Posts Tagged With: IPA

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

Matt Hansen, culinary genius

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
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Categories: Beer, Beer & Food Pairing, Brewing, Cheese, Homebrewing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Cool is Your Beer?

I’ve had a number of people asking me about beer temperature lately.  I know that people want a simple answer like, “40 degrees,” but different beer styles are best served at different temperatures.  We’ve been told by commercials for years that beer is best when it’s ice cold.   Unfortunately when beer is too cold it sorta numbs our taste buds so we won’t be able to taste as much.  This isn’t a problem if the beer doesn’t have much to taste to begin with, but for more flavorful beers you’d be missing out.  So here at Boundary Bay Brewery, our beer might seem a little warmer than at some other bars, but we think the flavor is the most important part. We don’t want you to miss a thing!

excerpt from "Tasting Beer" by Randy Mosher

There is a great book by Randy Mosher called “Tasting Beer” that has some great information on beer serving temperatures.  He says that in general lager beers should be about 40F and ales should be served between 50 – 55F.  Another general rule he suggests is stronger and darker beers should be served warmer than weaker and/or lighter colored beers.  I stole a graphic from his book to help illustrate this point.

Speaking of beer and temperature, I just got back from a trip to the frozen mid-west to visit my in-laws.  It is a very small town but there is a small group of about 6 to 9 dedicated homebrewers there.  The day I arrived they had brewed 60 gallons of beer together and had bought a bourbon barrel to age it in.  It’s hard to find beer there beyond the usual Nascar beers, so the homebrew I tried was so good it reminded me why it is such a popular hobby.  It also made me realize how much I take for granted the awesome beer selection we have in the stores here compared to much of the country.  Not to mention that we have two award winning breweries in town, which makes life in Bellingham so much sweeter.  When we went to Iowa City to visit my brother in-law I got to have some of Goose Islands great IPA and some other mid-west beers.  Whenever I travel I love to try the local beers especially ones that I can’t get over here.
If all this talk of cold beer and cold weather is making you thirsty, you might want to sign up for my winter beer tasting class at the Bellingham Technical College on Sat. Feb. 19th.  We’ll be tasting some barley wines, strong ales and other winter warmers from local and abroad.  We had a great time at the last beer tasting class in January.  I’ll have one more beer tasting class in April which will focus on beer styles from Ireland, Scotland and England.  We’ll try iconic examples from their country of origin and then compare them to American examples, which I think will be every informative and fun to do.  I will also have one more beginner’s homebrewing class in April as well which has been well attended the last two times I’ve done it.  I know I’ve had a few people ask about a class on all-grain brewing but there are some logistical issues like class time that have kept it from happening so far.
Wherever you are, and whatever temperature you’re at, I hope you stay warm this winter sharing good beer with great company.  Cheers!
Categories: Beer, Brewing, Homebrewing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Brewmaster’s Dinner at Semiahmoo

This last week I had the great fortune to have some great food with our beer.  On Thursday I went to a brewer’s night at the Trainwreck pub in Burlington which has great burgers with hand-cut fries and their own jalapeño ketchup.  We ordered some jalapeño popper appetizers, not those frozen fried guys, but fresh hand-made, wrapped in bacon.  It’s weird because jalapeños are usually not that spicy but we were all feeling the heat from these ones.  It might have been more intense by all the Boundary Bay IPA I was drinking because hoppy beers can make spicy food taste hotter.

Friday I attended the third of three brew master dinners at Semiahmoo Resort.  Each course was paired with and/or cooked with Boundary Bay beer by their talented head chef Andy Dixon.  There were three appetizers all paired with ESB. They were all great but I think my favorite was the profiteroles filled with beer braised short ribs, chantrelle mushrooms and roasted shallots.  I gotta say though, that I don’t eat oysters and I had two of these poached with cheddar-beer fondue and gratined with Berkshire bacon.  The bacon is what really sold me.

The first dinner courses were also eye openers for me.  I was always a little picky since I was a kid. I’ve never liked dark meat or eating fat, skin or meat on the bone.  That said, I’ve never been a big fan of duck, as it is usually dark and pretty fatty.  The duck confit was delicious with the meat in thin strips on top of comte cheese and mizuna greens.  So, two foods in a row that I usually wouldn’t eat, but really enjoyed, and they went well with the beers paired with them.  The next dinner course was exciting for me because I had never had sturgeon before. I was surprised by this meaty fish.  Chef Andy really impressed me with this well thought out dish and pairing.   The sturgeon was served on a bed of Beluga lentils that resembled caviar and a curry cream sauce.  It was paired with Boundary’s IPA and I liked how he paired an English curry (with Indian influence) with an English beer style (again with an Indian connection).  So it impressed me on two levels. Not only was it well thought out and clever, but it also tasted great.  That would have been the high note for me if it wasn’t for the next course, which I think was most people’s favorite.  The malted beef tenderloin was a chocolate malt encrusted fillet with rogue bleu cheese on top.  Underneath this beautiful tender meat was a bed of roasted acorn squash and a wort infused demi.  We had to find an extra plate and split it up between us at my table because we loved this so much.  It was paired with Imperial Oatmeal Stout which might sound like a big heavy beer but it worked on several levels with this dish.  Imperial oatmeal stout goes well with creamy bleu cheeses and it also went well with the chocolate malt encrusted around the tenderloin.  Dessert was a caramelized fig tart paired with Old Bounder Barley wine, which was a nice way to finish up the night.  Well done Chef Andy!

Beer pairs well with food just as well as wine, and many times it pairs better.  A great resource if you are interested in pairing beer and cheese is a chart made by the Brewer’s Association: http://www.craftbeer.com/pages/beer-and-food/pairing-tips/pairing-chart
Cheers and Bon Appetit!
Categories: Beer & Food Pairing, Cheese | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From Homebrewer to Professional

When Boundary Bay Brewery opened in 1995 I was a junior at Sehome High School. It wasn’t till years later when I was in College that I started going to Boundary for beer. Craft beer was still establishing itself and I was just getting into beers other than Pabst. I would say that my first beer sampler here probably taught me more about beer than anything else before becoming a brewer. The great thing about beer samplers is that they allow you to try different beers side by side so that you can see how different malts and hops create totally different flavors.  It also helped me identify what I like and/or don’t like about certain beer styles.

When I first started homebrewing Skip Madsen was the head brewer here and he was a great mentor to me in my brewing career. Before becoming one of Boundary’s brewers, I used to bring Skip my homebrew and he’d give me feedback and some more yeast to go home and brew with. By the time I started working at Boundary Bay Brewery in 2005, he had already moved on to Water Street in Port Townsend.  This last week Boundary Bay celebrated 15 years of “saving the ales” and I realized that I’ve been here for the last third of that.

I have been witness to many changes at Boundary Bay over the last five years. Since I started working in the Brewery we’ve grown to the second largest and then the largest brew pub in the country for a few years running…which has required some changes in the brewing process here.  The first thing I would mention is the Munzinger Bung Extractor built in 1934, but only brought here a few years ago. This replaced the previous system of sitting on the keg and popping the bungs out one at a time with a chisel and hammer while wearing one of Skip’s old hockey goalie gloves. I used to fill kegs one at a time as well, but now have the “Octo-filler” that Adam Lent built. Now I can now fill eight kegs at a time. This is good because our production level here has grown steadily over the years. I’ve heard tales about back in the day when they used to only brew a few times a week. We now brew pretty much every day. Some days we do two batches, so we’re averaging 7-10 brews a week.

In the summer, in particular, it is always a juggling act to make sure that we never run out of anything. Locally, we sell lots of Scotch ale, but overall IPA is by far our biggest selling beer. Of the 7-10 batches brewed a week IPA is going to account for at least four of those. There has definitely been a shift in which beers we sell more of now than 10 years ago. We have also developed some new beers over the years. Some like the Triple, we brewed last year, remain (sadly) a one time brew. Others, like the Imperial Red and the Single Hop Series, have become annual seasonals. There have been changes in equipment like our new mash tun, which is way more efficient than our old one. Despite the changes with equipment over time, the focus remains to keep the beer consistent and delicious.

Looking back, I have also seen tremendous growth in the Bellingham and national beer culture as well as the evolution of craft beer in our country. There are some great interviews I’ve read from the pioneers of craft brewing that I find really inspiring. These guys were inventive, original, & often rebellious, fighting against archaic beer laws and big breweries with deep pockets. Also, we as a culture didn’t know as much about different beer styles or what a good beer is. It was revolutionary to get anything besides an ice-light, dry-draft, all-tasting-the-same lager. Now I think that the craft beer industry as well as the public’s palate have developed to the point where it’s not enough to just make something different, it’s got to be good. Especially when you look at all the choices we have now compared to ten years ago. I’ve really enjoyed working in the craft beer industry. The people who drink the beer and the people I make it with are awesome.

At our 15th anniversary party, I had a chance to meet up with Boundary’s brewers new and old.  It was really cool to hang out and have a beer with all the brewers that have climbed in and out of that kettle over the years. Cheers to Howard, Dave, Skip, Aaron, Steve, and I guess me. I’m proud to be part of the brewing tradition here; following in these guys boot prints.

Boundary Bay Brewers new and old: Anthony Stone, Steve Ellison, Aaron Jacob Smith, Skip Madsen, Dave Morales, Howard Koon and Nick Crandall

It’s very rewarding to me to be able to see our tap room full of people from all walks of society relaxing and enjoying a beer and a meal together. Pub is really short for “public house” and that’s how I think of Boundary Bay. The owner and manager do a lot to support local charities and give back to the community and when I see people hanging out here I can’t help but feel that Boundary Bay is part of the glue that holds this town so close together. Congratulations to Ed and everyone at Boundary for 15 great years and a huge thank you to everyone supports us and keep me making beer.

Cheers!


Categories: Beer, Brewing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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