Last Monday was our “Harvest Ale” evening at Ladies at Ladyface: the Fermentables and Comestibles Education and Tippling Society. Basically, in order to prepare our palates for autumn, we all brought in something “seasonal” to imbibe.
I brought Shipyard’s Smashed Pumpkin, Sierra Nevada’s Northern Hemisphere Harvest (honestly picked it up because it had the word “Harvest” on it) and Shipyard’s Smashed Blueberry – not exactly seasonal, but I’d read about it on Drink, Eat, Travel after Jace Milstead did a write-up and wanted to try it. LOVED IT! It’s a cross between a Porter and Scotch ale, warm and boozy, with a nice aroma of real blueberries wafting off the head, pouring a dark brown-burgundy and rounded out with a blueberry sweetness that rests on your tongue long after you swallow. I grabbed another bottle the next day so I could have it all to myself.
Ladyface had Pliny the Elder on tap, and while we had a few beers waiting to try, I just couldn’t say no to Pliny!
I also feel the need to order the Popcorn Chickpeas while they’re still on the menu. Teeny fried bits of happiness!
My mumsie and I split the sliders – topped with bleu cheese, arugula, balsamic onions and fresh tomatoes. I wish these were full size. Mine was gone far too quickly. As was half of my Pliny (glances suspiciously at mumsie)…
In between the tastings, Cyrena (owner of Ladyface) brought out some crushed grains and hot liquor (When you’re using water for brewing, it’s called liquor. She didn’t bring out hot alcohol) and we mixed them together to observe the color and aroma difference between the individual grains. Mashing in at a table while drinking a Pliny and eating sliders = perfection.
Among the other beers to taste: Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, an IPA homebrew by fellow Lady @ Ladyface: J.J., and some other ones in the bucket that I can’t remember… Oops.
We got a chance to try Ladyface’s new session with Citra hops straight from the fermentor. A little too sessionable for my liking, but very pretty in the sunset!
We finished the night with a strawberry and goat cheese salad, a little Smashed Blueberry and Cyrena brought out a surprise: halfshots of rum from Ballast Point that taste like scotch! I’m not a shot taker (well, not since college anyway…) but I couldn’t be rude and refuse this generosity. My mouth and throat burned like menthol for a while. Yeah, I’ll stick to beer…
Next month is our “a little bit late” Oktoberfest! Any SoCal ladies who want to join come out on the 17th for Michelle’s famous “kraut ‘n bacon” and some delicious Oktoberfest beers!
Last night, Brie came over for a pumpkin beer/pumpkin food night. She was bringing over pumpkin chili and what goes great with chili? Cornbread. What goes great with pumpkin chili?
Sweet, moist cornbread. Perfect to pair with any type of chili or soup on a cool autumn day.
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 + 1/3 cup cornmeal
- 7 tablespoons butter (softened)
- 3/4 cups brown sugar (tightly packed)
- 1 + 1/2 cup almond milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
|Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. |
|In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. |
|In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. |
|In yet another bowl, combine the almond milk, eggs and pumpkin puree and whisk well. |
|Pour the flour and the wet ingredients into the butter and sugar and mix well. |
|Spread the thick batter into a greased 9 x 13 pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. |
After! I’d like to say that I’ve never made cornbread before in my life. I totally winged this and just hoped that I didn’t end up burning the house down. The fact that it turned out DELICIOUS? I’m still in proud shock.
The pumpkin chili may be the best chili I’ve ever had. EVER. Combine that with fresh, hot pumpkin cornbread slathered with butter and honey, and you have perfection on a placemat.
We went through a plethora of beers.
Shipyard Pumpkinhead: I was warned to steer clear of this one. That only made me more curious and since it was already in my fridge when the warning came in, we tasted that one first. The aroma was very funky and had a chemical scent. The body was very thin with a watery artificial sweetener flavor and a hint of nutmeg. It finished like a fizzy yellow beer – weak and sad. I learned my lesson.
Overall the favorites were Dogfish Head Punkin Ale – a heavily spiced ale, rich and warm with a slightly sweet finish, and Lips of Faith: Kick.
Pardon the wonderfully blurry picture. I’m still working on figuring out shutter speeds, apertures and all that fun stuff. Kick is a very interesting ale – a collaboration between New Belgium and Elysian Brewing. No wonder I loved it. It’s 75% ale brewed with pumpkin and cranberry juice and 25% ale aged in wooden barrels. You can really taste the cranberry juice in the first tangy sip, and it’s spiked with a lovely slightly sour finish. I’ve had sours before – many of them you can have a glass of and then it becomes overwhelming. With this, you could knock back the entire bomber and still not feel like your palate has been overworked. I was surprised that this clocked in at 8.5% ABV – it doesn’t have a heavy or boozy flavor at all.
There is no better way to say farewell to summer and welcome the first day of autumn.
What I woke up to this morning:
Oh yeah, IT’S OFFICIALLY AUTUMN!!!