So it’s December already and regardless of most of the snow disappearing once again the 26cm dumped on us the other day in the Ottawa region was a friendly reminder that it is no longer Fall and it’s now the Winter season. Winter is my favourite time of year, not only because of the holidays but of all of the delicious seasonals that get released.
I have been discussing recently with my roommate that we really needed to start doing beery dinners more now that I have some what of a set schedule. We did a few meals earlier in the year and one of them I wrote about in February (Cooking With Stouts & Porters.) So with the quick transition from Fall to Winter, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to do a beer oriented dinner with the same theme. Starting off with a Fall oriented beer with the entree and leading into the Winter seasonal with dessert.
Since credit is definitely needed to my roommate for the entree this is a great way to give a formal introduction. Brandy (@bitemyeakesott) is not only my best friend & roommate but an amazing cook who I had the pleasure of working with when she was the Sous at Lock 17. She now has decided to start up her own little cake business called Bite My Cakes, but I’m lucky enough to still have her cook with me and to collaborate with.
Starting off, the beers I wanted to use were both from Muskoka Brewery (Bracebridge, ON.) Muskoka Harvest Ale for the entree and Muskoka WinterBeard for dessert. It was an awesome way to have a Muskoka oriented dinner with the seasonals.
The entree was Brandys doing and my god was it incredible (Then again her food is always awesome, but I might be a little bias.) She decided to use the Harvest Ale in a meat pie. I know what you’re thinking but this wasn’t your typical meat pie, it was actually the monster of all meat pies… I’m serious… AAA ground beef simmered with caramelized onions, diced russet potatoes, pickled garlic, with an array of herbs & spices. Topped off with a generous splash of Muskoka Harvest Ale. Tented in a massive construction of flaky homemade pie crust.
When it came to dessert I was really excited to use WinterBeard again. This time I really wanted to make sure there was more focus on the beer and that it really came out with the dessert, rather than completely mixing it with something else. I like to keep things simple, it was also fairly late at night so simple seemed fine to me. I decided to pretty much make a beer float but bigger… Vanilla ice cream, with chocolate mocha mousse & fresh strawberries immersed in Muskoka Winterbeard double chocolate cranberry stout (Vintage 2012.) All of the flavors really worked well with the beer but I still say I still love the beer just on it’s own.
After we ate we both agreed that it was definitely a successful dinner, the other roommate also agreed. I really do love experimenting with beer and different foods but I have to say both beers are great and hold up on their own. I really can’t wait for our next beery dinner with that said we’ve decided to do this as a monthly write up called ‘Bite My Beer’ seeing as we’re cooking with beer. Hopefully it inspires other to start focusing around beer & food more too.
– The Beer Gypsy