- Published on Friday, 17 May 2013 13:14
- Written by Beernewb
UTICA, N.Y. — F.X. Matt Brewing Company, brewers of Saranac, invite customers to celebrate the company’s 125th anniversary with a pint “on the house.”
In commemoration of this special anniversary, F.X. Matt Brewing Co. is introducing the first-ever Brewer’s Dozen for a limited time. This unique package includes 12 Saranac beers with a bonus pint of the limited edition Legacy IPA.
“We didn’t want this anniversary to be about us,” said company President Fred Matt. “Instead, we are celebrating by giving thanks to the loyal and adventurous Saranac customers who have been along for the ride.”
The new Legacy IPA is inspired by their founder’s original IPA recipe, which used the most innovative ingredients available at the time. Similarly, the Legacy IPA features a blend of historic, traditional and innovative hops for a heavenly aroma and full-bodied flavor.
“Great beer is our family’s legacy, and Legacy IPA is our way of bottling and sharing that passion,” Fred said.
Actively run by third and fourth generation Nick and Fred Matt, the family credits the innovative philosophy instilled by their grandfather and great-grandfather, F.X. Matt I, for the longevity of the company.
“We’ve had our ups, downs and times when we didn’t know if we could keep the doors open,” CEO Nick said. “But thanks to the support we’ve had from customers to try new things, we’ve been able to continue to grow and thrive.”
Brewer’s Dozens can be found starting mid-June as specially marked packages of White IPA, Pale Ale, and seasonal trail mixes.
Celebrate with us. Use #Saranac125 and connect with F.X. Matt Brewing Company and Saranac on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Saranac), Twitter (@SaranacBrewery), and Instagram (@SaranacBrewery). For more information, visit saranac.com.
F.X. Matt Brewing Co. asks you to drink responsibly.
F.X. Matt Brewing Company in Utica, N.Y., was founded in 1888. Today, under the leadership of the third and fourth generations of the Matt family, the brewery is celebrating 125 years of brewing. Through a commitment to innovation and brewing excellence, the company has earned a reputation as one of the country’s most respected brewers of craft beers, including the premium Saranac line. In each bottle of Saranac, you’ll find exceptional quality, distinctive ingredients and a refreshing twist on tradition – the signature of the F.X. Matt Brewing Company.
- Published on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 04:51
- Written by James Oliver Cury
For centuries, if you asked a restaurant server in any mid-range to upscale American eatery what drink to pair with a certain dish, he'd bring over the sommelier and a wine bottle negotiation would ensue. But in the last five years, there's been a paradigm shift: Beer has made it onto the menu as more than an afterthought. Beverage directors, chefs, and even wine lovers have learned that beer has an amazing capacity to pair with all kinds of foods. As a result, beer sommeliers have popped up in cities across the country, especially Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Portland, Oregon. Beer-and-food tasting events have multiplied exponentially—the monthly lists at beerfestivals.org are enormous. Nowadays, asking for a beer no longer means you're simply afraid of wine (or the type of person who wears face paint to football games).
Beer may actually be more food-friendly than wine is. There is certainly more room for flavor variety. Winemakers, after all, have one ingredient to play with: grapes. Two, if you count wood barrel–aging. Beermakers, on the other hand, can experiment with barley (which adds sweetness), hops (which provide bitterness), yeast (which lend that characteristic "bready" flavor), as well as spices, nuts, chocolate, fruits, and vegetables. You have tried framboise (raspberry) and pumpkin beer, right? Even the world's greatest experimental chef, elBulli's Ferran Adrià, believes in beer's flavor-matching prowess: He recently released Estrella Damm Inedit (made with barley, malt, wheat, hops, coriander, orange peel, licorice, yeast, and water), specifically created to be food-friendly.
food and beer pairing issues:
Complementary or contrasting flavors?
Some chefs and sommeliers attempt to find commonalities, pairing, say, a spicy Thai dish with a spicy pale ale (could also be a fruit-fruit or chocolate-chocolate synchronization, etc.). The idea is that there is a pleasant echo. Notes in one sip evoke flavors in past or future bites. The opposite approach suggests that contrasting flavors are pleasing in a ying-yang sort of way: A dry, bitter stout classically pairs with oysters, perhaps "cutting through" the sweetness of the shellfish. Sweet and salty always work wonders. Remember that dominant food flavors can come from the protein (like beef), the sauce (such as a cream sauce), or the method of preparation (grilling, for example).
Comparing beer to wine
Some people say lager is like white wine and ale is like red. A corollary of that concept: that beer hops (as in a nice bitter IPA) function like wine acids (found in, say, a Sauvignon Blanc or a Chianti) in food pairings. Both cut through fattiness and oiliness, and even saltiness. Imagine them both as providing the lemon in, or acid counterpoint to, a fish dish. These are oversimplifications, but there are a few fundamental differences between lager and ale (the two main types of beer) worth contemplating: Ales tend to be fruity and robust, while lagers are crisp and comparatively delicate. In terms of body, there are three types of beer (like wine): light, medium, and heavy. Generally you can pair light dishes with light beer and heavy dishes with heavy beer.
Light Body Wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Barbera, Pinot Grigio Beers: Lager, Pilsner, Wheat
Medium Body Wines: Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah Beers: Ale, IPA, Bock
Heavy Body Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Oaky Chardonnay Beers: Stout, Porter, Barleywine
Texture, temperature, and timing
Bubbles cut through fried and fatty foods, so opt for more carbonization when eating richer foods. Pizza, for example, is a greasy match made in heaven and requires something that will stand up to the acids in the tomato and cut through the fatty cheese but not overwhelm the dish. Stouts and porters are too heavy. Wheat beers might be a little light or fruity. Ales, pilsners, and lagers are your best bet: Hops stand up to the cheese, while bubbles cleanse the palate. Note that beer can taste syrupy if it's too warm. It's best served between 40°F and 50°F. (Note: some fridges get even colder than 40°F, so you might consider leaving a beer out for 15 minutes before serving.). Finally, timing really is everything. If you're pairing a whole meal with different beers, course by course, dish by dish, make sure to start with a light beer and work your way toward darker beers. If you don't, you may overwhelm your palate early on and miss some of the subtler notes and aromas of delicate beers.
Beware of simply matching the region
Many people think if you're having Mexican food, it's a safe bet that a Mexican beer will pair well. The truth is: Most restaurants offer only a small selection of beers and mostly because that's what people are used to seeing on a menu. Mexican Tecate, Thai Singha, Indian Kingfisher, and Chinese Tsingtao are all great European pilsner-style beers, but they're not universal pairing solutions for all dishes from their respective countries. (Some of these brands are actually brewed in the U.S. or Canada anyway.) Beer experts advocate stronger and fruitier flavors when dining on spicy fare: ales, Hefeweizens, and wheat beers in particular. No matter what type of beer you choose, the coldness will feel good against hot food.
Drink what you like
If you love pale ale, you'll probably like it with anything you eat. And you know what? There's nothing wrong with that. Experiment: There are no wrong answers.
- Published on Wednesday, 27 February 2013 13:56
- Written by Beernewb
Beer Snobbery Laid Bare
Things have progressed since the Middle Ages, when beer was safer to drink than the untreated water. In those days, the prospect of being afflicted by waterborne disease was a compelling enough reason to drink beer with food. Drawing on the traditions of older beer cultures and the culinary frontier of the United States today, there are many possibilities to explore. An increasing number of good brewpubs with attached restaurants feature imaginative beer and food programs.
Serious beer and food pondering would merit a book, but the much simplified rules of thumb are easy to grasp. Sweetish paler meats such as pork or chicken often work best with beers displaying a malt accent, typically a malty lager. Red meats such as game, lamb, or beef have greater affinity with richer, fruity ales. Spicy foods are best foiled by lagers, but this is too simple. Thai cuisine, being piquant and delicate, works best with a clean, delicate lager like the Thai brand, Singha. Robust Mexican spicing invites the accompaniment of one of that country’s fine, mildly sweet, Vienna-style beers such as Negra Modelo. Barbecued meats, dear to the heart of so many Americans, find a natural kinship with drier, smoky examples of American craft-brewed stouts and porters. Of course most of this advice applies equally well when actually cooking with the same beer that you propose to drink with the meal, though this is a more complicated matter.
Cooking with beer
The art of cooking with beer is dificult to address in a few short sentences. The essential principles are, as with all culinary principles, quite simple. The flavor profile of beer boils down to a balance of sweetness and dryness (a factor of malt character and residual sugars) balanced by the bitterness of hops. Beer can contribute richness-even sweetness and body-to sauces. Beware of the hops. They will change in nature in the cooking process, particularly when reducing sauces, and take on a bitter character that will dominate. One has to be sparing when cooking with American pale ales and particularly IPAs. When hoppy beers are reduced they become much more bitter. Doppelbocks, English brown ales, Belgian ales, and Scottish ales are all good culinary additions due to their lower hop bitterness and richer malt accents, when brewed in the classic styles.
Classic beer pairings
Many people may have heard of classic wine pairings with food. Certain beers also have recognized pairings with foods.
Irish stout and oysters. Irish-style dry stouts are every bit the equal to any white wine when paired with oysters. Note that good draft Guinness, or an equivalent (i.e., nitrogen-flushed to give a creamy smooth head), will work better than some stronger, more acrid and much hoppier U.S. craft-brewed stouts. Oatmeal stouts with restrained hop bitterness will also work very well. The burnt barley flavors, and particularly, the smooth texture, offset the indescribable sensation of saline, slithery bi-valves. Another coupling with oysters that is greater than the sum of its parts, for very different reasons, is hoppy American pale ale. The residual iodine and brine of the oysters work well with the citrusy hop flavors of the beer.
Ploughman’s lunch with bitter. The English are famously uncelebrated for their cuisine. Nonetheless, beer and cheese is a well-understood pairing in Britain that is traditionally indulged at lunchtime with the ploughman’s (or plowman’s) lunch. A plate of strong English cheese, such as farmhouse Cheddar or even Stilton, accompanied by pickles, relishes, and bread is available at most pubs. These cheeses, so difficult to pair with wine, work effortlessly with stronger fruity English-style ales. The earthy, toasted malt flavors and balanced hop accents of English and English-style ales have an affinity with sharp cheeses, and cope well with the salty, sharp nature of Stilton. When concluding a meal with Stilton, try a strong English-style ale or even a barley wine, instead of port and walnuts.
Bratwurst with German fest-märzen beers. The Germans have refined the art of pork and lager pairing by means of the sausage. Beer-soaked brats and fest beers probably need no introduction to readers who have had some contact with Octoberfests staged by local breweries. The general principle is that sweeter, toasty malt flavors with relatively subtle hopping (i.e., bitterness) pair well with rich though not strongly flavored pork. The brats, of course, will have been soaked in beer prior to cooking. Vienna-style lagers also work well in this situation. A hoppy pale ale, though not a culinary crime, would tend to overwhelm the pork flavors. For pale ale drinkers who desire phallic pieces of meat, the "kilbasa" or Polish Sausage is a better bet, with all the trimmings, naturally. Taking this to its basest level, the celebrated former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka has been quoted as saying that "a seven-course meal for a Grabowski (Chicago parlance for a blue-collar Pole) is a hot dog and a six pack." He must have been referring to an American pale lager, surely the ideal match for a hot dog.
Mussels with Belgian gueuze. This is an esoteric pairing of the tart lambic beers of the Brussels area and the national staple of Belgium, moules (mussels). If you have not tasted a lambic, specifically a gueuze, you will have no idea how beer and shellfish could possibly work in a classic manner. Gueuze is unlike conventional beer. It is tart, dry, and very acidic in the same manner that wine is. In culinary terms it can be interchangeable with acidic white wine, to the point that you can even steam the mussels in gueuze rather than white wine. Surprisingly, the Bruxelloise do not do this as often as they ought to. Given the availability of imported gueuze in major U.S. markets, this is one of the more delightful, easy, and sophisticated pairings that any beer connoisseur should be able to pull off.
Beer and chocolate. From time to time wine and food writers love to speculate about what, if anything, to serve with dark chocolate. The answer is...beer, of course. There are a number of possibilities but here we have to get brand specific. A first choice would be a barley wine or strong bottle-conditioned ale with some aged, mature character. The classic example from England is Thomas Hardy’s from Eldridge Pope. Other possibilities are McEwan’s Export Scotch Ale, Young’s Old Nick Barley Wine, or even Samuel Smith’s Imperial Russian Stout. The basic principle is to match the bittersweet flavors of dark chocolate with sweet but dark-roasted malt flavors of specific beers.
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