BOTW–Jack D’Or

Pretty Things Jack D’Or

Inspired by some of our favorites saisons like Saison DuPont, but also DeRanke’s XX Bitter, De Dolle’s Arabier, and local table IPAs like Smuttynose, our Jack D’Or starts off with North American Pils, Vienna, Wheat and Malted Oats (among others) and is hopped with a combination of four hops, finishing with Palisade and Nugget. The bitterness is the real backbone of the Jack D’Or. It’s a proper plant-like bitterness with all of its jagged edges, beginning deep in the soil, then to the stem of this beer and up into to the very tippity heights.

Definitely, as they describe it, a “Table Beer”, it went well with cheese and proved a satisfying aperitif.

Miso Glazed Black Sea Bass, Quinoa Pilaf, Braised Russian Kale and Merry Edwards 2008 Olivet Lane Pinot Noir. I even garnished the fish this time, with scallions and black sesame seeds, how about that?


First, just a reminder that Sunday, August 28, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails, (they also have a great beer selection,) on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders, (and me,) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

Friends gave us a bunch of really awesome Meyer Lemons. What better to do than to turn them into Lemon Merengue Pie?

Stillwater Autumnal

This deep amber hued ale takes it’s inspiration from Germany while still nodding to the Belgian farmhouse tradition. The base is comprised of German two-row, wheat, Cara-Munich, and roasted barley. Generously hopped with a blend of Perle, Spalt, and Hallertau Mittelfrüh and fermented with a rustic Belgian farmhouse ale yeast. These elements together provide a melange of earth and fruit aromas backed with hints of caramel with a dry clean finish.

I hadn’t researched a lot about Stillwater, aside from trying a couple of their bottles when I saw them in liquor stores. Interestingly, turns out, the brewer is a “Gypsy Brewer”. He rents overflow capacity from breweries and then visits and brews collaborative brews with them.

‘Gypsy Brewer’ Spreads Craft Beer Gospel (on npr)

We’d tried their sage spiked Saison Cellar Door before, but I think we liked Autumnal even more. It was pleasing and easy to drink.

Risking life, limb and fingertips running some amazing patty pan squash through the ceramic mandolin.

Balsamic vinaigrette, marjoram, arugula, and small tomatoes.

On the plate!

Roasted a pork tenderloin on top of a winter squash with onions and potatoes.

Got advice on this wine from one of the wine guys at K&L Wines. 29 Songs is a big ass Northern California Syrah, juicy and delicious. The wine guy suggested it, “wasn’t exactly a food wine,” but we enjoyed it with our dinner anyway.

Unfortunately, the lemon meringue pie didn’t turn out quite as well as I was hoping. For some reason the custard didn’t quite set. On the other hand, the Meringue was awesome. Ah well, nothing wrong with Lemon flavored version of, “œufs à la neige” in a pie crust! Great dinner anyway!

BOTW–Hellhound on My Ale

So this is another of Dogfish’s big bottles, Hellhound. It’s basically one of their IPAs with some Lemon Peel added to “the whirlpool” in their parlance.

It’s their second collaboration with Sony Music, the first was the Bitches Brew, an OK beer. This one is supposed to be celebrating the legacy of Robert Johnson and Blind Lemon Jefferson.

And as much as I like some Dogfish Head Beers, Robert Johnson and Blind Lemon Jefferson, unfortunately “Robert Johnson’s Hellhound on my Ale” is not really very good.

It basically tastes like you poured their 90 minute IPA over a couple crushed Lemonhead candies.

Sometimes it gets too late, and you don’t even feel like having dinner. What is the solution? Popcorn!

Ms Sweetpea agrees and would like to bat some popcorn kernels around the kitchen.

Monty just wants to eat them, even though they aren’t very good for him.

COTW–Wandering Aegnus

First, just a reminder that Sunday, July 31, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails, (they also have a great beer selection,) on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders, (and me,) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

Cider of the Week for a change!


Rancho Gordo Santa Maria Pinquitos!

Small, hearty and pink, Sta. Maria Pinquitos are the perfect accompaniment to your barbecues and cookouts. A regional favorite in sunny Santa Maria (California), these quick-cooking beans hold their shape and can be used in chilis as well.

New plants for the garden in back. Julep Mint!

Greek Oregano.

English Thyme.

Agastache ‘Apricot’.

What San Francisco back yards look like. At least I don’t have to mow.

Monty and I both wish Michele would hurry up and get home from Mountain View.

Roasting veggies for Salsa.

Cider of the week, Wandering Aengus Wanderlust.

Modeled after English ciders, a full bodied cider with a long ginger spice finish. Pairings – barbeque, pork, turkey, sausage, or acidic cheese such as aged cheddar. 6.9% Alc., 1% Res. Sugars, 6 months-apples to bottle.

Cider in a classy jar. I liked this Cider, not so sweet as most American Cider. Tasted very natural.

Laid back Chicken, ready for roasting.

“Conv” Roasting Chicken at 375 F.

First stab at recreating Papalote’s Roast Tomato Salsa. Not entirely successful.

Roasted Chicken.

Dinner! Roast Chicken with Beans, Greens, and salad.

BOTW–Trumer Pils

BOTW--Trumer Pils

Beer of the Week: Trumer Pils

A German style Pilsner, Trumer Pils is characterized by a distinct hops flavor, high carbonation and light body. A combination of Saaz and Austrian hops, malt mashing process and proprietary yeast make Trumer Pils unique among beers.

Sometimes you don’t want anything too complicated, especially while doing your end of the shift cleaning.



So I’m puzzled here, one of our favorite beers from Oskar Blues was their Gordon.

This last time we visited our local BevMo, we could find no trace.

Instead, we found another beer with a similar color scheme called G’Knight.

Oh wait.

While it is true that Dan Gordon, a founder of Gordon Biersch, has asked Oskar Blues to change the name of the beer “Gordon” it is a little more involved than the Beer Advocate posting would imply. Oscar Blues came out with a single beer named “Gordon,” in memory of the late brewer Gordon Knight, in 2002. Dan Gordon has been producing German Lagers and Hefeweizen with the name Gordon Biersch on the label since 1988. Dan asked Oskar Blues to change their beer name to “Knight” or some other moniker that consumers would not confuse with his beer for years. They had settled on a verbal agreement that Oskar Blues would not sell the brand “Gordon” in states where Gordon Biersch is distributed, which did not include Oskar Blues’ home state of Colorado. Oskar Blues did not hold up their end of the bargain and that is why legal action was taken.

Well, on the plus side, G’Knight is every bit as good as Gordon was…

Will sausages fall from a great height? That beer smells OK too.

Caught Mrs. Flannestad in the act of taking a picture of relish.

A half pie? How can you sell half a pie? Why not a small pie?

Corn and Avedano’s smoked wild boar sausages ready for the grill.

I like big buns and I can not lie.

Potato Salad.


BOTW–Almanac Summer 2010

Prep for dinner.

The other day, I was talking to Jesse Friedman about the beer his company, Almanac Beer Company had recently launched and he suggested, “A Beer of the Week Feature on would totally put us over the top.”

Always happy to oblige a friend.

The funny thing is, every time I make a punch and have Jesse taste it, he tells me it is kind of “sweet”. I usually reply, “Well it is Punch.”

To me the bottles of Almanac fall squarely in the region defined by Belgian Trippels, beers that, to me, are just a little too sweet and rich to drink before dinner. They need food to contrast against to be fully appreciated. Or you can drink them for dessert.

Anyway, it the Almanac Summer 2010 is a Belgian Style blended beer, aged in used wine barrels with berries.

This Citra-hopped golden ale is a snapshot of Sonoma County from the second week of July 2010. Hot sun and long days produced sweet and complex blackberries. Our first release melds the flavors of four varieties–Cherokee, Marion, Ollalie and Boysenberries–with hints of vanilla and oak from months aging in red wine barrels. Enjoy paired with triple-cream cheeses, roast pork, and grilled stone fruit.


The whole thing is a labor of love, blood, sweat, tears, and cash for Jesse and his partner.

Jesse is a friend of mine, you should buy his beer, even if he looks a little goofy when he poses for pictures. Take my word for it, he’s a good guy.

I’ve had Miso Baked Black Cod, everywhere from Alembic to Heaven’s Dog to The House.

It’s dead simple to make.

1/4 Cup Shaoshing Rice Wine
1/4 Cup White Miso Paste
1/4 Cup Sake
1/8 Cup Sugar
dash Sesame Oil

Heat to dissolve sugar, cool and pour over fish. Cook in a 325F oven until done. Plate fish on warm dinner plates, pour off cooking liquid and reduce. Pour over fish and serve.

Not sure where this dish originated, but I found some indication it might have been originally made at Nobu.

Cauliflower and Broccoli roasted with soy and chile bean paste.

Quinoa pilaf with green onions.

Drink more beer, preferably Almanac.

Speaking of, if you’re thirsty and have some free time this evening:

7×7 Week in Food

Thursday, July 14 2011

Starting at 6 p.m., Almanac Beer is celebrating their brewery launch at Shotwell’s Bar with pastrami dogs from Wise Son’s Deli, Nosh This’ beer caramels covered in chocolate, and Kitchen Sidecar’s beer-braised carnitas taco. Oh, yeah, and there will be beer: Almanac’s 2010 Vintage Blackberry Ale and Sour Summer 2010. 3349 20th St. (at Shotwell)

…and that Sour Summer 2010 is off the charts…


The Bruery Mischief

Mischief is a Hoppy Belgian-Style Golden Strong Ale. This wickedly good golden ale is fiendishly dry-hopped with American hops to add a layer of complexity and mystery to its fruity, dry Belgian-style character. Citrus and resin diabolically combine with ripe melon, pear and slight peppery spice in a precariously effervescent mixture. Enjoy it, but you’ll want to keep an eye out.

ABV: 8.5%
IBU: 35

Of the hopped Belgian-style ales we’ve tried lately, Mischief stood out for its subtle use of hops and not too sweet character. While not as dry as the Thiriez Extra, this is a pleasant American take on the Belgian style. I’d definitely buy this one again.

Chopped squash.

Israeli Couscous!

Asparagus for roasting.

“Will any of that Pancetta fall on the floor perchance?” Monty asks.

Sauteing the veggies for the Couscous dish.

This dinner was a little schizo: Jerk seasoned roast pork tenderloin. Israeli Couscous with pancetta and kabocha squash. Roast asparagus with tarragon and lemon.

Seems unlikely, but somehow it worked. The Joseph Swann Zinfandel even worked as a pairing. Strange.

BOTW–Ovila Dubbel

First, just a reminder that Sunday, June 26, 2011, is our monthly exercise in folly, Savoy Cocktail Book Night at Alembic Bar. If any of the cocktails, (they also have a great beer selection,) on this blog have captured your fancy, stop by after 6 and allow the skilled bartenders, (and me,) to make them for you. It is always a fun time.

Purple Potatoes and Garlic roasted with Rosemary.

Ovila Dubbel.

Sierra Nevada is producing this beer in association with the Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina, CA, about 20 Miles from Chico. They are planning on releasing three, all called Ovila. The first is this Dubbel. It is quite tasty, a fairly traditional Belgian in style, not a modern reinterpretation. Glad to see Sierra Nevada producing so many new and interesting experiments, along with their regular offerings. Later this year they will release a Saison and a Quadrupel.

Ovila Abbey Ales: Sierra Nevada Update

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of these beers will go toward the restoration of the historic Ovila chapter house building on the grounds of the Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina, California, just a few miles north of Sierra Nevada’s home in Chico. This medieval chapter house was begun in 1190 near the village of Trillo, Spain. Monks lived, prayed, and worked there for nearly 800 years. In 1931, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst purchased the abbey, dismantled it stone-by-stone, and shipped it to Northern California. Hearst’s plans were never realized, and the stones fell into disrepair. In 1994, the monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux gained possession of the ruins, and began the painstaking reconstruction of the historic abbey.

Mrs. Flannestad got a little obsessed with Blueberries this week and purchased a whole lot, so she made a Blueberry Buckle with some of them.

Five Dot Ribeyes, ready for grilling.

Fresh Porcini Mushrooms sauteed with shallots and deglazed with Sherry.

First Flip.

First Turn.


One more Flip.

Monty would like some steak, please.

Grilled Ribeyes, Roasted Potatoes, and braised greens.

Buckle for dessert.


Over the years we’ve tried a few Hopped American Beers in an Belgian style and even a few Belgian Beers inspired by American Ales. I believe this is the first hopped French Saison we’ve run across, though the inspiration is more English than American.

It appears to be imported into the US by Shelton Brothers, who have a page about it on their website, Thiriez EXTRA:

This particular beer is an interesting joint effort with an English brewery. It uses one hop varietal, a rather unusual hop grown in Kent called ‘Bramling Cross.’ The malt is from 2-row spring barley grown in France. (The English brewer is brewing to the same recipe, with the same ingredients, for sale in the U.K., under the French name.) The result has certain characteristics of an English bitter: it’s not too strong, very dry, and eminently drinkable.

And the brewery Thiriez itself has this to say about the beer:

Initialement nommée “les Frères de la Bière”, elle est le fruit d’un partenariat avec un brasseur anglais, John Davidson de la Swale Brewery, dans le cadre d’un projet Interreg.
Blonde, légère en alcool, un houblon aromatique du Kent, utilisé très généreusement lui confère son caractère unique..

“Dès l’attaque, l’amertume est là, puissante, enrobante,bien associée au malt. Structure moelleuse, bien maltée et sans lourdeur. Du houblon à l’état nature envahit le palais. Les amateurs vont en raffoler”

Bière Magazine mars-avril 2006

Exportée au USA sous le nom de Thiriez EXTRA

Quite a head on that one! I apologize to the beer geeks in the audience. Well the gentlemen at the shop did warn me to have a glass ready when I opened the bottle. Definitely one of those which would need to be poured very, very carefully to get the appropriate 3/4 inch head.

In any case, this is another selection from Healthy Spirits, I was in the mood for a Saison last Friday afternoon, and this was their recommendation. To quote, “My favorite Saison nobody is buying.” I totally agree with just about everything the Shelton Bros website has to say about this beer, pleasant, interesting character, not too strong. The sort of beer, in an ideal world, you could drink all afternoon while watching the grass grow or weeding the garden in France or Belgium.

Oven braised Steelhead filet baked on top of lemon slices, with fresh tarragon.

Mrs. Flannestad purchased a large amount of Blueberries at the Alemany Farmers’ Market, with the hopes of making a Clafoutis. We found a recipe for Blueberry and Nectarine Clafoutis on epicurious, and she made it with peaches. Delicious.

Monty is (n)ever patient.

Merry Edwards 2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

The wine is a mirror, clearly reflecting a pure fruit focus, characteristic of this vintage. Luminescent ruby in color, its attractive aroma is perfumed with a mouthwatering medley of cola, red raspberries, plums and blueberries. Exotic Indian spices, a touch of earth and vanilla bean add complex accents. This elegant Pinot shows an invitingly rich entry. The refined mid-palate is soft, round and supple followed by a finish that offers balanced, restrained tannins. Appealing now, this wine will surprise you with its development – the cool area parentage ensures subtle integration of flavors with increased depth and body over time.

An all right wine. Definitely fruit forward. It was just too big for the Steelhead prepration I had decided on. Rose or a hearty white might have been more appropriate.

Red Quinoa Pilaf with Carrots, Spring Onions, and Pine Nuts. Tomatero Farms Lacinto Kale with caramelized onions. I had an idea with the kale to cut the kale stems and caramelize them with the onions. I always like roasted brassicas, and this turned out similar and quite delicious.