Monthly Archives: March 2015

Guest Blogger Tee Morris: Two of a Kind – Beer Pairings in Steampunk

Today, we welcome back author and beer aficionado Tee Morris, who has introduced me to many delicious American craft beers. We hope you enjoy his exploration of beer and literature! 

You might remember me as the blogger that introduced you to Untappd, the social network for beer lovers. Well, at the end of the month, I have a novel coming out called The Diamond Conspiracy; and this steampunk novel of mine was a reoccurring subject between me and beer blogger and historic interpreter Katie Bryski while she stayed with us for an extended visit. Upon finishing an advance copy, Katie and I proceeded to our tradition of visiting local breweries and alehouses, her trip beginning with a visit to Old Bust Head Brewery in Fauquier County, Virginia, and ending with a delightful King’s Feast Dinner at the Dogfish Head Alehouse of Fairfax, Virginia.

(Old Bust Head's growler: it made me feel a bit nostalgic for Black Creek! -Katie)

(Old Bust Head’s growler: it made me feel a bit nostalgic for Black Creek! -Katie)

At the King’s Feast, we were focusing on what beers pair up best with dishes, and that was when Katie asked me, “Do you ever wonder what your characters would drink?”

Pairing beers with characters? Sure, why not?

Character: Eliza D. Braun

Beer Pairing: Smoked IPA

An agent from the farthest reaches of the British Empire, New Zealand native Eliza goes against the standard norms at the home office in London, England. She is bold, powerful, and memorable; and so is an exceptional India Pale Ale. However, as Eliza loves her incendiary devices, a Smoked IPA is the perfect pairing with this firecracker.

Character: Wellington Thornhill Books, Esq.

Beer Pairing: Porter

Porters are smooth, offer a wide variety of flavors (depending on how they are brewed), and grow darker in color the longer you enjoy them. Porters—and yes, I’m including Black Creek’s own porter which earned 4.5 caps from Untappd—are always immensely satisfying. That’s why a Porter is best paired with Wellington Books. A man of the manor born now serving at the Queen’s pleasure, Books is a walking analytical engine who harbors an inner darkness.

(Speaking of dark beers - our Irish Potato Stout is back in the LCBO!)

(Speaking of dark beers – our Irish Potato Stout is back in the LCBO!)

Character: Brandon D. Hill

Beer Pairing: Lager

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The Half Way House taproom.

 

The lager is the working man’s drink. This does not mean that the lager cannot be a refined brew for a sophisticated palate. That’s the charm of a good lager. It can appeal and satisfy a wide range of gentlemen; so is also Brandon D. Hill a wide range of gentleman. Lager would be Brandon’s brew, whether he is enjoying a night at the opera or a good brawl at a Whitechapel pub.

Character: Bruce Campbell

Beer Pairing: Ale

A very specific ale: Arrogant Bastard.

You are what you drink.

Character: Sophia del Morte

Beer Pairing: Stout

Pairing up a stout with an assassin like Sophia may seem odd as stouts are usually associated with warmth, comfort, and social settings by a fireplace; but that’s how stouts work: they get you to lower your guard. Stouts like Black Creek’s own or Old Bust Head’s Mocha Macchiato Stout catch your attention with exotic flavors like coffee, chocolate, and rich malts. With the right brewer, stouts will completely catch you by surprise with balanced, efficient, and effective brews, all under the cover of darkness.

Just like Sophia.

These are my characters, characters that I know, but what about your favorites? If Sherlock Holmes were to take a break from sleuthing at Black Creek this March Break, what would he prefer—a sharp IPA or a moody Stout? Or, returning to Victorian science fiction, what if you found yourself 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with the Canadian harpooner, Ned Land? What would you be sharing with him? (The time period is right. He might have enjoyed a delicious brew from Black Creek.) Think about your favorite characters from literature, television, or film, and leave your own pairings here. We would love to hear what you come up with.

-Tee

When he’s not enjoying the odd pint or four, Tee Morris is an award-winning writer and podcaster of fiction. The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series, written with his wife, Pip Ballantine, is about to see their fourth adventure, The Diamond Conspiracy, hit bookshelves in March 2015. Their companion podcast, Tales from the Archives, also offers a window into their steampunk world. He enjoys life in Virginia alongside Pip, his daughter, and three cats.

PS. Did you know that TWO of Black Creek’s Beer Experts have connections to Tales from the Archives? Katie’s written for the podcast, and Blythe has lent her considerable acting talent!

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3 Comments

Filed under Brewery Events, Other Breweries

3 responses to “Untappd: A Social Network for Beer Lovers (with Guest Blogger Tee Morris)

  1. Pingback: Happy 2015! | The Black Creek Growler Edit
  2. Pingback: Happy 2015! | The Black Creek Growler Edit
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Our 2015 Specialty Beers!

Good news, everyone!

We have our line-up of specialty beers for 2015! As you beer-lovers know, we occasionally like to shake things up in the historic brewery. Besides our standard roster of a brown, stout, porter, and IPA, we also release a monthly specialty brew. Here’s what we have on tap this season:

(NB: Dates refer to date of release. Beers are available until the fridges are emptied.)

May

May 16, 17, 18 – Apricot Ale

Just in time for Victoria Day weekend – a sweet, fruity beer to kick off the season! I think the combination of beer and apricots suits our “Pirates and Princesses” event, also that weekend.

June

June 20/21 – Ginger Beer

Yes! Yes! My personal favourite returns for another season! *ahem* I mean, the soldiers and onlookers during our Revolutionary War Re-Enactment will definitely appreciate this gingery brew. Please note, this is an alcoholic ginger beer, so don’t give it to the wee ones.

July

July 1 – Maple Brown Ale

What’s more Canadian than beer and maple syrup? We’ve done a Maple Porter for a few years, I’ll be interested to see how maple pairs with a slightly lighter, sweeter brown ale.

I like to think they'd approve. I may or may not have seen "Strange Brew" far too young.

I like to think they’d approve. I may or may not have seen “Strange Brew” far too young.

August

August 3 – Simcoe Hopped Ale

We love pale ales in the hot summer months, and the Simcoe Hopped Ale is no exception. Brewed in honour of Lt. Governor John Graves Simcoe, this ale has plenty of Simcoe Hops, lending it a fruity, earthy flavour.

September

September 19/20 – Fresh Hop/Wet Hop Pale Ale

Generally, beer is brewed with dry hops (check out our hop-jar in the brewery – you can smell them, and get a good look!). However, once a year, when the hops are harvested, we’re able to make a Fresh/Wet Hop Ale. Exactly what it sounds like: the hops are thrown into the brew-kettle straight off the vine. Of course, we’ll need some intrepid hop harvesters to help us out, so stay tuned for sign-up details!

Last year's harvest.

Last year’s harvest.

October

October 3 – Whiskey Barrel Aged Brown Ale

Mm! This was a crowd favourite at last year’s Spirited Affair Fundraiser. The vanilla and oakiness that comes through aging in a whisky barrel reminds me of Innis and Gunn.

October 10, 11, 12 – Honey Brown Ale

Golden and rich as the changing season, this was another new brew for us. Excited to see it back!

October 17//18, 24/25, 31 – Pumpkin Ale

Every year. Every year, we wait for this. You wait, we wait. Nothing says October like our Pumpkin Ale! I’m so glad that Ed will be doing a number of brews!

November

November 21 – Elderflower Stout

Hmm, this is a new one. We haven’t brewed with elderflowers before. It’ll be interesting to see the sweet, floral elderflowers play off against the richness of a stout. Looks like November just got a bit brighter!

December

TBA – Winter Warmer

What better way to cap off the year than with a bold, flavourful, high-alcohol beer?

Answer: there is none.

Winter Warmers can have a ton of variety. Ed likes to experiment – I can’t wait to see what he does with the style this year.

*

As a reminder, we also have our March Break Sherlock Holmes Mystery next week. Crime is afoot at Black Creek! Come to the village between March 16th-22nd to help Sherlock and Watson solve The Case of the Tricky Thief! No, the brewery won’t be open, but these two sleuths need all the help they can get! 😉

-Katie

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A Match Made in Heaven: Beer Pairings at Dogfish Head

Hello beer lovers!

We’ve finally made it into March, which means that there are a scant two months until the Black Creek Historic Brewery reopens its doors in May. But despite the cold, I am not one to rest on my laurels. No, in my quest to expand my palate, I have again turned south of the border.

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I have a lot of respect and affection for Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, and I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Dogfish Alehouse in Fairfax, VA for a beer and food pairing. As friends of Black Creek know well, our “Say Cheese! Say Cheers!” events pair craft beers with artisan cheeses. This “King’s Feast” went a step further, pairing three of Dogfish’s Ancient Ales with a three-course meal.

By now, it’s no secret that pairing beer requires just as much art as pairing wine. Indeed, beer has even more ingredients to play with in creating a flavour profile: malts that span from caramel-sweet to espresso-bitter; floral, citrusy, earthy, grassy, and piney hops; bready and fruity yeasts, and all the spices, nuts, chocolates, fruits, and vegetables (yes, vegetables—remember our Sweet Potato Ale?) you can name.

Properly pairing is an art that I am by no means qualified to expound upon…yet. Generally speaking, though, the aim is to ensure that neither the beer nor the food is overwhelmed. A lighter-bodied pilsner probably won’t stand up to a rich beef roast—but a heavier stout or porter might. You can also contrast and counter flavours: think how the acidity of tomatoes calms the saltiness and savouriness of cheese. That light-bodied pilsner won’t get overwhelmed by something like seafood—and the hops bitterness can cut the fattiness of fish like tuna and salmon.

So, what pairings did Dogfish Head offer?

Course I: Theobroma and Appetizers

All of the beers at this event come from Dogfish Head’s Ancient Ales series—these are beer recipes recreated from chemical analysis of drinking vessels found at archaeological sites. Theobroma hails from pottery fragments found in the Honduras, attesting to an alcoholic beverage brewed with cacao.

So basically, a chocolate beer that looks like an IPA. Beautiful, beautiful cloudy orange colour.

 

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For me, the cocoa nibs were actually quite subtle: the main flavour I got from this beer was a chili bite (and yes, there are chilies in it). There was some citrus on the aftertaste, and this is more where the cocoa came through, almost like a chocolate-orange sensation. Alas, I can no longer eat cheese, but I suspect that this sharper, citrus-chili taste would have cut the richness of the cheese plate before me. As it is, it did work wonders quenching the thirst produced by two salty dishes of nuts. At 9% ABV, it also left long-lingering warmth in the belly.

 

Course II: Midas Touch and Meat

I would just like to say that I have never seen so much meat on a plate meant for one person. Possibly 1/3 of a chicken, a giant turkey leg, and lamb. Also vegetables. I may never need to eat again.

 

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I hope that’s not the case though, because I quite enjoyed the Midas Touch. Midas Touch was the first of the Ancient Ales, recreated from residue left in drinking vessels found in the Midas Tumulus tomb in Turkey. This ale is a sweet-yet-dry brew that seems to combine elements of beer, wine, and mead. Honey and light fruit notes (most notably melon and grape) dominate the flavours. It’s a beer with a medium mouthfeel, but it certainly does have an edge to it—something like a dry white wine. The sweetness and fruitiness worked well with the white meats on offer, and that edge also cut through the fattiness of the lamb. Also 9% ABV.

 

Course III: Chateau Jiahu and King’s Barley Cake

I’ve had the Chateau Jiahu before. This beer hails from an archaeological dig in China’s Yellow River Valley; evidence suggests that it is one of the world’s oldest brews. Like the Midas Touch, this beer blends elements of wine, beer, and mead. Honey and grapes balance a very sweet, very light maltiness; sake yeast lends just a bit of rice-like nuance as well.

I will admit that after that monster meat plate, I was not up to more than a few bites of the King’s Barley Cake, which was a dense cake studded with apple and accompanied by fruit and cream. Although it comes in at 10% ABV, the Jiahu was one of the lighter, sweeter beers on offer tonight, which kept it from overwhelming the cake. My beer-tasting companion Tee Morris assures me that drinking and eating the two together enhanced the flavour of both.

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And so?                   

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Saying that this was a fine, fine event is quite an understatement, but Dogfish Head: this was a fine, fine event. And of course, my warmest and most heartfelt thanks to Tee and his father for a wonderful evening, filled with good beer, good food, and good conversation. Now that’s a pairing I think we can all agree on!

-Katie

 

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