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Archive for October, 2007

If you’ve been paying attention to this site, you know this was a pretty eagerly awaited event for both Bill and I. Bill is a big Bell’s fan and I was looking for drinking some beers and eating with friends.

When we arrived I was happy to see that we were not the only ones who were looking forward to this event. While I wouldn’t have called it a sell-out, it was definitely a full house. We were fortunate to be seated next to the owners of Sugaree Baking Company and also a chef from L’Ecole Culinaire, this provided not only interesting conversation but also the ability to bounce our thoughts on the dishes to each other.

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Roasted beets (tossed with herb goat cheese and beet reduction) with Bell’s Winter Wheat Bell’s Third Coast Beer.

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This dish was originally supposed to paired with Bell’s Winter Wheat. Unfortunately Mangia couldn’t get the beer in time and a Third Coast substitute was brought in at the last moment. This was a bit of a disappointment as Bill and I were interested in seeing how the spice of the Winter Wheat would pair with this salad. The hoppiness of the Third Coast seemed to almost fight the delicate nature of the dish. I enjoyed both the dish and the beer on their own, but they didn’t seem to pair well together.

Seared sea scallops (over butternut soup butternut risotto) & Amber Ale

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This was my standout pairing of the evening. I found that the soft flavors of the scallop and risotto melded quite beautifully with the Amber Ale. Many American Ambers often skew toward being overly hoppy, but this one was well balanced which I think is what helped make this such an excellent pairing. My only complaint about this dish was that the risotto was a tad overcooked yet the squash seemed undercooked to me.

Pan-fried pork medallions (w/ braised apples and greens) & Pale Ale

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Unfortunately after what I thought was an almost picture perfect pairing, it was followed up with my least favorite dish of the evening. I hesitate to judge the pairing as I didn’t really enjoy the pork very much. It seemed kind of spongy and lacked any real chew or texture.

Smoked chicken tortellini (w/ black mole sauce) & Porter

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This dish is the one that caught my eye when I read the menu the first time. I really enjoyed how well the smokiness of the chicken melded with the mole sauce and paired nicely with the porter.

I’ll be honest, at this point I was getting pretty full. I appreciate the portions that Mangia provided us for this event, but if they could have trimmed them down slightly I think I would have made it a bit more comfortable down the stretch.

Beef stew (w/ caramelized onions and spaetzle) & Kalamazoo Stout

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I guess I was a bit confused when this dish arrived. I had a preconceived notion of what to expect for beef stew and this wasn’t at all what I was expecting. It seemed more like a ragu, it was very tomato-y. The beer did pair pretty well with the dish. I thought that bitterness of the stout provided a nice contrast to the bright tomato flavors.

Brown sugar and almond bread pudding (w/ housemade ice cream) & Cherry Stout

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This was Bill Burge’s favorite dish of the night, the vanilla ice cream and the bread pudding were very delicious. Unfortunately I don’t think they paired very well with the Cherry Stout. The sweetness cherries almost seem to overtake the pudding and make everything a bit too sweet. This is another dish in which I enjoyed the beer and food separately, but not paired together. I would have rather seen the Kalamazoo Stout or Porter in the final spot where the bitterness of the beer would compliment the sweetness of the dish.

Overall for 50 dollars it was a lot of good food and beer. Most importantly it was a great time, we all had a lot of fun and met some really great people. I’m looking forward to the next beer dinner and also going back to Mangia (they have a really good beer selection!)

beer-203_720×960.jpgFor all of you eagerly awaiting the 2007 line of St. Louis Brewery’s Schlafly Oak Aged Reserve Imperial Stout and Barley Wine your wait has gotten a lot shorter. Starting on Friday, November 2nd you’ll be able to purchase these beers at the Tap Room and the Bottleworks.

According to Dan Kopman, approxmately 600 cases of each beer was produced. So you’re going to want to get your hands on this as soon as possible. There will also be a launch party/dinner at the Ritz Carlton on Thursday, November 8th. I’ve got a call into Rhett Haynes at the Ritz to get more info on that event.

If you missed it, I had a chance to help bottle part of this 2007 line. It’s an interesting process you may want to check out.

Drew from Morgan Street Brewery wrote in to tell me that their Pumpkin Honey Wheat is now on draught. I’ll let Drew describe it:

Its brewed with roasted pumpkins, cinnamon, nutmeg and Mexican Vanilla. The illusion of pumpkin pie and pie crust is very convincing. Come down for a pint sometime, it’ll go fast.

Wow, pie crust too? I’ll have to heed his words and head down there soon.

I recently got a chance to ask Dave Johnson, one of the brewers at O’Fallon Brewery, some questions. I’m going to try and make this a regular feature so if you have anyone you’d like me to interview or any questions you’d like me to ask feel free to contact me.

STLHops: What’s your biggest daily struggle as a brewer?
beer-169_1280×960.jpg Dave Johnson: Trying to keep the production up with the sales, and keeping the quality standards excellent.

STLHops: How much creativity are you allowed in this profession?
DJ: In a production brewery you have to brew all your beers very consistent. We only get creative when we come up with a new beer. Then we’ll throw around ideas for weeks, till we come up with something we think will be great.

STLHops: If I’ve heard correctly you guys are only allowed to brew up to a specific ABV, are there any plans to get that changed?
DJ: Currently we can only make beers up to 5% ABW (6.3%ABV), we are in the process of getting it upped to a “wine” license.

STLHops: Do you have any styles or ideas in mind once you do up it to a “wine” license?
DJ: That’s when we can get creative. We have too many ideas right now, but the first one that comes to my mind would be Imperial Smoked Porter- “Barrel Aged”?

STLHops: As a brewery in a small space, how do you pilot out new beers to develop?
DJ: Lately we have homebrewed them. It gives us a idea of the malt profile and the hop profile. beer-173_1280×960.jpgThen we can tweak it and scale it up to 15 bbls.

STLHops: I’m sure I’m not the only homebrewer interested, but what equipment do you guys use to homebrew?
DJ: We use Brian’s converted keg for a mash tun, and my converted keg for a kettle. We have a 30bbl. hot liquor tank. We ferment in a 6.5 gal carboy in the temp. controlled Firkin cooler. Then we keg it in a corny.

STLHops: Your beer styles range from the Smoked Porter to Wheach, do you have a theme in mind with all of your beers?
DJ: Except for Gold, all our flagships started out as seasonal or limited offerings. Our Unfiltered Wheat started out as “Summer Wheat”. The seasonal usually have a theme in mind, like Pumpkin Ale in the fall, and Wheach for summer. Our newest is Goats Breath Bock Ale for winter.

STLHops: Why just one strain of yeast? Is it now considered a house strain?
DJ: We don’t have a lab. You have to be careful that different strains don’t mutate. Without a lab you can’t monitor that. Kolsch is our “House” yeast, and what we like about it is it’s versatility.

STLHops: What kind of hops do you use for the 5 Day IPA and when do you put in your hop additions?
DJ: The hops we use in the 5 Day are:
Summit, 90 min. and 60
Centennial, 30 min.
Cascade, 10 min., end of boil, and end of whirlpool
Cascade and Glacier dry hop in the fermenter

STLHops: Thank you Dave for your time.

Well the weekend is almost upon us, so that means it’s time for the STL Hops Round-Up.

  • Mike at Hoosier Beer Geek alerted me to an interview he did with Mitch Turner from St. Louis Brewery. It’s good stuff, be sure to check it out.
  • Dan checks in with an article about cask beer in the New York Times. As some of you may know I’m completely obsessed with the cask O’Fallon 5 Day IPA. If you want to try it I would suggest heading down to Iron Barley and giving it a shot.
  • Paul at The Wine and Cheese Place in Clayton alerts me to some new beers he has in stock:
    • Ridgeway Brewing – Bad Elf
    • Ridgeway Brewing – Seriously Bad Elf
    • Ridgeway Brewing – Very Bad Elf
    • Ridgeway Brewing – Santas Butt
    • Cropton Brewery – Rudolphs Revenge
    • Wychwood Brewery Company – Bah Humbug
    • Brouwerij Huyghe – Delirium Noel
    • Harvey & Son Ltd – Harveys Christmas Ale
    • Microbrouwerij Achilles – Serafijn Christmas Angel
    • O’Fallon Brewery – Goat’s Breath Bock Ale
    • ODells Brewery – Extra Red Ale
  • Lukas Liquor also has a new few beers in stock:
    • Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck – Kasteelbier Donker
    • St. Bernard Brouwerij – St. Bernardus Christmas Ale
    • Sierra Nevada Brewery – Harvest Fresh Hop Ale
    • St. Louis Brewery – Schlafly Winter ESB
    • St. Louis Brewery – Schlafly Coffee Stout
  • Schlafly’s ESB is also available at the Bottleworks. I saw it the other night while at the Maplewood Farmers’ Market.

Here’s a list of upcoming beer events:

Well you’re now all round-up. Next week is going to be pretty exiciting at STLHops. I’ll have a write up about last night’s beer dinner at Mangia Italiano and an interview with Dave Johnson from O’Fallon Brewery for starters. So be sure to come back all next week to check it out. In the meantime drink some good beer this weekend.

Not much info on this one:

Dogtown Pizza, Beer and Wine Tasting at Wine and Cheese Place
Date: Oct 27, 2007 (Sat)
Time: 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Cost: Free

Place: The Wine and Cheese Place
7435 Forsyth Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63105

This “non-conformist Bock ale” is now available if you look hard enough (though I hear it’s at the Bogey Hills Dierbergs and The Wine & Cheese Place.) I’ll let O’Fallon brewer Dave Johnson describe it:

It is a non-traditional bock brewed with our house Kolsch yeast and fermented cold.It’s brewed with 8 different malts and 2 hops. It’s a deep ruby red with a big malt aroma and flavor.

I had a chance to try it today (right from the bright tank) and that’s a pretty spot on description. It’s got a lovely malt character that’s well balanced with the hops. Not too sweet, with a very clean finish. Here are some pictures for your enjoyment.



This is right out of the bright tank with no additional carbonation. The Front.



The Side. The Beer.