Monday, June 26, 2006
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Wine pairing of the day - human liver
"Skye LaTorre, a sommelier at San Francisco's A16 restaurant, which specializes in food and wine from the Italian region of Campania, says of human liver with fava beans: "We wouldn't serve it with Chianti, but it would go well with one. The older-style Chiantis have a gaminess to them that would go with the funk of a liver."
Asked what she might recommend as a pairing if human liver were on A16's menu, LaTorre says, "I'd probably do an Aglianico. They've also got the berry fruit and dark notes, and they're kind of angular in style. You need to bring out the redness of liver. Liver can be kind of dense, but lean. You want something with acidity to brighten it up."
Do it for the children!
Sunday, June 11, 2006
The Full Mashy
Behold! The tower of ten-gallon terror!
While for most people the commencement of "beer weather" means throwing a six-pack on ice and whiling away the eve in the backyard hammock, but for us it means something wholly other. As inspired by the local brewing guru (Griz, that is), these near-dog days are the perfect opportunity for some outdoor, return-to-nature-even-if-it-falls-in-the-lauter-tun all-grain homebrewing.
Yup. She is a-spargin'.
We're still devoted partial mash brewers, don't get me wrong. A grey winter's evening wouldn't be the same without keeping the place warm and fogging up the windows by putting a brewpot through a two-hour boil while baking a pizza in the oven, the smells of the sweet malt and yeasty dough mingling in microbiotic bliss. But when we can't bear the thought of adding even more heat into the furnace of a summer's day, we know it's time for some all-grain action.
Every outdoor brewery
To the extract or partial mash brewer, with your one or two pots and a bag for your supplemental grains, this configuration must seem somewhat Rube Goldberg-ian in its process of converting malted grains to a viable wort, but trust me - this is a simple set-up compared to some you can find out there. Simply put, there's an insulated hot liquor tank at the top level which holds the sparge water, a bit of hose leading to the rotating sparge arm, a mash/lauter tun made from a Gott water cooler, and a false-bottom outlet to the kettle. Hot water in top, grains in the middle, wort on the bottom - yes, it is that simple! For the little extra money you spend in gear, you quite quickly make it back up with your savings on grain versus malt extract.
Just chillin', yo.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
At least it was a tight race
Obviously we'll have to rally to get college beer apprec(inibr)iation back at the top of the list. Here's to beer, kids - here's to beer.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Same as it ever was
"No other people ... were inclined to enjoy so much the art of banqueting and entertaining as the Germans, and it was customary for them to invite strangers into their homes to share a meal and a brew."What's also enjoyable to learn about is the slow but steady acceptance of the beer (if not the people) of the Germani by their next-door neighbors, the Romani. What started for them as an indication of their barbarianism (what, no wine?) and a source of derision became not only an accepted part of northern Roman living but a symbol of strength and the power of nature. From Julian the Apostate (author of other late-pagan Roman comedies like Misopogon, or "The Beard-Hater") comes this little ditty (sung to the tune of "Baby Got Back"):
"This drink is not from Dionysus! What makes beer reek of goat [goat!], while wine has the scent of nectar [nectar!]. The Celts' invented it from ears of barley, because they have neither grapes nor a nose [no nose!]. Beer is not a child of the ethereal gods, but just plain grain [word, yo]."Whereas at the exact same time, the Roman's word for beer, still in use in Spanish as cerveza, was "cerevisia", derived from Ceres (goddess of growing; gives us the word "cereal") and vis (Latin for "strength"). And so it is - beats Wheaties any day, I'd say. It's the Teutonic way!