The January meeting of the Ales for Females at Left Hand Brewing was another fun event. This month they focused on Winter Ales.
Many brewers make Spiced Beers as their Winter Ales. I am not particularly fond of the spiced beers so I was pleased that we were tasting non-spiced beers.
The first beer was Alaskan Winter Ale - brewed with Spruce Tips. This beer was served with slices of tangerine. The beer is in the style of an old english ale with a sweet-malt taste. It wasn't my favorite beer but okay.
Next up was Jubelale from Deschutes Brewery in Oregon. This beer was paired with Margaret's Artisan Bakery's Goji Berry and Pistachio Crisps. These were nice little crackers that went well with beer. We were served a few pieces of the crackers plain and two very small pieces of the cracker with a mild blue cheese. The crackers with the blue cheese were phenomenal with the beer! Strong ales go well with fat - in this case, blue cheese.
Lastly, we tasted Left Hand's Fade to Black . Fade to Black has chocolate, coffee and raisin flavors. This is a delicious beer and my current favorite winter beer. Fade to Black was served with Columbus Hot Fennel Salame. Again, strong beers taste good with some fat. The salame was excellent - the spicyness and fennel went great with the Fade to Black.
After the beer and food pairings. We were educated on the basic beer ingredients and how they relate to each other. Mashing is the process of breaking down starch into sugars.
More malt (malted barley) = more sugar = higher ABV. The commercial brewers use corn and rice along with some malt to make their beers. This is one reason their beers are not very flavorful nor strong.
I love Fade to Black!