Tuesday, December 05, 2017

THE BEER BEAT: The La Chasse-Dauntless beer dinner menu is released, Porter versus Stout, and other beery odds and ends.

Let's begin with an updated second reminder of the Dauntless Distributing beer dinner coming to the acclaimed La Chasse restaurant in Louisville on Monday, December 11.

La Chasse is Isaac Fox's restaurant. New Albanian old-timers will remember Isaac from Bistro New Albany and Speakeasy.

The dinner at La Chasse will feature beers from Dauntless Distributing, which brings some of the planet's finest brands into Kentucky, as well as handling Louisville brewers Against the Grain, Monnik and Akasha. Two NABC alums work for Dauntless: Richard Atnip and Kevin Lowber.

Menu, beers and other relevant details have just appeared on Facebook, and I'd love to see a solid contingent of friends and fellow travelers in attendance. Aside from the beer angle, you owe it to yourself to have a meal at La Chasse, because it is a splendid table.

La Chasse Craft Beer Dinner (with Dauntless Distributing)
Date: Monday, Dec. 11th
Time: 7:00 PM
Cost: $70 Per Person*
Reservations: 502.822.3963


First Course: Confit of Chicken with Bourbon barrel-aged smoked peppercorn hot sauce, bleu cheese aioli and chicken skin cracklings
Paired with: Au Baron Cuvee des Jonquilles (Biere de Garde) ... France

Second Course: Brie Beer Cheese Bisque with pickled blackberries
Paired with: Central State Rose (Rustic blonde ale with raspberries) ... Indiana

Third Course: Sautéed Prince Edward Island Mussels in limoncello Maitre d’Hotel butter and crispy pancetta
Paired with: Anchorage Love Buzz Saison (Spiced ale aged in French pinot noir barrels) ... Alaska

Fourth Course: Porter Braised Short Ribs over white cheddar polenta with thyme roasted carrots
Paired with: Nogne O Porter (Porter) ... Norway

Fifth Course: Honey and Ale Spiced Banana Cake with chocolate ganache
Paired with: Kerkom Bink Bloesem (Belgian Ale brewed with pear syrup and honey) ... Belgium

Executive Chef Andrew Welenken
Chef de Cuisine Kristina Dyer

*Exclusive of Tax and Gratuity

Also in Louisville, there's be a third outpost of Against the Grain just yards away from Sunergos Coffee, Nord's Bakery and Zanzabar.

Against The Grain plans microbrewery, beer garden at 'Swiss Hall' property, by Chris Otts (WDRB-41)

Louisville craft brewery Against The Grain plans to turn the Swiss Hall property in the St. Joseph neighborhood into a microbrewery, beer garden and venue for events and concerts.

Against The Grain has the property at 719 Lynn Street under contract pending a rezoning, according to Sam Cruz, one of the partners in the brewery.

It would be the fast-growing brewery’s third location. Against The Grain plans to keep its brewery and smokehouse at Slugger Field and its production facility in Portland, Cruz said.

Far better AtG at Swiss Hall than Swill Hall.

It's been a while since I featured a rant by Steve Foolbody, so the time is right to compensate.

RANT(S): One Beer, One Whiskey, and One Can O’ Whoop-Ass (The Pour Fool)

Nutshell: Pick Your Battles, learn a bit about American Economics 101, research these corporate partners before you climb aboard the Crazy Train. Please. These endless, clueless, feckless cries of “Sell Out!” just waste time and are, frankly, embarrassing for those of us have a Clue and share this culture.

 ... Rant, The First: The news broke, earlier this week, that Avery Brewing of Boulder, Colorado, had taken on the big Spanish beverage maker, Mahou San Miguel, as a partner and people all over the Brewniverse started freaking out. The great Denver magazine, Westword, ran a post in their online edition entitled, “Does “Craft Beer” Definition Go Down the Drain With the Avery Brewing Sale?” ...

 ... I read response after response accusing Avery of selling out; calling Adam Avery a greedhead and a fascist (my favorite)and questioning his values, his manhood, his parentage, his penile girth, and his hat size, all because he brought in a PARTNER – not a buyer or a sugar daddy or a new ownership – to help his company grow. In choosing San Miguel, in fact, Avery showed his respect for his culture, by hooking up with a company which is NOT, unlike AB, trying daily to destroy or at least control the craft beer community.

TRY to get this straight: The ONLY corporate interest about which you need to have ANY worries as a buyer or partner of a craft brewery is Anheuser Busch, aka AB/InBev. PERIOD. They are the only corporation on the face of the planet which combines the toxic mix of the arrogance to truly believe that we don’t need and shouldn’t be allowed to have any choices available to us in beer with the arrogance and deep enough pockets to think that they can really, literally set about pursuing a strategy that will force all of us who drink craft beer back into being just peachy with a lifetime of mindlessly, soullessly swilling tepid, watery adjunct lagers and nothing else.

I've underlined the passage that best reflects my own point of view. What's yours?

We haven't had many chilly days this fall and early winter, but about a month ago stouts and porters started tasting good.

, by Ron Pattinson (All About Beer Magazine)

“What’s the difference between a porter and a stout?”

Roasted barley. That’s the usual explanation of what separates porter and stout. Unfortunately that story is total bollocks. The true tale is more complicated, more confusing and much more fun.

Let’s go back to their childhood. Eighteenth-century London with its elegant squares, gin and the birth of industrial-scale brewing. Something that could only have happened in London. Pre-powered transport moving large quantities of beer overland was impractical and expensive. London was the only city in the world with the critical mass of beer drinkers to power an industrial brewing reactor.

The story of porter—the first style to span the world—is one of technology, innovation and taxation. And war ...

It's a wonderful history lesson, leading here.

 ... That’s why they often parti-gyled their stouts with porter. You can probably see where this is going. The recipes for porter and stout were, by definition, identical, as they were brewed together.

Porter disappeared completely from the British Isles in the early 1970s when Guinness discontinued their version. But only for a few years. A couple re-appeared in the late 1970s and since then the style has made a small comeback, with beers like Fullers London Porter leading the way.

The difference between porter and stout? All stouts are types of porter. But not all porters are stouts. Only the stronger ones.

Martyn Cornell quotes Pattinson's research and arrives at a similar conclusion.

The answer to the question: "What's the difference between a stout and a porter" is that originally a stout was simply a strong version of porter: today the difference is whatever you want it to be.

To me, it's another variation on Justice Potter Stewart's thoughts about hardcore pornography: "I know it when I taste it," with more of the roasted malt character in a Stout and less in a Porter. I reserve the right to be contrarian while fully acknowledging those like Pattinson and Cornell, who are far more learned than me.

Anyway, if this is to be one of those questions defying resolution, at least there's considerable entertainment value in repeated taste tests of each style in pursuit of a lasting definition.

In turn, this brings us to an evocative new term: "pastry stout."

Wait ... it's a compliment, right?

Boom in sugary pastry stouts shows craft industry forgetting what beer tastes like, by Josh Noel (Chicago Tribune)

 ... After six hours wandering the aisles of the Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer last weekend, I have concluded that craft beer is betraying itself. It is forgetting what beer should taste like.

Though FOBAB, held this year at the University of Illinois at Chicago Forum on Friday and Saturday, remains Chicago’s most essential beer festival, corners of it have become a showcase for beer that tastes more like dessert than beer. “Pastry stouts,” the industry calls them.

Among the 376 beers poured at FOBAB this year, about 50 were pastry stouts, the largest share of the largest category at FOBAB.

Five years ago, among 194 beers, a measly six could be counted as pastry stouts. Back then, breweries were far more likely to age imperial stout in whiskey barrels to show the character of the beer they’d brewed and the barrels they’d secured. Today, those same beers are overrun with coffee, vanilla beans, coconut, cinnamon, chiles and cacao nibs.

So very many cacao nibs.

At this year’s FOBAB, there was beer named for cake (Barrel-Aged German Chocolate Cake), beer named for milkshakes (Bourbon Barrel Aged Supershake), beer named for cookies (Bourbon Barrel Aged Gingerbread Imperial Stout) and beer that didn’t bother specifying its form of sugary decadence (Beer Geek Mid-Day Dessert). Lil Beaver Brewery, of Bloomington, Ill., poured a beer it described as boasting “enough cacao nibs and toasted coconut to make you think you’re drinking a candy bar” ...

On Monday evening I stopped by The Exchange in New Albany and noticed Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout on the board, priced right where I'd expect such a rare beer to be (circa $14 for a 10-oz pour).

The bartender mentioned its presence, and I told him the most selfless thing I could possibly do was leave CBC alone so others could experience it.

Instead, I ordered a full $6 pour of Left Hand Sawtooth Ale, identified by the brewery as an Amber, but tagged by some other beer geek observers as an Extra Special Bitter.

It was delicious. I made the right choice.

Let there be options.

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