April was a busy month for Beer and I. I recently taught a beginners homebrewing class at the Bellingham Technical College (BTC). I also taught a Beers of the British Isles tasting class, which was a lot of fun. For this class the idea was to have classic beers from England, Scotland and Ireland, then compare them with American examples of the same styles. This not only shows how and why craft beer took off in America, but how these classic beer styles have evoloved into new styles of their own. At the World Beer Cup for example there are separate sub-categories for English IPA and American IPA. I hung up some flags and maps, put on some Irish and Scottish music and we had a great time. Another plus, for the first time we had a chef preparing food pairings right there in the room. Matt Hansen is the kitchen Manager at Boundary Bay and is an BTC Culinary alumni. His pairings were both great tasting and clever. For example he paired a Indian curry with the India Pale Ales. Hopefully Matt and I can join forces together for my next beer tasting class, which, probably won’t be until the Winter quarter. I’m taking the Summer and Fall quarters off from teaching any classes. I’m open to ideas until then so if you have a suggestion, post it on this blog. April was topped off with the annual April Brews Day beer festival, which is a fundraiser for the Max Higbee Center. I made two special beers for this event: Ginger-Peach Blonde Ale, and Vanilla Bourbon Oak Aged Imperial Stout. The stout turned out really good, but I think last years was better, I will definitely do it again next year. The Ginger-Peach is always evolving and I think I’ll need to get more peach into it next year. If you tried either of these and want to give me some feedback for next year, please post it on the blog here. Thanks to everyone who attended the April Brews Day and who came to my classes. Without the support of beer lovers in Bellingham, there would be no craft beer here.
Slainte, -Anthony Stone
The pairings were:
- IPA with Curried Apple Soup
- ESB with Frisee aux Lardons
- Porter with Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tart
- Stout with Irish Soda Bread
- Wee Heavy Scotch with Peanut Butter Ganache Pretzels