So last weekend, my lady and decided to grab a couple of those “make your own” 6 packs from the Beagle. There were a few new beers we hadn’t heard of and some old favorites too, but mostly we got it to try some new seasonal beers we were curious about. I figured we’d do a few posts and talk about what we liked, why we liked them, and what dishes I’d pair them with.
First was the Newcastle Werewolf Blood Red Ale.
This one had a hoppy taste but it was clean. As you all know, we’re not big fans of hop, but this one was a nice medium hop. I liked the fact that it was red as hell. It’s called a “blood red ale” and the bottle’s all dark, but once you pour it, it truly does have a blood red coloring. You definitely wouldn’t know it to see it. This beer was also really clean. A lot of people like the taste that lingers but I don’t so this was good for me. Once you drink it, you’re done.
I think it lived up to its name because when you think of werewolves, you think of fall, winter, and darkness. This is a fall beer, but it’s not early fall with leaves and stuff. It’s that late fall transition into winter. Everything’s bare and destitute. For those who don’t know, werewolf lore revolves around the death cycle and that’s why it reminds me of the end of the season. In turn, it makes me think of piney things like rosemary, thyme and fennel. Those are all woodsy flavored things that would go well with other smoked goods. I don’t mean smoked like barbeque smoke but more like a campfire smoke. A nice apple-wood smoke would work well.
I think of what a werewolf would eat and I think of venison. With this I would do a cactus pear and blood orange marinated smoked venison. I would pair that with a caramelized fennel Yukon gold mashed potato, an heirloom tomato salsa, and finish it off with candied hazelnuts. If possible I’d do a prime rib. A lot of people like those lean cuts but they don’t have any flavor. You also don’t want anything too fatty because it gets real grisly. Prime ribs are right on with their beef-fat ratio. Like the ribeye, the prime rib has the perfect amount of marbling, which is fat coursing through the flesh and the flesh itself. It marinates well because that fat can take on real strong flavors.
We also tried the Yuengling Oktoberfest.
To me, this screamed German American. Not that I’m that well versed in German beers but for some reason that’s what popped into my head. I could be totally wrong but what I thought was German beer. It was very medium body. It wasn’t like drinking a meal but it wasn’t light either. It was also very, very super fall. And super early fall — like pumpkins, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and caramel. Basically all things Halloweeny. It also tasted like an autumn bonfire. When I think of an autumn bonfire, I think of an early autumn smell and taste when everything is freshly dead.
This may sound weird, but the Newcastle tasted like fall-death to me towards the end of the season. This Yuengling, though, tasted like the beginning of the end of the season when it’s not too cold and there’s still that first leaf feel about. The air has that earthy smell and a bonfire gives off that fresh burn smell. Not like a campfire. If you don’t know what I mean, think of a bag of chips. You know how the first time you open the bag, the chips are crisp and fresh and have that just opened smell? But then later, it starts to taste stale and old and not bad but not good? It’s like that, but the bonfire is the new bag and the campfire is the old bag.
I would do a German mixed plate kind of dish for this one. I’d make an orange and tomato braised lamb osso buco, a chicken schnitzel with a honey clove soft boiled egg on top, and sausage that consists of marjoram, thyme, pepper and pork with a maple glaze on top. There’s a lot of edible pumpkins out there, so why not treat it like an acorn squash and peel it, slice it, and grill it. The whole platter would come with chargrilled rosemary pumpkin slices and a lemon braised red cabbage.
Like I said, we have a few more beers to go but I want to do something a little different. If you read one of these pairings and are like “Damn, that sounds good!” tell me in a comment and I’ll make it for one of our next entries.