Monthly Archives: February 2013

It’s the Grand Cru: the Champagne of Beers!

Although Miller High Life has “Champagne of Beers” printed on the cans, the title truly belongs to North Coast Brewing Company’s Grand Cru. At almost $15 per bomber, a limited release, and 12.9% ABV (alcohol by volume), you really will be living the “High Life.”

The Grand Cru is one of many examples of a forward-looking brewery blurring the lines between traditional brewing styles. The Cru makes use of the widely available, yet typically uninspiring, pilsner malt, common in pale lagers and generally sold with 29 other companions. However, North Coast dresses up the modest malt by finishing the beer with agave nectar prior to aging it in bourbon barrels. The brewery then ferments the Cru with the same Belgian yeast strain used for their tart, fruity Saison. The combination of fruit/tart from the yeast and the muted sweetness of the agave gives the Cru its crisp, champagne-like flavor.

The beer pours a beautiful, slightly hazy gold color so perfect it made my mouth water. The head is a true-white and well-structured one, but it dissipates quickly, leaving a little white halo atop the glass. If you haven’t already noticed, this beer is quite aesthetically appealing.

Leaning in for the smell, I immediately notice cinnamon apples. Every whiff I took smelled like Mott’s applesauce dusted with cinnamon sugar. This was by no means a bad thing; cinnamon sugar apple sauce is a staple of any solid childhood (or mine at least).

The taste is crisp and dry, fruity and slightly tart with many small bubbles. The mouth feel is quite light and slightly sticky as a result of the agave nectar added near the end of the boil. Surprisingly, I failed to notice any bourbon or oak attributes throughout my tasting. Perhaps it served to mute the sweetness of the agave nectar, but otherwise I cannot find its fingerprints anywhere in the Grand Cru.

In all, the Grand Cru is a wonderful beer, but without its appearance, you might not even be sure it’s a beer. It could just as well pass itself off as a hearty cider or some strange champagne.

I shared the beer with several friends and roommates, and asked them to tell me what style of beer they tasted. I received a few tentative replies, but most people said they were unsure. The high alcohol content and light color suggest it may be some sort of Belgian quadruple ale but bourbon barrel aging is more common in heavier, maltier beers. This beer defies traditional brewing styles and can only be understood by a personal taste test. It’s not a quadruple, it’s not a Pilsner; it’s the Grand Cru: the champagne of beers.

from The Catalyst, the independent student newspaper of Colorado College

by staff writer Nate Childs

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Ensemble VIII—Upcoming Concert Sponsored by North Coast Brewing

North Coast Brewing is proud to sponsor Ensemble VIII, a Renaissance and Baroque a capella ensemble. If you’re in Texas, check out their upcoming concerts! http://www.ensembleviii.org/

Ensemble VIII, under the direction of conductor Dr. James Morrow, will present The Passion of Seven—North German Masterworks for Holy Week on Thursday, Feb. 28, at the Lois Perkins Chapel on the campus of Southwestern University in Georgetown, and on Friday, Mar. 1, at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church in Austin. The Georgetown concert begins at 7 p.m.; the Austin concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

Featuring works by Bach, Buxtehude and Schütz, the concert will include three transcendent works that will transport listeners to a realm of great devotion and profound spirituality.

Bach - Christ lag in Todes Banden
Buxtehude – Membra Nostri Jesu
Schütz - Die Sieben Worte Jesu Christi am Kreuz

Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, 7:00 p.m.
Lois Perkins Chapel, Southwestern University
1001 E. University Ave.
Georgetown, TX 78626
(Free for Southwestern faculty, staff and students)

Friday, Mar. 1, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
St. Martin’s Lutheran Church
606 West 15th St.
Austin, TX  78701

Prices range from $10 for students to $45 for special priority seating (available for the Austin concert only). The Georgetown concert is free for those with a Southwestern University I.D.

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New York Steaks with Red Seal Marinade

New York Steak with Red Seal MarinadeNew York Steaks with Red Seal Marinade

Ingredients:
4 New York steaks, 12–16 oz. each

Marinade:
½ cup olive oil
1 cup Red Seal Ale
¼ cup lemon juice
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon Tabasco
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon pepper

Mix all marinade ingredients together. Marinate steak
8 hours in refrigerator. Grill meat to desired doneness.

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Baritone Monk CD Number 9 on Jazz Week Charts

Baritone Monk CDBaritone Monk by The Claire Daly Quartet, the album that we produced last autumn, is now number nine on the Jazz Week charts!

Click here to read about the album and listen to sample tracks.

Click here to purchase the album and support Jazz education.

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Good To The Very Last Bite… Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Buttercream Frosting and Easy Caramel Sauce

We found this photo on the Old Rasputin Facebook Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frostingpage and searched for the baker and photographer, Kristina Chrzanowski. After you read the recipes below, you’ll see that Kristina is an imaginative master baker with an appreciation for North Coast brews. We are grateful that she has shared her recipes with us and hope a few of you will bake up these cupcakes. They look mouth wateringly decadent and delicious!!

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
2½ cups sugar
2 (whole) large eggs
1 egg white
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
Generous ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
¼ cup buttermilk
1½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees | Place on lower rack
Makes 24 cupcakes

Cream butter with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add sugar, ½ cup at a time, until fluffy. Add eggs and egg white, one at a time, until fully incorporated.

In a separate bowl, combine flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Sift and set aside.

In a third bowl, combine stout, vanilla, and buttermilk and set aside.

Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture; mix until fully incorporated. Blend in half of the liquid mixture. Repeat with remaining flour mixture, then remaining liquid mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Gently fold in sour cream.

Fill cups ¾ full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until they bounce back when touched.

Easy Caramel Sauce (for drizzle and frosting)

Ingredients:
24 wrapped vanilla caramels
½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon whiskey

Combine caramels and cream in double boiler, stirring constantly until smooth and creamy. Add whiskey, stir. Remove from heat and stir in sea salt. Set aside and cool for 30 minutes.

Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter
5-6 cups powdered sugar
1½ teaspoons premium vanilla
2-3 tablespoons Easy Caramel Sauce (recipe above)
2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese

There is a trick to the trade with a good buttercream frosting. You don’t want the butter at room temperature, but you don’t want it too cold. You’re aiming for slightly cool.

Cream the butter in medium bowl. Slowly add 5 cups powdered sugar, until full incorporated (if at any point little pebbles form and the mixture won’t combine, that’s because the butter may be too cool to absorb the powdered sugar. In this case, add 1 tablespoon cream). Add vanilla, caramel sauce and Mascarpone to the mixture until fully combined and creamy (if translucent or loose, slowly add additional 1 cup powdered sugar).

Frost the cupcakes after they have cooled down. Drizzle cupcakes with Easy Caramel Sauce and sprinkle with crushed Brother Thelonious Beer Brittle (click here to purchase).

BON APPETIT!

Kristina Chrzanowski
Erie, PA

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The U.S. brewery count keeps on climbing. Raise your glass!

From an article in The Weekly Pint:

The American craft beer revolution marches on. From an all-time low of 44 in the late 1970s, the nation is now dotted with some 2,130 breweries changing the way we drink beer every day. Portland, Oregon, with its abundant real estate, lowish brewers’ taxes, and access to pristine raw materials from hardy hops to high mountain water leads the way with over fifty breweries in the Rose City (the state has 153 operated by 120 companies overall). Vermont leads the way per capita, with a busy brewery for every 26,073 people. According to figures recently released by the Brewers Association, over 1,300 breweries are in-planning across the U.S., which will send our total well north of 3,000, most in the world. Thirsty yet?

Almost no matter how you look at it, this craft beer revolution is a good thing: according to the Brewers Association, it helps generate jobs (over 100,000 so far) and economic activity (an estimated $3 billion annually in California alone, according to a recent study by the California Craft Brewers Association), and most importantly, the beautiful experience of better beer made by humans, not robots. We’ve heard a few curmudgeons mutter aloud about whether or not there are “too many breweries.” To those killjoys we pose a simple question: has anyone ever complained about “too many wineries”? There are over 7,000 in the U.S. by the way. We’ll reserve the innovative, locally made – and most of all, delicious – creations of craft beer America for cheerier company.

Read the whole article here.

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