Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patty's Day from a Doyle


Happy St. Patrick's Day- A drinking holiday that is not religious, but commercial, where any red-blooded American can claim Irish heritage, and where inexplicably strangers can pinch you.

I was in the play Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel my senior year of high school.  In the climax scene, the sisters dance in the kitchen, one of them putting flour on her face as a mask.  I always romantically imagined if I were to ever live in Ireland, I would spend my afternoons gathering Peat Moss and singing, that hopefully making a loaf of Irish Soda Bread could be that exciting.

My mom has the habit of making Irish Soda Bread, and it is something quite simple and delicious.  Here's a nice recipe (and pic) from Closet Cooking, a great blog.

Irish Soda Bread
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup buttermilk

1. Mix the flour, baking soda, salt and rolled oats in a bowl.
2. Mix in the buttermilk and form a dough.
3. Shape the dough and place it on a baking sheet or in a loaf pan.
4. Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 40 minutes (the top should be golden brown).

Goes well with Lamb Stew, and Guinness Chocolate Pudding, and whiskey, and Moylan's Dragoons Dry Irish Stout.  It goes on. 

And now the Pogues...


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

El Segundo Brewing Co. Tasting

Once a month in Downtown LA, Golden Gopher Beer Society hosts a beer tasting in which local Professional Brewers share and talk about their beer with guests.  It's a whole lot of fun.  This past Monday, Thomas Kelley from El Segundo Brewing Co. brought 3 excellent beers for an eager crowd to taste.

Blue House Pale Ale 5.5% ABV, IBU-34
The perfect "lawnmower" beer.  Refreshing carbonation, nice aroma, with a bitterness that finishes clean.

Hyperion's Double Stout 7.5% ABV, IBU-35
Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!  Your girlfriend will love this beer.  Creamy with a sweet chocolate base, and a balance of bitter roasted coffee to balance.  (It smelled like coffee liqueur to me!) An experimentation in style that lies between the traditional or average stout, and your higher ABV Imperial Stouts. 

White Dog I.P.A. 6.7% ABV, IBU-53
Another successful experiment brewed for both hopheads and neophytes alike!  A fairly bitter but lighter-bodied IPA with some serious fruity notes.  This beer is made with 50% wheat in the mash to lighten the body and bring out the citrus character of the hops.  (Made with Sauvin hops from New Zealand, which amazingly taste like White Wine and Grapefruit!)

This was the first time I had ever tasted anything from El Segundo Brewing, and I was pleased as punch.  It was intriguing to hear Thomas Kelley speak about a wide range of topics on opening a brewery.  Did you know that hops are a huge commodity?  There is basically a Gold Rush, with growers raising prices based on availability of popular strains, so much so that brewers will often have to scratch an entire recipe because the hop is no longer available.  The Beer Chicks were in attendance, asking questions, drinking beers and cracking jokes along with the rest of us. 

El Segundo strives to become THE hop-centric brewery in Los Angeles.  They only opened production in May of 2011, and have found great success in the burgeoning LA Craft Beer Scene.   Look out for bottles in stores this summer.
El Segundo's Reserve Citra Pale Ale is on tap along with the 3 tasting beers this month at the Golden Gopher, located at 417 W. 8th Street. Downtown Los Angeles, 90014.  El Segundo brews can be found all over the Southland, including Beer Belly in Koreatown, Mohawk Bend in Echo Park, City Tavern in Culver City, and of course at the Tap Room at the brewery in El Segundo.

For more information on Golden Gopher Beer Society, come down to the bar and ask a bartender to hook you up, and stop by the 8th Street Bottle Shop on your way out!