Ray's Craft Beer Newsletter
Can't Beat Craft Beer and Grilled Meats 
May 2013
Volume 2 Issue 11 
Dear Rays Craft Beer Lovers,


Memorial Day has passed and we can officially begin the summer season. As we all know, that means one thing (besides lots of road construction) -- it's grilling time! Whether you're a charcoal craftsman or a propane proponent, you'll need a tasty beverage to pair with your meal. Wine can certainly go with grilled foods, but who wants to show up to a Brewers tailgate carrying a bottle of Châteauneuf du Pape? In this issue of the newsletter we'll pair beers with a variety of grilled treats and then wrap things up with another installment of, "Tales From the Beer Geek Shelf."




Dan Downes
Great River Farmer Brown Ale
Stift Engelzell Benno
Lagunitas Lucky 13
Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald
Tales from the Beer Geek Shelf
We're gonna need a bigger grill.
Grilled Vegetables and Great River Farmer Brown Ale


Grilling out isn't just for carnivores! When pairing beers with vegetables, we generally lean toward lighter beers (kölsch, pilsner, etc.) to showcase the delicate flavors. Grilling, however, totally changes the game as the light charring produced would overpower the aforementioned styles. To combat this, I prefer a beer with a medium-light body and a bit more roast. The Farmer Brown Ale from Great River Brewing out of Davenport, Iowa fills both requirements. One of the recent newcomers to the state, Great River mixes traditional styles with a bit of innovation to great effect. They probably would have been here even sooner, but someone actually stole their 800 lb canning line last year!

A dark brown color, the roasted malt aspects are pronounced with coffee, brown sugar and a bit of cocoa. Lightly hopped, this brown ale has a level of robustness that you don't normally find in the style. Smooth and creamy, much of the bouquet transfers to the taste along with some nuttiness, toffee and caramel. The chocolate characteristics are also more noticeable than the nose would suggest. We often associate brown ales with fall, but this certainly holds its own in the summertime! 
Chicken and Stift Engelzell Benno


So good even the monks double fist it.

If vegetables aren't your thing and you'd rather toss some chicken on the grill, you can't go wrong with saisons. Also known as farmhouse ales, saisons were traditionally brewed in winter to be consumed in the summertime. Originating in Wallonia (the southern, French speaking portion of Belgium), each farm brewer would make their own distinctive version. The ale had to be strong enough to prevent from spoiling during winter, but at the same time not impair the workers. I mean, who wants a drunk guy swinging a sickle? It's not like we live in Philadelphia.


A darker shade than some of the other saisons we've disucssed, the Belgian yeast dominates with banana, clove and earthy aromas. The malt aspects hide in the background, but you still detect a slight note of caramel. The aromatics may be light, but definitely not the taste. Initially you'll pick up malty, bready sweetness, but it soon transitions to a rounded bitterness on the back end. Finishing dry, the spice notes (mostly pepper) and lemon peel derived from the yeast pair well with whatever spice rub you decide to use on the grill. It goes great with buffalo wings, too!

Sausages and Lagunitas Lucky 13



Since this is Wisconsin, no grill-out would be complete without some sausages! Whether you're using Brats, Italians, Polish or any other encased goodies, you'll want something with a bit more hops to cut through that fat. IPAs work, but a larger malt profile helps balance out the flavors. That's why I reach for Imperial Red Ales. Specifically, the the latest seasonal from the hop heads over at Lagunitas -- Lucky 13. First brewed in 2006 to celebrate their thirteenth anniversary, they've released it every year under the same name and have even changed the recipe a few times. Why? Because that's how Lagunitas does things. 


This year's batch, however, is actually a throwback to the original recipe; something they call, "A Large Mondo Red." Deep amber in color, the hops strike right away as melon, resin, spice and herbal qualities all meld together. The taste mirrors the aroma in a lot of ways in addition to some citrus and grapefruit. A lingering bitterness follows, but the food will be more than enough to stand up as the caramelization from the grill will draw out the malt in the beer. At 8.9%, be careful how many of these you put down before you have a sausage race of your own. Don't be like the bratwurst.

Courtesy of beerlabelsinmotion.tumblr.com
Steak and Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald 


Sometimes you just want to grill up a big, fat steak. If that's the case, you'll need something with enough flavor to stand up to the beef. Named after the ship that sunk into Lake Superior in 1975, Great Lake's Edmund Fitzgerald is just such a beer. Technically classified as a robust porter, the BJCP categorizes the style as a, "Stronger, hoppier and/or roastier version of porter designed as either a historical throwback or an American interpretation of the style."


Near black in appearance, the beer definitely fulfills the roasted component of the definition. Coffee, chocolate and vanilla aromas combine with dark fruit notes of fig and raisins. These same characteristics carry through to the taste and make this one of the smoothest porters out there no matter what subheading you attach to it. The chocolate malt used in the process delivers coffee and (you guessed it) chocolate flavors. The hops balance out the sweetness and the Cascade varietal contributes a slight citric undertone. That's right, we just made a steak dinner even better. 
Tales from the Beer Geek Shelf
Saison Dupont Cuvée Dry Hopping 2013

Amidst all the great beers at Ray's Wine & Spirits, sometimes its hard to remember to stop by the Beer Geek Shelf. In this section we examine one particularly special beer because as Sir Francis Bacon and School House Rock taught us, "Knowledge is power!"



After five years of making a special dry hopped version of Saison Dupont, Brasserie Dupont has released the seasonal limited release to the United States for the first time! We were lucky enough to score some of this rare gem.


How does the dry hopping change the beer? I noticed a bit more grassy/floral aromas than the traditional Saison Dupont. Hopped exclusively with the Alsatian varietal, "Triskel," there's an element of bitterness, but they maintain the ingtegrity of the base beer by not overwhelming its nuance with huge hop additions. You'll mostly perceive some added citrus, grassiness and floral notes. Grab the original and compare them side by side!


Save 10%
Receive 10% of all beers featured in Volume 2 Issue 11 of the Ray's craft beer newsletter. Thus, it is limited to Great River Farmer Brown Ale, Stift Engelzell Benno, Lagunitas Lucky 13, Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald and Saison Dupont Cuvee Dry Hop. No limit. Not redeemable with any other special offers. 


Offer Expires: Sunday June 2nd at 5:00pm
Thanks again for subscribing to and reading Ray's craft beer newsletter. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to email me at dandownes@rayswine.com

Lastly, for up to the minute beer arrivals and release information, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook. We have also added lots of great craft beer events (in addition to excellent wine and spirit ones, too) in our upstairs tasting room. A full list can be found here

Dan & the gang at Ray's

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