Is this thing on?

Yeah, yeah, another “I just realized I haven’t posted to this blog in a long time …” post. Thinking about firing BS Brewing back up again, though. It might be a “one night only” thing, since Bruce and I are joining Ezra on what is sure to be a story-filled beer bus adventure in a few weeks, or maybe not.

Anyway, is anyone out there still reading us?

ReinheitsgeWhat?!

This year’s annual Independence Day backyard blind beer tasting challenged palates and flaunted the vaunted German beer purity law of 1516. If you’re not familiar with the law, it basically limited 16th Century German brewers to three ingredients: malted barly, hops and water. Turns out they hadn’t figured out what yeast was at that point, so it wasn’t listed.

Here’s the relevant text, translated to English:

… We wish to emphasize that in future in all cities, markets and in the country, the only ingredients used for the brewing of beer must be Barley, Hops and Water. Whosoever knowingly disregards or transgresses upon this ordinance, shall be punished by the Court authorities’ confiscating such barrels of beer, without fail.

I’m guessing the Court authorities never, ever paid for beer. “Yeah, I’m pretty sure I taste some cassis in this doppelbock. I’m going to have to confiscate it. For my belly.

reinheitsgewhat-ballot

I selected beers that all included something funky. Each beer was poured behind closed doors; tasters (aka our party guests) were asked to identify the Reinheitsgebot-violating ingredient from a list. I’ll be honest – I thought this would be the easiest challenge to date. But identifying some of the flavors proved difficult, especially in the berry department. Here’s what I poured:

  • Jasmine: Avatar Jasmine IPA, Elysian Brewing
  • Espresso: Overcast Espresso Stout, Oakshire Brewing
  • Chocolate: Imperial Chokolat, Southern Tier Brewing
  • Blueberry: Bluebeery Ale, Marin Brewing
  • Raspberry: Wild Raspberry Ale, Great Divide Brewing
  • Honey, Basil: Organic Honey Basil, Bison Brewing
  • Chipotle Pepper: Chipotle Ale, Rogue Brewing
  • Apricot: Aprihop: Dogfish Head Brewery

Of the bunch, I’d say the Aprihop (beer review at 999 Beers), Jasmine IPA and Overcast are in the category of “beers I’d definitely drink again.”

The Chokolat was widely imagined as “delicious over ice cream,” and I think that would be a good combo, if infrequent.

The Bluebeery tasted a little too artificial for my liking, but the Wild Raspberry had the real flavor of raspberries in every sip (I compared it to fresh-from-the-bush raspberries between pouring sessions!).

If you’d like to replicate the tasting menu, here’s the ReinheitsgeWhat?! tasting ballot, designed by yours truly.

Previous tastings:

  1. 2009: Us vs. Them (Domestic and Foreign examples of Sours and IPAs)
  2. 2008: Red States vs. Blue States
  3. 2007: Red, White and Blue Beers

Beer To-Go at PDX

Ahh, the good old days. I remember lugging cases of Oregon beer back to the midwest with me every time I went back on United. I carried homebrew for Christmas gifts, and some of my favorite 22-ouncers to share with friends and family.

Then the TSA was born, someone tried to blow up a shoe or something, and now you can’t bring more than 3 ounces of liquid on a plane. And despite Rogue’s new smaller bottles, they still aren’t small enough to fit in a 1-quart plastic bag.

So I was stoked to see that someone at the Made in Oregon store finally took the initiative and started stocking some of our fine malt beverages next to the fermented grape juice. True, there’s a lot more wine for sale than beer, but there is now a fair selection to choose from.

airport-beer

Rogue is best represented (although the growlers of Dead Guy seem as if they might have been on the shelf awhile), but there are a few bottles from Hair of the Dog, Southern Oregon Brewing, Ninkasi, and some random choices from Bridgeport (Blue Heron? WTF?), Deschutes (Black Butte and Mirror Pond) and perhaps most randomly, MacTarnahan’s Haywire.

Porky the Pork Pig in a Bacon Blanket

All these beer reviews lately, you’d think this blog was about … beer. Au contraire, my friends (French for “nuh uh”). If you’ll point your attention to the navigation over there on the right side of this page, you’ll note a mysterious, delicious category called “Meat Stunts.” That’s where you’ll find instructions for home made bacon, the legend of the curiously named “La Caja China,” and our last Superbowl centerpiece, “Snack Stadium XXXL.”

After last year’s surge in post-game web traffic, I knew we had to do something spectacular this year. This time, inspiration came in the form of a slab of shelf-stable Broadbent pepper bacon I acquired from bacn.com (now owned by baconfreak.com). The predictable thing to do would have been to chunk it up into lardons (French for thick-ass pieces of bacon) or simply slice it thick for superdelishtstic BLT’s. But the meat stuntman in me wanted to stuff it with something.

Slab O'Bacon, Stuffing elements.

So of course I went to the best stuffing of all: more pork. I picked up a whole pork loin from Gartner’s, along with some pork sausage-stuffed pork tenderloins. If you’re counting, that’s four types of pork product so far.

peel-back-the-bacon-blanket

I had a plan going in, but it was just a bit of stray cholesterol until I actually opened up the slab. I had no idea how much room there was in there! I got so excited I forgot to take photos of the assembly process, so instead I’ll let you digest the photo below, and describe what’s going on after the break.

pork-creature

Back? Not what you were expecting, was it? Heh. So the body’s the pork loin, sliced at one end to form a mouth. Inside the “mouth” are two garlic cloves acting as incisors, and the traditional apple. A couple more garlic cloves form the eyeballs, and two apple slices form the sow’s ears. The legs are those sausage-stuffed tenderloins I mentioned, with garlic toes (Mmm, garlic toes). Now, I wanted this thing to actually be tasty, and I was a bit concerned about overwhelming samplers with a lot of grease. This creation was going to be wrapped in bacon for a few hours, after all. So before I tucked her in, I sprinkled her back and legs with fresh rosemary “bristles” and lots of chopped up garlic “garlic.” Beneath the sow, I cut some drainage slits in the bottom of the bacon blanket.

tucked-in

I set the oven to 350, and tried not to open it every 15 minutes to see how my monster was developing. The house smelled … so delicious it was actually almost sickening. Imagine a foggy morning so thick you have to turn your headlights on. Now imagine that fog in your nose, and the whole thing smells like bacon, rosemary and garlic. It was difficult to concentrate. But four hours later, I pulled the pig and … wow. I wish you could have tried it. It was delicious, and those that could get past its eerily lifelike appearance were able to taste all four meats in one bite. Best of all, no one got sick, despite the Russian Roulette-like meat game we played. Four chances to get trichinosis, but all cylinders came up empty.

Soooo-ey!

cooked-pig