Friday, May 23, 2008

A Week of Grilling And Beer - Day 5

Ok. Last one, I promise. Anyway, I think you get the point. There are plenty of experts out there any of whom could have prevented the travesty that spurred this entire series.

So, with all of that out of the system. One last day of beer and grilling recommendations for your BratFest Memorial Day weekend.

First up, Randy Lee, brewmaster of Viking Brewery in Dallas, WI. A mere 3.5 hours from Madison, Dallas, Wisconsin (pop. 356), the home of Viking Brewery, is situated solidly in the North-Woods of Wisconsin, nestled between the Missippi River and Prairie Lake.
Hot Chocolate makes excellent Chili, so it would probably make for some good BBQ. Nathan Berg up here at Native Bay does a pig marinated in Invader for that day that is reaaaaaaaaaaly good. I'd think Berserk would make a pretty good glaze also.
While perhaps best known for their big, heavy ... well ... Viking-like beers, Mr. Lee's suggestions are all great for making your BBQ. A nice, sweet chocolate-y glaze for that pork roast; marinated meats in the malty and complex doppelbock; an intensely sweet barleywine to baste that chicken in. And you can wash it all down with a Queen Victoria's Secret or Dim Wit.

Over on the East Side of Madison, the guys at Ale Asylum are fighting over ribs.
For us, you can’t beat the dry rubbed ribs our assistant brewer Brian Schoop makes. He makes his dry rub with fresh ground spices and lets the ribs season in the fridge for at least a day. He’ll slap ‘em on the Weber in the back of the brewery and cook them so they meat doesn’t so much as fall off the bone as leap from it. Brian will challenge anybody who puts sauce on them to a knife fight.

Meanwhile, we’re drinking Hopalicious and mocking him incessantly. The big hop flavor and citrus notes of the Hopalicious pair nicely with the rich smokey flavor of the ribs. The mocking keeps his head from exploding when us meatatarians start openly drooling.
You can't go wrong with the Hopalicious, a supremely drinkable American pale ale. And, it makes me want to pull around back and sneak some ribs off of that grill. This is what summer is all about.

Finally, Milwaukee represent! Russ Klisch, brewmaster at the infamous Lakefront Brewery finishes things:
According to Garrett Oliver, from his book "The Brewmasters Table", our East Side Dark is a beer with a deep reddish-brown color and a bready malt aroma adorned with rich chocolate notes. The bitterness is firm but balances very nicely against round, sweetish malts in a smooth, almost oily center. Soft chocolate and caramel lead into a long, dry, clean finish, with nuts and cocoa in the aftertaste. It's an excellent beer, and a real winner with grilled steaks, burgers, venison, Cajun blackened pork chops and Mexican mole dishes.

I couldn't agree more with Garrett, that my favorite beer to drink while I grill, especially hearty meats, is our East Side Dark.

My wife, who is Asian, likes to add spice to the grill menu. One of her favorite things to grill is chicken satay, which has an almost dry rub of curry flavors -- including coriander, cumin, white pepper, galangal ginger and lemongrass. It's accompanied with cold sliced cucumber and red onions and a peanut sauce dip that has many of the same spices. She's even made it with a healthy dash of our Cream City Pale Ale for the added hoppiness. The same beer, with its malty backbone, is therefore a good enhancement and balance for this grill item.

Another favorite is grilled seafood such as skewered spicy shrimp with adobe sauce or mussels and lime leaves cooked with - more beer. In both instances, we've paired it with our Riverwest Stein that gives off a mellow, malty sweetness.
You know, I'm beginning to regret having run this series, there is no room in my summer for improvisation - I have my entire summer planned food and beer-wise. Chicken-Curry Satay, sliced cucumber and red onions, steamed mussels, cajun-blackened pork chops.

I hope you enjoyed this series of posts. All of the suggestions were fantastic and the enthusiasm of all of the participants comes through. If you're reading this from somewhere other than Wisconsin, hopefully it's inspired you to go out and grab some of your local brews that fit the bill. If you're reading from Wisconsin, well, you now have a summer menu.

Post your own pairing recommendations in the comments and Happy Memorial Day. Thank you to all of the men and women who have fought and given their lives so that we can enjoy these summer weekends with our families on safe shores.

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