Someone get me like, four of these…

March 5, 2010 - Leave a Response

…seriously. I won’t drink them now–I promise. It’s just that taxes, paperwork and coordinating the pickup of an armoire in Chicago make me so ANGRY! And Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch IPA perfectly exemplifies the mood I’m currently in.

Image courtesy of Flying Dog Brewery

I feel like I should always have this beer on hand–and if I’m drinking it, you’ve been warned!

I love that the beer is described as “sassy.” And it’s a Belgian-style. Sounds like my kind of beer.

Only 8 weeks to go until my beer break is finished. So, I need suggestions: what should my first post-pregnancy beer be?

Ok, I’m going to go do some yoga now and try to simmer down. Wish me luck.

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Save me a Cherry Stout!

February 7, 2010 - 2 Responses

Oh great. Another fantastic-sounding, limited edition ale that I’m missing out on. New Glarus Brewing Company recently released a new Unplugged beer, a series of blink-and-you’ll-miss-them beers that I always love. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed other beers in the series, including the Old English Porter (read about it here!). Originally seventh in the series (New Glarus has re-released it) is the gold medal-winning Unplugged Cherry Stout. Brewed with Wisconsin Montmorency cherries and eight Wisconsin barleys, this beer sounds truly Sconnie (and truly delicious!) I’ll have to drink it vicariously through Tim for now, but I’m definitely adding it to the list of beers I can enjoy post-pregnancy–if he can manage to save me one!

This should satisfy a few cravings…

January 15, 2010 - 2 Responses

I have a bit of a sweet tooth right now. I didn’t realize how bad it was until Tim pointed out that I came home from the grocery store with donuts, coffee cake and zero vegetables. (In my defense, I bought veggies the day before.) He’s taken to not-so-subtly suggesting I need to add some greens to my diet stat, or Baby Clara is going to come out of the womb demanding vanilla long johns and chocolate pecan turtles.

Photo by Tim Cigelske

Now, clearly I miss beer (see previous post about the break-up), and it doesn’t help when Tim brings home something like Sprecher’s Generation Porter, brewed with Dutch chocolate and raspberry concentrate. Beer brewed with chocolate?! I’m dying over here.

Well, the beer and bakery gods are smiling down on me. First, I  see a post on Draft Magazine’s website about a bakery that sells cupcakes made with beer on Etsy. Options include chocolate cake with Guinness or Newcastle, white cake spiked with Blue Moon or you can request your favorite beer and they’ll incorporate it into a recipe for you. The good news? The alcohol is baked out, so even pregnant Crafty Gals like me can enjoy them.

Second sign I’m meant to eat cupcakes with beer immediately, if not sooner–the Iron Cupcake: Milwaukee challenge this month features beer cupcakes. Michelle Garcia, a baker from Food Network’s Cake Challenge, will judge the January 18th event. (How do I get that job?!)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be in my kitchen perfecting my Sprecher Generation Porter Chocolate Raspberry cupcakes. And promptly eating them.

Breaking up is hard to do

December 29, 2009 - 3 Responses

Beer and I have broken up.

But I swear, it’s only temporary. Really. We talked for hours about it. We just need some time apart. I’m not seeing any other alcoholic beverages. Yes, I had that fling with Wine back in 2008, but it was just a phase. I need to experience new things, make new friends, live life on my own for awhile. It’s not you, it’s me.

The truth is I’m pregnant, and believe it or not, it’s not just a food baby. Having a baby makes writing about beer a bit of challenge, which is why this blog died for awhile. But I’ve administered a little CPR and revived it. So look for beer reviews by other Crafty Gals, profiles of women in the beer industry and posts about the beers I miss the most and which ones are in queue for when I can drink again.

Beer and I will get back together someday. I’m sure of it.

A beer so complex, I’m ready to solve some calculus equations

August 19, 2009 - One Response
Photo by Brandon Meves

Photo by Brandon Meves

It’s a beautiful night in Whitefish Bay, WI…perfect for sitting outside with Tim and Sadie the Beagle, listening to the crickets and trying out a new beer.

We just got a six-pack of New Glarus Unplugged Old English Porter, a very limited edition that they make no promises to ever brew again. Owner and brewmaster Dan Carey was inspired by the writings of English beer historian Graham Wheeler to create “a brown porter based on the style popular in 1870’s London.” You even get a history lesson of the porter on the bottle. Nothing like drinking a good beer and getting educated at the same time.

This beer is made for sipping, not gulping. I learned that the hard way when I took my first gulp and almost had to spit it out. The porter DEMANDS you drink it slowly. It grabs you by your shoulders and shakes you until you comply. Take a moment to savor the rich brown sugar scent of the porter, and if you’re like me, you’ll have the sudden urge to go bake something.

Old English Porter is sour, sharp, and almost vinegar-like when it first hits the palette. My first reaction was that it tastes like Komubcha, a fermented, acidic tea. The high acidity forces you to savor it patiently. It hits the back of the throat HARD, but the smokey, porter finish is sweet and smooth.  A contradiction in a bottle.

This beer is not for the faint of heart. I’m all for enlightening potential Crafty Gals who say, “I don’t really like beer,” but this is not a beer I would suggest to just anyone. In hindsight, Old English Porter is on the opposite end of the spectrum from a typical “beer” beer, so this may sway some ladies who prefer wine.

Summer–move along. It’s time for fall beer.

August 16, 2009 - Leave a Response

Southern Tier Brewing

It’s an accidental beer night at the Cigelske household–but that’s the best kind, right?

I asked Tim to stop on his way home at the Blatz Liquor store in downtown Milwaukee for some celebration beer. Good news came in threes today, and fancy beer was needed. I had heard from a Blatz employee on Twitter that they had Southern Tier’s Imperial Pumpking Ale in stock, the right cure for a gal who’s always a little nostalgic for autumn.

Sold in a 22 oz bottle, this utterly delectable ale packs a 9% ABV punch, which would warm up the coldest soul on a crisp fall night. Drink it on a warm summer evening, and you’re ready to start removing articles of clothing halfway through your first goblet.

Did I mention the beer is 9% ABV? I need to open another window.

A beautiful rich, copper color, this beer is boozy, with a lingering spice that sticks with you for awhile. The pureed pumpkin is present, but not overwhelming, and is spicy rather than sickly sweet. Southern Tier recommends serving it chilled in a goblet at 40 degrees to “allow its alluring spirit to overflow.”

This beer would convert any summer lover to long for the cool nights of fall.

Crack open the Imperial Pumpking when you’re ready to hunker down in your favorite sweater. Or if you’re like me and can’t wait for the weather to turn, throw open all the windows, hope for a strong breeze, and dream of romantic autumn nights to come.