Category Archives: Learn About Beer

Summer Pairings: A Cool Dish for a Hot Week

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It’s hot.

The air is hot. Our political climate is hot. Our society is hot. And we’re not even halfway through the Summer of 2016.

Things could change if we all cool down our own little corners of the world, one step at a time. And a good place to start is at the table, with family and friends.

Begin with a delicious, refreshing and easy to prepare chilled dish from Jason Timothy, chef/owner of Providence’s Laughing Gorilla Catering, that’s sure to please the crowd of 2 or 10 gathered at your table. Add open bottles of icy beer and wine (our picks below), good conversation, laughter and love, and watch the mercury drop.

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We can’t get enough of the Gobelsburg Cistercien Rosé from Austria. Its bright balance of fresh acidity and excellent, round strawberry and peach fruit flavors make this a great match. The sauce’s citrus and jalapeno tang will be cooled by the fruit, while the minerality and acid provide enough structure to round out the whole dish.

We chose Revival Brewing Co.’s Fanny IPA as this noodle dish’s ideal beer partner. Its fruity hops from the Southern Hemisphere will highlight the melon’s cool notes, which piney North American hops accentuate the dish’s spicy flavors. And what’s even better, Fanny is low in alcohol, so it says as light in your  as does the salad, keeping everything in harmony.

And for the recipe, published in the beautiful Summer 2016 issue of Edible Rhody:

CHILLED VIETNAMESE RICE NOODLE SALAD
A note from chef Jason Timothy:  This is an easy, flavorful salad that is incredibly versatile. It’s been a favorite among my friends at summer cookouts when the weather is hot, the grill is going and the produce is abundant. I love to grab herbs and vegetables from the Armory Farmers’ Market that’s almost outside my door.

INGREDIENTS
1 package rice noodles (size noodle to your liking)
2 tablespoons neutral oil (such as grapeseed or canola)
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup water
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup fresh-squeezed lime juice, plus extra wedges for garnish
1 cucumber, seeded and sliced
2 cups sliced melon (watermelon or cantaloupe), rind removed
1 pound (3–4 cups) fresh bean sprouts
½ cup fresh Thai basil leaves, torn
½ cup fresh mint leaves, torn
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
3 jalapeños, sliced (optional)
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

In a large pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook for 4–5 minutes. Strain noodles. Give them a quick rinse with cold water just to get the cooling started and, once well drained, toss lightly with oil. Let rest in the refrigerator, covered.

Meanwhile, combine fish sauce, water and sugar in a 1-quart saucepan. Cook until sugar is completely dissolved, 3–4 minutes. Add lime juice and set aside to cool.

When ready, add noodles to a large mixing (or serving) bowl. Add sliced cucumber and melon slices, bean sprouts, basil, mint, cilantro and sliced jalapeños. Toss with sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with lime wedges. Serve immediately or cover and chill until serving.

Serves 4–6.

Stay cool, eat well, and carry on.

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Wine & Beer to Pair with Clams & Favas

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Can’t get more “New England in the Spring” than with this classic clam & squid salad from the current edition of Edible Rhody and Al Forno‘s Chef David Reynoso. The addition of the fava beans and scallions anchors it to the season, and allows for more adventurous parings.

Try it with the Brasserie Dupont Foret for a perfect ‘surf & turf’ pairing. The Saison’s well-integrated spice notes balance the earthiness of the fava beans and richness of the squid.

As for wine, we really enjoyed the salad with Camp Chardonnay. This is not your typical California butter bomb — it truly is more like a fine white Burgundy. Bright lemon, green apple and fresh herb flavors make it perfect match to the clams and favas.

Cheers and Bon Appetit!

WARM CLAM AND CALAMARI SALAD WITH FRESH FAVA BEANS AND SCALLIONS
Executive Chef David Reynoso, Al Forno, Providence

Ingredients
24 littleneck clams, washed and scrubbed
½ cup dry white wine
1 garlic clove
1 pound cleaned calamari, cut into rings, tentacles left whole
2 pounds fresh fava beans, shells and skins removed (should yield about 1 cup)
4 scallions, thinly sliced, placed in ice water
½ cup loosely packed parsley leaves, finely chopped
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Maldon Sea Salt

Place the clams, wine, garlic and ½ cup of water in a large covered pan. Steam the clams over medium heat. Check the clams after about 5 minutes and place the open clams into 4 warm bowls. Continue steaming, checking every few minutes, until all the clams have opened and been distributed evenly between the bowls.

Add the calamari and fava beans to the pan, stir constantly and cook for 3–4 minutes, until the calamari is firm.

Remove the garlic clove. Drain all but 1½ cups cooking liquid and add the scallions, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice to the calamari. Divide the calamari and fava beans among the 4 bowls. Finish each bowl with a pinch of sea salt. Serves 4 as a first course or light supper.

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What The Heck Is GOSE (and how is it pronounced)?

Gose: It’s the hottest beer style to hit our store in ages. Liam Maloney, Bottles’ beer buyer par excellence, explains why:

Everything old is new again. We’ve seen this cliché played out time & again in our shop, as people ‘rediscover’ Chablis or Merlot, to give a couple of examples.

Yet, as clichéd as it may be, the sentiment rings truer than ever for a beer style that has taken our store by storm: Gose.

Gose (Germans say “GOHZ-uh”. “GOHZ” is what we hear in these parts) is a very unusual, ancient style which originated in the north of Germany, in Leipzig. It’s an unfiltered wheat beer, which makes it cloudy & refreshing, very much like a Bavarian Hefeweizen. Where it differs is in the unusual additions of coriander, lactic acid, and sea salt.

When made correctly, a Gose has a fruity/salty/tart balance that is unlike anything else in the beer world. Tart but not mouth-puckering, fruity but not cloying or sweet, and salty like well-seasoned food. The components are all there, but they are in balance, and your tongue has fun trying to pick out what flavor is coming next.

Why is it becoming so popular?

We think it’s a response to the IPA craze. IPAs are great beers, full of piney, resinous hop flavors, but one can only have so many before palate fatigue sets in. Brewers have responded by creating ‘session IPAs’ with a lighter ABV and muted hop presence, but they often taste like a watered down IPA, and are not as satisfying. Gose, however, at an average ABV of around 4%, offers flavor and nuance without the heaviness and hoppy punch of an IPA.

Like any tart beverage, this beer is made for food, and pairs especially well with summertime fare like fish, grilled sausages & pork chops, potato salad, and barbecue. Much like wine (which is an acid, and Gose features lactic acid in the mix), a Gose will also pair well with cheese. Everything from a fresh, young Chevre to a knobby, rustic aged cheddar will work, and a blue cheese will highlight the salty qualities. Intensely refreshing, a Gose is also a welcome lawnmower beer on a hot July Saturday.

Now, there’s been a lot of talk lately about sour beers, and while Gose falls under that general distinction, it isn’t nearly as punishing as many of the wild fermented, funky, sour beers out there. Do not confuse this style with a ‘Gueuze’! Beer nerds the country over love to pluck out the not-so-subtle notes of horse blanket, cat pee, and musty basement in their Belgian Gueuze, and while there’s certainly a place for that (even Zamfir has his fans), it’s not what most people are looking for in a beer.

What we’re talking about is a delicate beer with subtle flavors of wheat, salt, coriander, & acid. Imagine those same flavors in a perfectly baked sourdough loaf and you’ll have the general idea.

Here are some of our favorite Gose beers for the summer season. We hope you’re intrigued to find out more and give them a try next time you fire up the grill or lawnmower.

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Sierra Nevada Otra Vez – Bucking tradition, Otra Vez is sweetened with prickly pear cactus & ‘tartened’ with grapefruit. The fruitiest of the new Gose beers, it’s the perfect ‘gateway Gose’ as an introduction to the style.

Uinta Ready, Set, Gose! – Mildy tart, this Gose is made in a more traditional method than the Otra Vez, and has more tart flavors with less fruitiness.

Sixpoint Jammer – Our favorite entry isn’t afraid of the salt. A healthy dose of Jacobsen’s Sea Salt brings balance to this funky can. You’ll go through a six pack before you know it!

Gosebrauerei Bayrischer Bahnhof Leipziger Gose – For a treat, go straight to the source. Re-vamped and re-opened in 1999, this brewery specializes in the Leipzig treat. We have it imported fresh as often as possible.

Cheers!
-Liam

 

A Simple Michelada

Times are crazy. Keep things simple. Learn how to make a no-frills Michelada tonight. Thank yourself all summer.

michelada3A Simple Michelada:

Rim a tall glass with lime juice and salt.
(A pint  glass is traditional, and you can do this by running a lime wedge along the lip of the glass and dipping into a plate of coarse salt.)

Add a handful of ice cubes to the glass along with 3oz or so of tomato juice, and fill the glass with an ice-cold Mexican-style lager.
This year we’re using 21st Amendment’s “El Sully.”

Squeeze a fresh lime into the lager, and, if you like a touch of heat, splash with a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce. Sit back and enjoy.

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Black Hog Brewing Co.

blackhog_cansWe’re rolling out the welcome mat for cans of Black Hog Brewing’s terrific beer.

Made just down a ways in Connecticut (Oxford, to be exact), the popular craft brewery with the super hot label art is the creation of three beer-loving pals: Tyler Jones, whose brewing chops were honed at Mercury Brewing, Smuttynose and Portsmouth Brewery (NH), and brothers Jason and Tom Sobocinski (the latter a PC alum!), owners of the fantastic New Haven-based cheese shop & bistro Caseus, the award-winning bar Ordinary, and Smoke Box BBQ.

We love their Granola Brown Ale, which is brewed with a mix of oatmeal, grains, hops and roasted malts. The guys say they were inspired to make this beer on the hikes they take before beginning one of their legendary pig roasts (which they do often, hence the brewery’s name). While hiking and munching on crunchy granola they decided to incorporate the oat flavors into their beer. It’s smooth and malty, and finishes with – you guessed it – notes of chocolate and raisin.

Their Easy Rye’ Da is an “easy drinkin’” low ABV rye India Pale Ale. They cut back the ABV on this session style rye so that, according to their (really awesome) website, “you can cruise on it all day long, take it easy, have a few and remember what it’s all about.” It’s hoppy, with sweet and spicy citrus notes.

And check out the super hot Ginga’ Ninja, a red India Pale Ale brewed with 6 lbs of fresh ginger in every batch, and named after Tyler’s fiery-haired wife. It’s all ginger up front, and finishes with a lasting hop flavor.

In addition to images of their vibrant design-forward cans, the Black Hog Brewing website is chock full of strong pairing suggestions. And, not surprisingly given Tom and Jason’s background, lots of terrific cheese pairings are offered.

Black Hog Brewing Co.’s cans are on sale for the month of March at Bottles. Come give them a try!

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Drink Your Chocolate

Skip the chewable chocolate this Valentine’s Day and give your sweetie the sippable sort. We’re crushing on a few bottles made with real chocolate and genuine skill, those that are good enough to be enjoyed year-round.

Meletti Cioccolato
Thick, dark, creamy, this Italian liqueur is pure pourable decadence. It’s made in Italy with milk and Dutch chocolate, sugar and alcohol, and is intensely rich and smooth with a balanced sweetness. We’re crazy for the Cioccolato any way it’s served: cold & neat (think adult pudding pop), warmed, over ice cream, or as a mixer in any number of cocktails.
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Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
This full-flavored dark beer made with chocolate malt and real chocolate is luxurious without being overtly sweet. It’s certainly a satisfying treat on its own, but for something special, consider combining it in a frosty mug with vanilla ice cream and bourbon for the ultimate grown-up float.
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Nickle Creek Decadence
A Rhody original, from Foster! This beautiful bottle, reminiscent of Port, has warm flavors of cherry and plum that make way for a dark, bittersweet chocolate finish. It’s a delicious way to end a romantic dinner.
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Cheers and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Super Bowl Party Pairings

So your team hasn’t made it to the big game. So what. We can think of at least one reason why this could be a good thing: You now have more time to pay attention to the food on the table and the drink on the bar than the action on the field. And sure, yes, ok, your standard suds will be just fine with traditional game day fare. But put in a touch of extra effort, people – it’ll make game day that much more delicious.

Here are the brews we’ll be drinking when watching the two teams vie for their big fancy rings.

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Smokey Sausages with Doppelbocks. The German beer’s big, strong and dark maltiness is a natural fit with the smoky meaty flavor of cocktail sausages & pigs in a blanket. We’re reaching for the  Weihenstephan Korbinian Doppelbock for its figgy, nutty roastiness.

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Bowls of Chili with Big IPAs. A classic marriage of a hot-spicy chili with the hop-spicy IPA. We’re going for the sticky, hoppy, bold Lord Hobo Boom Sauce IPA.

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Buffalo Wings & Blue Cheese Sauce with German Pilsners. The crisp, floral and refreshing German pils will balance out the wings’ addictive cheesy, spicy goodness. And the classic Bitburger Pilsner fits the bill for us every time.

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Potato Chips & Onion Dip with Saisons. Nothing’s easier than ripping open a bag of chips and dipping them into a can of good old creamy, herbal onion dip. Nothing, that is, except cracking opening a bottle of a saison, whose herbal and spicy notes will balance that creamy dip. Allagash Saison, anyone?

Enjoy the game and may the best team win!

Top 5 Fall Beers

 

Top Fall Beers 2015 - Pumpkin

At the end of summer, there is a sudden and abrupt change in season, at least in the beer world.

Though we may not be ready for it, we are inundated with mountains of pumpkin, harvest, and fest beers, even though it’s still warm outside. Each year, the familiar arrivals are joined by a growing roster of newbies, and it can be easy to overlook some unfamiliar gems.

So here are some of our favorites for your perusal. We hope that, when you’re ready, you’ll be able to find a new favorite from the mix. Cheers! – Liam, Bottles Beer Manager

1. Grey Sail Autumn Winds

What’s better than Grey Sail’s award winning Captain’s Daughter? A Grey Sail beer you can actually find! This rich & bready brew is a great way to usher in another New England fall, especially with the sausages you barbecue before packing up the grill for another season.

2. Mayflower Autumn Wheat

Mayflower’s perennial favorite among the Bottles’ staff. A dark wheat ale, it has the richness & complexity of a robust ale, but with the lightness of a wheat beer. It’s the perfect brew for those in-between days, when it’s not quite summer & not quite fall yet.

3. Ayinger Oktober Fest-Marzen

When in doubt, go for a classic. Ayinger makes a benchmark Oktoberfest beer. Deep amber in color, with a crisp, clean, & refreshing maltiness. Drink like a German!

4. Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale

Smutty pumpkin makes the list because it’s one of the driest, purest pumpkin beers out there. It tastes like a real beer, with just a smattering of spice & toasty pumpkin. With a dry, lightly hoppy finish, it accentuates the best flavors of the season without a cloying finish.

5. Two Roads Roadsmary’s Baby

On the other end of the pumpkin spectrum is this surprisingly quaffable rum barrel-aged beast of a beer. We think everything Two Roads makes is liquid gold, and this beer is no exception, striking a very tasty balance of spice, oak, & malt.

BONUS BEER!

Allagash Saison Beer

Not ready for summer to be over? Can’t find your favorite summer ale in midst of the pumpkin conflagration? Try one of our favorite Saisons as an alternative to the autumnal madness. Allagash Saison is available year round, and tastes like sunshine in a glass. Cheers!