Sunday, June 7, 2015

Cheese and Beer Pairings - Sam Adams Part 2

Samuel Adams got another chance to be featured at the Cheese and Beer pairing night at Dierberg's last month. I would have preferred there be an emphasis on local beers, but I admit that I was happy to try this round of beers since they focused on summer and lighter beers.

You can read about my first cheese and beer pairing class with Samuel Adams here:

The welcome beer was just Samuel Adams Light and since it wasn't too cold, I didn't have too much of it. I knew better and saved room for the other, tastier beers.

Cheese and Samuel Adams lineup
We started off with a twist on cider beer with the Angry Orchard Summer Honey. There is indeed a slight honey flavor, but not too sweet. The Parrano cheese is a gouda style made from Holland, so it was typically smooth, creamy, and nutty. This cheese made the beer less crisp on on the finish and bring out the butter and honey flavors of the beer. The bonus pairing was the apricot paste, which brought out more fruit and cream flavors.

I really thought the Summer Ale would be the best beer since Schlafly's Summer Lager is my favorite, but this beer was a little too strong on the wheat and yeast flavor. This was paired with a Van Kaas Red Wax Gouda so it helped to stand up to the rich cheese. Together, you get more of the fruit and lemon flavor and the beer does cut through the cream. Dried apricots were the extra pairing here and it made the beer less sweet.

My favorite beer of the night ended up being the Porch Rocker, which is their version of a Radler. I would call this a "porch pounder" myself as you could easily drink a few of these in a row with only 4.5% ABV. This beer was paired with a Kerrygold Cashel Blue, which I thought overpowered the lemon flavor of the beer. The extra pairing of pear paste helped to chill out the cheese a little bit.

Another new beer to me, the DownTime Pilsner, had a big floral note to it and was a bit too hoppy for me. I did think the drier Sartori Asiago, an Italian style cheese, was a good balance with this beer. The extra pairing of chocolate almonds (delicious by itself!) also brought out more of the savory flavors.

For the Rebel Rider IPA, the Comte was definitely needed to help deal with the mild hoppiness in this IPA. The fruit nut bar helped a little, but I would probably prefer the cheese by itself.

Dierberg's is now switching to wine and cheese pairings for next month, but I do think there will be more beer and cheese pairings later this year!

Beer Lineup

Dierbergs Cooking School = http://www.dierbergs.com/School

Samuel Adams = http://www.samueladams.com/

PW Pizza Tallgrass Beer Dinner

For May's PW Pizza Tallgrass Beer Dinner, I had to admit that I really didn't know anything about their beers, probably because they are still a small brewery out of Manhattan, KS.

It was a great beer dinner for me since all the beers that were offered tended to be a bit on the lighter side.

The welcome beer, an unfiltered wheat, was perfectly light for the Asian Lettuce Wrap. You know we ate them like a taco! hehe

Asian Lettuce Wrap
Next up was a 16 Bit Double Pale Ale, which meant double the IBUs. (Unfortunately, not a computer reference.) While not officially an IPA, the beer was still a little hoppy, but it was needed  to match the meats on the pizza. This was a Smoked Brisket and Bacon pizza and the blue cheese bites went great with the brisket!

Smoked Brisket & Bacon Pizza
The Velvet Rooster Belgian-Style Tripel was more my speed and even though a Blackened Shrimp pizza paired with it, I mostly tasted veggies, so this worked out too.

Blackened Shrimp Pizza
Now I've been going to these PW Pizza Beer dinners for a long time now and holy cow...this had to be the best dessert I have ever had there. I tried to limit my pizza because I knew this would be incredibly good, but it was so rich that I had to stop after 1 1/2 of these Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Pies!!!

Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Pie
It was pretty much peanut butter moose with a chocolate shell on the outside...OH MY GOODNESS!!!

A dark beer might have gone well here, but I really wasn't too worried about the beer here as much. At least it was light to let the dessert shine.


PW Pizza = http://pwpizza.com/

Tallgrass Brewing Co = http://tallgrassbeer.com/

Photo By Patience Scanlon

BB's Jazz, Blues, and Soups

Even though I have been to BB's a couple of times to hear music, I have never taken the time to eat there. The stars were aligned when a friend's band, The Joe Metzka Band, had a 8pm Thursday night gig before a holiday weekend, which meant perfect timing for dinner beforehand.

While they do have soups there, including gumbo, BB's has a Cajun flair throughout the menu.

We started off with Deep Fried Cheese Grits, a guilty pleasure and of course it came with some cheese dipping sauce. The grits themselves weren't too gooey with cheese so the dip was required, which had a little bit of a kick to it.

They had quite a few local beers so that made us happy as well. You can see my O'Fallon Wheach there too!

Deep Fried Cheese Grits
Of course we had to have a soup, well at least, the gumbo I mentioned earlier:

The gumbo is a Cajun stew of fresh peppers, onions, okra, chicken, shrimp, andouille sausage and Cajun spices. Although some might say the best part was the corn muffin that came with the gumbo. Our server was kind enough to bring one for each of us since we were splitting it.

Patience and I split a main course as well because we had already gotten a little full just from the starters! I went traditional again and ordered the Red Beans & Rice.

Red Beans & Rice
With no room for dessert, we just enjoyed the music while feeling full and sleepy.


BB's Jazz, Blues, and Soups = http://bbsjazzbluessoups.com/

The Joe Metzka band = http://joemetzka.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Gamlin Whiskey House

After walking by Gamlin Whiskey House many times, it took Mother's Day to get me there. This was my stepmom's pick and a perfect pick at that.

Not only is the whiskey list a mile long, there are plenty of steaks to choose from as well. We were lucky in both of these areas since they offered whiskey flights, to help us narrow down our choices, and there was a filet special for $30 that included the lobster bisque cup of soup, garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus. What a great deal!

But Patience and I knew we were getting something else...not much research was necessary as soon as we saw our favorites!

Bowl of lobster bisque...

Lobster Bisque
Scallops with lobster risotto...

Scallops with Lobster Risotto
And Creme Brulee for Patience...

Creme Brulee
When you first sit down, you are offered two things, tall bottles of distilled water to clense your palate before tasting any whiskey (and to mix with it), and an encyclopedia. Actually, there are three books that contain the whiskey list, cocktails, and wine. At least I knew to ask for a list of the flights since I know nothing about whiskey. There were about ten different types of flights and I was really intrigued by the international and Kentucky flights, but we ended up supporting local and ordered the Missouri flight.

Missouri Whiskey Flight
Missouri Whiskey Flight
It was interesting to taste each of the three to try and discern a difference between them all. One was definitely lighter and more floral on the nose whereas the other ones reminded us of caramel. And while the whiskey helped cut through the richness of the lobster bisque, it was way too strong to be paired with scallops.

If you're looking to start learning about Whiskey or just want to enjoy a good meal, this is definitely a winner.


Gamlin Whiskey House = http://gamlinwhiskeyhouse.com/

Photos by Patience Scanlon

Katie's Pizza and Pasta Passport Dinner: Piedmont

After taking a month off, Katie's Pizza and Pasta resumed their Passport Dinner series with Piedmont. Luckily, I stopped by the week before for "Dining Out For Life" and got a chance to order the Eggplant Parmigiana, which was first featured at the dinner back in March!

We started off the evening with a fried squash blossom and a wine similar to a Chardonnay. Both this wine, and the Gavi up next, with its crispness, made for my favorite wines of the night.

Riori Di Zucca Ripieni
I was relieved that the first two dishes were smaller and very light, but thrilled there was so much cheese involved!
Artichoke Alla Bagna Cauda
The courses got a lot heavier very quickly as the pasta of the night was served in a cream sauce with mushrooms. Katie's pastas are just so amazing and I wish I could have had a heaping plate, but instead, I stopped myself halfway because I knew more was coming. The first red, a Barbera, was paired with this course.

Tajarin All'albese
Sure enough, Katie outdid herself again with the short ribs over a bed of polenta with carrots. Of course this was paired with a Barolo, another popular wine from Piedmont. All the big red wine drinkers loved this one. Again, I knew to only eat half of this dish and save it for later.

Brasato Al Barolo
After waiting months, finally a chocolate mousse-like dessert was served! Let's just say I informed my rather-full tablemates that I would be happy to help them out on this course and I ended up with four servings. Yes, it was incredible! I think if I ever visit Italy, I need to visit this northern area that's close to Switzerland!

Chocolate Panna Cotta

Katie's Pizza and Pasta = http://www.katiespizzaandpasta.com/