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


A Note on Bottle Conditioning

All of our 750 ml corked and caged bottle beers are 100% bottle conditioned. This means we add fresh, active yeast to the bottles along with some unfermented sugars to allow the beers to go through a secondary fermentation within the bottle. The beer is flat when bottled and over a period of several weeks the yeast ferments the sugars producing carbon dioxide within the bottle, giving the finished beer it.