Yeah, last post where I said I’d be writing more? Over a year ago.
Look how well that went!

Current favorite beers floating around…
- Harpoon 100 Barrel, Rye IPA.
Very tasty beer, quite hoppy with a nice rye bite to it. yum.
Pair with anything that can take on the hops. Spicy south-east Asian is especially good, and it went very well with empanadas at a porch picnic on Thursday evening.

- Schlenkerla’s Helles lager.
Not actually brewed with smoked malt, but it picks up a hint of smoke on it’s way through the Schlenkerla piping. VERY yummy.
Pair with lighter flavors, despite the hint of smoke it’s a very delicate beer.

- Cisco Pechish Woods
French oak wine barrel aged, peaches. It gets this amazing vanilla flavor going as well, a really lovely complex and slightly wild beer.
Pair as you would a fruit lambic, I had it against a seared Bluefish fillet, and it stood up well to the oily fish.

More soon? One can hope…

Hi there everyone.

First, I just went through and approved all the lingering comments. Apparently I haven’t been getting notified that they’re sitting in an approval queue, need to sort that out…

Second, you may have noticed that the blog hasn’t been updated in quite awhile. Since September in fact. There’s a good reason for this.

In October last year I accepted a position doing IT for a major brewery in Boston. (Shouldn’t take you long to figure it out if you care to.) Since then I’ve been wrestling with how to approach discussing the beers my employer makes without bias, since they sign my paychecks and all. I’ve had conversations with the head of marketing, I’ve rolled it around my head, and I think I’ve gotten to a comfortable place with it. To that end, I’ll only be writing up beers I’ve paid for in a retail establishment, and not the ones I get free from work. While I’ll probably decline to bash any of my employer’s beers, it would be a very rare occasion that I’d bash any beer honestly, so I don’t think I’ll be doing any self-censorship on that front. My focus will still be on beer+food and not beer reviews, so I definitely don’t mind giving props to competitor’s beers when they happen to go well with a particular meal. My employer’s beers go very well with food across the board, so I think they’ll have no trouble whatsoever keeping up.

Third, I’ve taken up twitter. You can find me there as @eatyourbeer, or at
I’ll see about setting up a twitter feed sidebar here on the site in my infinite spare time (hah!) to make it easy one-stop reading.

So that’s that. Long story short; I’ll be writing more here again soon.

Sharing a link:

Jason over at Brew the Perfect Beer just noted that Saveur magazine has been writing quite a bit about beer and food lately, and you can find their articles on their website here. Some good reading to be had there…

I have some sad news to report. One of my favorite beers in existence, Magic Hat’s Jinx, has been discontinued. I didn’t see it listed anywhere on the Magic Hat website, so I dropped them an email via their contact form and got the following in response:

Jinx Label

It’s sadly so, Ry. Roxy has been threatening us for years now, and we finally gave in. She’s one mean b*tch, man. We made the decision to have a winter beer proper this year, and we really dig Roxy, so we moved her up and created a wicked good black-as-night winter lager called Howl. We’re pretty excited to have it out there in the coming months.
The Voice

I can’t be the only one out there mourning the loss of this Autumnal staple. How can one truly appreciate the crisp fall weather, crunchy leaves underfoot, nippy nights, and the tasty fruits and veggies of the fall harvest without a full-bodied and slightly smoky ale to wash it all down with? This fall just won’t be quite the same, perhaps I’ll have to try my hand at a homebrewed clone, stay tuned for that.

That said, I’m all for another black lager in the marketplace and will welcome Howl with open lips. I’m not a fan of light lagers, but black ones have always tickled my taste buds in a wholly fascinating way. Something about the interplay of the roasty with the very clean lager profile… It’s a style that I’ve always felt was under-represented on the shelves in the states, especially given the variety that’s available in more hoppy styles.

Out with the old, in with the new! Just give me a moment to mourn…

My mother-in-law got me a Little Chief smoker (full disclosure: Amazon referral link. I strongly suggest the front-load rather than the $5 cheaper top-load model for ease of use.) for my birthday this year, and we’ve only used it once so far. Tuesday night we invited some good friends over, threw some pork tenderloins and veggies on the grill for immediate eating, and fired up the smoker for the second time. The first time we used the smoker was back in April on a 40F degree day, and we got some excellent cold smoking out of it. Given that last night was an 80F degree day in the middle of August, I was curious what the final temperature would be and whether we would have been hot smoking or cold smoking. As it turns out the pork belly only came up to 95F after about 2 hours in there, so it was pretty darn close to cold smoking. We even managed to get that lovely red smoke ring when you cut into the meats, so I think we did pretty good!

We smoked (Alder and Mesquite wood):

  • 3.5 lbs home-cured bacon with brown sugar, Grains of Paradise, and Corriander seed.
  • 4 lbs pork chops, brined in Maple syrup and Apple Cider Vinegar with Juniper and black pepper
  • 2 lbs salmon, brined with Juniper and Bay
  • 2 lbs tuna
  • 2 lbs pork ribs (then grilled)
  • 1.5 lbs shrimp in their shells (then grilled)

Ohhhh yummy. Most of these things will get thrown in the fridge or freezer to be pulled out and cooked up for a quick dinner later. The Tuna will get chunked up and made into tuna salad for easy lunches or snacks, and the salmon will almost definitely end up getting cooked up with eggs for breakfasts and brunches.

The Bacon came out acceptably. it was a very thin but fatty cut of pork belly, and the thinner of the two pieces came out much too salty (my fault). It will be excellent used for cooking in other things, but isn’t ideal for eating by itself. The thicker piece though is pretty darned good, and you can really taste the complexity we were going for with the Grains of Paradise.

On the other end of the spectrum, the shrimp were pretty much a total failure. They tasted amazing, but they dried out so much in the smoker that the shells were glued to the meat inside, making them almost impossible to eat. My wife gave up after fighting with about 6 of them, so I soldiered through and finished off the rest of the pound and a half. mmmm…

Smoked food (especially pork) and beer are a match made in heaven, so it’s hard to go wrong pairing this stuff; go with something full-bodied while not too hoppy and your taste buds will dance with delight. Porters, Belgian goldens or doubles, British ales, German Munichs/Oktoberfests/Viennas, and American Ambers will all go beautifully. A Magic Hat #9 to go alongside the maple-apple pork chops would be awesome, especially if you spoon a bit of applesauce over the chops.

Fall’s coming up, which means that smoked beers will be back on my personal menu in the very near future. Yay!

My dad’s a budding beer geek who tends to get stuck on one beer that he really likes and doesn’t experiment much with unknown flavors and concepts. Currently he’s infatuated with Flying Fish Brewery’s short-lived Imperial Espresso Porter, which was originally a limited run released in January ’07 but due to overwhelming demand they did another run of it in ’08. He snapped up two cases (and would have gotten more but demand was even higher the second time around) and hasn’t really tried any new beers for the past year or so.

Harpoon RauchfetzenThe aforementioned father was in my town this past weekend to hang out for a few days before he heads off to the sun-drenched beaches of Maui for a month or two. Rough life. Saturday morning we went to Harpoon Brewery’s noon tasting to check out what they had on tap. They had their full usual range, as well as their current seasonal (Winter Warmer – quite possibly my favorite holiday beer – brewed with cinnamon and nutmeg) and a few special beers. I am here today to share with you those special beers.

Harpoon has a special series where they let one of their brewers have full run of the brewery for a single one-hundred barrel batch that will only be brewed the once. It’s their place for experimenting with unusual styles without having to have a reason. It’s called (appropriately) the 100 Barrel Series. The current beer is the one pictured with this post called Rauchfetzen, which we were told translates roughly to Wisp of Smoke. This is the best smoke-beer I’ve had outside of Bavaria, Germany. The version they had on tap was slightly less smokey than the version in the bottles I subsequently picked up, and had more subtlety to it, but the bottled version is still quite good. Definitely grab a bottle of this if you see it in a store, my wife and I had it last night along side our favorite BBQ (Redbones for the locals) and it went amazingly well. Of course pairing beer with BBQ is kind of like shooting fish in a barrel, but still. At the tasting they also had a cask version of this that had been dry-hopped – which was one of my favorite beers in quite some time – but I won’t go on at length about it since it’s only available locally. If you can get a taste of this, do not hesitate!

They also started brewing a new series recently called Leviathan, and the second of the series was on tap at the brewery. This appropriately named series is their monstrously big experimental beers. The first was an Imperial IPA which I heard rave reviews of at the tasting, but had been gone for a few weeks. The new one was a Baltic Porter at 9.5% ABV. It was a very thick, sweet beer that had a bit less roasty flavor than I was expecting. A very solid big, dark beer though.

My father enjoyed himself thoroughly, and tried a bunch of new beers which pushed him in new directions. Did it stick? I don’t know, but I do know that he had fun, asked lots of questions about what he was tasting, and definitely enjoyed the experience. We’ll try it again at a different brewery next time he’s in town.

Long time no post! 

This summer my wife and I bought a condo, so things have been a bit hectic since then. However excuses are worth the paper they’re printed on, and pixels are free so… 

We did get a chance to brew a new batch of homebrew, it was supposed to be a pale ale with Rye in it, but I looked away at the wrong time and killed the enzymes in the mash after only 10 minutes so it came out more like a malty fall ale. Still tastes quite good, it just wasn’t quite was I’d been aiming for. You can find the recipe here on (no affiliation, I just like their tools) if you’re interested in the details. It’s on tap in our dining room alongside our heather ale from the spring. Unfortunately the homemade keggerator I built has had an untimely death. It was only 6 months old, and it shall be missed. (The beer’s still quite good served merely cool.)

This Friday we’ll be at the Pumpkin Ale Festival at Cambridge Brewing Company. 10 pumpkin ales on tap, 5 of their own and 5 from visiting breweries, as well as a full menu of pumpkin “inspired” tapas. Pumpkin ales are one of our favorite styles, so we’ll both be quite happily imbibing as many as we can manage. 

Last night I took my wife out for a belated birthday dinner. The restaurant was Salts which bills itself as “French influenced contemporary American cuisine” and boasts a nice wine list on it’s web site. We’d been hearing amazing things about the food and it had been near the top of our list of restaurants for special occasions for about 3 years, so we gave it a shot planning to split a bottle of some flinty French chardonnay or Pino Grigio. We got there, opened the menu, and were pleasantly surprised to find a very decent beer listing alongside the wine! Not only that, but they were offering a tasting menu, and would pair it with either wine or beer! Be still my heart…

In the end we decided we weren’t up to drinking quite that much last night, but each had a bottle of Saison DuPont to start (because it goes with ANY food). I followed that up with the chef-recommended Chimay Red to pair with the heartiest dishes in the tasting menu, and it went fairly well with the pork-cheek under halibut, and the steak with mushrooms and bleu cheese. I wouldn’t have chosen Chimay from the many Belgian double options that exist, but that was the one they had available and it was certainly an excellent style to go with the dishes. I’d probably have elected something a little fuller bodied, like a triple or simply a more full double.

All in all a fantastic dinner full of amazing food, and unexpected tasty beer to go with it. Here’s a list of the dishes we were served, as well as I can recall:

  • White asparagus and potato vichyssoise with smoked salmon, faux caviar and dill
  • French white asparagus with house cured jamon, soft cooked farm egg, hazelnut, and aged parmesan foam
  • Citrus and sake-rice cured Hamachi with spring radishes, celery foam, lemon and olive-oil vinaigrette, and shaved black truffle
  • Pan roasted day boat Halibut with braised Berkshire pork cheeks, gremolata with toasted pine nuts, and spring onion marmalade
  • Organic beef Sirloin lightly seared with a bordelais sauce, roasted King oyster mushrooms and a caramelized onion Cambozola “tart tatin” with blue cheese.
    with 4 salts — Australian pink flake, Hawaiian red clay, Hawaiian black lava, and grey smoked
  • Nectarine semifredo with almond cookies and basil ice-cream
  • A “Chocolate Truffle” the size of your fist with a nectarine sorbet, coffee granita, creme fraiche, and crushed cashews
  • The chef also sent out 4 little chocolate-coated peanut brittle truffles, essentially tiny gourmet snickers.

The first few went superbly with the Saison, and as above the Chimay worked well enough with the two heartier dishes. I had an espresso with dessert, although I’d have preferred a nice barleywine (or Dogfish Head 120 minute) with the enormous chocolate dish, and a light Gueuze would have gone fantastically with the nectarine and basil dessert.

I highly recommend doing their tasting menu with beer pairings, it’s a small but excellent list of beer and the food is incredible.

*UPDATE* Corrections made to the food thanks to my wife’s far superior memory.

AirlockSo why launch a new beer blog today? Because today is Homebrew Blogging Day! What better day to start a blog about beer?

I remember when i started brewing, I was living with my now wife, then girlfriend, and some friends in a large communal house in West Philly. We were about to move to Boston, and needed somewhere to crash for a couple of months after our lease in Philly ended, so we lived at the incomparable Badgerhouse for about 3 months. While there, a couple of us got the bug in our heads to try brewing beer. It was something I’d always wanted to try, and it certainly fit in with the DIY, grow your own food, canning for the winter vibe of Badgerhouse. We threw some money in a pot, trundled down to Home Sweet Homebrew in Philly, and announced our intentions to the fantastic proprietor, George.

We walked out of there with your basic beginners kit, a copy of the Papazian bible, and the ingredients for his “Dark Star” nut brown ale, promised to be an easy and forgiving first batch. We read the pamphlet cover to cover, read the first chunk of The Joy of Homebrewing, and had at it. I really don’t remember it all that well at this point, but I do remember that first tentative sip and the exclamation of “Holy shit, it doesn’t suck!”

Then we moved to Boston (Cambridge to be precise), right down the street from Modern Brewer [ed. terrible website, avert your eyes!] and commenced to happily brew beer in our little third-floor garret apartment for the next two years.

I tend to be the conservative type when it comes to beer, carefully figuring out alpha acids, IBUs, lovibond scales, attenuation, how to get a nice grainy finish, etc., while my amazing wife is the one throwing the spice cabinet into the bucket. Between the two of us we’ve come up with some fantastic beers, including the Lemongrass Wheat that we served at our wedding last year. But I’ll save those for later posts.

Four great years of homebrewing down, plenty more to come!

Well hello! Welcome to Eat your Beer! A bit of an introduction follows…

I’ve been contemplating starting a beer blog for quite some time, but didn’t want to start yet another sparsely updated homebrewer blog, or a beer reviewing blog. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, just that it’s not my thing. I’ve done a few beer pairings with dinners in the past couple of months, and it struck me that there’s not a lot of writing out there on the intersection of beer and food. I took my time coming up with a good domain name, registered it, and have been tinkering with a wordpress implementation for awhile now. Of course in the mean time a couple big names have launched beer+food books, so perhaps I’m riding a groundswell? Of course there are some 840,000 results for a google search on beer pairing, so it’s not like I invented the concept.

Anyway, my goal is to be another voice promoting the consumption of good beer, preferably alongside good food. Some of my discussion will be homebrewing (my wife and I have been brewing our own beer for over 4 years now), some will be about specific commercial beers (can’t wait to pop a bottle of Avery’s Fifteen that I just picked up), but I’m going to aim to keep my real focus on the many ways beer goes wonderfully with food. My wife is an amazing cook who creates some remarkable flavor combinations. (Ever tried white-chocolate leek truffles? Surprisingly tasty!) We’ve both won local friendly “Iron Chef” food parties, so I think we’ll have the food side well represented. I keep prodding her to start a food blog, and once we’re done throwing a circus perhaps she’ll have some time to think about that again. (I only have time to post this as it’s a slow Friday afternoon at work, but I can’t leave quite yet.)

So welcome! Feel free to drop me comments, e-mails, or catch me on google chat. Advice on beer, food, and anything else is always appreciated. Enjoy yourself, and go drink a tasty beverage.