Thursday, September 1, 2011

Saranac Octoberfest

I've been a fan of Saranac for years; I mean, years. Drinking Saranac, a good Saranac, makes me realize how long I've been at this. I was enjoying Saranac back in...1985? Wow. And I watched Saranac grow and develop: Saranac Amber, Saranac Golden (a delicious crisp pilsner), Black Forest, Black & Tan, Stout, Pale Ale, Hefeweizen, and for God's sake, Russian Imperial Stout that kicked ass.

I got a 12-pack of samples just before I left on vacation, didn't get a chance to even open it, but yesterday I tore them open: Saranac Octoberfest and Pumpkin Ale. I stuck three Ofests in the freezer as I was quickly putting the last touches on dinner, and when the spuds and pork and onions were ready, I poured two of them into a half-liter willbecker and hit the trough.

This is one damned fine beer. I'm kind of picky about Ofests -- hope I don't have to judge them at GABF -- because the malt character's so crucial, but they've done a great job here. It's solidly medium-bodied -- not too light, not too heavy -- dryly malty, and not glopped up with caramel. It was so good I had the third one, and it didn't mess me all up: 5.4%, a good strength for a beer you want to dive into a bit. I've got three freebies left, but I believe I'm going to have to get more of this.


Anonymous said...

Lew, you should try adding some peeled and thinly sliced apples in with the onions for you pork recipe. I've made a similar dish using apple brandy and cream instead of the chicken broth, and it's delicious.

Anonymous said...

There you go again,with the samples come on Pumpkin Head try the Brooklyn Post Road its your time of the year, you will not take much heat,might set you back $12 Bucks for the six to go just expense it and send it up to the evil empire.

Lew Bryson said...

You see the crazy, delusional crap I have to put up with? Ach. Blogging, it's such a pain...

Steven said...

"I'm kind of picky about Ofests -- hope I don't have to judge them at GABF -- because the malt character's so crucial..."

I know exactly what you mean, my friend -- and here I go volunteering for category 3 every year at my local HBC.

BTW -- I tried Shiner's Okto last night, just a little underwhelmed. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Oh, and just delete the posts by the mopes who hide behind anonymous. And can't punctuate.


Gary Gillman said...

That is an excellent recipe, Lou. I'd advise some Saranac Black Forest to accompany, aka the old Prior Double Dark (apparently), darling of the pre-craft beer era as you know.

Your recipe is remarkably similar to a pork-and-onions recipe from Picardy in France, called La Caghuse (no idea what the name means). However, there is one important difference: all the Caghuse recipes I've seen advise to eat it cold! I am not sure why this is.

Here is an example in French but I'd think you can follow it with high school or college French:

The French recipes use stock or wine, and always vinegar. Although Picardy is part of the northern beer lands, I haven't seen a Caghuse recipe which uses beer even though it would seem logical to do so.

Check it out, Lew, and let us know is life is better a la francaise or a la Brysonaise! :)


Lew Bryson said...

Not surprising, then, Gary: it's an Italian recipe! The original called for chicken, and one time I had a pork tenderloin...and I improvised, and we never went back. I kind of like the idea of vinegar, though; might have to try that. I've done it with a bottle of dark beer (like the Black Forest), and that's good, too. Versatile recipe.

Gary Gillman said...

Hmm, Italian eh? Well, the Spanish ruled in Northern France/Flanders at one time, so the Mediterranian connection kind of makes sense - as would a dish consumed cold now that I think of it. Like caveach, say, another transplant to Flanders. Thanks Lew!


Anonymous said...

I enjoy the Saranac beers as well. Black Forrest is one of my favorites. Actualy toured the brewery in Utica a few years back.Really enjoyed it. If i see the Octoberfest I;ll pick it up. My wife is a big fan of the Saranac Pumpkin Ale. Ive bought here 8-10 different ones this month and Saranac is her stand by. The other old time upstate NY brewer, Genny,High Falls, NorhtAmerica or whatever they re called makes some pretty solid beers too. But the Dundee beers I see are just the variety packs. I would love to see the porter in sixes or try the other new beers they ve brought out.