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First Draught

Weekly Roundup II

IMG_7769I managed to get a bunch of writing done this week — much of it here on Food with Legs in fact — so I’m happy to say that this, the second weekly collation of my web writing, is longer than round number one. (Feel free to keep your comments to yourself about how it’s been more than a week since the last roundup.) (more…)

Writing Roundup I

Dry aging beef in the cooler at Roast butcher shop.The greatest of all cliches in Foodbloglandia is the entry that opens with an apology for not publishing a blog post in a long time. I won’t do that. I will say that one reason I don’t post as often on Food With Legs as I once did is that I’ve been lucky enough to find several other publications to publish my stuff (and pay me for it). Oh, and I wrote a cookbook and have been busy promoting it over the last few months.

There is a certain appeal to having one place where anyone who wants to find it can get to my writing. That’s why I started this blog in the first place. With that in mind, here is the first weekly (maybe) collection of summaries and links to what I’ve written this week. (more…)

Second Draught: Brasserie Dupont’s Biere de Miel

When I write tasting notes for my First Draught posts, I do my best to not let preconceived notions cloud my judgment. Sometimes, though a reference to how the beer differs from expectations is unavoidable. I can’t remember a honey beer experience (before this one) that wasn’t full of cloying sweetness. As I think about it more, that might be because the honey beers I’ve tried (usually dug out of the bottom of a cooler at a barbeque) really were designed to be that way – sweet, cheap, and cheerful. Anyway, the point is that this beer is anything but. It has all of the aromatic and lovely floral aromas and flavors of honey without any of the sugary sweetness.

The rest of the Dupont release also deserves some attention. The Monk’s Stout is all right, but as I posted on a homebrewing discussion forum, who needs another halfway decent stout in the middle of April? The bruine is good (and on the same forum some have speculated that it will get better with age), but the Cervezia is the other gem of the brewery feature. In some ways it’s an advanced version of Dupont’s famous saison. My tasting notes for it include “funky” “pastrami” and “wicked length”. That world-famous, mainstay saison is now a regular listing the LCBO and should still be on shelves after the brewery feature ends. (more…)

Second Draught: Alexander Keith’s Casade Ale, a large-scale brewer’s foray into craft beer

Alexander Keith's Hop Series Cascade Ale

While wearing their trend-spotting thinking caps, other beer writers have wondered in print why Keith’s produced this new beer. On one hand, because their “India Pale Ale” is really nothing like the style should be, Keith’s has more to lose than some other macrobrewers by acknowledging the existence of craft beer. On the other hand, the end game question comes up: if regular Keith’s drinkers try this beer and like it, won’t they then turn to actual craft beers with their fistful of limited beer dollars?

I’m not really sure how to answer these questions. Maybe Keith’s thinks that craft is a trend (the decades-long history of real ale campaigning in the UK probably indicates otherwise) or maybe somebody at the multinational, brewing behemoth realised that dollars are being left on the table. Either way, the Cascade ale (and to a slightly lesser extent the Hallertauer version) is a very good beer. It will be easy to find this summer and I’ll be happy to drink it again. (more…)

Second Draught: Rodenbach Classic, an easy-drinking introduction to sour beer

A tolerance for bitterness is probably what everyone means when they speak of beer being an “acquired taste”. When you get past that, drink through everything IPAs have to offer, sour beer is the next frontier. We innately associate bitter flavours with dangerous poisons and sourness with spoiled beer (though the latter connection probably isn’t as hard-coded by evolution).  It’s worth developing an appreciation for the style of sour ales (that are that way by design and not because of spoilage) not just for the notoriety but also because they are delicious and pair excellently with food.

If beer-writing gods were really on my side I would have been able to write about the Rodenbach first and the Panil second. They are both in the same Flemish sour ale style (though Panil is made in Italy), but the Rodenbach is lightly tart and makes  a better introduction for newcomers to the style than the funkier, more complex Panil. (more…)