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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Cheese and Beer Pairings - O'Fallon Brewery

O'Fallon Beer and cheeses
Accompaniments
This month's cheese and beer pairing at Dierbergs featured O'Fallon Brewery, which I didn't know that much about beyond their famous pumpkin beer in the fall and their "Wheach". The "Wheach" is exactly what it sounds like, a peach wheat beer that's very fruit forward and perfect for summer time. I thought the Manchego was a little dry to match the sweetness of the beer, but neither one overpowered the other for a nice balance. I also learned that the Manchego goes great with honey on top!

But even before the first beer, my favorite was the welcome beer, Kite Tail. As a cream ale, it's so easy drinking. Definitely a patio pounder!

The second beer was new to me, Hemp Hop Rye. To answer the first question you probably have, no, there is no THC in the beer. The amber ale uses toasted hemp seed to create a nutty flavor in the beer. There is only a mild hop flavor so this is very drinkable, and it was paired with a triple creme, LA Bonne Vie Rouge for a "bread and butter" taste together. I thought the sweet pickles on the side were a bit too overpowering though.

I had heard of the 5-Day IPA before and the five stands for the number of days the beer rests on top of hops. As per usual, the IPA was paired with a blue cheese as well as prosciutto.

Another newish beer by O'Fallon is "Zeke's Pale Ale", which again is only slightly hoppy and very easy to drink. This was paired with my all time favorite cheese, Midnight Moon by Cypress Grove. (It's about time they served this during a pairing class!!!!!!) Good thing the beer is mild enough to let the cheese shine on this one. And when it's decorated with fig paste on top....OH MY!!

I was impressed with the last beer, a Smoked Porter, since I had never tried one before and O'Fallon is among a few that make a smoked beer in the St. Louis area. The bigger flavor of this beer was paired with a peppercorn cheddar. The smoked beer did chill out the cheddar to balance it out, but the best part was the dark chocolate with the smoked beer!!

O'Fallon is almost finished with their new brewery and tasting room in Maryland Heights - should be open next month!

Resources:

O'Fallon Brewery = http://www.ofallonbrewery.com/

Dierbergs = http://www.dierbergs.com/

Straub's Beer and Cheese Pairing with Schlafly

I just happened to be at Straub's, now that I work in Clayton, and saw a sign for a beer and Wisconsin cheese pairing with Schlafly for a few days later. You know I had to sign up! An extra bonus is that this class also benefited Operation Food Search.

Wisconsin Cheeses with Schlafly Beer
Cheese in the sun by Jessie Corno
Straub's was very gracious and started off the evening with a light meal consisting of pulled pork sliders, mac and cheese, charcuterie, olives, and fruit. I was relieved since I had just come from the gym and needed something before tasting beer. Also, the cheese samples were in the two-bite range unlike the classes I take at Dierbergs.

The beer instruction was led by former Brew Master Stephen Hale and for the first time I met The Cheese Impresario, Barrie Lynn. It's nice to see another "cheese champion" in the St. Louis area. Her favorite term was "cheese highway", which means to coat your tongue for the beer pairing. hehehehe

Much like Dierbergs, we started with a welcome beer, the easy-drinking Summer Lager, that we got to have with our appetizer course.

The first beer to be paired was the Schlafly Hefeweizen and the lighter beer went perfectly with an equally mild Crescenz-Stracchino cheese from BelGioioso. The cheese was so creamy!

The also popular, Pale Ale, was paired with a Roasted Red Pepper and Cracked peppercorn cheese from Wood River Creamery. I thought the cheese was a little too big for the beer, but it helped to take care of any hoppiness in the Pale Ale.

A new beer to me, the Belgian Style Golden Ale, had a bit more hoppiness than the Pale Ale so this was well paired with the Aged Brick Cheddar from Widmer's Cheese Cellars, which had quite a bite.

The other cheese from Widmer's Cheese Cellars, their Aged Brick Spread, was also paired with another hoppy beer, the AIPA.

And to mix things up a bit, instead of pairing the blue cheese with the AIPA, it was paired with the Lewis Osterweis Hard Ginger Beer! The ginger was good for cutting through the thick, creaminess of the BelGioioso's Creamy Gorg blue cheese. Pretty ingenious!

Resources:

Straub's = http://straubs.com/

Schlafly = http://schlafly.com/

Operation Food Search = http://www.operationfoodsearch.org/

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Toast To Spring

I was invited to attend Toast To Spring to help celebrate the St. Louis Jaycees' 100th Anniversary on Friday, April 24th from 6-9pm at the Hyatt Regency downtown.

Not only will there be a tasting of 30 wines, but there will be signature small plates provided by Ruth's Chris!

Feel free to join me on the 24th as tickets are $50 per person and a portion of all proceeds will be donated to the St. Louis Jaycees.


Stone Soup Cottage

While I am a little sad that I won't be going to the Women's World Cup for my 40th birthday like I had planned, this year still has been pretty special with a trip to California. I ate and drank in some of the best places in the country, but there was still one top place in St. Louis that I had yet to try.

Lara and I share back-to-back birthdays but due to a repeat of the menu, we ended up waiting until April. This ended up working out for the best because we didn't have to worry about bad weather and the area around the new location is quite beautiful in the spring. Let's just say that outdoor dining (a la farm-to-table) is going to be coming very soon!

Since Lara and Mike are somewhat "regulars", we received over-the-top service to go along with the already high level service to begin with. The new building is just beautiful inside and this lovely table was awaiting our arrival. Not to mention the incredibly comfy chairs, which was necessary for three-hour dining.

Our table...
The first thing you see when you sit down is the incredibly long menu. I think this might be
my longest one yet if you include the Amuse-Bouche and Intermezzo.

Menu
Patience and I decided to split one wine pairing between the two of us, which turned out to be a good idea since four wine pairings is plenty. I must also compliment the restaurant for offering to split the wine for us and they were still generous pours.

I could describe each pairing, but everything was amazing. Even the wine were perfectly paired...this was my first time drinking a Louis Latour!!

Amuse-Bouche
Sorrel Soup with Atlantic Blue Crab and Gruyere Gougeres
Grilled Asparagus with Seared Pork Belly, Petite Farm Salad
Dressed with a Sorghum and Black Pepper Vinaigrette
Alaskan Halibut Cheeks en Papillote
with White Wine and Artichokes
Morel and Spring Onion Quiche with Veloute
Smoked Duck Cannelloni with Brown Butter and Lavender
Rhubarb Souffle with Housemade White Chocolate Gelato
Of course, the best part is when Chef Carl or his wife comes out and describes each course to every table. Also, Chef Carl was so kind as to autograph his book for us as a wonderful gift.

If you enjoy fine dining for special occasions, this is definitely the place to go.

Resources:

Stone Soup Cottage = http://www.stonesoupcottage.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Remy's Tuesday Tasting

Every month, I would get jealous of my friend Rebecca's posts on Facebook. Religiously, she would attend Remy's Tuesday Tastings, where they offer an off-the-menu three course wine-paired dinner.

Usually, the wines are paired by a different distributor, but this month was a little different since The Big O was the featured liquor for the night! Now I really had no business missing this monthly event!

Due to the ginger flavor, the chef at Remy's decided to go with an Asian theme for her menu.

Menu
The first course included Geisert Farms Pork Stickers that even came with a Big O dipping sauce. The cocktail paired with it included Cachaca, in addition to the Big O, which was my first time. I was served a large glass of it and I knew I must pace myself. The lime flavor made it taste similar to a margarita.

Geisert Farms Pork Stickers paired with Big O Caipirinha
A Seared Striped Bass was served for the second course on top of glass noodles in a lemongrass kaffir lime broth with roasted shiitake mushrooms. This was pretty amazing and I would demand it to be on the regular menu, although I'm not sure if Remy's is ready to start serving Asian dishes all the time.

As you can see below, I got a more reasonably-sized cocktail this time and I enjoyed the sweetness from the elderflower and fennel pear shrub.

Seared Striped Bass paired with Born To Run
As if one main course wasn't enough, the third course was a Pan Roasted Duck Breast and I was really blown away again. The duck was so tender and perfectly cooked.

The cocktail paired was a little heavier to match up against the duck meat. Rittenhouse Rye, Aperol, and orange bitters went well along with the Big O.

Pan Roasted Duck Breast paired with The Thoroughfare
The extra dessert course included Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream paired with a shot of the Big O Reserve. While I would have happily drowned the ice cream in the liquor, I couldn't really eat anything more.

I highly recommend the Remy's Tuesday Tastings, regardless of the wine being served, but you must make sure you call well before the first Tuesday of the month!

Resources:

Remy's Kitchen & Wine Bar = http://www.remyskitchen.com/

The Big O = http://drinkthebigo.com/