A Healthy Happy Beer Drinker

healthy-beer-drinker Crafty Beer Girl, Jenny Shafer shares her healthy perspective on finding balance and moderation in all aspects of life...including drinking  beer.  Read the full article here: "When you’re as passionate about beer as I am, it can be difficult to find balance." Save Save

Pairing Food & Beer At Red Rock Brewing Co.

Lauren Last month, Lauren put together a beer and food pairing class for Red Rock Brewing Company, and had the arduous task of tasting her way through our beer and food menu. Read more about her adventures in food & beer here: CraftyBeerGirls.com!

The 411 on Nitro Beers

Nitro Beer Head CRAFTY BEER GIRLS - Ask anyone to name a nitrogenated or “nitro” beer, and they’ll have no problem answering with “Guinness”. It’s no secret the Irish brewery with hundreds of years of brewing experience also happens to be the king of nitro beer. If a bar has a nitro tap, it’s bound to be Guinness. But you may not have known this leader in the nitro market is also the inventor. Read more at CraftyBeerGirls.com The Crafty Beer Girls project is supported by Red Rock Brewery in Salt Lake City, UT.

14 Days, 14 Breweries – Part 1

Beer TourTwo and a half weeks ago, I jumped into my truck in the wee hours of the morning to embark on a 5,000 mile journey full of family, friends, and so very many beers. I spent half as much money filling my glass as I did my gas tank (which is a lot!), but I have no regrets. It was d e l i c i o u s. Over two weeks, I was able to visit 14 breweries, as well as some excellent beer bars. It was a dream trip come true! It may be a long while before I’m able to take a trip like that again, but I’m content to reminisce… Read more here:  CraftyBeerGirls.com

Wet Harvest Beers

Hop HarvestPut that pumpkin beer down before I slap it out of your hand! I know, I know. It’s October now, and pumpkin beer is officially acceptable. But I implore you; lend your lips to a different kind of fall seasonal beer. Read more at: Crafty Beer Girls

Downtown Dine-o-Round 2015

$15 Menu:

Dineoround feature photoJoin us at our Downtown location for the 2015 Downtown Dine-o-Round September 11-27th. Choice of Small House or Caesar Salad. Choice of Flatiron Steak with Crispy Onion Straws, Pacific Cod Provencal or Stuffed Acorn Squash Wild Mushrooms and Quinoa with Maple Cream Sauce. Choice of Peach Cobbler with Vanilla Haagen Daz or Carrot Cake.  

Oktoberfest Sept. 4th – 13th, 2015

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Pork Schnitzel $15 à la Holstein

Pork tenderloin cutlet, breaded and sautéed golden brown. Accented with demiglace, and topped with fried eggs and capers. Served with buttered Spaetzle, beer-braised apples & cabbage, and warm German potato salad.

Bratwurst Plate $14 with Baked Sauerkraut

Served with buttered Spaetzle, beer-braised apples & cabbage, and warm German potato salad, and whole-grain Ale mustard.

Bienenstich Cake $7

Served with fresh seasonal berries.

Girls Love Beer

Jenny and Lauren FilteredDid you know that the gender mix of the craft beer market is about 75% male and 25% female? Red Rock’s Lauren Lerch and beer enthusiast Jenni Shafer have set-out on a new side project to educate and encourage others to enjoy full-flavored craft beer. You can find there musings here: http://www.craftybeergirls.com

9 Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Beer

Lauren LerchBeer is one of those effortless enjoyments in life, like sunshine and puppies. Can it get any better than this? Probably not. But that puppy won’t stay small forever, and the sun will eventually set. Beer, however, is here to stay. And there are so many things to love about it. My favorite is its ability to fit any occasion, puppies or not. It can be as simple as cracking open a can on the porch, or as fancy as carefully pairing your beer flavor for flavor with a particular meal. Simple drinking needs no explanation, so let’s get fancy! Before you go sporting a beer mustache that rivals a 1990s got milk ad, consider a few things...

1. Choose A Beer You Will Enjoy

I encourage anyone to try something new, but if you don’t like spicy food, a chocolate chili porter probably isn’t your best choice. Take your time with your selection, and do some research, try a sample, or ask questions before you order or purchase something you’re not familiar with.

2. Drink Fresh

If you’re drinking bottled or canned beer, check the date code. It’s usually listed as a “best by” or “bottled/packaged on” date in the form of mm/dd/yy. Some breweries utilize unique date codes, but they can be cracked with a little bit of google searching. There are a few styles of beer that are better when aged, but most are best consumed fresh.

3. Beer Clean Glass

Proper cleaning, sanitizing, and drying will insure the best drinking vessel for your beer. A beer clean glass should leave rings of lacing behind as you drink, and should not show patches of bubbles clinging to the inside of the glass.

4. Proper Glassware

If you’ve been consuming beer straight from a can or bottle, you’re missing out of the full appearance and aroma the beer has to offer. A tulip glass will work well with most styles, but there are some that require a specific type of glass to get the best experience. Breweries often sell branded glassware that is designed to enhance the attributes of their flagship beer.

5. Proper Temperature

Don’t you dare drink that stout straight out of the fridge! Cold temperatures inhibit our ability to taste and smell. Ever wonder why a certain macro-brewery has a marketing campaign that claims their beer is “as cold as the Rockies”? They’re putting refreshment over flavor, and I don’t think that’s quite America’s thing anymore. People want to taste their beer in 2015! Do a quick internet search, and find out what temperature your beer is best served at. The general rule of thumb is the darker the beer, the warmer the serving temperature.

6. From The Source

Whenever geographically possible, enjoy your beer fresh from the brewery that made it. The shorter the distance your beer had to travel to get to your glass, the better the chance of you having the freshest possible experience.

7. Environment

Avoid places with lots of noise, smells, or distractions that might give you sensory overload. Relaxing environments are best for paying attention to your beer. But really any place you feel most comfortable will work. For me, nothing beats watching the sunset with a fresh beer and friends after a long hike.

8. Observe

You just got that beer you’ve been waiting for all day, but don’t knock it back just yet. Stop and take a look. Hold it up to the light and admire the color or streams of bubbles rising from the bottom. Take a quick sniff of the complex aromas. Then drink it in. What does it taste like? Does it bring back any memories? Think about how the acidity nips at your tongue, or how the creaminess washes down like a milkshake. Finally, consider the aftertaste, and how it leaves you wanting another sip. Did it take you anywhere? You don’t have to think about all of this, but a little effort can give you a lot of enjoyment.

9. Pairing

Still feel like you’re not getting enough from your beer? Pair it with food! Heck, some people even pair it with cigars. Or if you feel a connection between your beer and a piece of artwork, more power to you! I implore you to use anything at your disposal to make for a better experience. My hope is that this list will help you get the most from something you already enjoy. If you get half way through a sensory evaluation of your beer and get bored with it, then stop and just drink the thing! These aren’t rules. If you enjoy your beer warm and straight from the can, then don’t let me stop you! As always, share with a friend. If that friend is canine, share your company, not your beer! But human friends are fair game. =) Cheers!
by Lauren Lerch Red Rock Beer Store Specialist and Home Brewer. Follow Lauren on her Blog at: www.mybeerspective.blogspot.com

Masterful Pairings of Beer and Food

Beer and CheeseWelcome to the wonderful world of pairing beer and food! It can be an overwhelming place for those of you new to the art, but fear not! I am here to give you a few pointers on how to heighten your next beer-with-food experience. If you're reading this right now, I'm willing to bet you enjoy beer, and probably food as well. Good!  But before we start pairing the two, let's lay down a few ground rules.

Know the flavor profile

Is it spicy? Sweet? Acidic? Does it have roasty flavors? Is it bitter? Were any notable seasonings added? All of these characteristics can be exhibited by both food and beer, and they usually display more than one.

Know the intensity

Are the flavors of your food/beer light and delicate, or rich and bold? Thankfully, the range of intensity for beer and food are quite equally matched, so you won't have any trouble finding an appropriate pairing.

Consider the flavors of the meal as a whole

I mean, if you want to go crazy and have a beer pairing for each food item that composes your meal (steak, green beans, mashed potatoes), then go for it. But I try to keep it simple. There is most likely a single beer that will pair nicely with all of the food flavors you'll encounter on your plate.

OK...now that you're familiar with what you need to know about the food and beer you'd like to pair - it's time to experiment!

Imperial Red AleThese are basic flavor combination guidelines that can be applied to anything you put in your mouth, but we'll use them to focus on beer and food:

Intensities

You will always, regardless of the flavors, want to match intensities of your beer and food. A rich Russian imperial stout will most certainly overpower a delicate dish of seared scallops with quinoa salad and asparagus. Balance is key when pairing flavors. We don't want the beer to drown out the flavor of the food or vice-versa. We want a pairing of harmony, not catastrophe!

Complimentary Flavors

A porter with a roasted malt character can easily be paired with roasted meat like steak or lamb chops. The similar flavors create a bridge between the beer and food, resulting in a great match. It's all about the common ground. Make sure the flavors are closely related, but not exactly the same. Exact flavors result in a bored palate. Complimentary pairings are some of the easiest to discover, making them the perfect place to start.

Contrasting Flavors

Contrasting pairings are a bit less obvious than complimentary ones, but they can be equally as delicious. A key quality of a contrasting flavor is its ability to cut, or balance another flavor. Think about the way milk washes away and neutralizes the mouth-coating richness of a chewy chocolate brownie. I can't imagine having a brownie without milk. That's the idea behind an incredible contrasting pairing. You'll want flavors that can effectively teeter-totter back and forth as you taste them. A beer-with-food example would be the high alcohol and acidity of a Belgian strong ale cutting the fatty richness of duck confit.

Compliment and Contrast

Some pairings, and these are the best ones, have both complimentary and contrasting flavors at the same time. Think about a double IPA and carrot cake. The cake shares a bright, spiced character with the hops in the beer, while it contrasts its sweetness with the beer's bitterness. These are the most difficult to find, and most rewarding. If you find a great pairing, share it!

Regional

You might note that most regional combinations, like Mexican beer with Mexican food, work very well. A Tecate is mighty delicious with some barbacoa tacos, but don't let that limit your creativity. I'm sure there are some tasty German beer/Italian pasta combinations out there!

Experiment

Theses guidelines will help you craft pairings fit for the gods, but they certainly aren't rules. Go crazy! Some of the most sensational pairings I've encountered have been completely by accident. Experiment frequently, and you'll quickly come to understand some common, and hopefully uncommon, flavor combinations. It's incredibly rewarding when you find a gem of a pairing by accident, and even more so when you share it with friends who love it, too.

Congratulations! You now have the tools to create masterful pairings of beer and food.

But before you scurry off to your fridge to try your aunt's pickled beets with your favorite chocolate stout, keep some final thoughts in mind. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither were your pairing skills. This is an experimental art form. Feel free to research pairings, but you can read about something all day and have zero practical experience. Your own perception of flavors is the most important thing here, and you can't get that from words on a page. Get out there and taste things with other things! You might be wondering why I haven't presented you with a list of pairings yet. Well...I'm not going to. I believe the adventure of finding them yourself is much more rewarding.  And if you really want to, there are hundreds of examples you can easily seek out online. I'd rather give you the tools to figure it out instead of spoon feeding you my own findings. Most importantly, this is for fun! Enjoy your tasting experiences. If you find something gross, you haven't struck disaster. You've found a great prank to play on your friends!  Of course, you'll have to share the good pairings with them if you'd like them to remain your friends, but I'll leave that up to you. 😉

Cheers, and happy pairing!

by Lauren Lerch Red Rock Beer Store Specialist and Home Brewer. Follow Lauren on her Blog at: www.mybeerspective.blogspot.com