Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bar Harbor Beer and Beer Brats

Our Beer Adventures in Bar Harbor were successful and frequent. From our first night at West Street Cafe and with a pint of Bar Harbor Real Ale to our last night at Lompoc Cafe with multiple pints of other beers made by Atlantic Brewing Company...we drank varied styles of beer, but all of good quality. Matt's favorite is the Coal Porter by Atlantic Brewing Company which he says is roasty and chocolaty. My favorite is the Bar Harbor Real Ale made by the same which is malty, but with a nice mellow hint of hops, but not too bitter. I also really enjoyed the Thunder Hole Ale made by Bar Harbor Brewing Company. Although not a Bar Harbor-brewed beverage, Matt enjoyed a couple different Peak Organic Beers at Mache Bistro (that was a night of two glasses of Spanish bubbly for me).

We brought home so much beer. Aside from a few six packs and bombers currently making their way from the fridge to our stomachs, we brought home a few beers that need time. Like a fine wine, these beers will become better with age. Amongst them is a bottle of a braggert from Atlantic Brewing Company. A braggert is a half-breed of a beer and a mead. Made with 2000 pounds of honey put in along with the grain bill, it is sweet, but not cloying or syrupy like I find most meads to be. Just sweet enough, but with an edge that makes it perfect for sipping. I'm thinking a little apple pie or creme brulee to pair. Although drinkable now, we are going to wait at least a year before opening this exquisite libation.

Last night I made some beer brats with homemade beer and Raye's Bar Harbor Real Ale Mustard. Paired with Bar Harbor Real Ale, they were quite amazing. I steamed the brats (okay, I used Irish Style Pork Bangers from Whole Foods, but the ingredients are quite similar) in a steamer basket for 20 minutes over about 8 ounces of homemade saison. The brats were then grilled in my grill pan over medium high heat for 10 minutes, with lots of turning. I then made beer-melized onions, also with the saison. Into a roll with a lot of mustard, wash it down with some Bar Harbor Real Ale, and it's perfect for watching a Red Sox game on an early fall evening.

Since we returned home with a finite amount of Real Ale, we didn't want to sacrifice a bottle for cooking. However, we decided that if the beer brats and mustard were so amazingly good with a mismatch of beer for cooking and condiment/drinking...we're going to dedicate a bottle of the Real Ale next time to discover what is truly the taste of nirvana.

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