Saturday, January 19, 2013

Pretty Things Saint Botolph's Town

IMG_2263 Another strong showing from Pretty Things. This beer is a delicious Belgian-flavored brown ale that reminds me of St. Bernardus Abt 12. It has a full, slightly sweet flavor without a touch of hops taste. It is perfect for a winter night.

Night Shift Taza Stout

IMG_2228 Our whole family loves Taza Chocolate, so I couldn't pass up this stout made with Taza chocolate. The flavors in this stout were more coffee-like than chocolaty, but I did get a hint of the chocolate flavor. Taza aside, the beer itself was beautify crafted and clean. I'll be heading back to the Night Shift well.

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale

IMG_2191This was my favorite Christmas beer this season. Although, how could it not be. The regular St. Bernardus Abt 12 is a truly amazing beer with full, chewy malt flavors but not a lot of hops. The Christmas beer has fuller flavors with spicy notes. And look at the beautiful head.

Special thanks to Gail for my new beer glass.

Cheese Log: Ascutney Mountain - Cobb Hill Cheese

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Name: Ascutney Mountain
Maker: Cobb Hill Cheese
Milk: Cow

Strong aged cheddar flavors with a Gouda texture.

Sample Information:
January 6, 2013, $7.00 (0.27lb@$25.95/lb)- Formaggio Kitchen

Cheese Log: Butterwick - Twig Farm

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Name: Butterwick
Maker: Twig Farm
Milk: Cow

This had a brie-like texture and flavor, but a little stronger.

Sample Information:
January 6, 2013, Price unknown - Formaggio Kitchen as part of the January cheese share.

Cheese Log: Slyboro - Consider Bardwell

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Name: Slyboro
MakerConsider Bardwell
Milk: Goat

We waited too long to taste this, and it went mostly bad. I was able to get a small taste from the middle of the end, but even that was overly funky with ammonia tastes. We'll give it a fair try some other time.

Sample Information:
January 6, 2013, Price unknown - Formaggio Kitchen as part of the January cheese share. We waited too long to sample this and the result was an ammonia rotted sample that barely had a small edible center.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Pretty Things/Once Upon a Time East India Pale Ale 1879

IMG_2248I'm a huge fan of Pretty Things beer and was really excited to pick up this bottle of IPA from their Once Upon a Time line. They recreate historic recipes as authentically as they can manage. This IPA comes from a recipe originally brewed in 1879.

I was interested to see how the IPA style has changed as craft brewing has grown the style. Today's IPAs are strongly hopped and full of flavor. I had expected to taste a mild but bitter brew. I had quinine sensibilities in mind. I was surprised to find the same full flavor and fruity floral notes as any craft IPA today. In fact, it strongly reminded me of Pretty Things' own Meadowlark IPA. The difference was that this beer lacked any hop aroma, and had an initial attack that was slightly watery. I was also struck by the creamy, stout-like head. After forty-five minutes it is still hanging in there.

Now I'm eager to try the other Once Upon a Time creations.

Cheese Log: Landaff - Landaff Creamery

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Name: Landaff
Maker: Landaff Creamery
Milk: Cow

Strong aged cheddar flavors with a buttery smooth texture.

Sample Information:
January 6, 2013, Price unknown - Formaggio Kitchen as part of the January cheese share

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cheese Log: Lake's Edge - Blue Ledge Farm

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Name: Lake's Edge
Maker: Blue Ledge Farm
Milk: Goat

Soft, spreadable center with an ash line. Gooey edge and an edible soft white rind. Tastes like a buttery chèvre with a hint of lemon. The combination of three textures are delightful.

Sample Information:
January 6, 2013, Price unknown - Formaggio Kitchen as part of the January cheese share

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Visiting Prague

This post is long in coming, but can't really be skipped. I visited my daughter in Prague while she was on her semester abroad. I was struck by three things about Prague. First, the old architecture in the tourist areas is remarkable and untouched by either WWII or by communism. Second, outside the main city, the architecture is bleak from years of communist rule. Third, there are outcroppings of hopefulness and style from a city that has grown out of communism since the Velvet Revolution in 1989.


Prague is an interesting food city. Gail and I made Czech food while Noele was in Prague, so it was nice to taste the local versions of the knedliky (bread dumplings), svíčková (meat in gravy), brambory (potatoes) and Nakládaný hermelín (marinated cheese).

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trdelnikOne traditional street food, trdelnik, was particularly fun. These dough tubes are cooked over a wood fire to create a smoky, sweet treat.

IMG_1927We also had a nice lunch in a bakery/lunch counter called Bakeshop. It is run by a British ex-pat, and feels like an integral part of the new Czech culture. This is a pumpkin soup Noele had, and I had a pumpkin quiche with feta. They make the tight seating space fun having patrons duck under the table to sit on the window sill all around the edge.

Noele also shared her favorite breakfast place with me, Bohemia Bagels. I had the eggs Benedict with crab, and it really was amazing.


On the high end, Noele and I went out to a nice dinner before heading to the opera. We went to the restaurant Leonardo in the Hotel DeVinci in old town. The meal was delightful and the whole dinner including appetizers and wine was just over $60. Amazing!


But the opera itself was a special highlight. We got outstanding tickets to the Dvořák opera Rusalka. For just over $100, we got floor level box seats just off the stage. We felt so elegant. It was fun to see an opera by a Czech composer, and we were more surprised that the opera Rusalka is the basis of The Little Mermaid story. I enjoyed the special time with my daughter, and will probably let her take me to more opera in the future.


Bread Vending Machine in Belgium

I had to share this picture from my recent trip to Leuven Belgium. It's a bread vending machine near the train station on Willem Coosemansstraat.