October 18, 2017

Patriots Buffet Table – Dolphins at Patriots

by Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff

Hey cool! There will be football in 2011! Oh, it’s just week 17 of 2010.

The game is meaningless for the Pats, but since they have a bye week next week I suppose we should watch anyways. It’s always fun to watch the Dolphins try to cope with cold weather.

And of course it is another matchup between Belichick and Parcells. What? Parcells left? He gave up on a team in midseason. Huh. Never would have expected that from him!

What to eat

We’ll go with some summery Mango Curry Chicken to fight the cold.

Mango Curry Chicken (serves 6)
2 pounds chicken tenders
2 mangos, seeded and peeled
1 large can of coconut milk
1 tablespoon hot curry powder
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
As many skewers, wooden or metal, as chicken tenders

Combine the mango, coconut milk, and spices in a blender and blend well. Pour over the chicken in a large ziplock bag and refrigerate overnight.

If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 10 minutes before putting them on the grill.

Put one chicken tender on each skewer. And cook over medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes.

What to drink

The weather will be bad so let’s get into a variety of strong ales. The English Barleywines and Old Ales and their American cousins.

Barleywine is a term applied traditionally to the strongest beers, implying that they were beers with the alcoholic strength of wine. It is true in some cases, but in some of the English examples the alcohol can be as low as 7%.

American Barleywines are usually stronger than English, running at least 10% up to 12%-13% and even higher for the rare example. They also tend to be a lot hoppier than the English examples. There is a fine line between American Barleywines and Double/Imperial IPAs. The difference being in the body – fuller in a Barleywine due to lower attenuation, and this gives a Barleywine more of a balance between malt and hops than would be found in a Double IPA.

Barleywines can be kept for years and will change over time. Hops will fade, alcohol will mellow and oxidation will occur.

Due to the large amount of barley used to get the ABV so high, barleywines will usually be at least amber in color. They may get as dark as brown but are never black.

Old Ales (the English term) and Stock Ales (the old American term) are very similar to Barleywines but in the past would have been aged before they were sold. The English versions can also be surprisingly low in alcohol, sometimes barely passing 6%. American versions are usually at least 7% and tend to be stronger, overlapping well into Barleywine territory.

These styles are more similar than they are different, despite the different names. Many barleywines are named “Old” to further blur any distinctions.

Expect a strong beer, often with fruit flavors and aromas from fermentation. Body will be full, the alcohol should be noticeable and may be hot especially in unaged beers, but never solventy. American styled barleywines will have all of the citus, pine and reinous qualities you’d expect in a strong IPA. Both English and American styles barleywines can have caramel and toffee flavors from the darker body building malts used.

The first commercially brewed Barleywine in America was Anchor Old Foghorn. Introduced in 1975, this approx 9% beer is more of a traditional English style.

Sierra Nevada also makes a barleywine, and as if often the case between Anchor and Sierra Nevada where Anchor reintroduces an old traditional style, Sierra Nevada reinvents it as American.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot 9.6% ABV and 90 bitterness units from all American hops.

Brooklyn Monster at 10.3% and brewed with Scottish and English malts, this is a strong version of the English style.

Rogue Old Crustacean around 10% and over 100 bitterness units. This American style barleywine is packaged in small 7 ounce nip bottles.

Harpoon Leviathan Barleywine is their current Leviathan seasonal, a distinct line of stronger beers. 10% ABV and brewed in the English style.

Sam Smith Yorkshire Stingo, is a 9% oak aged beer. Stingo is one of many old names for Barleywine/Old Ale.

Fuller’s Vintage Ale also comes out around 9% and is only produced once a year and is vintage dated for aging.

Berkshire Holidale is a traditional English style Barleywine at 8.5%. Berkshire also puts out a raspberry barleywine in about a month. A fruit beer that beer lovers can enjoy.

North Coast Old Stock Ale is an Old Ale in the English style, brewed with all British ingredients. However it is much stronger than most English examples at 12.5% ABV.

Great Divide brews Hibernation in the Old Ale style, 8.7% ABV, and Old Ruffian in the Barleywine style at 10.2% ABV. Having both would help break down the differences between these 2 closely related styles. However there are other breweries that would call Hibernation a Barleywine instead of an Old Ale.

Dogfish Head Olde School is an American styled Barleywine, and is one of the strongest at 15% ABV. That is close to twice the ABV of some English Barleywines and quite a few Old Ales. Technically it is a fruit beer as it’s made with dates and figs.

Dogfish Head also puts out a beer called Burton Baton. Burton ale is an archaic British strong ale style. Their version is a blend of an Imperial IPA and an Old Ale, making it closest to an American Barleywine.

Heavy Seas Below Decks Barleywine is a 10% ABV English styled beer designed to be aged. Part of Heavy Seas’ Pyrate Fleet of strong beers.

Rock Art from Vermont makes two barleywines. Ridge Runner at 7% ABV is closer to the English style.

Vermonster, at 10% is more of an American barleywine.  Rock Art had to fight for the name “Vermonster” in court when Monster energy drinks tried to use money and legal threats to gain rights to a name Rock Art had prior use rights to. Rock Art also makes an Old Ale named Stock Ale, ‘Stock’ being another archaic name for a beer meant to be stored/aged.

Young’s Old Nick, isn’t listed on the Young’s Brewing website, but it is still imported. One of the most traditional English barleywines at only 7.2% ABV.

Victory Old Horizontal a 10.5% American styled barleywine, the name is a reference to how you’ll end up if you drink too many. Make a super strength black and tan by mixing with Victory’s Storm
King Stout.

Southern Tier Backburner about 9% in the English style. This is a February release, but beer releases seem to happen earlier and earlier each year.

Lagunitas Brewing from California makes a few beers that will fit into these categories. Gnarlywine and Hairy Eyeball are the current seasonals available. Gnarlywine is a barleywine and Hairy Eyeball could be seen as an old ale. Throughout the year you’d also find Brown Sugga and Wilco Tango Foxtrot

Patriots Buffet Table – Packers at Patriots

by Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff

Do the Packers have enough healthy players left to play this game? Does anyone know? I think it’s still scheduled.

Rodgers might not be there, and there are almost 30 players on IR between the teams, but it seems like they’ll play. Not like those wussies in Minnesota who couldn’t play because they didn’t have a roof WAAHHH.

What to eat?

Bratwursts, the national dish of Wisconsin. Or one of there national dishes, I’m not eating fried cheese curds.

Everyone has had bratwurst before, but what exactly are they? In America, brats are sausages made from finely chopped pork. In Germany there are probably a dozen different types of bratwurst made with different seasonings and meat mixtures.


2 bratwursts per person
2 bottles of beer (see below)
1 large onion
2 bratwurst buns per person,
hotdog rolls are too small, if needed use small sub rolls

Slice the onion into 8 wedges, and separate the layers. Add to the beer in a pot large enough to hold the brats and bring to a boil over high heat. Move the pot to a section of the grill where you have the heat set to low. Allow it to drop to a simmer.

Once it is simmering, add the brats. Simmer for 20 minutes. Do not boil as they’ll split.

Brats are usually precooked, but even if the ones you have aren’t they will be cooked after this simmering.

Take the brats out of the cooking liquid and roast them over the section of the grill with high heat. Allow them to pick up some color and turn when needed.

Place a brat on each bun, and if desired top with a few of the onion pieces and mustard.

What to drink?

The Bavarian Dunkel will go great with the bratwursts. A bready, malty dark beer, Dunkel is a great style but unfortunately there are few examples available. So we’ll include 2 other Dark Lager styles as well.

The Dark Lagers occupy a space between the Light Lagers: Pilsner, Helles and Dortmunder; American Lagers; the Amber Lagers: Vienna and Octoberfest; and the Bocks: Traditional, Maibock, Doppelbock and Eisbock.

They’re darker than the Light Lagers and Amber Lagers, but their alcohol strength is the same as those styles. The color of the Dark Lagers is close to that of the Bocks (except the Maibock) but they’re not as strong.

Despite their color the Dark Lagers are closest to the Light Lagers. The Dunkel being a darker, breadier version of the Helles. The Schwarzbier a darker, but not necessarily very different in flavor or aroma version of the Pilsner. The American Dark Lager a darker version of the American Lager.

The Dunkels:

Lakefront Brewery from Milwaukee, WI calls their Dunkel Eastside Dark Lager. It will go great with the bratwursts , being a 5.5% dark brown bready lager with just a bit of roast character.

Harpoon puts out a Munich Dark year round. You can buy it at the 2 Harpoon breweries, but apart from that it is only available in mixpacks. Including their current Wintry Mix pack. Althought it has the same alcohol strength of the Eastside Dark Lager 5.5% it is significantly more bitter and is fermented as an ale rather than the traditional lager.

Harpoon also has a limited offering out right now in their 100 barrel series. 100 Barrel Oak Aged Dunkel an oak-aged cousin to their Munich Dark, is slightly stronger and just a little less bitter. Note, neither of the Harpoon Dunkels are bitter compared to an IPA or even a Pale Ale, they’re just bitter for the Dunkel style.

The Saranac craft line of FX Matt is currently including a Dunkel in their Winter mix pack. Lake Effect Lager is a nice beer slightly big for the style at almost 6% ABV but made with all German hops and malts. The limited offerings in the Saranac mixpacks have made it to 6 packs before so here’s to hoping it happens for the Lake Effect Lager.

Penn Brewing’s Penn Dark is on the low side at 4%ABV but that just means you can drink more of them. A Munich style malt heavy beer expect a strong bread crust flavor.

The schwarzbiers:

Literally “Black Beer” think of these as dark/black pilsners. Dryer and hoppier than the Bavarian Dunkel. These beers are from Northern Germany as opposed to the Southern Dunkel style. The color is misleading as they look like a porter or stout but have little to no roasted character.

Sam Adams Black Lager is easily the most widely available schwarzbier in America. 4.9% ABV and misleadingly dark.

Saranac Black Forest thats right, FX Matt doesn’t only make one they make two of these dark lager styles. The beer nerds don’t give credit where it is due with Saranac, likely because every beer isn’t an over the top Imperial barrel aged super hopped high alcohol corked and caged bottle only available 1 day every year that can be sold for $200 on Ebay. Instead they’re drinkable traditional styles including these 2 lagers that most craft breweries wouldn’t attempt to make. And the 12 packs cost about a buck a bottle. 5.3% ABV.

Magic Hat Howl is their winter seasonal. Well, one of the winter seasonals, it’s the regular one, not the IPA seasonal or the Odd Notion seasonal. Available by itself and in the Winterland mix pack. Only 4.6% ABV so it’s another beer you can drink quite a few of.

Port Midnight Sessions is another winter seasonal. The name is changing due to an agreement with Full Sail (see below) so you may see it with a new label and name soon. 5.5%.

Fisherman’s Eclipse from Gloucester’s Cape Ann Brewing is a summer time only release. You won’t find it now, but I’m including it because lagers are rare amoung New England’s craft breweries, and Schawrzbiers are rarer than rare.

The American Style Dark Lager:

What a Bavarian Dunkel is to a Bavarian Helles, the American Dark Lager is to the standard American Lager.

These used to be put out by almost all of the major national and regional breweries. There was a Schlitz Dark and a Pabst Dark for example.

Some would be called “Dark” and some, such as with Yuengling would be called “Porter”.

Full Sail Session Black, a nice beer in a unique 11 ounce stubby bottle packaging is a throwback to those days. 12 packs are about $14, but have as much beer as 11 normal bottles. A recent arrival in New England it’s very drinkable and as the name implies sessionable at 5.4% ABV. Although in England a beer of this color and strength would be called something like Headcrusher XXXX Winter Warmer and ordering one would draw worried looks from a bartender clearly convinced you’re set to burn the town down. “Sessionable” is one of those words that means different things in different places.

Dixie Blackened Voodoo is a bit up in their air. Dixie Brewing was a century-old operation in New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina wiped out the brewery and it has been brewed off an on under contract at other breweries since. I can’t find a website, but you’ll occasionally find the beer.

Michelob Amber Bock is likely the closest to the old Anheuser Busch Dark beer, yes such a thing used to exist you won’t find any mention of it on the Bud website or in their official history, but you can find people selling old items like tap handles.

Narragansett has introduced a Porter. But this isn’t a throwback to the old “Dark” beers, like Narragansett Dark. It’s an authentic craft Robust Porter. Pretend it was from a West Coast brewery and call it a “Cascadian Dark Ale” and all the beer geeks would go nuts for it.

There is a fourth Dark lager style but it’s hard to find and usually can only be picked up in Europe. Even then, even in the cities where they’re made it can be hard to find. If you’re lucky you might find a Budvar Dark or even the dark beer from Pilsner Urquell.

Patriots Buffet Table – Patriots at Chicago Bears

by Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff

Another division leader on the schedule for the Patriots. If only the Bears were quarterbacked by a guy prone to boneheaded interceptions. That would be just the type of guy the Patriots newly ballhawking defense would light up.

What to Eat?

Italian style beef is a Chicago area favorite. It’s not from Italy. It’s a regional version of a French Dip sandwich .. which of course isn’t from in France.

Take a beef roast and slow cook it over beef broth, oregano and Italian spices. Maybe some red chili flakes. Dip the rolls in the same cooking liquid and top the whole thing with spicy oil marinated vegetables. And that is the Italian Beef sandwich.

Italian beef, serves 8

Boneless beef roast, about 3 pounds

Black pepper, ground, 1 tablespoon
Garlic powder, 1 tablespoon
Onion powder, 2 teaspoons
Oregano, dried, 2 teaspoons
Red pepper flakes, to your preference 1/2-1 teaspoon

6 cups beef stock or broth

1 jar Giardiniera, Italian style marinated vegetables such as Il Primo

8 sub rolls, the chewier the better

Combine the rub ingredients and use it to cover the roast. You’ll use about 3/4 of the rub.

In an oven:
Preheat to 400 degrees
Combine the stock and the leftover rub and pour into a pan larger than the roast. A 9×9 may be large enough, but you’ll probably need a 9×13. You don’t want to use too large a pan or there will be too much surface area and the stock will completely evaporate.

Place a rack directly on top of the pan and place the roast on the rack.

If you have a roasting pan with a built in rack, like for roasting a turkey, you could use that instead. But you will have to increase the amount of cooking liquid you make and put into the pan, at least by half.

Cook for 90 minutes for medium-rare, about 2 hours for medium. The meat will go through a second cooking step when it is dipped in the hot cooking liquid. So do not overcook it on the initial roast.
It is best to cook it to medium-rare.

Cool the roast in the fridge for at least 2 hours, the longer the better. This allows you to slice the meat thinly.

This is also a good meal to make in a crockpot. In that case you’d cook on high for 4 to 6 hours. The roast will take on more of a pulled consistency instead of sliced. The meat will also pick up more flavor from the stock because it will be cooking directly in it. So in this case use a low sodium stock.

Even if you’re cooking the roast in the oven. A crockpot is useful for keeping the cooking liquid in after roasting as the roast chills.

Dip the split rolls into the cooking stock, dip the roast beef into the stock and layer it onto the rolls.

Top that with giardenera.

What to Drink?

The English IPA is the original IPA and it’s a more restrained beer than it’s American cousin.

They’ll tend to be a little darker, and more malty. Both as a result of the British malts used compared to American malts in a typical American IPA.

Some English IPAs will use American hops, and this is a traditional choice. In the 1800s when the style was first being brewed and shipped to India some British brewers were importing American hops.

Most commonly however they will use British hops such as Goldings and Fuggles. These give more of a floral, earthy, grassy and spicy perception contrasted to the citrus and pine of the typical American
IPA hops.

The bitterness will also usually be kept to a lower level. While still a bitter beer, English IPAs have more balance than American beers.

The style has undergone many changes over the centuries it has been brewed. Originally it would have been around 7-8% ABV and very well attenuated.

Attenuation being the degree the fermentable sugars in the beer have been converted to alcohol. The ABV of the original IPAs wasn’t particularly strong for their day, however the degree of attenuation was high.

When a beer is highly attenuated there are less sugars present for spoilage organisms to feed upon. This made the IPA well suited to travel.

Eventually IPAs began to be sold in England and not just sent for export. At that time they were reduced in strength to the 5% range, again closer to the average strength of British Beer before WW1. Some breweries continued to water down their beer until they bore little resemblance to IPA despite having the name.

There are British breweries making their IPAs resemble the orignals. These are fairly rare. Most are made to the 5% range or the weak range.

The IPA will serve as a good contrast to the Italian Beef sandwich. Cutting through the fat and strong flavors without overwhelming it or being overwhelmed itself.

From Chicago, Goose Island’s IPA is a good example of the English IPA style.  5.9% ABV, 55 bitterness units, made with a combination of British style and American hops. Goose Island has been available in New England for about a year, and that availability is likely to increase as Redhook will start brewing the Goose Island beers in 2011.

A bigger example, closer to the original beers sent to India is Brooklyn East India Pale Ale. 6.8% ABV made with British malts and British and American hops.

Boulder Cold Hop Ale is a seasonal product and it’s only made through October, but you may still be able to find it in some stores. 6.8% and a bit different due to it’s use of Continental European hops and other hops derived from European ones.

Long Trail Traditional IPA, unfiltered, 5.9% ABV and hopped with Nugget and Cascade hops. Nugget is an American hop derived from British ancestors.

Berkshire Lost Sailor IPA is 5.5% ABV, and hopped with Goldings hops to 40 IBU. With an overall ABV and IBU closer to most American Pale Ales than American IPAs this one is very close to those made in England by Fullers and Sam Smith.

Fullers IPA is made by Fuller, Smith and Turner in England, but only for export. It’s 5% ABV. It cannot be found on their website, but the site is still thirst inducing.

Samuel Smith’s India Ale is also 5% and is much easier to find than Fuller’s. Try this one next to an American styled IPA and the differences are easy to notice.

Geary’s Winter Ale, brewed closer to the original strength at 6.5%. Hopped with Mt. Hood, Goldings and Fuggles.

Sherwood Forest Sheriff’s IPA is around 5% with a mild flavor and aroma.

Paper City India’n Pale Ale 5.4% ABV, hopped with East Kent Goldings and Yakima Goldings from Washington state.

Trinity IPA 7% ABV and in the original strength category. This beer was originally developed at the brewpub in Providence and was the first beer they released in bottles.

Arcadia IPA 5.9% and 40 IBUs, dry hopped with the American hop Columbus. Columbus is also known as Tomahawk and Zeus depending on which hop producer they come from – each having a different trademark. It’s one of the newer high alpha acid hops. It has a British type flavor being spicy and earthy opposed to the citrus and pine common to American hops.

Mayflower Pale Ale is labeled as a Pale Ale and it is well labeled in America. In England however this would fit right in with their IPAs. It’s hop profile of East Kent Goldings, 4.9% ABV and 40 IBU make
it very close to what IPAs have become in England.

Compare the Mayflower Pale Ale to Greene King IPA, one of the largest selling IPAs in England. The Greene King is only 3.6% ABV with IBUs around 30. Easily only one half the strength and bitterness of the original IPAs. Note, the export version sent to the US is 5% ABV just like the Fullers and Sam Smiths.

Butcombe Brunel IPA OK, you can’t get this beer in the US, but I couldn’t resist including a Butcombe.

Patriots Buffet Table – Jets at Patriots

by Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff

Rex ain’t ascared. Rex been hearing from experts for years. Rex’s Doctor says his good cholesterol should beat his bad cholesterol. No sir. Every year Rex’s bad cholesterol beats his “good” cholesterol. 275 to 3 last year. Shows what experts know.

So no, Rex ain’t afraid of what the experts say.

Lets go eat a goddamned snack!

I don’t know why, but when I think of Rex Ryan I think “jerk”. Jerk seasoning that is.

Rex is a jerk burgers


Rex’s jerk burgers

Serves 6 to 8

2 pounds 80% ground beef – do not use anything leaner for burgers, they’ll be dry
1 medium onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1 medium red pepper, diced
1 large egg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup commercial Jerk sauce
1 pack burger rolls
6 to 8 slices cheddar cheese

Crack the egg into a large mixing bowl. Add 1/3 of the seasonings and meat. Mix well. Once it’s mixed add another 1/3 of the ingredients and repeat. You can just add everything at once if you’d like. I think it’s easier to mix and make the burgers more consistent to do it in separate steps.

If you have a burger press go ahead and use it to make the patties. Otherwise we can form them by hand. Break off a chunk of burger meat from the bowl and roll it into a big meatball. Once that is done start to press it into a patty between your palms. When it’s done press your thumb into the top to make an indentation. The indentation will prevent the burger from curving up as it cooks. These can be made the day before gameday and refrigerated overnight. Doing this will just make the flavors blend together more.

Heres a simple trick on determining the burger size for people. Picture their hand from the wrist to the 1st knuckle. Make the patty the size and thickness of that full palm.

The FDA recommends cooking for 6 minutes per side. Thats going to get you a medium well burger. Cook for a shorter amount of time if you like your burger less done. If you’re cooking enough burgers one will probably end up falling through the grill onto the burners or coals, that one is well done. Whatever time you decide to cook per side, halfway through the cooking turn the burger 1/3 of a turn.
Do the same thing once you flip the burger over. This gives you the classic crossed grill marks and more grilled flavor. The last turn is also a good time to put cheese onto the burger.

Consider topping with a pineapple salsa.

What to Drink?

We were all set to have the most Rex Ryanish drink ever invented. But then the Man decided to ban Four Loko. Sadly they were just too refreshing and full of energy

Rex loved the Cranberry Lemonade almost as much as the Blue.

Oh well, I guess we’ll have to look at all the winter mix packs coming out.

He’Brew Vertical Jewbelation Pack is a unique presentation. It contains 8 anniversary beers, one each of the 8th through 14th anniversary special releases, and the 8th is a mix of those 7 different beers. Bear in mind that these aren’t average strength beers, the alcohol percentage is equal to it’s year, so from 8% for the 8th anniversary to 14% for the 14th anniversary. Did I mention these are 22 ounce bottles? The menorah wont be the only thing to stay lit for 8 days.

You also find a glass and some candles to make your own beer bottle menorah.

Sam Adams has revamped their winter classics pack. Out is the cranberry lambic that no one likes. Well, Pete King probably likes it, but he’s stupid.

Old favorites like Boston Lager, Winter Lager, Holiday Porter and the Winter Warmer Old Fezziwig are still there. The new beers are Chocolate Bock available in 12 ounce bottles for the first time, and the former Spring Seasonal White Ale.

A lot of people complained when Sam discontinued the white ale so they’ll be happy with this move. It is replacing the oddly placed Coastal Wheat.

Chocolate Bock is fairly chocolatey but it isn’t as overpowering as the Harpoon Chocolate Stout. 5.9% ABV

Winter Lager seems to have been toned down this year. It’s a little lower in alcohol, by about half a percentage point, and the spices seem less over the  top. Overall a good change to the beer.

In about a month Sam Adams will introduce a brand new mixpack called American Originals.

It is set to include Boston Lager, Irish Red, Scotch Ale, the former spring seasonal White Ale, the current spring seasonal Noble Pils and the new Revolutionary Rye.

Sounds like an excellent mix pack. Even if the name “American Originals” doesn’t really apply to a pack with Austrian, Irish, Scottish, Belgian and German/Czech beer styles. The Revolutionary Rye isn’t based on a traditional style, so I guess it is the original.

Harpoon’s Wintry Mix pack includes that Chocolate Stout, the cinnamon bomb Winter Warmer, IPA, Munich Dark, UFO Hefeweizen and Harpoon Belgian Pale Ale. A few of those beers were listed over the past few weeks, and the Munich Dark will be coming up soon. This pack is a good way to try a lot of their beers including two that aren’t for everyone – the Chocolate Stout and Winter Warmer without having to buy a whole six pack.

Personal favorite Troegs Brewing calls their sampler pack Anthology and right now it’s the Fall/Winter Anthology. Unlike most, this pack has only 4 varities. Dreamweaver Wheat, Pale Ale, Hopback Amber and the seasonal Javahead Stout.

HopBack Amber is excellent, a hoppier version of the style than most amber ales. And the Javahead Stout is a good winter beer. Being a strong 7.5% coffee oatmeal stout.

Magic Hat has renamed their winter pack to “Winterland”, it’s another pack with 4 different beers instead of 6. You’ll still find their flagship #9. Along with the winter seasonal Howl a black lager. Odd Notion Winter ’10 a red ale with rye and hibiscus. And the current seasonal IPA Encore a good IPA made a bit different by being brewed with wheat.

Magic Hat beers aren’t all winners but it’s nice to see a seasonal pack that is made up of 75% seasonal beers. The Encore IPA is very good.

Saranac 12 beers of winter features two new beers this year. The website appears to be still showing the 2009 pack. What you’ll find is India Copper Ale which was very good, similar to the highly rated Founders Centennial IPA. It is a darker version of an IPA. Bohemian Pilsner fits that style well and was very drinkable. Big Moose Ale is a good American Pale Ale. Rye IPA is another good IPA, this one with some added spiciness from the rye. Lake Effect Lager was a good version of a German Dunkel. Finally Vanilla Stout was a sweet dessert like roasty vanilla beer.

Smuttynose puts out one mixpack all year, but changes the 4th beer as the seasons change.

You’ll find Finestkind IPA, Old Brown Dog, Shoals Pale Ale and the current seasonal Winter Ale.

Winter Ale is a Belgian Dubbel but on the low end for alcohol for that style. 5.1% ABV.

The best mix pack is of course a pack of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. 12 bottles of IPA perfection. OK, so it isn’t a mix pack, but when you have one beer that is so good why waste time mixing anything else in?

The packaging is a little different this year, with the subtitle “Fresh Hop Ale”. For years people have been finding non-existent spices in Celebration Ale, so the brewery added that “Fresh Hop Ale” to reinforce the fact it’s an IPA and not a beery spice cabinet.

If you really want a mix pack get some Sierra Nevada Pale Ale as well. Then drink side by side so you can compare and contrast the little and big brother.

Patriots Buffet Table – Patriots at Detroit Lions

By Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff

Special Away Game on Thanksgiving edition of the Buffet Table.

The Detroit Lions, as much a part of Thanksgiving as your least favorite uncle who won’t shut up.

Let’s predict the spiel of all those “big Patriots fans” inlaws and relatives.

“Brady needs a haircut”
“Brady looks like Justin Bieber”
“They shouldn’t have traded Moss”
“Belichick is conceited, he needs coordinators”
“Kraft is cheap”
“Kraft is a baby asking Mankins to apologize”
“That girl was asking Favre to send her pictures”
“They’re not really as good as their record”

What? You thought you were the only one who had to deal with someone like this? No way, why do you think pregame shows and sports radio are so popular. Someone is eating that crap up, and they’re related to us.

What to eat?

I don’t know. Why don’t you eat that giant turkey sitting on the table. No not Uncle Bill, the gobbler. No not Uncle Dennis.

Come on now, you know what to eat today.

What to drink?

If you see any articles about drinking beer on Thanksgiving I can guarantee they’ll say to drink Saison.

But not here. Instead we’re going with American Pale Ale. This is the fourth year of Buffet Tables and somehow the signature beer of American beer hasn’t been drunk.

Way back in the late 70’s and early 80’s the American Pale Ale was the new kid on the block. It wasn’t that much darker than all the Budweiser type crap out there, but it had flavor, and it was bitter because the brewers put hops in it.

And unlike the beers in England, the American Pale Ale used American hops. Citrusy, piney, resinous hops.

The characteristics of those hops, and the tendency of American brewers to make their pale ales more hop forward than English brewers forms the main dividing line between American and English style Pale Ales.

There were other American Pale Ales in the old days, but the real survivor from that time was Sierra Nevada with their Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

The APA is a beer you can have a few of, the alcohol runs from about 4.5% to 6%. It’s hoppy and not cloyingly sweet, but it’s not as abrasive as an IPA.

There are a couple available in New England from Michigan.

Detroit’s Atwater Block brewing calls their APA Atwater Ale. 5.5% ABV and 60 IBU.

Founder’s from Grand Rapids, MI also makes an APA. There beer is simply called Founder’s Pale Ale. 5.4% ABV, 35 IBU and very good.

From outside Michigan:

The beer all APAs are judged against is Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. 5.6% ABV and 37 IBU. A dry beer in the bottle, a bit softer and maltier on tap. A true classic.

From Portsmouth, NH Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale is one of the oldest in New England. 5.4% and 30 IBUs. Notice anything with those ABV and bitterness numbers yet?

Tuckerman’s Pale Ale is similar in strength and bitterness to most APAs, but is made a bit different by the cold conditioning it undergoes after fermentation. This makes it a bit of a hybrid between an ale and a lager, meaning it’s a bit smoother than most.

Harpoon Ale is sort of a tweener between the American Amber Ale and American Pale Ale styles. These days Harpoon IPA is closer to most APAs on the market. Buy a mix pack and get them both.

Harpoon UFO Pale Ale

Harpoon also puts out UFO Pale Ale under their UFO line. This beer is unfiltered, meaning it still contains yeast and has a hazy appearance. 5.3% and 34 IBU.

Otter Creek makes two. Otter Creek Pale Ale under the normal label. A 4.8% beer that is highly hopped for it’s size at 48 IBUs. Under the Wolaver’s Organic label they add Wolaver’s Pale Ale about 1% higher in ABV but not as hoppy. I prefer the Otter Creek version.

Berkshire Brewing from Mass makes two different APAs. Berkshire Steel Rail is the lighter of the two. Berkshire Traditional is darker and stronger. Available in 22 ounce bombers and in the better liquor stores in 64 ounce growlers.

One of the newest breweries in New England, Cody Brewing Co. from Amesbury Mass, calls their APA Cody’s Pub Ale. 5% and 33 IBUs.

Another newcomer, the draft only Wormtown Brewing from Worcester offers Seven Hills Pale Ale. Lower in alcohol at only 4.5% with 30

Wachusett Country Ale is unique due to the low amount of hops used. It is only 17 IBUs, about half as bitter as the other beers listed.

From Connecticut, Thomas Hooker APA fits right in at 5.2% and 35 IBUs.

Stone Brewing from San Diego, CA makes two. The regular strength Stone Pale Ale 5.0% and 41 IBU. And the lighter Stone Levitation Ale only 4.4% and 45 IBU. Although the bitterness units are close, the Leviation seems much more bitter. This tends to happen when lower ABV beers are made as hoppy as stronger ABV beers.

Obviously this isn’t an exhaustive list, by some counts there are 1500 or more APAs made in the US.

Patriots Buffet Table – Patriots vs. Colts

by Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff

These guys again? Can someone ask Mike Reiss why we’re playing in Indy again? We play Detroit in 4 days so this must be an extra game they shoehorned in. Goodell has been saying he wanted more games.

What to eat?

When I think Indianapolis Colts, I think Bill Polian. When I think Bill Polian, I think Drunk Chicken.

So Beer Can Chicken it is.

Buffet Table Beer Can Chicken.

I’m sure you’ve seen these, a chicken perched on a beer can with it’s legs folded out. The beer steams the chicken from the inside while the rest of the chicken cooks from the outside. It reduces cooking time and keeps the bird moist and juicy.

We’ll be using Broiler-Fryer chickens. These are young chickens, ranging from 1.5 to 4 pounds. The next size up is the Roaster, they can weigh up to 7 pounds. You can grill a roaster, but obviously it’s meant for roasting. Roasting is a lower temperature method than grilling, so the outside of the bird won’t burn while the inside is still raw.

What we’re doing is grilling. Broiling and grilling are basically the same cooking method. A high temperature heat source close to the meat being cooked is the basis of both methods. Stick with the Broiler-Fryer, if you need more bird, just buy 2 or 3 Broiler-Fryers.

Roaster-Fryer chickens, 2 pounds per person, this may be a bit too much but when it comes to meat on the bone you can never be sure how much you’ll get.
1 can beer per chicken, plus one per chicken for the cook
BBQ rub
vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons per chicken

First we need to make a BBQ rub. If you have a favorite version, commercial or homemade, go ahead and use it. Otherwise follow this recipe or tailor it to your taste. This should be enough for 2 chickens, you can always make more and save it for future use.

2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground chipotle
1 teaspoon onion powder

Allow the chicken to reach room temperature. As we’ve said before, any time you are grilling you want to start with room temperature meat. Otherwise the outside will burn before the inside even starts to warm up.

Heat the grill up to 350 degrees. Only fire up one side of the grill. We will be cooking the chicken over indirect heat. Coat chicken in oil. Cover with dry rub on inside and outside. Make sure you took out any gizzards left inside the bird.

Prepare the beer can by opening and drinking half of it. Take an old style can opener and punch 2 more holes in the top. Add a couple of teaspoons of the rub to the can. Shove that can up in there.

Take advantage of any nearby Colts fans, this is a good action for taunting people with. Prop out the drumsticks to form a tripod shape. Fold the chicken wings under themselves and against the chicken breast. This will keep the ends from burning. Put a pan under the whole thing, to collect the drippings, and to contain any spills if bird topples over. You can buy special metal wire stands to hold up the chicken, but they’re not necessary if you follow these steps.

Cook the chicken for 75 to 90 minutes. If you have a thermometer the breast should be 165 and the thighs should be 180. If you don’t have a thermometer then stab one of the thighs with a knife or fork. If the juice runs clear it’s done.

With the indirect cooking method, and the time we’ll be cooking, this is a great chance to add some smoke. You can buy a cast iron smoke pan at most places that sell grill supplies. It’s just a small, maybe 7″ by 4″ box that you can add wood chips to. If you have an old kitchen pan that you don’t care about ruining that would work as well.

Any of the common wood chips will work fine with our chicken. You should be able to find mesquite, apple or cherry easily.

Soak the wood chips in beer, water or apple juice. Add to the pan, and place it over the direct heat side of the grill. You’ll need to change the wood chips a few times while you cook. Apart from those
times try to keep the grill lid closed as much as possible.

Time for a drink!

Obviously we need canned beer to make beer can chicken. So it’s time for a look into how the variety of canned beer has improved over the past few years.

From New England:

Cisco Brewing from Nantucket is now canning their Whale’s Tale Pale Ale. It is an English Pale Ale, so think more malty and less hoppy/citrusy than an American Pale Ale.

Newport Storm is canning their Hurricane Amber Ale. Fair warning the last Newport Storm beer I had, the octoberfest was spoiled. An issue that was supposed to be restricted to an issue with just that variety. Currently the website is a real mess.

Harpoon started canning their IPA and Summer Ale this past summer. The Summer Ale is obviously not out now, and it was hard to find in cans even when available. I think they underestimated demand.  As for the IPA, everyone has had it, and you probably first had it years ago, so give this old favorite another look. At 5.9% and 42 bitterness units, what once was an assertive IPA is now closer to most Pale Ales on the market.

With their excellent Fest disappearing from the shelves, Narragansett is switching to their winter seasonal. Narragansett Porter is a 7% ABV dark beer in 16 ounce cans.

New England Brewing Sea Hag IPA

New England Brewing cans many of their beers, the regulars are: Sea Hag IPA an American style IPA. 6.2% ABV
Elm City Lager a German style Pilsner. 5% ABV And the more limited Gandhi-Bot a Double IPA with a robotic Gandhi on the label. 8.8%

Expect to see even more in the future. Moat Mountain from Conway,NH and Redhook from Washington/Portsmouth NH have both gained approval for can designs.

There is also a small brewery being built in Lewiston, Maine called Baxter Brewing that will can. Watch their progress here.

From outside New England

Oskar Blues from Colorado was one of the craft beer canning pioneers. Dale’s Pale Ale is called a Pale Ale, but compare it’s 6.5% ABV and 65 bitterness units to Harpoon IPAs 5.9% and 42 Gordon is a Double Red Ale/IPA, 8.7% Old Chub is a Scotch Ale, 8% dark and malty Mama’s Yella Pils is a Pilsner and 5.3% ABV Gubna is a Double IPA, 10% ABV and 100+ IBU and the seasonal Ten Fidy is a Russian Imperial Stout 10.5% ABV. Pale Ale and Pilsner are fairly obvious choices, so it’s the big beers that make Oskar Blues stand out these days. I don’t particularly care for the Dale’s, but I do really like the Old Chub and Gordon.

Avery, also from Colorado, has been mentioned here a few times. Normally for their big beers. However they also can some of their “regular” strength brews. Ellie’s Brown Ale, White Rascal (Belgian Wit beer), Avery IPA, and Joe’s Pilsner are canned. I’ve only seen the Avery IPA on shelves around here.

21st Amendment from San Fransisco cans three regulars a winter seasonal and will soon bring back a rotating release. Live Free or Die IPA is their flagship, a 7% ABV IPA. The cans have gotten this one a seat on Virgin America flights. Hell of High Watermelon Wheat is a good summer beer, 4.9% Fireside Chat was definitely not my favorite. A spiced winter warmer, about 8% ABV. Back in Black is a Black IPA, that trendy contradiction in terms. 6.8% ABV, the color is dark but it doesn’t have any dark beer flavors. I’m not sure what the point of that is. The soon to come back rotating beer is Monk’s Blood Belgian Dark Strong. At 8.3% it’s actually small for a Belgian Dark Strong, tasting more like a spiced Belgian Dubbel.

Saranac from FX Matt in New York is canning their Pale Ale. 5.5% and an English style Pale Ale. Hopefully it succeeds and leads to more cans from FX Matt.

Anderson Valley from California cans both their Boont County Amber Ale and Poleeko Gold Pale Ale.

Brooklyn Brewing cans their Brooklyn Lager in 16 ounce cans. The price on the 6 packs of 16 ounce cans is barely more expensive than the 6 packs of 12 ounce bottles, making them a very good deal.

Wild Onion Paddy Pale Ale is a new arrival on the scene. 5.6% ABV a nice citrusy American Pale Ale.

There are quite a few cans available from European breweries as well. Pilsner Urquell, Newcastle Brown, Fullers, Greene King and more can be found.

Patriots Buffet Table – Patriots at Cleveland Browns

by Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff

This week it’s a special road game edition of the Buffet Table. The Mangenius has brought his special brand of suck to Cleveland.

Mangini probably likes Glee. I don’t know why, I haven’t seen it, but I’m sure he has. Probably signs along using a hairbrush as a microphone.

It sounds like something he’d do. It would fit into his whole “crappy cover version of the real thing” persona.

I hate that guy.

What to eat?

We’ll be redoing a recipe from the Cleveland game way back in October of 2007. Why? Because it’s awesome.

We’re looking towards the German ancestry of many Clevelanders and making Schwenkbraten. Don’t worry it is easier to make that it is to pronounce. Schwenkbraten is a German grilled pork. Usually cooked over a beechwood fire, if you have a smoker go for it, it’s still great when cooked on a gas grill.

Finished Schwenkbraten

Schwenkbraten – German grilled pork serves 4
4 onions
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic crushed
1/2 cup (2 nip bottles) gin
1 tablespoon mustard (german stoneground will be best, but brown will do)
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon salt (kosher will be best)
2 pound pork loin, you can use boneless pork chops,but the loin is more tender
8 bulkie or kaiser rolls

Almost all of the work for this recipe occurs a day before. Slice the onions and put the rings into a large ziplock bag, add everything but the pork and salt, mix it all together. Cut the loin into 16 chops, cutting on the diagonal will give you thinner chops with more surface area. They’ll soak up more marinade and grill faster, both good things. Sprinkle the salt over your cut chops. After 15 minutes, put the chops into the ziplock, mix it up, push the air out of the bag and close. By adding the salt and allowing the meat to sit salted we drew some of the moisture out of the pork, that will allow the marinade to soak in faster. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Take the chops out of the ziplock. Pour the onion and marinade mixture into a large aluminum foil pouch. Put the pouch on your grill, after 10 minutes put your chops onto the grill. The oil used in the marinade may flame up, so be careful when you put them on. 4 minutes later flip the chops, and after another 3 minutes check to make sure the pork is no longer pink and the juices run clear and you’re done. If you cut the chops thick you will need to cook them longer.

Layer the chops and onions onto the rolls, 2 chops per roll.  You could use some more German mustard if desired, but you won’t need it. Mix some cayenne pepper into brown mustard and you’re pretty close to the secret recipe stadium mustard served in Cleveland.

What to drink?

We’ll stretch the limits on the Oatmeal Stout. While it’s not a German beer and wouldn’t be a traditional match for German food, it is a good match for November and cooler weather.

Oatmeal Stouts as the name implies are stouts brewed with oats. But why add the oatmeal? Oats add a certain smoothness and fullness to the body of the beer, it goes very well with the roasted and bitter flavors found in your basic stout.

The style had gone extinct until it was reinvented by Samuel Smiths back in the 1980s. Today there are quite a few available.

Most of these will run from 5% to 6% ABV and from about 15 to 40 bitterness units. However there is a brewery from Ohio that specializes in making some much larger versions.

Hoppin Frog is a small craft brewer from Akron, Ohio and they’re known for a big Oatmeal Stout called B.O.R.I.S The Crusher.

B.O.R.I.S. standing for Bodacious Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout is a hybrid between the Oatmeal and Russian Imperial Stout styles. Usually Oatmeal stouts aren’t this big (9.4% ABV) and Russian  Imperial Stouts don’t usually contain oats.

Not happy stopping there, they upped the ante to D.o.R.I.S. the Destroyer or Double Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout. Even bigger at 10.5% ABV.

Neither of these beers are cheap, expect to pay about $8-10 for a 22 ounce bomber. Both are big, smooth, roasty, boozy, chocolate and coffee filled monsters.

There are more manageable Oatmeal Stouts on the market.

Starting in Vermont, Otter Creek puts out an organic Oatmeal Stout under their Wolaver’s line. It is at the heavy side with 5.9% ABV. The website is currently down for redesign.

From Massachusetts

Ipswich Oatmeal Stout is very good, but is big at 7% ABV.

People’s Pint Our Oatmeal Stout can only be found in bombers but it is in the normal alcohol range at 5.1% ABV.

Lefty’s Brewing Company is a newish entry to the scene. From Bernardston you can only find their Chocolate Oatmeal Stout in limited locations in the Western half of Massachusetts.

From the West Coast

Rogue Shakespeare Stout comes in at 6% ABV and about 70 bittering units. Available in 22 ounce bombers.

Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout is 5.7% ABV and only 13 bittering units. Also available in cans.

From the middle

Founder’s Breakfast Stout is on the large side at 8.3%ABV and 60 bittering units. Not just an oatmeal stout, this one is a coffee, chocolate oatmeal stout. Breakfast in a bottle.

From England

Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout as noted above the first of the reborn oatmeal stouts.

Young’s Oatmeal Stout (no website) is a 5.1% ABV stout, available in an 18+ ounce bottle (500 ml) like the Sam Smiths. Tastes fairly similar to the Sam. Smiths as well.

Oatmeal Stout is also popular amoung brewpubs, the following and many more keep the occasional oatmeal stout on tap.

  • Portsmouth
  • Boston Beer Works
  • People’s Pint (as seen above it’s also bottled)
  • Rock Bottom
  • John Harvard’s
  • Cambridge House

Patriots Buffet Table – Minnesota Vikings

by Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff

This will be the final Patriots Daily Buffet Table as I’m retiring. Wait, I’m not. I’m not sure. Maybe. Maybe I’ll call Peter King for advice.

No that’s stupid, Peter King is an idiot. I’m definitely not not un-retiring, but maybe I’m not retiring in the first place.

I know, I’m not retiring but I will throw game winning beers to JetsDaily and then pretend I have tendinitis.

Tendinitis caused by just acting like a kid out there with the excessive text messaging and taking photos from odd positions.

What to Eat?

Halloween must be Favre’s favorite holiday. When else could a two-faced huckster who likes to pretend he’s a good ol’ boy feel more comfortable than when everyone else is wearing masks?

We’ll be making a Minnesota favorite. A burger with a surprise packed inside. Not to worry, unlike a text message from St. Brett this burger is only packed with cheese. Also unlike Brett, this burger won’t get any coaches fired.

It is called the Jucy Lucy, or some will say Juicy Lucy, and then they’ll argue about who made it first. Honestly who cares. Going by the recent history in Minnesota, I’m going to assume it was first made in Green Bay but then stolen by Minnesota.

We’ll avoid the spelling issue by renaming them.

St. Brett’s Sterger Burgers (serves 4)

  • 24 ounces ground beef, 80% fat
  • 8 slices American Cheese to be traditional
  • Seasoning/spices: salt and pepper, and it’s not traditional but a little onion powder, garlic powder or dry mustard is always a nice addition to burger meat

Mix the burger and seasoning and form into 8 equal patties of around 3 ounces each. You want these patties to be flatter and thinner than normal because you’ll be doubling them up.

Now lay out 4 of the burgers, and top each with 2 slices of the cheese. You may have to break the cheese into smaller pieces to make it fit. You don’t want it to hang over the sides of the burger. Keep the cheese a good 1/4″ inch from the sides.

Top with the other 4 burgers, and pinch around the sides to seal the 2 halves together.

Cooking is the same as with a regular burger. Over high heat. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, give a quarter turn, cook an  additional minute to 2, flip, cook 2 to 3 minutes, give a quarter turn, cook an additional minute or 2. Done.

The FDA recommends cooking for 6 minutes per side, but cooking for 4 to 5 on the first side, and then 3 to 4 on the second is going to make a juicier burger.

So it’s just a cheeseburger right? Not entirely, the cheese seems to block some of the heat from transferring through the burger, so you can get a nice char on the outside, but keep the middle so it doesn’t go past medium.

Also, the process lends itself to all sorts of ingredients. Especially those that can be hard to keep on top of a burger. For example, why not try one or more of jalapeno slices, cooked bacon, roasted red peppers, or crumbled blue  cheese.

It will be a surprise tucked inside, like a BrettFavre pick to end the game.

What to Drink?

In the spirit of Halloween we’ll go trick or treating. Macro beers dressed up pretending to be Craft.

If you’re a dedicated Bud, Miller, Coors drinker then think of these as treats. Easy gateway beers made by a favorite manufacturer.

If you’re a dedicated Bud, Miller, Coors hater, well you can think of these as tricks. That you’ll now know to avoid if you didn’t already know.

If you fall somewhere in the middle, these are beers you might recognize as the best available choices at restaurants, stadiums, airports and small liquor stores.

AB InBev puts most of theirs under the Michelob label with a few pushed out to their own labels.

There are a few solo projects:

Budweiser American Ale is the only one that falls under the Budweiser label. It’s a fairly good amber ale. If I was in a restaurant where the only choices were Bud/Miller/Coors Lite and Bud American Ale, it would be an easy choice.

Wild Blue Blueberry Lager is an odd 8% ABV blueberry beer. Like the bastard child of Four Loko and Purple Drank. I don’t know why anyone would drink this. It is likely popular amoung sportswriters who get together to watch Jersey Shore.

Organic Wild Hop Lager is the attempt to capitalize on the whole organic craze. Expect it to taste like most organic products, half the taste for twice the price.

Redbridge is a rider on the Gluten Free bandwagon. So yaay gluten free. Does ‘gluten’ mean ‘taste’? I think it might.

That brings us to the Michelob branded products. They’re not bad representatives of their respective styles.

There are probably about a dozen styles in total. These all run right around 5% ABV.

First the seasonals:
Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale is the fall seasonal, and it’s one of those pumpkin spiced amber ales that are all too common. Surprisingly it’s not as over the top as most.

Winter’s Bourbon Cask Ale is the winter seasonal, and it’s full of vanilla flavor. Lots and lots of vanilla flavor. If you like vanilla ice cream added to cream soda, and topped with vanilla icing, then covered with a vanilla fondant and then drizzled with a vanilla sauce you’d probably say Winter’s Bourbon Cask Ale is ok, but they need to cut down on the Vanilla.

Michelob Amber Bock is a sweet dark beer. Don’t expect a true Bock, the name here is a reference to the ‘Bock’ style most American mega brewers made up to the 1960’s.

Michelob Bavarian Style Wheat is a passable hefeweizen. Like most hefeweizens you’ll probably end up drinking this because they sneak it into every mix pack. See, just like the craft brewers!

Michelob Black & Tan, porter and lager … premixed?? Next thing you’ll be telling me cats and dogs can be friends. Unlike the doomed nature of a feline/canine truce, Michelob Black & Tan actually works.

Michelob Irish Red is a true Irish style Red Ale, and not a reddish lager with an “Oirish” name.

Michelob Marzen, better known as the Octoberfest style. A fairly malty lager, this is one of the best Michelob products.

Michelob Pale Ale it’s no Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or Deschutes Mirror Pond, but it’s a drinkable pale ale.

Michelob Porter darker and tastier than anything you’d expect Budweiser to make. I’m surprised their Belgian overlords haven’t ordered it’s termination.

Michelob Rye P.A. might be the best of the bunch. An American Style Pale Ale (hoppy) with Rye added. Rye adds a touch of spiciness.

Miller/Coors can be mostly found under the Blue Moon label (Coors) and Leinenkugel label (Miller).

First, the standalone:

Killian’s Oirish Red, made with commercials showing an Oirish bartender smashing someone’s watch. And “slow roasted caramelized malts”. It’s a lager, slightly fuller than the standard Coors product, and it is darker from the use of some crystal malt. Just don’t expect a real Irish Red Ale, or anything as good as the Michelob Irish Red. Yes there was a George Killian (Lett) but his family’s brewery was purchased and closed down about 60 years ago.

Now the Blue Moons: These all run within a few tenths of 5.5% ABV.

Blue Moon Belgian White is the standard product. It’s in the style of a Belgian White Beer. Made with wheat, orange peel and coriander. Blue Moon is now available in cans.

Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale is the fall seasonal. It’s another pumpkin and spice beer. I liked the Jack’s Pumpkin Spice better for what it’s worth.

Full Moon Winter Ale is broadly in the style of a Belgian Dubbel. This is a tough style for a macro brewer to try. Most breweries producing Dubbels and other Abbey style beers are making good products. The use of American ingredients in a Belgian Abbey style beer results in a lackluster example that just can’t stand up to the best Dubbels on the market. Full Moon certainly isn’t as good as Blue Moon and I’d put the Harvest Moon slightly ahead as well.

Finally we have Leinenkugel, Leinenkugel was an independent family brewery years ago. However it was purchased by Miller, and has served as a partially independent craft beer line ever since.

These all run within a few tenths of 5% ABV. They may seem stronger, but they’re right in line with the full strength versions of Bud/Miller/Coors.

1888 Bock is very similar to the Michelob Amber Bock. Again, think Darker, sweeter American lager, not a German Bock.

Creamy Dark is another dark lager, but this one is based more along the lines of a German Dunkel than a Bock.

Sunset Wheat is a lot like Blue Moon, but it has blueberry flavor added instead of orange.

Classic Amber is like a lighter, not as tasty Sam Adams Boston Lager.

Red is broadly in the style of a Vienna lager. Closer to the Mexican versions of the style than the craft beer versions.

Fireside Nut Brown is the winter seasonal. It’s a brown ale with hazelnut flavoring added. To me the flavoring is too much.

There are more than just these six, but most of the rest are various versions of flavored wheat beers (honey, berry etc..).

So there you go, Bud American Ale and most of the Michelob products – treats. Most of the rest – tricks. With the Leiny products somewhere in neutral territory.

Patriots Buffet Table – Buffalo Bills

by Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff

This week we have a meeting between the unanimous media picks for the 3rd and 4th best teams in the AFC East.

Buffalo and New England are the poor sisters of the division according to the national and local media. It looks like they’re still going to bother playing the game, so we may as well have some food and drink to go with it.

What to Eat?

Octoberfest started on Sept 18th this year and runs to October 4th. It’s a day longer than usual because it is the 200th anniversary of the original octoberfest.

In honor of Octoberfest we’ll be making wurst, or German sausages. Because this game features two of the lesser teams in the AFC East, we’ll go with two of the lesser known sausages.

First, Knackwurst. Knackwurst are sized like fat hot dogs. Meant to be eaten as a finger food, but usually served plated or on buns outside Germany. Their pork and beef mixture is well seasoned with garlic. The casing is thick and some people prefer to remove it before cooking. The thick casing is what gives it the “crack” or “Knack” in it’s name.

Like hotdogs, because of the smoking knackwurst is usually partially to cooked and only needs to be finished or reheated. This isn’t 100% the case in the US, so you will have to check the packaging.

Weisswurst is “white” sausage”. This is a blend of veal and pork. Unsmoked, it is traditionally a breakfast or midmorning food. Before refrigeration the lack of smoking meant it would spoil quicker than other wursts.

It is one of the lightest and smallest wursts. The seasoning will usually consist of lemon, cardamom, onion and parsley. Weisswurst are always cooked in their casing, but the casing is removed before eating. Or the wurst is sliced down the middle and the meat is eaten with a fork leaving the casing behind. But we’re not in Bavaria, it’s just fine served on a bun.

Weisswurst is always raw, and so it always has to be fully cooked before eating.

Weisswurst is usually only available at specialty grocers. Knackwurst should be available at grocery stores that don’t suck.

Both Weisswurst and Knackwurst can be boiled before grilling. This will help heat the Knackwurst through, and will cook the weisswurst. 20 minutes at a simmer, not a full rolling boil, will do it.

Weisswurst are meant to be white, so they wouldn’t be grilled in Germany. I like things grilled, so I grill both Weisswurst and Knackwurst after I boil them.

A lot of people like to boil in beer with sliced onions. Doing so doesn’t add anything to the wurst, they’re in casings.

If you want to boil the wursts in beer and onions. And then boil down the beer and onions, into caramelized beer onions. Well that is another story. Just don’t expect it to flavor the wursts very much.

If you’re going that route, do not use a hoppy beer. The concentration of the beer will concentrate the bitterness. Use a nice octoberfest like Narragansett Fest (see below).

That’s all there is to it. No list of ingredients needed this week.

OK, if you insist:

  • 1-2 Weisswurst per person
  • 1-2 Knackwurst per person
  • 2-4 buns, sized to the wurst per person
  • mustard
  • German style potato salad (vinegar based)
  • 1-2 onions if desired.

Heat wursts in simmering water for 20 minutes.
If desired, sub in a beer for some of the water and add 1-2 peeled sliced onions.
Remove wursts from liquid, bring the liquid up to a full boil. Peel casings off the wursts. Grill wursts for a couple of minutes per side, just long enough to get some nice grill marks.

Top with mustard. Traditional Bavarian mustard is sweet, I prefer spicier mustards like Dusseldorf style horseradish or plain brown mustard.
Add your onions if you made them.
Serve with pretzels, beer, and German potato salad.

What to drink?

It is mid September, and that means one thing as already given away by the food – it is time for the annual Patriots Daily Buffet Table Octoberfest review.

This is the fourth year we’ve covered Octoberfests, so we’re also going to cover new Fall seasonals and the odd beer called Imperial Octoberfest as well. Most of the other Octoberfests out there have already been covered in 2008 and 2009.

Narragansett Fest

On the new octoberfest front, Narragansett has added Narragansett Fest. It is packed in nice 16 ounce cans, and it pretty cheap at about $8 for a 6 pack of pounders. Look for the orange cans with the king drinking beer on it (right).

That is Gambrinus, real name Jan Primus, a knight who invaded Cologne to depose the archbishop and free the brewers from his rule. This dispute over taxes lead to a decrease in the church’s civil power and the rise of civil authority.

As usual, every historical event started because some people wanted some beer.

Narragansett is mostly known for their namesake lager. In my opinion it is one of the best beers made in it’s style. Still, the American Lager style is a very light beer, and people expecting the Fest to be more of the same are in for a surprise. In a blind test I believe it would fool a lot of people, who would be convinced it came from one of the major German or American craft breweries.

5.5% alcohol by volume, and brewed with a range of malts traditionally found in German beers – Pilsner, Vienna, Munich and Dark Munich.

It is a malty beer, as octoberfest should be, but there is hop balance as well. At 22 bittering units it’s almost twice as bitter as the standard Narragansett Lager, and close to 3 times the bitterness you’d find in a Bud or Coors light.

Narragansett is a Rhode Island brand, so what does it have to do with Buffalo? The beer is actually brewed and packaged in Western NY at the Genessee/High Falls/North American Breweries brewery.

Genessee just installed a 24 ounce canning line, so maybe next year Narragansett Fest will be in even awesomer 24 ouncers.

An Octoberfest from Germany that we’ve never featured is Ayinger Octoberfest-Marzen. It is amoung the best Octoberfests made in Germany, however you’ll only find it in single half liter bottles. No 6 packs, no cases. And it will cost from $3-4 dollars a bottle.

It is a good beer, but to me it’s too sweet. Still worth trying, but hard to recommend as a go to beer, or a beer you’d buy in quantity for a party/tailgate/or other gathering because of the price.

Have one of those Ayingers and then switch to those cheap and good Narragansett Fest cans.

Now for the “Imperial Octoberfests”. We’ve written about the “Imperial” trend before, basically it’s taking a beer style and making it bigger. Traditionally this was done with Russian Imperial Stout, a big version of stout brewed in England to export to the Imperial court of Russia. Hence the use of “Imperial” whenever someone gets the idea to try this again.

An “Imperial” version will always have higher alcohol. It will sometimes be darker, and it will usually be hoppier than the normal style.

It should retain enough of the original beer style so it’s a recognizable scaling up.

In some ways the scaling can be done for Octoberfest. They’re already fairly big beers for traditional lagers and being balanced toward malt they can be scaled up without becoming too bitter.

The central point of Octoberfest however, is being a beer that can be drunk by the liter, in giant steins, all day long. By “imperializing” the style that ability is lost. An Imperial Octoberfest is a nightcap, drunk once the Octoberfest or the daylight is gone.

The first is The Kaiser by Avery Brewing. 9.3% ABV and 24 IBUs. A malty, sweet, strong beer. A Doppelbock version of an Octoberfest. The Kaiser was the only example of an Imperial Octoberfest that I knew of, until Heavy Seas brewing introduced their new one.

Heavy Seas Mutiny Fleet Prosit! Imperial Octoberfest Lager it’s a long name. One you’ll have trouble saying after drinking a Prosit!. Maybe that is a built in selfdefense mechanism. The website is a bit out of date as the finished beer ended up at 9% ABV, right in the ballpark of The Kaiser.

A warning about Prosit! The alcohol is hardly noticeable, it would be easy to drink a few of these thinking it’s just a normal beer.

Prosit! brings us to a change in one of the Buffet Table’s favorite Octoberfests. In the past we sang the praises of Clipper City BaltoMarzhon. This beer is no longer made.

Clipper City restructured their beers into different “fleets” based on alcohol strength.

Prosit! is in the “Mutiny Fleet”. BaltoMarzhon has been dropped a bit in alcohol to 5.75% from 6%. It has been renamed to Marzen and is part of the “Clipper Fleet” beers under 6% ABV.

That does it for the Octoberfest year in review. Now for the new Fall seasonals.

It seems like the trend this Fall is either Dark and lightly smoked, Americanized Extra Special Bitters or Pumpkin.

Magic Hat Hex Ourtoberfest replaces the previous Fall Seasonal Roxy Rolles. Magic Hat can be hit or miss, and it seems like whenever they hit upon a good new recipe they are determined to drop it as possible. Hex is a winner. Instead of overly spiced it has a pie or baked good type aroma and flavor. Possibly from the use of darker malts, including a small portion of Cherry wood smoked malt. 5.4% ABV.

Sierra Nevada goes slighty smoked as well with their new Tumbler Autumn brown ale It is a little rough edged due to the use of freshly roasted malt, in general malt is aged after kilning to allow for mellowing. I’m not sure how much I like this one, not to say I dislike it either. I bought a 12 pack and it was eventually all drank. 5.5% ABV.

From Plymouth, MA, Mayflower Brewing’s new Fall seasonal is Autumn Wheat. This one isn’t to be confused with the ubiquitous light wheat ales everyone and their brother puts out during the summer. It’s a dark wheat beer. Somewhere between the Dunkleweizen and Brown Ale styles. Smells and tastes like breadcrust. The ABV isn’t given on the bottle, but it seems to be in the 5 to 6% range. Very similar to the Sierra Nevada Tumbler despite being wheat based.

For the new Fall ESBs:

Southern Tier Harvest ESB tastes stronger than it is at 6.7%. Making it a tweener between session beers and bigger beers. It is another NY state beer.

Goose Island Harvest is another “American” ESB or Extra Special Bitter. 5.7% ABV and 35 IBUs from Cascade hops. One of the best things about “Americanized” ESBs is that they really annoy pedantic British beer fans who will whine that they’re not real ESBs.

That leaves us with what is new in the world of pumpkin beers.

Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin is only available in the Harvest mixed 12 pack, no problem as the other beers are good as well. This one doesn’t scream pumpkin pie spice, it seems like more of an apple pie beer. It tastes like Fall baked goods. 5.7% ABV

Southampton Pumpkin from Southampton Ale House in New York is, well a pumpkin beer. Tastes like spices and is in between a pale ale and an amber ale. 5.5% ABV.

Blue Point from Long Island has also released a Pumpkin Ale. I haven’t had this one. I’m sure it tastes like Pumpkin and Spice.

If you’re heading to Gillette, there is one other new seasonal. The Patriot Homebrew Competition beer available this year is a Rauchbier, or smoked beer (lager). These are brewed with a high proportion of smoked malt, so if you like bacon in your beer try this one.

Patriots Buffet Table – Cincinnati

by Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff

Kicking off the season against Ocho Cinco and Ocho Uno. Luckily that duo is at their most potent on their various reality shows. Despite the protests of the Boston Globe Action Squad NFL Coverage Team this game will be played under NFL rules and not under the reality TV show rules incorporated under the Jersey Shore Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2010. Sorry Bert!

In honor of Cincy’s wide receiver pair, we’re sticking with pairs on this edition of the Buffet Table.

What to eat?

Cincinnati also joins odd elements together off the field, for example they like to put chili on their spaghetti. Of course they also like following a horrible team run by a horrible owner. So we trust their culinary skills as much as their team following skills.

Instead we’re going with Ol’ Friend Corner Blitz’ chicken wings and grilled vegetables.

These are both cooked in large foil trays on the grill.

Corner Blitz Wings

5-7 lbs of wings
1 cup soy sauce
2 1/2 cup brown sugar
fresh garlic or garlic powder(1-2 tbsp or more)
1-2 tsp Ginger
1/2 cup water
1/2 to 3/4 cup corn syrup(Dark or Light)

At least 15 minutes before cooking, blend marinade ingredients and pour 3/4 of the mix over wings in a large foil tray.
Cover with foil.

After the 15 minutes are up cook on a fairly hot grill 400-450+ for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the wings look like they’re almost ready, around 20-30 minutes.

Pour off the marinade in tray. And put the reserved 1/4 of marinade left on wings for the last 10-15 minutes. At this point cook uncovered and stir often.

Corner Blitz Roasted Veggies
These are cooked in a free form manner, an example is given below.
But feel free to use different vegetables.

5+ Zucchinis
5+ Summer squash
and/or whatever else you want to use

Cut all into bite size and put in foil tray.

Add to the tray
A mixture of Italian dressing and spaghetti sauce.
1/2 to 1 stick butter, cut up
Pepper, garlic, salt whatever additional spices you like
1/2 to 1stick butter cut up
spices(Pepper, Garlic, whatever you like)
And then a tablespoon or 2 of an A1, Worcestershire or Tabasco sauce. Anything you like and have handy.

Just cover and cook on the grill at the same time and same temp as the wings. Uncover after 30-45,stir so it doesn’t burn, but you do want the vegetables to have a little char on them. Once most of the liquid is gone, they are done.

Both recipes can be easily doubled or tripled depending on crowd size.

What to drink?

Cincinnati is a city founded by immigrants from Germany. The city holds one of the largest Octoberfest celebrations in the country, complete with wiener dog races. I’d much rather watch dachshunds running around than the Bengals.
Details for ‘Oktoberfest Zinzinatti’ can be found here.

Christian Moerlein is a traditional German brewery from Cincinnati, however they do not distribute to New England. Founded in 1853, they have not operated continuously or always brewed their beer themselves.

That is set to change with the opening of the Christian Moerlein Lager House next summer. It will be located on the site of the old Riverfront Park baseball stadium, cleverly renamed Riverfront Park. An easy walk from both the Great American BallPark, and the “Name the stadium after my dad instead of earning naming rights dollars because the more successful owners have to give us money anyways” Stadium, home of the Bengals.

Their flagship is the Christian Moerlein Lager House Original Golden Helles. A clean, crisp golden lager beer brewed in the style of Munchener Helles.

Helles is one of the three main light German lager styles. Along with Dortmunder Export and German style Pils. Light in this case refers to the color of the beer, not it’s alcohol content or flavor. They are not light beers in the sense of a Coors Light.

Helles means ‘bright’, a reference to the color and clarity of this style. It can also be translated as ‘pale’ or ‘light’. These are Bavarian (South German) beers, brewed in response to the Pilsners coming out of Bohemia (modern day Czech Republic) in the 1800s.

Dortmunder is similar in color to Helles, and was also developed as a response to Pilsner. Dortmunders and Helles share many of the same ingredients and brewing processes. Both are based on pilsner malt. Both are lagered, that is stored at a cool temperature in order to mature and fully ferment.

The similarities between Dortmunders and Helles make the differences interesting. As they differ far more than their shared appearance, history and ingredients would lead you to expect.

Where Helles come from Bavaria, Dortmunders come from their namesake Dortmund. Dortmund was (and is) an inland port city in the North of Germany. Long disused brain cells are telling me something about a Hanseatic League and it wasn’t actually Germany, but this isn’t Euro History 101.

Being a trading center, breweries in Dortmund brewed a lot of beer for export. Export beers across the world have usually been made stronger in order to travel well.  Originally there were weaker versions of Dortmunder made for
the home market, and the proper name of the stronger style would be Dortmunder Export. Eventually the weaker versions were dropped, and with it the ‘Export’ part of the name. You’ll still see these labelled “Dortmunder Export” from time to time, but I believe just plain “Dortmunder” to be more common.

Over time the strength of some Dortmunders dropped as well, where they may now be brewed to the same strength
as a Helles.

Alcoholic strength when different, is a pretty easy to understand difference, but there is another big difference hidden inside these beers. The water in Dortmund is much harder than that in Bavaria, it is high in sulfates and calcium.

This hardness reacts with the hops used in beer. The same amount of hops in a sulfate rich beer will seem to be more bitter, and some will perceive a “sharper” bitterness. The beer will also seem dryer.

OK this isn’t Organic Chemistry 101 either. Suffice it to say a good brewer in an area with hard water will take advantage of that water by brewing hoppy beers. A brewer in an area with soft water will probably make softer, maltier beers. A modern brewer will just reduce the water to zero mineral content and then build exactly what they want. But no one knew what that meant in the 1800s, so they worked with what they had.

If Dortmunder Export is starting to sound familiar, it’s probably because it is like a German version of an India Pale Ale. A strong, hoppy beer brewed with hard water for export.

As for German style Pilsner, we’re working in pairs here and the pair is Helles-Dortmunder. Pilsner has been covered before and may be covered again in the future.

Helles examples:

Thomas Hooker Munich Style Golden Lager from Connecticut is a 4.6% faithful example of the style.

This style is popular among Pennsylvania breweries due to the German influence in that state.

Victory Lager at 4.8% is excellent as all Victory beers are.

Stoudts’ Gold at 4.7% is hoppier than most, with the hopping closer to a pilsner than a Helles.

New Hampshire is lucky to now have one of the best brewers in New England, Paul Davis brewing at his own shop Prodigal Brewing in Effingham, NH. Their Effingham burger brau is a Helles. They have just launched and are draft only for now. I haven’t had this beer yet, but having had Paul Davis’ beers in the past I have no doubt it’s a world class example.

There are examples imported from Germany as well. The large breweries all send one over. Sadly the age checks on American brewery websites have spread to Germany. So you may have to verify you’re over 16 years old to get these to work.

Weiheinstephan Original is bigger than the American examples listed above at 5.1% ABV.

Spaten Munchener Hell is called Spaten Premium Lager in the US, and it is easier to find than their hidden English language website. It’s 5.2% ABV and it’s more fun to call it Munchener Hell than Premium Lager.

Paulaner Original Munchener Hell is right in line with the other two at 5.0% ABV. If a cartoon waitress starts yelling at you in German I got this link wrong.

Dortmunder examples:

Two Brothers Dog Days out of Illinois is one of the best American made examples. It is a summer seasonal but
should still be on shelves now.

It is a shame that Cleveland’s Great Lakes beers are unavailable in New England, You can get them in New York state.
Their Dortmunder Gold is a great award winning Dortmunder Export. It is one of the most faithful examples in the world, as many have been reduced in alcohol content and bitterness over time. If you are ever in a state that has Great Lakes beer, bring some back with you. I’ve only had three of their beers, but all were excellent.

The City Steam brewpub in Hartford, CT does make a Dortmunder. Their City Steam Blond Export. Being a brewpub, this particular beer may not be on at any given time, and you have to go there to get it.

There are imports available from Germany. Given that this beer style is native to one city, and the general trend of businesses to merge over time. It isn’t surprising that there are only a few companies producing multiple brands.

In this case, there is the Dortmunder Actien Brauerei, or DAB for short. A division of the Radeberger Gruppe. They do have a website, but it’s in German and is heavily flash enabled.

These beers also tend to be shipped in green bottles, so look for closed cases. Also pay attention to date stamps as imports are rarely as fresh as American beers. German Dortmunders have also fallen in strength over time and are no longer as authentic as those made in America. Yes, a Dortmunder made at an American craft brewery is probably more authentic than one brewed in Dortmund by a conglomerate.

The eponymous DAB Export at about 5.5% is joined by DAB Original slightly smaller at 5%. They also make Hansa Export to about the same specifications as DAB Original.

The other main producer is Dortmunder Union Brauerei a division of the Radeberger Gruppe. Yes, the 2 main Dortmunder breweries from Dortmund are part of the same company. DUB produces Dortmunder Kronen Export.

Patriots Buffet Table, Playoff Edition

by Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff

The Patriots start off their playoff season facing the Ravens for the second time this year. Counting that game, the Patriots are 5-0 all time against the Ravens. Of course if you ask Jim Harbaugh, the Officials are 5-0 against the Ravens and the Patriots were only bystanders.

Now that the Ravens have identified and fixed their “it was the officials’ fault” issue, the Patriots will need to show up in both halves of this game.

What to eat?

Porterhouse is a steak of two halves. Unlike it’s cousin the T-bone where the second half is a poor whisp of a cut that lets teams score at will and throws away easy wins and halftime leads … sorry started talking about the Patriots performance in second halves there.

Back to the steak.

The Patriots need to be a Porterhouse, being a T-bone won’t cut it in the playoffs. One one side you have your strip steak. It always shows up and gets the job done, maybe it isn’t the fanciest thing around but if you start there
the rest of the meal should go smoothly. The second half is the tenderloin. A soft, buttery half that you can cut with a spoon… sorry talking about the Patriots second half performances again.

Be a Porterhouse, don’t be a T-bone Patriots.

Patriots Play both halves Porterhouse (serves 1 hungry or 2 normal people)

1 Porterhouse steak, on a Porterhouse the tenderloin side will be at least 1.25″ wide. But that is the minimum USDA definition, don’t settle for a tenderloin that small. Anything smaller than 1.25″ is a T-bone. Get a steak about 1.5″ thick, a little thinner is fine as long as it is thicker than 1″. The steak will weigh around 1.75 pounds give or take a few ounces.
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)

Steaks grill best when they are at room temperature. If your steaks are cold, the outside will be done before the inside is ready.

Simple preparation. There is no need to dress up this king of steaks. Salt the steak, preferably with kosher or sea salt and allow to rest. This will draw out some juices and help develop a crust on the grill. Let the steak rest at least 5 minutes for this to happen.

Set one side of your grill to high heat (450) and set another side to medium (300-350).

Grill over the high heat side for 2 minutes. Give the steak a 1/4 turn. Grill another 2 minutes. Flip, grill 2 minutes, give it a 1/4 turn and grill another 2 minutes. At this point you’ve grilled it for 8 minutes and you’ve gotten crosshatched grill marks on both sides.

Move the steak to the cooler side of the grill. Grill an additional 3 to 4 minutes for rare. 5 to 6 minutes for medium-rare, or 7 to 8 minutes for medium.

Add pepper to taste. Let the steak rest 5 minutes covered, before cutting.

As we’ve mentioned before, you do not need a meat thermometer to tell doneness. You can tell by touching the steak.

Hold out one hand with fingers extended. Touch the base of your thumb/palm with the index finger of the other hand. A steak will feel the same way when it is raw. Lightly touch your thumb to the tip of your index finger, and then feel – that is the feel of a rare steak. Thumb to middle finger is medium rare. Thumb to ring finger is medium. If someone wants their steak well done, you instead extend both middle fingers in their direction.

What to drink?

This is the third time the Baltimore-DC area has been on the Buffet Table and for the third time we’re going with Clipper City Brewing. Why? Because they’re that good, besides the game is a rematch so the beer should be as well.

Peg Leg Imperial Stout is part of Clipper City’s Heavy Seas line of stronger beers. As an Imperial Stout we can expect strong dark fruit (plum, raisin), heavy roast, chocolate, molasses, caramel or toffee type flavors and aromas. Alcohol percentage starts at 8% and can go past 12%. The ‘Imperial’ in the name comes from the origin of this beer style – a heavy substantial stout brewed for export to the Imperial Court of Russia in the 1800s.

Peg Leg weighs in at 8.0% ABV and features all English style ingredients.

Sam Adams Imperial Stout was released this year as part of their new Imperial Series. A 9.2% ABV beer with 50 bitterness units, this one differs from the other examples with it’s use of smoked malt.

Samuel Smith Imperial Stout features the oldest looking packaging, all Victorian and old-timey but I believe it was introduced during the 1980s. It’s 8.0% ABV and has the strongest yeast character of the examples – very plum like in taste.

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout is a 10.1% stout, heavy on the chocolate and roast flavors.

Great Divide Yeti from Denver, CO weighs in at 9.5% ABV and 75 bitterness units. Great Divide also puts out Yeti beers that have chocolate added, coffee added, and some that have been barrel aged.

From Pennsylvania, Victory Brewing puts out Storm King Stout. At 9.1% ABV it falls towards the middle of these examples alcohol wise, but it is amoung the hoppiest of the bunch.

Oskar Blues Ten Fidy is the only Imperial Stout I know of that is canned instead of bottles. A 10.5%, 98 bitterness unit Imperial Stout in a can, now that is 21st century technology – the hell with flying cars.

Founders Imperial Stout hits the charts at 10.5% ABV and 90 IBU. It’s also 100.5% good.

An odd playoff time appearance from Cleveland – Hoppin’ Frog B.O.R.I.S. is a Barrel Aged Oatmeal Imperial Stout. Say that 5 times fast or just say B.O.R.I.S. There is no truth to the rumor that Eric Mangini was the model for the frog on the label. It is true that this 9.4% ABV, 60 IBU is easy drinking for it’s size, and extra smooth from the oatmeal.

A couple of the smaller New England breweries also get in on the Imperial Stout act.

Berkshire Brewing Imperial Stout comes in at 8.5% ABV with chocolate and licorice flavors and aroma.

People’s Pint in Greenfield, MA brews their Imperial Stout to 9.2% ABV and 100 bitterness units.

Trinity Brewhouse in Providence, RI makes one of the oldest. Their Russian Imperial Stout has been produced for close to 15 years. Most brewers did not make beers this big back then. It’s closest to the Samuel Smith Imperial Stout at 8.0% ABV and 60 IBU.

Finally, both Long Trail and Smuttynose put out Imperial Stouts on a limited basis. Both of these beers are released in February so over the next few weeks you’ll see: Long Trail Brewmaster’s Series Coffee Imperial Stout and Smuttynose Big Beer Series Imperial Stout. If you try any of the stouts listed above, and want to try more examples definitely check these out when available.


Patriots Buffet Table – Game 15 vs. Jacksonville

by Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff

A cold weather game against the Jaguars means one thing. A built in advantage for the Pats – maybe?

Snow on the field – possible. Goodell launches an investigation into snowballs being thrown at Phil Simms- hopefully.

Aaaayyyy! Sit on it Potsie.

Aaaayyyy! Sit on it Potsie.

But those pale in comparison to Jack Del Rio wearing his Fonzie jacket on the sidelines.

The Pats have a chance to not only clinch the AFC East this weekend, but they can also help the Jags jump the shark right out of playoff contention. A two headed attack not seen since the Malachi Crunch.

What to eat?

Christmas was just 2 days ago, so lets use up some of those leftovers and grill up some ham steaks.

If you don’t have any leftovers, or if you didn’t have ham go buy one. They’re really cheap now.

All Jacked Up Christmas Ham (serves 4)
Ham – precooked, 2 pounds
Apricot jelly – 1 jar
Brown sugar – 1/4 cup

Mix the apricot jelly and the brown sugar. Heating for a short time in a microwave may help it come together. This can be done the day before cooking.

Slice ham into 1″ slices. Go around the outside of the steak and score the fat about every 1.5 inches. This will prevent the ham from curling up as it grills

Heat your grill to a medium to medium high level 350 to 400 degrees. We will cook the ham over direct heat, so turn all burners on.

Grill the ham for 10 minutes on one side. Flip, glaze with the apricot jelly, grill for 5 minutes on the opposite side.

Thats it, a simple recipe after the months long runup to overly complicated Holiday dinners.

What to drink?

This week we’re running down some of the winter seasonals that invade liquor stores earlier every year. As a seasonal and not a beer style, the individual beers are varied and can differ greatly from brewery to brewery.

One of the traditional types is the Winter Warmer. A version of the English Old Ale, Winter Warmers tend to be brewed with some darker malts – with the resulting caramel, chocolate and roast flavors and aromas almost always appearing. Usually they’ll have a full slightly sweet body.

Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome is one of the oldest and best examples. Not terribly strong at 6.0% ABV it’s full of caramel and earthy British hopflavors and aromas.

Fairly similar is Redhook Winterhook Winter Ale.  Another 6.0% ABV beer with caramel and chocolate flavors.

Looking locally, Berkshire Brewing offers Cabin Fever Ale.  A 6.3% ABV Winter Warmer similar to a big German Alt beer.

Another common style is the Winter or Christmas Spiced beer. Usually a dark malty beer like a Winter Warmer with spices added. The spices will commonly include cinammon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg or anything that is commonly used in Christmas baked goods. Generally they’ll taste like an underhopped Winter Warmer or Amber Ale with whatever spices are added.

The original American offering is Anchor Our Special Ale. Introduced in 1975 this beer undergoes recipe changes every year. The spice profile will change, but the beer usually comes in around 5.5% ABV. Anchor Our Special Ale ages very well, the antioxidant properties of the dark malts and spices counteracting the low ABV. I had a bottle of 1986 in 2006 and it was still drinkable.

Harpoon Winter Warmer is one of the most commonly found winter spice beers. The ABV is 5.9% and the caramel malt is almost hidden by the strong cinammon and nutmeg aroma and flavor.

One beer that almost everyone has tried, but that isn’t usually thought of as a spiced beer is Sam Adams Winter Lager. Technically it’s a Spiced DunkleWeizenBock if such a thing existed. 5.9% ABV and spiced with cinammon, ginger and orange peel.

Harder to find than the Winter Lager is Sam Adams Old Fezziwig. The ingredients are not that different from the Winter Lager. Cinammon, ginger and orange peel still provide the spicing. But as an ale, Fezziwig has a more robust taste.

Far larger than the beers above, Troeg’s Mad Elf Ale is brewed with honey, cherries and Belgian yeast. It’s a full flavored 11% ABV beer more suited to sipping than chugging.

There are also a number of winter beers that do not fall under the Winter Warmer or Winter Spiced beer categories:

Harpoon has added a second winter seasonal. This one in the American stout category. Harpoon Chocolate Stout has 5.9% ABV with a lot of chocolate flavor and aroma from the chocolate malt used. No actual chocolate is used, chocolate malt is a highly roasted form of malt that takes on chocolate and even coffee notes.

Southern Tier goes much bigger with their winter stout. Choklat is a 9.1% ABV chocolate in a bottle. The chocolate flavor in this one has to be tasted to be believed.

Newly arrived in New England is Goose Island Bourbon County Stout from Chicago. It’s a big 13% ABV Russian Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels. Russian Imperial Stouts are rich, complex beers noted for their roasted flavors such as coffee, chocolate mixed with char and caramel. Usually they’ll often show off a dark fruit character such as cherry or plum, which comes from the malt and the fermentation not from actual fruit.

Brooklyn Brewery has a BCS of their own. Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout runs a little lower at 10.1% ABV and is not aged in Bourbon barrels, but don’t let that fool you. It is as good as the Goose Island Bourbon County

Brooklyn also puts out a winter seasonal in the Barleywine style. Brooklyn Monster is a heavy 10.8% ABV sipping beer perfect for cold snowy weather. Barleywines are strong, malty beers, the top of the pyramid of English beer styles.

Sierra Nevada also goes with a barleywine for one of their winter seasonals. Sierra Nevada Bigfoot is a big 9.6% American style Barleywine. As an American style it’s very hoppy, about as hoppy as a Double IPA. It’s what you’d expect from the brewery that invented the American Pale Ale style with Sierra Nevada Pale ale. You can think of this as a much bigger brother to SNPA. However the body is much fuller than simply a scaled up pale ale. This beer stands up extremely well to aging, improving for at least 3 years if not longer.Not being left off the barleywine bandwagon is the brewery that made the first barleywine in America .. at least in about 100 years.

If ‘first in America’ sounds familiar thats because it’s Anchor Brewing again with Old Foghorn Barleywine. OK so this is actually a year round brew. When it comes to winter beer I’m not leaving Old Foghorn off the list, it’s made for cold weather. They’ve been producing this since 1975, when every other beer in America was a cold flavorless yellow colored soft drink.

Looking locally .. again, Berkshire Brewing offers Holidale. This 9.5% American Barleywine goes a step further by including some of the spices common to winter spice beers. See what you can pick out beyond cinammon.

Similar to a barleywine, but invented in Scotland is the Wee Heavy. Just as malty as the barleywine, but usually with more caramel character. Hopping levels are even lower in the Wee Heavy, and the fermentation is very clean done at near lager temperatures. Paper City from Holyoke, MA puts out Winter Palace Wee Heavy as their winter seasonal. 8% ABV and a good example of the style.

A bit small for a Wee Heavy, but still good is Long Trail Hibernator. A 6% ABV scotch ale it’s an easy drinking malty beer.

From one extreme to another, as focused as a Wee Heavy is on malt, an India Pale Ale is focused on hops. Sierra Nevada’s second winter seasonal is Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. My favorite beer, this 6.8% IPA was revolutionary when first introduced and is still a standout today. Fitting it’s winter release it’s a little darker in color and has more of a malty body than most other IPAs.

A beer unto itself, but mixing the qualities of an Imperial IPA and a Barleywine is Stone Double Bastard. This winter seasonal is the big brother of Stone Arrogant Bastard. 10.5% ABV, outrageously hoppy and only packaged in bottles that are just stupidly large for a beer so strong. There is a strong chance that you won’t like this beer, but also a chance you’ll love it.

Another direction you may find winter seasonals is breweries going Belgian.

Smuttynose does this with their Winter Ale. Small compared to most of the beers above at only 4.8%, Winter Ale is kind of like the brewery’s Old Brown Dog ale but fermented with Belgian yeast.

You’ll find many winter seasonals beyond the 21 listed above. Almost every brewery makes one, and it seems like most breweries are now making more than one. Beers that aren’t listed above will probably fall into one of the categories that were listed.