Wednesday, May 20, 2009

First Brew Part III - tasting

Finally cracked a bottle of our first brew May 4. Surprisingly good! Tasted like a poor man's Orval or Duvel, moderate alcohol level, some sweetness on the finish, mildly carbonated, with some hint of cardomom/spice on the finish. Drinkable. So, with that under our belt, on to the next beer.

Monday 5/18 we brewed an ESB style beer. Started by steeping some English dark crystal and dark carastan grain, then this time used a malt extract rather than the dried extract. Much cleaner and swifter process this time around. Tuesday it was bubbling madly through the airlock, today not so mad but still bubbling well. I'm optimistic. Bottling in about 10 days I expect. Then two weeks before sampling. This process is difficult for those who demand immediate gratification (like me).

Friday, May 1, 2009

Spirits & Cheese Pairing at Wine Vault & Bistro 5/6

A while back we got together with our friends Chris and Mary Gluck, proprietors of one of San Diego's finest wine-centric eateries - Wine Vault & Bistro to plan our first foray into pairing cheese with spirits (as in hard alcohol). We had discussed it over dinner a few months earlier and in our wine enhanced moods, we thought it would be a great idea. As we gathered to actually plan the menu though, we had begun questioning whether we'd be able to create enough interesting pairings to make an event out of it.

As it turns out, we were all surprised at how easy it turned out to be! In just under an hour we came up with more pairings than we needed. After a bit of discussion and debate, we ultimately narrowed the menu down to these 6 pairings...

1) Grey Goose Vodka & Arina Goat Gouda
Crisp, clean vodka pairs really well with the mild creaminess of the cheese

2) Corazon Blanco Tequila & Idiazabal (Smoky Spanish cheese from sheep's milk)
The tequila's earthiness is a perfect match with the cheese's rich, slightly smoky flavors

3) Sarticious Gin & Peppadew stuffed with Purple Haze Chevre
This was everyone's favorite pairing! The sweet/spicy peppers and the chevre's infusion of lavender and fennel pollen are an off-the-charts pairing with this exceptional gin

4) Knob Creek Bourbon & Winchester Cumin Gouda
The Gouda is studded with whole cumin seeds and the fruity, spicy flavors are perfect with the bourbon's caramel notes

5) Laphroig 10yr Scotch & Beecher's Flagship Reserve Cheddar
This rich, earthy cheddar from Seattle and the smoky, malty aged scotch are made for each other

6) Hardy Cognac & Beemster XO (xtra old Gouda)
The nutty, sweet butterscotch flavors of the Gouda and the deep flavors of the cognac make for a huge pairing that we all felt was the perfect way to close out the menu.

The event is coming up next Tuesday May 6th at Wine Vault & Bistro. The pairing is only $20! If you want to eat some great grub before diving into the pairing, they're offering a char-grilled skirt steak dinner for just $12. No wonder we love the Vault!

Hope to see you there! Reservations are suggested and you can make them by calling (619) 295-3939