Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Wild Rose Brewery

I've been posting on an approximate bi-weekly schedule.  Or whenever I do something beer-related.  I still have a few more of the most common beer defects to share.  I will also relate my adventures at the Wild Rose Brewery from a recednt trip to Calgary.

3. Did you just skin your knee?  Or is your beer spoiled by chlorophenols?  These compounds contain a benzene ring bound to a phenol molecule, and possess an aroma that may remind you of disinfectant, or “that Band-Aid smell”.  Chlorophenols are formed by yeasts when chlorine and chloramine are present in the water.  Most water is treated with chlorine or chloramine to kill harmful bacteria.  It’s really easy to dechlorinate your water though, with Campden tablets (sodium metabisulphite) or using an activated carbon filter.

Pronounced "Die-ass-a-till"
4. Diacetyl is the chemical responsible for a buttery flavor in some of your favorite foods.  Sour cream, sourdough bread, and many cheeses are fermented foods that would be substantially less delicious without diacetyl.  This flavor can be pleasant at low levels in some oak-aged beers, but will make your beer will taste like movie popcorn at high concentrations.  This defect is usually caused by an infection with Lactobacillus spp. or Pediococcus spp.; however, diacetyl is a natural by-product of yeast fermentation.  To remove it, brewers do a “diacetyl rest”, and leave the beer in fermenter for two or three days, allowing the yeast to re-absorb any remaining diacetyl.

Wild Rose Brewery on Urbanspoon

You won’t find either of these problems with Wild Rose beer.  On a recent trip to Calgary I had the good fortune to go for lunch with my partner in crime and a new friend.  The three of us are all avid beer enthusiasts, and were looking for an appropriate location to catch up.  We couldn’t have chosen a better place.

Wild Rose was established in the fall of 1996 in Calgary's Foothills Industrial Park, and began bottling their beers in flip-tops in 2002.  They have been at their current location in a large Quonset at the Currie barracks since 2006.  However, word is on the street that the lease of Building AF23 will not be renewed and they will soon have to relocate.

Wild Boar Meatloaf Sandwich

Customers are welcomed to look about their equipment and see how it’s made, and the brewery offers drop-in tours on Saturdays.  Instead of mini-kegs, they sell large quantities of beer in “Party Pigs” which provide the equivalent of 25 bottles of beer.  These large glass are self-pressuized, have a refrigerated shelf life of four to six weeks, and make a unique attraction for your next party, at $50 plus a refundable deposit.

Gravlax cured with Velvet Fog

The six signature beers include an IPA, Brown Ale, Wred Wheat, Velvet Fog, SOB (Special Old Bitter...I know what you were thinking), and Wraspberry Ale (a wheat ale with a hint of raspberry).  However, there is always a seasonal variety of unexpected character.  I began my meal with a short glass of the current seasonal, a dark smoky porter with just a hint of cherry.

The menu contains many items that incorporate beer as an ingredient, including the pulled pork sliders drenched with apple Brown Ale BBQ sauce.  Pretzels are served as an appetizer, with two beer mustards – a grainy Dijon prepared with the oatmeal stout, and a spicy Dijon made with an India Pale Ale.  Entrees could be paired with a variety of sides including the oatmeal stout baked beans, and the salad with Wraspberry wheat ale dressing.  I’m indecisive to begin with, but such a wide variety of creative items made it very difficult for me to choose.

The Best 'Wurst
My partner in crime ordered the Wild Boar Meatloaf Sandwich, a patty made with ground beef, pork and wild boar wrapped in bacon served on a whole wheat Kaiser bun with a variety of condiments.  My new friend chose the salmon gravlax, cured with Velvet Fog ale and served on a bagel with fresh dill, cream cheese, red onion, and capers. I went for “The Best 'Wurst”.  This plate was a bit of everything - two free-range pfefferwurst pork sausages from Two Old Country Sausage shop, served with Oatmeal Stout baked beans, sauerkraut, apple-braised cabbage, grainy mustard, and freshly baked bread.

I bought a souvenir glass for my vast collection, and left the Quonset extremely satisfied.  If you are ever in the area, drop by for a pint and a bite to eat.  You won’t be disappointed.

Steuven, Richard. Beer Me: Down With Diacetyl. April 2003. http://beerme.com/diacetyl.php

Saturday, 2 February 2013

The Dog Days are Over

Why does my beer taste weird?  Kind of like...corn.  Whether you’re a home-brewer or not, there are some key beer defects you should look for.  I’ll share a few of the most common ones over the next few weeks so you know what to look for.  Although none of these chemicals will kill you, you deserve better.  Have a little dignity and look for something else to imbibe.  Life’s too short to drink substandard beer.

X gon' give it to ya...wait, DMS?
Thought you said DMX!

1) A cooked corn or cabbage flavour is cauased by dimethylsulfide, often abbreviated DMS.  More common in ales, it is a sign of a grain infection or improper chilling of the wort.  In darker beers this flavor may also remind you of tomato soup.  The typical flavor threshold is around 35ppb.

2) Does your beer smell or taste of rotten eggs? Or is grandma perming her hair in the kitchen sink again? Volatile sulfur compounds like sulfur dioxide (SO2) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) are produced in small amounts during mashing, but are usually driven off with a vigorous boil. When the smell of sulfur is overwhelming, this can indicate some serious contamination by the yeast. However, a subtle whiff of sulfur (like a burned match) can be desired by some brewers.  This is a famous trait of many beers brewed in Burton-on-Trent in the United Kingdom.

If your beer tastes like corn, you have a problem.  But if your corndogs taste like beer, I wouldn’t complain.

I’ve waited a long time to try this recipe.  I had great ambitions of conquering my shear terrier of the deep-fryer.  I failed in the latter respect, and used a frying pan with only 2 inches of oil instead.  They didn’t turn out too ruff.

I paws-ed only a moment to make this special ketchup, and holy shih-tzu is it good!  It would give some other tiresome foods a new leash on life.  Burgers, fries, or mac n’ cheese. Unless you’re a mac n’ cheese purist and don’t believe in ketchup.  I respect that.

Enough with the dog puns.  Schnauzer chance to make some corn dogs!

Beer Battered Corn Dogs

The dog days are over.  I won't be making these again for a while.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
 11/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 eggs
1/2 cup beer
1/2 cup buttermilk
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
12 hotdogs, cut in half
Chipotle ketchup, for dipping

  1. In large bowl, combine of the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, salt and cayenne pepper.
  2. In a smaller bowl, combine together eggs, beer and buttermilk; whisk into dry ingredients. Set aside.
  3. Pour enough oil into deep-fryer or Dutch oven to come 2 inches (5 cm) up side. Heat until deep-fryer thermometer registers 375ºF (190ºC).
  4. Meanwhile, in bowl, toss hotdogs in remaining flour until coated. Insert thick wooden skewer two-thirds of the way into each for handle and tap off excess flour.
  5. Pour batter into a tall glass or deep bowl.  Dip hotdogs into batter to coat, adding 1 to 2 tbsp water if too thick.
  6. Gently add hotdogs to oil. Fry in batches until golden brown (about 1-2 min), turning halfway through.  Drain on rack or paper towel to blot oil.

Makes 24 mini corn dogs

Chipotle Ketchup

1 cup ketchup
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp chipotle pureé

  1. Combine ingredients in a small mixing bowl.
  2. Mix vigorously to combine.
  3. Serve with corn dogs or other foods.

Drinking Made Easy. The 10 Most Common Beer Defects.  October 19th, 2012. http://drinkingmadeeasy.com/booze-in-the-news/the-10-most-common-beer-defects/

Frederick’s Original Ale Makers (FOAM) http://f-o-a-m.org/beer_off_flavors.php

Recipe adapted from Canadian Living Magazine, June 2012