Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dinner and Beer...

So as we have had a lull in blogging over the last couple weeks. Things have been quite busy with work, getting the gardens up and running as well a little spring cleaning... thinking of having a big yard sale this summer...stay tuned. While planting my first hop rhizomes out on our rooftop deck today, I decided Id check in and share some of my latest beer finds and reviews as well as highlight a couple of great meals we have cooked in the last couple weeks.  I planted 4 varieties (Zeus/Centennial/Galena/Nugget) and hope maybe to get enough hops the first year to at least brew a couple batches of IPA's for the fall/winter season.  Ill keep you posted when the bines start popping... but first I wanted to share my favorite beers from Hill Farmstead. Not to say they all weren't amazing but if I take a picture then that means it was extremely enjoyable....

750 ML from brewery. Pours a hazy dull golden color.... with a snappy aroma of fresh hops a touch of tropical fruit and grass. The flavors are spot on crisp and direct. Great flavors of grapefruit, pine and a slight floral woody bouquet lead into a classic bitter hop finish. 
Clean easy drinker for an 8% Double IPA.

750 ML from brewery. Pours a thick black color with a one finger mocha head... the aromas are subtle fresh hops, chocolate and a little burnt malt as well. The flavors however are not so subtle ! Rich citrus hop flavors balanced with dark chocolate malty base that creates room for alot of complex subtleties to roll along from beginning to end. Grapefruit, pine, bitter chocolate, black coffee, figs..... bordering on a hoppy stout this beer was great company on a rainy cool spring day ! 

Along with these great beers Ive had the pleasure of getting my hands on a few other gems this spring:

the elusive...  

Opened with the pull of the tab... nice silver can with cool little label. Drinkin it from the can the way it tells you too ! (Ive dumped it in the glass a few times as well) Anyhow... rich aromas of pineapple and a touch of pine...fresh tropical hops....mmmm Flavors are rich full and heady... Pineapple sweetness at the start that rolls into a crisp bitterness of citrus and pine... it starts to get a little sappy but the finish brings out a whole heap of tropical flavors again that make this beer a big WINNER !

Pours a hazy golden color with a two finger head. Fresh aromas of bosc pears and green banana and a touch of citrus. The flavors are so defined its almost sublime... just as they describe on the bottle; Ripe fruit and sweet malts balanced by tight cedar, hints of citrus and a slew of earthy hop flavors. Crisp dry finish that lingers and begs you to take another sip.... Dangerous brew ! 

Okay okay TIME OUT !  These are some pretty special beers and if your reading this and you live in Maine none of these are available in our state... but give me a minute Ill get there... but first organic Maine Asparagus has touched down via Moaar Farm, Mt. Vernon ME.

To celebrate the arrival in classic style I tossed the fresh asparagus in sunflower oil with a dash of maine sea salt and a twist of fresh crack pepper...

and of course a dollop of hollandaise sauce made with organic raw butter from Palmer Hill and fresh pastured eggs from Frith Farm !

Paired beautifully with a gorgeous bottle of Bonny Doon Ca' del solo Muscat.
A ripe wine that is certified biodynamic and full of great flavors that cut the richness and earth flavors of the asparagus perfectly.  

Bonny Doon Vineyard
Ca' del solo Muscat 2009
Ripe peach, a hint of apple and touches of citrus acidity bring this wine right to the front of your palate.  Great balance between fruit and acidity.
 Cost is about $15 a bottle and its available through National Distributors and I found it on the shelf at Lois' Natural in Scarborough!

Another recent meal that really hit the spot was a quick and easy duck dinner we made just the other night after stopping at Rosemont Market on Brighton Ave to carouse their splendid butcher case... Commonwealth duck fresh and ready... SOUNDS GOOD !
 Rubbed with salt and pepper and pan seared with a side of cauliflower and a quick stir fry of local Frith Farm Spinach, wild foraged Ramps and a little red pepper... YUM !

Okay back to some beer... a couple of these you can actually get in Maine if your LUCKY !

750 ML. Pours a light blonde straw color with big gaseous head that sits on top like a well made bubble bath. Crisp aromas of noble hops, touch of lemon and some funky earthy barn hay coming through. On the sip it delivers a highly carbonated light body with bright lemon flavors up front... that slowly lay down for a nice bitter hop mid palate and a touch peppery funk on the dry finish. Well balanced easy drinker but complex enough that I want to try it again.... 
Purchased @ LOIS' NATURAL (not sure how much is left in state)

Pours a nice hazy blond/ light copper color with minimal head but lots of white noise and bottom rising bubbles... Aromas are tart apricot, wheat bread and a touch of citrus and cool ocean breeze. On the palate its very lively with the tiny bubbles sending this thirst quenchers flavors right to the front. Starts off wheaty but quickly sends a tart slightly sourness into the mix. Alot of minerality coming out in the finish probably from the salt... which is not detectable in the beer until the lingering finish which has a bit of sea water salinity. This would be great with fresh ceviche or some guacamole ! 

Pours a peachy gold with two finger white head that sticks to the glass... Bright aromas of dusty funk and sour fruit; oranges and stonefruit. On the palate its solid carbomation delivers a complex barrage of flavors ranging from light soft peach to a sour funky basement...starting out very fruit heavy then tangy then dry funk. Solid Gueuze ! 
 WOW on shelf @ LOIS' NATURAL (Limited Release) 

Pours a rich orange copper color with a two finger white head... Bright hop aromas of grass, citrus and grapefruit with a hint of mellow mint. On the palate this thing explodes with refreshing hop goodness. Great flavors of citrus peel, pine, and a touch of minty sage that balances out the sweet caramel malts that round out the belly of this wonderful beer. Nice bitterness comes though in the lingering finish and I keep wanting more and more... YUM ! 

Pours a thick black with a tan film that settles around the rim. Aromas are all chocolate roasted malts with hints of oak,licorice and vanilla. The palate follows the nose but imparts a bit more of the bourbon and vanilla flavor then I had expected by smell alone. Its rich and creamy but more towards the medium body with the hint of effervescence... defining it better as a porter than a full fledged stout. 

That wraps up some of my latest and greatest beers of May 2012... if your interested in many many more beer reviews check me out over on Rate Beer !

Let me know what beer you like and what you dont like in the comments section !

STAY TUNED for another brewery post about local rockstar brewers OXBOW !

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