinking on it, a nice coffee stout might also go pretty wonderfully. If any of you folks have other suggestions, please please PLEASE put them in the comments.

Now that a beer is picked you have two ways of going about it. You can either do a mix with store bought eggnog or you can make your own. If you’re going with the first method, I’d suggest 3 parts of nog to about 2 parts of beer. Possibly throw in a bit of milk and nutmeg/cinnamon.

For the make-it-your-own method, the author of The Craft of Stone Brewing Co. and The Sriracha Cookbook Randy Clemens made a damned good recipe way back in 2009. Here it is…

Beer Nog Recipe

6 eggs*, separated
1/2 c sugar, plus 2 Tbsp
2 1/2 c whole milk
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
10 fl oz of beer (Clemens suggests Port Brewing Old Viscosity or other dark, strong ale)
2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

Whisk 6 egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer for several minutes, until the yolks lighten in color and double in volume. Lower speed of mixer and add milk, cream, vanilla, beer, and nutmeg, stirring until combined. Reserve yolk mixture. Wash mixer bowl and whisk attachment thoroughly (any traces of dairy or egg yolk left on equipment will keep the egg whites from whipping properly).

Whisk 6 egg whites in cleaned stand mixer on high. Gradually add in remaining 2 Tbsp sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into yolk mixture. Chill and serve, topping each glass with additional grated nutmeg if desired. Serves 8.

And with that, I just wanted to say Happy Holidays from me and mine to you and yours. I’ll go in to a bit more detail on my new year’s post, but 2014 was a hell of a year for this little site and its humble but pretty tall author and none of it would have happened without viewers like you. Thanks for reading, thanks for talking, and I hope your holidays, however you spend them, are as relaxing as they can be.

 

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Filed under Cooking With Beer, seasonal, Site Business

Wait, Summer is OVER?

Folks, I’m a bit concerned. Because apparently summer is over and I feel that it went by WAY too quick to be natural. I mean…I vaguely remember the heat, people sitting in the parks, going to a couple of festivals and enjoying some wonderful pilsners, saisons and wheat beers…but now it’s all over and suddenly it’s light sweater weather and my little beer fridge is filled with Fall seasonal beers. I’m not sure if it was aliens or an alive and well Nikola Tesla screwing around with the universe, but things seem a little too…rushed, you know?

So a summer post IS coming, it is…but I just wanted to remark on how fast Fall has hit us and even hit the beer shelves.

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September JUST hit and Pumpkin beers, normally a favourite of OCTOBER, are already out. A lot of them have been out since the end of August and many more are on the way soon. So with pumpkin beers coming early, we’re getting people who complain about pumpkin beers coming early and then people who complain about the people who complain about pumpkin beers coming early…and so on. Just another day on the internet.

But WHY are they coming early? Well, several reasons, but the biggest one is high demand. Despite the many people whinging about pumpkin spice being added to beer, it’s a popular autumn drink. The increased demand is forcing breweries to brew earlier so it can hit as many stores and bars as possible with some regularity for the season. I recognize that it’s a sign of the seasons being rushed (I’m one of the many to complain when I start hearing Christmas music in stores the day after Halloween), but if it’s being done to put more money in the pockets of breweries and increases the regularity of the style of the season, I’m for it.

And for those of my readers who absolutely hate the Pumpkin Beer style or are really annoyed that they are on the shelves this early, I have amazing news for you: You’re a human being capable of independent thought! You have the amazing ability to purchase whatever you want whenever you want! You prefer an IPA? Well go off and buy an IPA and may the winds bless you. Run! Run in the fields and dance the dance of life!

Happy Fall, everyone.

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Filed under seasonal, Seasonal Beers

The Season of Giving: Beer Gift Packs

We’ve all been denying it and dreading it, but it’s time to come to terms with it: the holidays are here.  I don’t know about you folks, but this week and next for me will be a chaotic haze of gift buying, office parties, secret-santaing and dinner partying.

So you need to get something.  Ideally under $20-$50 and you kind of want to avoid getting everyone the same coffee table book of “Chairs Throughout History”.  While thinking about it you grab a beer…and then it hits you.

It’s one of my favorite seasons right now…BEER GIFT BOX SEASON!  That glorious time of year where breweries decide to make a box set that samples their beer and comes with a beautiful glass.  They’re cheap, they’re pretty and they’re tasty!  They truly are good gifts for the dinner partying or office partying crowd.

The following is a list of some favourites I’ve known of.  Speak to your local Boozemonger for information on purchasing/ordering.  Of course, prices may vary and I can’t be held responsible if you spoil the gift by opening it and trying it for yourself.

1. Historic Ales From Scotland Gift Pack
William Bros. Brewery
$9.60

This is a really fun set.  Comes with four bottles of historic ales (Pine Ale, Heather Ale, Elderberry Ale and Gooseberry Ale) which all, to my surprise the first time I tried it, taste just wonderful.  The story behind them is also amazing and listed on the back of the bottle so you can learn something (The Gooseberry Ale was originally brewed by 16th century Scots monks, the Pine Ale was brought over by the Vikings and so on).  This is a nice and cheap set which brings out a sort of adventurous spirit in people with the results always being good ones.  I strongly suggest picking up this set.

Taste of Belgium Gift Pack
Anheuser-Busch InBev
$19.95

To regular readers here, SHUT UP I KNOW HEAR ME OUT. Let’s face it, you’re bound to have some friends, no matter how much you try to pour craft beer down their throats, that are going to like the simple stuff.  This pack has three beers with accompanying glasses for each one. Stella Artois, Hoegaardan and Leffe Brune.  While I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the first two, I have to acknowledge that people love them and that’s cool.  Also, Leffe Brune is truly a wonderful beer and mixes it up a little.  While a beer snob would turn his or her nose up to this, it does make an ideal gift for a friend who likes that kind of thing and ESPECIALLY for “mystery gifting” at office parties.  It IS practical.

Mill St. Organic, Tankhouse or Coffee Porter Gift Pack
Mill St. Brewery
$6.95

I actually bought one of these (The Coffee Porter one) for a Dinner Party I’m going to tonight.  Three different packs; one for their Organic, their Tankhouse Ale and their very tasty Coffee Porter.  Each beer comes with a glass that will suit the beer (The Coffee Porter comes with a Snifter Glass, for example) and they pack a HUGE punch as a present for a really cheap price.  Once again, ideal for office party Secret Santas or dinner parties and the beer is of exceptional quality!  And screw it, I may very well buy one or two of these myself.

Erdinger Weissbier Bavarian Gift Pack
Erdinger Weissbräu
$9.95

A pretty damn refreshing beer!  This pack comes with two beers, the traditional Weissbier and Erdinger’s superb Dunkel as well as a glass that goes well with this style of beer.  The beer is tasty and is sure to attract even the beer-haters of the group.  And while Weissbiers are considered by a few people to be a better drink in the summer months, I think they are still quite amazing in the winter months.  The nice maltiness of the Dunkel will add to the holiday ambience considerably.

Chimay Gift Set
Bières de Chimay
$19.95

This is a gift set for the beer lover friend of yours.

You remember my post on Trappist Beers, right? Of course you do!  Chimay is one of the seven Trappist breweries in the world and are the most aggressive with their advertising and sales.  This set comes with their three famous beers, the blue cap, red cap and white cap, as well as a BEAUTIFUL Abbey Goblet to drink it all down with.  Seriously a wonderful set that allows you to try the brews of one of the more famous breweries out there.

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So there we go!  There are more out there, of course so be sure to get down to your booze emporium and check out what’s available!  And hey, maybe pick one or two out for yourself while you’re at it.

Let’s all try and survive the holidays, folks.

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Filed under Beer Products, seasonal, Tips