A “Cheesy” Valentines Day With Friends And Odell Beers

Valentines Day is often considered a cheesy “Holiday” manufactured by the Hallmark company. A time when, although you like craft beer more, you settle for a cleverly named red wine at an expensive restaurant. And most likely, you probably forgot to make reservations to that restaurant. But worry not my fellow intrepid beer aficionado, for with the help of craft chef Krystal Angelo and the hand crafted beers of Odell Brewing Co, I am here to provide you with an even Cheesier way to spend Valentines day with your loved one and/or friends… Fondue!

For these recipes we used 5 different Odell Beers, and paired it with 7 different Odell Beers, making for a very enjoyable and adventurous night of gastro-revelry. We used Easy Street Wheat, Levity, IPA, Red Ale, and Cutthroat Porter to help create the desired flavors in the foods and in addition to those beers we enjoyed 5 Barrel Pale Ale and 90 Shilling with the meal throughout the evening. One of the great things about Fondue is that it places an importance on the event and the experience, rather then just simply “eating.” You have a natural opportunity to talk about the food you are eating, or beer you are drinking throughout the meal, which is the very essence of hosting a craft beer dinner at home. And throughout the evening you really get to learn more about the beer you are drinking as you talk about the flavors you experience.

We structured the meal with three courses: a cheese fondue appetizer, broth main course and chocolate fondue dessert. Although we were plenty full after the cheese course we journeyed on and as you should know by now you always have room for Cutthroat Porter Chocolate Fondue covered anything for dessert!

Before you begin your dinner, make sure that you have prepared all of the foods-cut and rinse all the vegetables, tear the bread, and cut and prepare the meats (marinate if necessary). Also make sure that you have prepared all of your dipping sauces (if using any) as they need at least 30 minutes to chill.

First Course: Red Cheese Fonduefondue-1320505-640x480

6 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

4 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded

4 oz sharp Cheddar cheese

1.5 Tablespoon flour

8 oz OBC Red ale, at room temperature

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

Serve with: Bread chunks (French, pumpernickel, rye, sourdough or any other delicious variety), baby carrots, celery, Granny Smith and Pink Lady apple slices, canned new potatoes, pickles (dill and/or gherkin), and artichoke hearts.

Directions: In a bowl combine Monterey Jack, Gruyere, Cheddar and flour; mix well to coat cheese with flour. Set aside. In a large saucepan bring beer to a simmer over medium heat then add garlic. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add cheese-flour mixture by handfuls to saucepan, stirring constantly after each addition with a wooden spoon in a figure-eight motion until cheese is melted. Stir in dry mustard, mixing well. Transfer to fondue pot and serve immediately with crudites and bread.

Note: The cheese is shredded and tossed with flour to aid in thickening and to improve the viscosity of the fondue. The fondue should be the consistency of warm honey when completed.

The cheese fondue should be held at a temperature warm enough to keep the fondue smooth and liquid but not so hot as to allow any burning. If this temperature is held until the fondue is finished there will be a thin crust of toasted (not burnt) cheese at the bottom of the fondue pot. This is called la religieuse (French for the nun or the religious one). It has the texture of a thin cracker and is always lifted out and eaten; it is considered a delicacy.

Tasting Notes: If you like cheese that has a slight munich malt character and mild citrus from the Red Ale hops then you will love this! By far the best combination of the night was the Tart Green Apples dipped in the cheese and paired with a 5 Barrel Pale Ale, the flavor profile was simply brilliant.

Second Course: Levity Court Bullion Broth Levity

2 Cups warm water

2 Cups vegetable broth

1 bottle OBC Levity amber ale

3 Tablespoon finely chopped onion

1 Tablespoon finely chopped celery

1 Tablespoon chopped carrot

2 Tablespoon Kosher salt

1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoon garlic powder

Cocktail Sauce

1 Cup ketchup

2 Tablespoon extra hot horseradish (or more for your liking)

Mix ingredients and chill for 30 minutes or longer.

Tarragon Dipping Sauce

1/2 Cup mayonnaise

1/4 sour cream

2 Tablespoons shallots

2 Tablespoons Tarragon

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

dash red pepper

Mix ingredients and chill for 30 minutes or longer.

Also, we used store bought Plum sauce for one of our dipping sauces, so do not think that you have to do it all yourself; save some time and money by taking advantage of your American right to buy anything you want, whenever you want it.

Serve with: Vegetables: broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini; fresh ravioli; NY Strip streak, cut against the grain into bite sized pieces; OBC IPA marinated bratwurst, sliced; OBC EZ Street Wheat marinated shrimp; and chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces.

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook vegetables in broth first by boiling for 5 minutes. Transfer broth and vegetables to a fondue pot on 370F to 400F. Let vegetables cook a few minutes more or until desired doneness, remove from broth.

Note: Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, and/or shellfish may increase your risk for food borne illness. A few rules of thumb when fonduing… cook your poultry for approximately 2 minutes, cook your seafood for approximately 2-3 minutes, cook your fish for approximately 30-60 seconds, and for rare meat cook for approximately 15-20 seconds, for medium 25-30 seconds, and well done for 40-60 seconds.

Tasting Notes: We were very impressed by the fresh hop character that came through in the IPA marinated bratwurst. Hopheads will surely enjoy this, while those sometimes put off by the more bitter character of IPA be warned. I found the honey malt character of the levity to provide a beautiful malty sweetness in the broth that transfered subtly into most of the un-marinated offerings, especially the broccoli. The Levity broth worked well with the bright hoppy IPA and Red Ale as a pairing.

Third Course: Cutthroat Chocolate Fonduechocolate-1325589-638x324

3/4 Cup heavy whipping cream

4 bittersweet chocolate bars (3.5 oz each), chopped

2 Tablespoons OBC Cutthroat Porter

Directions: In a sauce pan, add 1/2 cup of the whipping cream until simmering. Turn off heat and add chocolate, letting stand in cream for 3-5 minutes to soften. Then whisk the chocolate until smooth, and add the beer. Transfer to fondue pot and add 1 Tablespoon of cream at a time if chocolate becomes too thick.

Serve with: Strawberries, bananas, pound cake cut into bite sized chunks, marshmallows, graham crackers, Oreos, brownies, pretzels, cheesecake bites, cream cheese balls rolled in chopped walnuts, and anything else you would like to dip into warm, gooey, bittersweet Cutthroat Porter melted chocolate!

Tasting Notes: Your second stomach will love you for all the chocolate you just took in. Decadence is a wonderful thing! When you add a 5 Barrel, IPA or Red Ale as a pairing you will be even happier, as the rich chocolate plays in beautiful contrast to the bright and hoppy beers. The Cutthroat Porter in the chocolate lends a soft roastiness to the fondue, and is especially noticeable on the Pound Cake, Marshmellows or my favorite the cream cheese balls rolled in Walnuts.

We Fondid, and loved it! Now is that cheesy enough for you?




A Southern Style India Barleywine and Gumbo ‘At Home Beer Dinner’

I am sure many of you fellow craft beer lovers have watched the recent video from the Brewers Association regarding ‘At Home Craft Beer Tasting.’ I could not agree more with what can be gained by having friends over and tasting unique craft beers, especially when paired with delicious craft foods. The new experiences had while savoring craft beer with friends during an ‘at home beer dinner’ are what inspired us to do these in the first place. The write-ups associated with each one we are hosting are to help inspire all of you, whether full Cicerones or just recent graduates into the inspired world of craft beer, with new ideas to try in your home with your friends and our passionately brewed offerings. Most importantly for us here at Odell Brewing is the fun of savoring and dining with friends. For this meal we stripped away any possibility of the “pretentia” that could be associated with craft beer dinners and served up a big ol’ pot of Gumbo paired with our India Barleywine, followed by an old family recipe for Peanut Butta Pie paired with our Bourban Barrel Stout. As always I have provided background for our inspired pairings along with the full recipes, including preparation notes and pairing notes, and some visual imagery. So find the largest stockpot you can (or borrow a kettle from a friend that homebrews) and invite your friends and family over for a pre-holiday pairing of Odell Brewing Co. India Barleywine and Gumbo!

The holidays are a great time to enjoy craft beer by hosting a craft beer tasting or beer dinner in your home. It is a time rich with seasonal or limited releases us brewers spend all year dreaming up and finally are able to brew and share with all of you; I guess you could say its our gift to all of you for your support of the brewing arts. Craft chefs also can use the holiday season to showoff their skills for friends and family, and the unique beers we are brewing provide many new and exciting pairing options. This meal was inspired by some Southern Style cooking to help keep us warm here on the unusually cold front range of Colorado as a pairing for two of our Single Serve release; India Barleywine and Bourbon Barrel Stout. We bucked convention and prepared a pot full of true southern Gumbo with pan-fried cornbread and a deliciously simple Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad followed by some Peanut Butta Pie.

The Beers:

India Barleywine: Blends the warming alcohol character of Barleywines with the fresh hop character found in American India Pale Ales. A hopping schedule that begins with a whole leaf mash hop and ends with a dry hopping in the fermentor just before packaging, provides a most unique nose of varied citrus-orange, tangerine, pineapple-with cantaloupe, mango and a mild pine. A first taste will reveal a slightly sour grapefruit character, contributed from the hop profile, along with mild citrus, pine and an earthy or woody character. The esters from our house yeast work to compliment the strong citrus profile and also add to the dry finish which results in a hoppy beer without a lingering bitterness. Although hopheads will want to drink this beer fresh, Barleywine aficionados will want to age this beer so as to bring out the dried fruit characteristics which subtly linger in the background. This anomaly of style, whether fresh or aged, pairs well with big flavors and even bigger personalities.

Boubon Barrel Stout: Aged four months in Buffalo Trace Bourbon Barrels, blends the characteristics of a great single barrel Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey with an American Craft Brewers take on an English Imperial Stout. It provides the taster’s nose with a snifter full of Kentucky Bourbon upfront, and sweet molasses and a light milk chocolate on the back. As one sips this Imperial Stout they will taste the warming Kentucky Bourbon, imparted both from the barrel aging process and the higher alcohol content associated with Imperial Stouts, as well as subtle notes of bittersweet chocolate. One will also notice a smooth vanilla flavor, resulting from the oak barrels, which rounds out the Stout by providing a softer mouth feel-comparable to the slight buttery notes found in some Red Wines. The defining Roast and Chocolate Malts of this beer leave a slight sour note on the palette, which perfectly balances the perceived sweetness of the vanilla. This Bourbon Barrel Stout pairs well with rich holiday meals, chocolate inspired desserts, and intellectual conversations held fireside in leather-overstuffed chairs.

The Menu:

Bonesaw Gumbo

1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup flour
2 yellow onions
2 bell peppers
4 ribs celery
3 cloves of garlic
2-3 quarts chicken stock
2 bay leaves
2 tsp Creole seasoning
1 tsp dried thyme
Salt & pepper to taste
2 lbs cooked shrimp
2 lbs andouille sausage
1 1/2 lbs shredded cooked chicken
1 bunch chopped scallions
2/3 cup chopped Italian parsley
2 cans okra with juice
2 cans diced tomatoes with juice
Worcestershire to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste

Preparation Notes: Chop onions, peppers, celery and garlic place in pot with bay leaves,
seasonings, okra and tomatoes. In a sauce pan, brown andouille sausage
and remove. In the same sauce pan, make rue – heat oil and gradually
stir in flour and cook over medium heat until it’s the color of a dark
copper penny. Stir rue into vegetables. Add chicken stock, sausage, and
chicken. Bring to boil. Simmer for 1 hour. Add shrimp, Worcestershire
and cayenne pepper and simmer another 10-15 minutes. Serve over rice,
and garnish with chopped scallions and Italian parsley.

Pairing Notes: Ryan “Bonesaw” King and his wife Amanda King have provided us one of the great gumbo recipes, and it pairs beautifully with the rich and hoppy India Barleywine. The delicate flavors of a well prepared gumbo, accented by fragrant Italian Parsley, work to unlock the complex citrus character of the India Barleywine. Additionally the malty sweetness and warming alcohol compliment the southern spice in this meal. India Pale Ales are often paired with spicy entrees, but this India Barleywine has the malt backbone to hold up to the spice in southern style cooking, and this meal does a great job of showcasing the unique malts used in this beer.

Southern Pan-fried Cornbread

2 cups cornmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3 organic cage free eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon vegetable oil for pan
1/4 cup melted butter

Preparation Notes: Preheat oven to 425. Put oil or shortening in a 10-inch oven safe fry pan and place in the oven to preheat while making batter. Combing cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a mixing bowl. In another bowl whisk together milk, eggs, and butter. Combine and mix until batter is incorporated. Remove the pan from the oven carefully and coat with oil. Pour in the batter and bake for 20-28 mins. check center with a toothpick.

Uncl’ GeetGots DunLap Peanut Butta Pie

3 oz of cream cheese
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
1 cup of crunchy peanut butter
8 oz of cool whip
1 graham cracker crust

Preparation Notes: Add cream cheese, sugar, pb, and mix all together. Then fold in the cool whip. Pour into crust. Let sit in fridge for 3 hours.

Pairing Notes: Wade Keith was right in calling this southern style rich and creamy Peanut Butta Pie; Uncl’ GeetGots Dunlap Peanut Butta Pie, ’cause your belly will ‘Dunlap’ over your britches when you are through eating it. An exceptional pairing with an Odell Bourban Barrel Stout, the richness of both the Pie and the Stout compliment each other and provide a decadent finish to the nights meal. When pairing beer with food one can try to compliment or contrast the flavors in each, and if you desire a complimentary dessert for a warming stout Uncl’ GeetGot’s Pie serves as an educational tool for the palette. The pie accentuates the light chocolate flavors in the beer and further softens the tannic mouthfeel provided by the oak barrel aging. A truly delicious pairing on a evening!

And at nights end…

…We sat with bellies full and livers satisfied thanks to the great southern hospitality of our friends and fellow Odell coworkers, Ryan, Amanda, Wade, his wife Gretchen and my partner Krystal. The idea for pairing a Spicy Southern Gumbo with our India Barleywine came without knowing for sure if it would provide a great craft beer and food pairing or just a great evening with friends, but after my second helping of Bonesaw Gumbo and just a little more IBW in my glass I can say with certainty that this is an excellent craft beer and food pairing. As Craft Brewers we do not follow the ‘rules’ when we brew so why should you have to when you pair our beers with your food. Have a great holiday season, invite your friends and family over for a little Gumbo and India Barleywine followed by some Bourbon Barrel Stout and Peanut Butta Pie, and enjoy our hand made gift of passionately brewed craft beer paired with your homemade cuisine!

For more Craft Beer Pairings at Home tips and ideas check out the Brewers Associations new video:


Joe Mohrfeld