Tag Archives: autumn

Baking with Beer

Over Columbus Day Weekend, I was lucky enough to take a trip up to New Hampshire to do some hiking.  The challenging 4.4 mile hike up Welsh and Dickey Mountains was a perfect autumn activity, filled with cool breezes and fantastic foliage (and it brought on a huge rush of nostalgia from my camp counselor days).  Even more awesome was travelling with a New Hampshire native – my friend Katie – who, after touring us through the quaint towns of NH, then decided to take the whole group back to Mom’s for a delicious meal.

We walked into a fantastic, heart-warming feast of steak, soup, roasted veggies and risotto.  I haven’t eaten this well in a very long time!  While everything on the table tasted great, it was the bread that had me at hello.  Katie’s mom mentioned in passing that it was Beer Bread, a fact which made my heart skip a beat and then ask for the recipe.  She told me it came from a Pampered Chef-type party (I think it’s called Tastefully Simple), and all she had to do was add beer (or soda, but who wants to add soda to a beer bread).  To top it off, she told me she used Sam Adams Lager.  Brilliant.  The bread was moist, surprisingly sweet and had a finish that was reminiscent of drinking beer – not too overpowering.  We had it for dinner, but I’ve since eaten it for breakfast too – yes, I took those left-overs proudly.

Thinking of testing our a brew-tastic bread for yourself?  If your feeling like more of a challenge then a “just add beer,” I’ve found a few easy-to-bake recipes that are sure to produce some delicious results.  Here’s a bread that looks more savory.  And another that might be on the sweeter side.  And finally, one with an extra kick (green chiles).  If you decide to give these a test, let me know how it goes!  Until then, happy baking, and cheers!

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There’s something about the Fall

Of all the seasons, I think Fall offers the best variety of seasonal brews.  From Oktoberfests to pumpkin-infused beers, I have really been in heaven for the past month-ish of cooler temperatures and changing leaves.  After a long summer of light wheat beers and Bud Light Lime (forgive me, but I kind of dig it), the dark, nutty flavors I’ve tasted recently are more than welcome.

Inspired by these autumnal beverages, I’m determined to get back into the blogosphere.  It has been a much longer hiatus then I ever expected and then I plan to let happen again.  Apologies to those who missed me…it’s been a long couple of months (and believe me, I’ve missed you too).  But I’m back and ready to drink!

Obviously, I’ve been gone for a pretty long time, and have imbibed my fair share of adult drinks in the meantime.  Some have been beer, and some have not.  As much as this girl loves a good beer, I can also enjoy a well-made cocktail here and there.  Should I come across a fantastic, post-worthy concotion, you might get to read about it shortly there after.  Variety is the spice of life, right?  With that, I’ll leave you to go do something “fall-ish” like raking leaves or starting a pick-up football game (for me it’s watching the ALDS playoffs).  Until next time, cheers!  It’s good to be back!

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Playing Goldilocks for Pumpkin Beers

As October quickly approaches, I’ve accepted the fact that summer has turned to fall, that I will have to start breaking out the coats and boots soon enough, and that Corona’s most appropriate months have passed. From limes to pumpkins. All things related to pumpkins – pie, pumpkin spice lattes, jack-o-lanterns, and of course beer – make autumn that much more enjoyable. And I can completely understand that pumpkin + beer does not exactly sound enticing to all, but trust me, the spices and flavoring in both the beer and the pumpkin mesh in a fantastically autumnal libation. While many Bostonians might agree that the city nearly skips fall entirely, all of this pumpkin happiness gives us a reason to sit back and enjoy watching the trees change colors.

In “researching” this post, went to Trader Joe‘s and selected two types of pumpkin beer and sampled another at Alchemist Lounge. Reflecting on my opinions of each brew, I felt a lot like Goldilocks with her mooched porridge…too hot, too cold and just right – except mine was too light, too spicy and just right.

To begin, I went with the Kennebunkport Pumpkin Ale. I think I would describe this as a transition beer. Its light enough to drink while the weather is still on the warm side, but still has the pumpkin accents weaving in and out at the end of a swig. I’ve been a big fan of Kennebunkport’s blueberry beer as a summery treat, but the pumpkin is okay, with the pumpkin part very understated. It was almost bitter at the end, but not sour, instead kind of like you’ve eaten too much sugar and your mouth rebels by tasting sour (or is that just a weird thing i do?) But overall, it’s drinkable and cheap.

Next up is the too spicy. Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale is a little intense for this beer enthusiast. It’s on the darker side, which doesn’t always scare me off. What does scare me off is the scary feeling like I’m going to get a mouthful of cinnamon and nutmeg in my last swig (think when you sprinkle cinnamon on your coffee or if the sugar doesn’t dissolve all the way and then the last sip is chock full of spices/sugar). My bf happened to love this stuff, and I really wanted to, but I just didn’t.

And finally, my “just right” pumpkin beer: The Shipyard Brewing Company’s Pumpkinhead Ale. For me, this is it. Its crisp, like a true fall day (corny, yes, but true), sweet, spicy and beer-y. The pumpkin flavor is aromatic and consistent through every sip. And something I have not found too often, Pumpkinhead tastes just as good out of a tap as it does from a bottle. And an added bonus, it’s brewed in the great northeast (Maine).

I suppose the “moral” of this beer tale is that sometimes you want more of a spicy kick and sometimes you want something more subtle. For me, the brewnette Goldilocks, the middle-beer is the way to go. Let me know what you think about these, or if you have more pumpkin suggestions for me, share! Cheers!

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