Fall brings cooler weather, shorter days, as well as amazing harvest craft beer’s & cider’s. In order to kick off Fall 2012 the right way, I partnered with Sheana Davis at The Epicurean Connection, in Sonoma, Ca for a Harvest Beer and Cider pairing night.
Great conversation, amazing food, and damn fine beers & ciders fed the evening festivities.
Samuel Adams Oktoberfest – A nuttier Pilsner sort of taste. Oktoberfest beers are made to be sessionable, so people can enjoy and celebrate throughout the day.
Pairing: Pumpkin Cracker smeared with Delice de la Vallee – Each bite of Delice de la Vallee on the slightly sweet cracker fit in perfectly with the malty richness of this Märzen style beer.
Sierra Nevada Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale – Smells of fire-roasted chestnuts. Coffee, malty, raisins. This style is a type that you want to have one or two glasses of. Could have with dinner – but with a lighter dish. Perfect for a Fall day – out on the front porch, watching the sun set and leaves fall.
Pairing: Crème de Fromage Crepes with Gravenstein Apple Relish – Another perfect pairing. Creamy cheese, inside a warm crepe, with a mildly sweet & tart Gravenstein relish covering the whole thing. Each bite of sweet, tart, and cream counterbalanced the malt character of this beer, allowing both to shine.
Woodchuck Private Reserve Pumpkin Cider – Mellow sweet, with hints of pumpkin.
Pairing: Petaluma Brie & Almonds – Brie (being the awesome cheese it is) works with the Almonds on its own. Add in the light Pumpkin flavors from this crisp cider, and you have a pairing that prepares your palette for each and every bite. The cheese changes the flavors of the cider, making it much more balanced.
Fox Barrel Pacific Pear Cider – Pear is present up front, but not that strong. Tastes distinctly of tartness and tingly feeling at the base of your mouth. Cleans off palette very nicely.
Pairing: Wine Truffle Boutique Fresh made Caramel – Simple, flavorful, rich. All you need in a caramel… except a hint of Pear. Enough said.
Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Cider – Nose reminds me of a fruity Savignon Blanc + Grapefruit + Green Apple; Honey Due. Tastes of apple juice with a hint of strawberry at the finish (very crisp and very dry), cleans off palette quickly.
Pairing: Apple Butter & Toast – No other flavor profile says Fall or Holiday’s like the warm spicey tast of an Apple butter. Put that on top of a piece of toast that has been macerated in a little butter, and finish it up with a dry crisp Cider… you’ve got yourself all the Holiday’s rolled into one dish.
Rogue Ales Chatoe Series Pumpkin Patch Ale – Great example of using a base recipe to showcase a primary adjunct; in this case Pumpkin. Minimal baking spice flavors direct your tastes buds right to the squash. Rich, malty Pumpkin flavor, with just a hint of spice to finish.
Pairing: Maple Cream – Sheana wasn’t kidding about this stuff being addictive. Pure Maple syrup reduced down to a smooth, extremely flavorful cream. Alongside a Pumpkin beer that can stand easily alone, your palette will be fighting off sugar addiction and pumpkin pie.
Amazing foods, great people, and solid beers/ciders are what make events like this enjoyable. Thank you to everyone who came out and had fun with us. Big thanks go out to Sheana Davis and The Epicurean Connection for not only hosting this event, but working with me to use her creative chef magic to prepare a menu that match perfectly with each and every tasting.
Looking forward to our next tasting night, so we can share some Winter seasonals with you… and more great food (coming Jan/Feb 2013)!