Alaskan Brewing sent me a sample of their 21st anniversary beer, Alaskan IPA. This is one west coast brewery not known for hopping the crap out of their beer, so I was interested to see what they'd do with an IPA. Cathy and I split it with dinner tonight (chili and cornbread).
Not bad! I was actually expecting something bizarre and over-the-top -- I mean, they've been holding back -- but this was a nicely balanced beer, good hop aroma, firmly bitter and medium-bodied, but still crisply drinkable. The hops tamed the chili heat (it was a fairly mild batch I'd made back in February with beef chunks and bratwurst, then frozen, but I'd jazzed it up tonight with ground ancho chiles and a dusting of powdered chipotle for a nice smoky touch), the malt pulled the sweet out of the fresh-baked cornbread. Nice stuff. Wish I could get more of it around here.
When I make chili, no meat is safe. I'll use any of them. I've used pork, chicken, beef, turkey, a variety of sausages, veal, done in various ways. I like to grill it before adding it to the chili sometimes, adds a nice smoky flavor.
Yeah, yeah - I use beef, pork, turkey... need to take in the Brat possibility(ies) though, mull it around some.
Don't mull it too long: it wasn't a huge success. The Hungarian bratwurst, though, that was a different matter.
Alaskan's ESB is one of the best American ESB's I have ever had. Balance and biscutiy maltiness which others have a hard time reproducing. Too many glorified ambers running as ESB's.
I would love to taste what they did with an IPA.
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