Here’s a Toast to Oast!

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Savvy Hip Hops beer of the month club 
Featuring Niagara Oast House Brewers

– April 2014 –

 

Month #3 of Savvy Hip Hops brings you a new case of beer and hopefully some new favourites. This month features Niagara Oast House Brewers and their special Farmhouse Ales for all of our suds-cribers!

If you are not familiar with Farmhouse Ales, before you pop the cork, read through this issue of our Beer Backstory Magazine to get to know more about this style of unique beer and Oast’s brewmaster. Our Savvy Brew Crew team member Shawn McCormick offers this tip, “With such an energizing, crisp style, you might want to wait until that weekend TO DO list & yard work is finished!”

Oast House sign largeShawn visited Oast House Brewers on a recent trip to Niagara.  In the following pages, he showcases their wonderful agricultural connection, that naturally starts with their facility (an old barn that is a Niagara-on-the-Lake landmark), great rustic finishing inside the brewery, and fresh, Farmhouse-Style beers.

Oast House has quickly integrated themselves into the wine & food scene in Niagara. “Oast House is a great representation of the current direction of Niagara’s culinary landscape – they are putting out an exceptional artisanal craft beer which strongly aligns with Farmland Ontario,” says Paul Harber, Chef-Proprietor of Ravine Vineyards in Niagara-On-The-Lake.

Open your Savvy Hip Hops Taste Case…

Oast House primarily has beers available in kegs for pubs or growlers for visitors dropping in at the brewery.  We worked hard with the brewmaster to find the best beers that will travel well.  Once you taste the Saison & and Bière de Garde, we are confident you will thank us for including two bottles of each!

2 bottles of Saison
2 bottles of Bière de Garde
A growler of Pitchfork Porter *drink this one first as it is poured fresh at the brewery!*

Found a new favorite Oast to toast? 

If you would like additional bottles of any beer featured in this months’ Savvy Hip Hops, just call our Savvy Brew Crew & we’ll arrange a special shipment for you (if it is still available at the brewery that is!).

Put us on speed dial – Savvy Hip Hops Hotline 613-SAVVYCO (728-8926) or cheers@savvycompany.ca

Cheers!
Debbie & the Savvy Brew Crew

Introducing…
Niagara Oast House Brewers

by Shawn McCormick

 

Located in the heart of Niagara wine country, one might wonder if a brewery would compete with wineries for consumer attention. Quite the opposite, as Oast House Brewers brewmaster Kevin Somerville explains: “We find that the premium wine consumers are the same ones that also love the craft beer scene”. 

What’s in a Name?

An Oast House is the name of the building where hops were traditionally dried. It means “to kiln”. Although Oast House Brewers is a new brewery, they like to hold onto traditions and link to the agricultural background of their region.  Just one element of this is that they are growing their own hops on site and working with other local hops growers to feed their growing demand. 

Oast House Saison bottle & glassOast House Brewers is unique in their focus on Farmhouse Ales, of which Saison and Bière de Garde are the most common. Saison beer originated in the farming regions of Belgium and was typically brewed during the autumn or winter, for consumption during the following summer by the seasonal farm workers (“les saisonniers”). Traditional Saisons were low in alcohol, strongly hopped to prevent spoilage, intended to refresh and hydrate. Farm workers were entitled to up to five litres each workday!

Similarly, the “Bière de Garde” are the French version of Farmhouse ales. Also destined for farm hands, they are typically darker, more malt forward, and may have slightly less carbonation than the Saison.

Both styles are bottle fermented (in a process much like champagne). Oast House Brewers is the only brewery in Ontario with a bottle re-fermentation room. 

Becoming a Brewmaster

Kevin brewmasterKevin’s (in photo right) path to becoming a brewmaster started very early. He really liked beer, and his home brewing hobby that started in high school got “out of hand”. Knowing that he wanted to start a brewery, he signed up for a business program first before attending the World Brewing Academy in Germany. Kevin finished that program in Munich, then returned to Canada, where he worked at Alley Cat in Edmonton and a number of breweries here in Ontario. Kevin helped formulate the beer curriculum at Niagara College, serving as their first program coordinator (he still teaches part time). He had met current partners Mike Berlis and Cian MacNeill years ago at Inniskillin winery and their common love of great beer kept them in touch until they launched Oast House in 2013.

Ping Pong Tables, Guest Chefs & Live Music?

beer rack full of bottlesKevin mentions that there was a kitchen hood in the building that they kept when converting the old barn into the brewery. There’s a ping-pong table in the back room free for guests to use. Together with live music, they have created a real attraction and it is not unusual for the place to be packed on a weekend. Says Mike Dicaro of Spotlight Toronto: “The barn-chic decor and tasting room combines the best of both worlds with a winery-like tasting bar wrapped in a neighbourhood pub, especially when staff bring in guest chefs from Niagara to cook.”. Definitely a place worth visiting the next time you are in Niagara!

We raise a glass to the Oast House team!


 

• Savvy Hip Hops Tasting Notes •

Niagara Oast House Brewers are best known for their Farmhouse Ales and you’ll find these quite enjoyable. The beers are listed in order of lightest body to fullest – feel free to try them in any order you like!

Saison (Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale)

Saison bottle of beerA light, refreshing beer at 6.5% ABV, this beer is best paired with a day of hard work!

Tasting Notes: The great fluffy head when this is poured hints at the medium high carbonation. Aromas of citrus, yeast, some sweet candy sugar. Crisp, refreshing palate offers apple, pear, caramel malt notes and then finishes crisp with lemon zest and grapefruit peel notes. A very refreshing beverage to serve on a hot day.

Suggested Food Pairing: “This is such a food-friendly ale that it is hard to think of something that won’t work with it” remarks Shawn. Pair with oysters, lightly grilled seafood (try the Grilled Mussels recipe we’ve included), beer-can barbecue chicken or an artisan cheese & charcuterie board.

Bière de Garde (French Style Farmhouse Ale)

biere de garde label closeupWith a deeper colour and more malt-forward notes, this one is for sipping on the porch as the sun goes down and the heat of the day relents. 9% ABV

Tasting Notes: The aromas are definitely more malt forward, with toffee, grapes, and some dried fruit and spice notes. The palate is similar with caramel and toffee dominating, some stewed fruits, and a slightly earthy taste. With a creamy mouthfeel, the mid-palate offers a hint of sweetness but the finish is dry and crisp with pleasant hop bitterness to refresh. 

Suggested Food Pairing: This is another food friendly beer and the versatility of this one will match with just about anything off the barbeque. Try it with grilled burgers and sausages, or cheese based quiches (class French recipe follows). 

Pitchfork Porter (Porter)

oast pitch fork porter tagA classic Porter with 5.3% ABV, and a surprisingly refreshing palate!

Tasting Notes: Aromas of molasses, dark malts, coffee, and dried fruit. The creamy palate is quite similar with the prune and fig notes being more noticeable. With some additional coffee bitterness on the finish, this well-balanced beer goes perfectly with a cool spring evening. There’s lower carbonation in this beer and you’ll want to drink this one while it is still fresh.

Suggested Food Pairings: Try this one with lightly grilled meats, meat based stews (Shawn’s shares his Beef Stroganoff recipe on the following pages), nut loaf, or a glazed ham.


• Recipes to enjoy with the featured Savvy Hip Hops •

 

 With Oast House Saison…

Grilled Mussels (Grilled Moules Frites)

From The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook by David Ort

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4-6 Servings

Ingredients

2 lb (1 kg) mussels
1 lb (500 g) mixed new potatoes, washed
1 tsp (5 mL) fennel seeds
3 Tbsp (45 mL) olive oil
2 tsp (10 mL) kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

 Method 

Gently dump the bag of mussels into a colander in your kitchen sink and rinse them with cold water. Look for any with broken shells or with open shells that don’t close when the shell is tapped and discard these. Most cultivated mussels are carefully cleaned before they make it to the store, but if you find any that still have beards, pull the beards off.  Hold the cleaned mussels in a large mixing bowl. 

Set a large handful of hardwood chips (cherry or apple are ideal) to soak in water for 30 to 60 minutes. Drain water away and transfer chips to an 18-inch-long (45 cm) piece of aluminum foil. Gather the chips into a pile and fold the aluminum foil around the pile to form a closed packet. Use a fork to perforate the top side of the packet with 20 to 30 holes.

Bring a medium-large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes in half. The most delicious part of the potato is the surface that will eventually be in contact with the hot oil, so keep the goal of maximizing the surface area of the cut face in mind as you decide which way to bisect each potato. Place the cut potatoes in the boiling water and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until you can just barely slide a paring knife into them.

Once the potatoes are in the boiling water, you can head outside to deal with heating the grill. Lift the grate of your propane grill and place the wood chips packet on the metal bars or lava rocks that sit between the element and the cooking bars. Light the grill and heat it on high with the lid down for 8 minutes.

Back inside, transfer the parboiled potatoes from the hot water to a plate lined with paper towels. Dry thoroughly and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the crushed fennel seed, olive oil, kosher salt and several grinds of black pepper.

When the grill is heated and smoky, reduce the heat of all burners to medium. Open the lid and transfer the potatoes directly to the grill. Pour the mussels over top and use a pair of tongs to keep them in a pile. Close the grill’s lid and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.

Have a large serving bowl and pair of long-handled tongs ready. Open the grill and start removing any mussels that have opened or potatoes that are well browned on the bottom. Periodically close the lid for 1 to 2 minutes to wait for the slower ones to cook. Once nearly all the shells are open, discard any mussels with unopened shells.

Serve with Oast House Brewers Saison.


With Oast House Bière de Garde…

Cheese Quiche

(Goyère de Valencienne)
From Shawn McCormick’s kitchen

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 6 Servings

Ingredients

1 pie shell (your own or store-bought)
1 ½ cups grated sharp cheese (cheddar or other)
2 eggs
3 Tbsp milk or cream
½ tsp basil (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste

Method

If using a fresh pie shell, fill the bottom one layer deep with beans (to keep the dough from bubbling up) and bake at 400F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and save the beans for another use.

Whisk the eggs and add the milk or cream, then add the salt & pepper. Mix in the grated cheese and pour the egg & cheese mixture into the hot pie shell.

Bake at 325F for 20-25 minutes until set.

Let cool for 5 minutes and then serve with Oast House Bière de Garde.

 

With Oast House Pitchfork Porter…

Beef Stroganoff

From Shawn McCormick’s kitchen

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4-6 hours
Yield: 6 Servings

Ingredients

1 kg of stewing beef
500g mushrooms
1 small onion, chopped finely
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
750mL-1L Oast House Pitchfork Porter
4-5 Tbsp olive or other cooking oil

Method

Brown the beef in small batches in lightly oiled fry pan. As each batch is browned on all sides (still red in the center), remove and place into a slow cooker or large casserole dish.

Sauté the onions and mushrooms in the same fry pan and stir into the cooked beef.

Deglaze the fry pan with a few glugs of the porter, scraping to get any stuck bits and add to the beef/onion/mushroom mixture. Add enough porter to the cooking vessel to just cover the ingredients. Add salt and pepper and stir.

Cook in the slow cooker on low heat for 6-8 hours. If using a casserole dish in the oven, cover and cook for 4 hours at 300F. Stir every hour or so to make sure the meat is covered in liquid.

Once the meat is tender, thicken the broth with a few tablespoons of sour cream. Serve over rice or egg noodles, paired with the remaining Oast House Pitchfork Porter.

 

Cheers & Enjoy your Savvy Hip Hops!

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