Friday, October 1, 2010

Tradin' Fire For Smoke

Sometimes, even low-key plans get trashed by the weather. 

With friends coming over for some grilling this past Friday, I thought the flaming brandy burgers would go over well.  Sadly, the winds were gusting up to 50mph.  Wind advisories and the whole she-bang.   Throwing a shot of brandy and watching it burst into a blue flame of caramelized joy is certainly fun for this old Boy Scout (we all harbor pyro tendencies), but not in a windstorm.   

Obviously, I am not a total moron. However, had I tried to pour flaming brandy onto a lit grill, I envisioned something bad happening. Maybe it was this bad.  Maybe not.  Any way you look at it, Mother Nature shelved the brandy burgers and I needed to find a new meal.  

Apple-Sauerkraut Port Burgers hit the spot.  Basically, the patties where pork, ground chuck, a bit o' applesauce, and some spices.  Forget ketchup, mustard and pickles.  Basically a relish, sauerkraut, grilled apples, and some spices, including celery seeds, were used as the topping.  Damn good. And I mean damn good.  If you do not have this book, quit yer belly-achin' and get it. 

Unfortunately, the pair of evening beers did not live up to the burgers.  While the burgers were burgerin' on the grill, the Oktoberfest (#809) from the Great Lakes Brewing Company was going over okay.  With a nice amber color and fluffy head, the malts on the nose were what one would expect with this style of drink.  I admit, the finish was hard to get a handle on, but it was certainly worth it.  Nothing crazy, but not a disappointment, either.  A straight up "3" would be very fair, I think.

The Smoked Apple Ale (#810) from Short's Brewing Company, on the other hand, just didn't do it.  Not for me. Not for any guests.  We all sort of looked at each other and wondered what the hell it was.  First, it was over carbonated. A bad or unattended pour, and you would have quite the mess to clean up. The "smoked" aspect was over-powering.  While it did not smell like cheese, it certainly reminded us of smoked gouda or something similar. The tiny perception of apples on the nose was lost in the smoke.  The carbonation came back to grab you on the taste buds, too.  Subtleties of beer are lost when your taste buds are on fire with CO2.  Very disappointing.  A "2".

It was really kinda unfortunate that the Smoked Apple Ale was somewhat rotten.  Apples in the beer and the meal itself seemed like a nice dinner combo.  Then again, it was nice that the smoke was from the beer and not the charred remains of my condo after a grill-brandy-wind mishap......

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