Originally posted @ A Pig’s Ear
I had really hoped to get to Jack’s Abby Brewery this weekend to have a look at the craft brewery in my own town. When I had found out about a month ago that there existed such magical place in Framingham, I felt like a kid again trying to see how I could get to the North Pole.
But alas, a trip across town can often be like planning a trip to the Arctic Circle when you live in Framingham, MA. I got all tangled up in life and was not able to drag the family to the brewery for their Saturday Taste and Tour.
I didn’t let that stop me from enjoying some of the goodness of the Abby though. I ended up picking up a pack of their Smoke and Dagger Black Lager. I could not have picked a better beer with which ring in October. With strong hints of coffee and a smoky smooth finish, a glass of Smoke and Dagger felt more like a warm cozy blanket on a cold, rainy Fall night.
Smoke and Dagger is my go-to beer for the changing season. I mix it with Shipyard’s Pumpkinhead to make my own version of their Smashed pumpkin (which is much better than what you buy in stores).
And I didn’t just stop with drinking it! I got in the Autumn mood so badly that I cooked a fantastic pork loin in the slow cooker with apples. My house smelled so good.
I am definitely a new convert to the Abby. I will make the pilgrimage their one of these days. So excited to see craft brewing happening in town.
Below is the concoction I came up with for dinner which my entire family devoured including my 14-month-old and my 4-year-old:
Smoke and Cider Pork
|4-5 lb boneless shoulder roast
Salt & Pepper
4 T Butter
2 Apples, peeled, halved & cored
1 bottle of Jack’s Abby Smoke and Dagger Black Lager
1/4 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 T. apple cider vinegar
|Trim away any fat on roast. Roll meat up and tie securely at intervals with kitchen twine. Sprinkle generously with salt & pepper. In large frying pan, heat oil. Add pork and brown on each side, about 10 min. Add onions and apples until lightly browned, about 5 min. Remove roast from pan, and drain fat. Then add beer to pan to deglaze, scrapping up bits. Cook until beer liquid starts to thicken, about 10 min. Add cider vinegar. Sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste. Place pork in bottom of slow cooker. Place apples and onions all around and sprinkle with brown sugar. Pour beer & cider mixture over top. Cover and cook until meat is tender, about 8-10 hours on the low heat setting.|
We just got back from an amazing week in Denver for the Great American Beer Festival®. The festival had 4 long sessions, and when we were not there we were rushing to get to as many local breweries as possible. It was both exhausting and exhilarating, and ended with the unforgettable experience when Smoke & Dagger won a bronze medal in the Smoked Beer category.
Some people have asked us what we submitted for judging and in which categories they were entered. This sounds like something that should be easy, but many of our beers do not fit neatly into one of the establish categories. So here are our submissions along with some our thoughts:
- Hoponius Union was entered as an American-Style India Pale Ale. This was by far the hardest choice we had to make. Hoponius unfortunately does not fit at all into any of the lager categories so it got entered with 202 other IPAs. Next year we may try our luck entering it as an Imperial Pilsner.
- Jabby Brau was entered as a session lager.
- Smoke & Dagger was entered as an ‘Other Smoke Beer’. I wanted to enter this as an American Style Dark Lager because I was not sure it was smoky enough. It was a good thing that Jack did not listen.
- Framinghammer Baltic Porter was entered as a Baltic Porter.
- Brett Biere de Garde was entered as an American-Style Brett Ale.
- Copper Legend Octoberfest was entered as a German-Style Marzen.
This was a great learning experience for us, and there are a lot of things we could do to improve the GABF experience. For one, we did not realize until very late that the beer had to be in Denver almost a month beforehand. Next year we may change our production around a little to get some different beers out in time to be judged. We will also plan ahead a little more to set up refrigerated transportation for the beer instead of standard shipping.
Hopefully there will be more Massachusetts breweries entering next year so we can coordinate these things together. It was actually kind of sad how few New England breweries were represented at the GABF; our section was by far the smallest. As we are the farthest region from the festival there a lot of extra costs involved in attending and getting the beers shipped for judging. Next year we will try to work together to lower costs wherever possible and try to get some of the other excellent breweries in our region involved.
This weekend we used Peanut Butter Smoke & Dagger to create a delicious Beer-B-Q sauce that we used to marinate chicken breasts for our BBQ. We’ve also made this recipe using the regular Smoke & Dagger, which is equally delicious. See recipe below and enjoy!
* 1 cup of warm J&A beer
* 1 cup ketchup
* 1/4 cup white vinegar
* 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
* 1 tablespoon onion powder
* 1 teaspoon dry mustard
* 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
* 1/2 cup finely chopped onion (optional)
1. Mix all but the chopped onions in a heavy pot and bring to a boil. Let this simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Add the onion and lemon zest. Simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Blend using a mixer if you like yours chunky or a blender to puree it making it smooth.
A few of us here at barismo fashion ourselves to be amateur craft beer geeks and spend our days off trying to discover exciting new beers. After drinking copious amounts of coffee during an average day here at the roastery, it is almost necessary to drink a few pints of some good, local beer to get back to normal. The beer scene in Massachusetts is burgeoning and we have been interested in finding a brewer to collaborate with to come up with some interesting coffee beers. Our green coffee buyer Silas and I took a trip out to Framingham to check out the Jack’s Abby brewery in the early fall and were blown away by the beers we sampled. We had no idea that lagers could be so complex and nuanced, and well, flavorful. Jack’s Abby quickly became our favorite local brewery and it has been great having more bars and restaurants around Cambridge adding some tasty lagers to their usual lineup.
It made a lot of sense to us to try developing a coffee lager, rather than a traditional coffee porter or stout. None of us have had a coffee beer in which we found the coffee actually well represented, previous to what Jack’s Abby has produced. In every other coffee beer I’ve tried, the purpose of adding the coffee is often a gimmicky way to market a beer that already has an inherent smoky, roasty flavor. Generally the coffee imparts very little to these already big, bold beers. To us, the flavor of roast is the least interesting aspect of coffee and for that reason we try to develop roast profiles that highlight the inherent flavor characteristics of the particular beans. Roasting a coffee darkly homogenizes flavors and muddles the varietal uniqueness that a particular coffee has to offer. We travel extensively in Central and South America to source some of the best coffee in the world directly from the farmers and producers. By roasting the coffee lightly, we are able to extenuate the delicate flavors of each coffee, rather than burying them under layer of roastiness.
The coffees that we have chosen to be brewed in the Jacks Abby beer have been very unconventional, as compared to what is often brewed with beer. The first coffee that I sent over was our Kenya Ruthangati. This coffee is extremely bright and sweet with a wonderful gr apefruit acidity. Kenya produces some of the most uniquely floral and aromatic coffee in the world. Brewed in the Smoke and Dagger, the Ruthangati brought an intense aroma that I’ve never encountered in a coffee beer before. The nose of the coffee Smoke and Dagger was wildly perfume-like and smelled of flower and tropical fruit. Much to my surprise, none of the acidity came through in the pint and it tasted more like melted coffee ice cream than beer. Unlike the overly intense coffee stouts I’ve tried in the past, I actually felt compelled to drink more than one of the coffee Smoke and Daggers.
We also sent over the Yellow Bourbon Microlot of El Bosque from Guatemala. This varietal offers extreme pear and tropical fruit sweetness, which shone through brilliantly in a batch of the Smoke and Dagger brewed with a very high dose of the Bosque. In the future, we’re looking forward to experimenting with differing methods of brewing or steeping the coffee in the beer. In particular, we’re excited to try doing a cold-brew coffee beer. Cold brew is a version of iced coffee made by steeping a high throw weight of coffee in cold water for eighteen to twenty four hours. The result is a thick, syrupy cold coffee that is about as smooth and clean as it gets. Adding cold brew to beer seems to be a given and we can’t wait to try what it tastes like in one of the delicious lagers coming out of Jack’s Abby.
Former Head Roaster, Barismo Inc.
I’m pretty sure I learned to love beer before I learned to cook, and certainly before I learned to cook with beer! My first adventures in cooking with beer were mostly marinades, but I quickly found that the right beer can bring almost any dish to life. The beers of Jack’s Abby are perfect for cooking—from the Jabby to the Framinghammer, they all feature distinct, confident flavors that are perfect for cooking.
Smoke & Dagger Dirty Rice puts a Framingham twist on a traditional Cuban dish. Many recipes for dirty rice call for the onion, pepper, and cilantro to be puréed into sofrito, but I think just dicing them adds texture and gives the beer a little more room to have a flavor presence in the final dish. It’s a simple recipe and, if you’re in a more carnivorous mood, a healthy dose of braised pork would be a natural addition. I paired it with a pint of Hoponius Union to balance the earthy flavor of the Smoke & Dagger, but I think it would also go great with a glass of Jabby Brau. Enjoy, and stay tuned for Cooking with Jack’s Abby #2!
Smoke & Dagger Dirty Rice and Beans
1 can of black beans (15 oz.)
2½ cups cooked white rice
1 cup (total) minced onion, green bell pepper, and cilantro
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon oregano
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
½ pint Jack’s Abby Smoke & Dagger
1 small can tomato sauce (8 oz.)
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil, apple cider vinegar
Extra cilantro to garnish
1) Before you begin, make sure your rice is done. If you’re using the rice cooker, the best thing to do is leave it on ‘Keep Warm’ while doing the rest of the cooking.
2) In a large pan, sauté the garlic in olive oil on high heat. After about 20 seconds, turn the heat down to medium and add the onion/pepper/cilantro mix. Stir slowly while adding the cumin, oregano, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
3) After another minute, add the tomato sauce, beans, and finally the beer. Stir continuously, but don’t forget to take a moment to enjoy the smell.
4) After five minutes, add a healthy splash of apple cider vinegar. Continue cooking for another minute.
5) In a large separate mixing bowl, mix the contents from the pan with the white rice. Stir until dirty.
6) Let it sit for 5 minutes, then serve with a liberal garnish of cilantro.
Jimi Michiel lives in Framingham and is a member of the Jack’s Abby Dart Team. He has previously written about classical and jazz music, but is excited at the opportunity to write about cooking with beer. He can be reached at email@example.com
We will be at The Bone in Framingham, starting at 6pm, to celebrate the release of our Smoke & Dagger black lager. Come join us for a great night with some great beers.
Invite your friends via the Facebook Event.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
6 – 9 PM
358 Waverley St (Rt 135)
Originally posted at The Beer Nut:
As we blogged last week, we have started brewing at Jack’s Abby Brewing. Last week we kicked things off with our one-time special brew, Red Tape Lager, and our first core beer, Saxon Sons Pilsner. Our next goal was to brew our other two core beers right away. We brewed the first of these, Smoke & Dagger, last Friday. Tomorrow, we will be brewing the last one, Hoponius Union.
Smoke & Dagger is a smokey, dark lager. It gets its character from a combination of beechwood smoked malt and chocolate malt. We are currently buying the smoked malt from Germany. Ideally, we’d like to find someone local who can smoke the malt we need. Thanks to the growing Jack’s Abby community, we have already received two leads that we are now investigating. If you know someone that would like to smoke 110 lbs. of malt a month, let us know.
For those of you that love a hoppy beer, you will want to check out our Hoponius Union. We are calling it our India Pale Lager. Sourcing many of the hops that we needed for this beer has been challenging, but we persevered with success. Hoponius Union will feature Amarillo, Citra, and Centennial hops. Whole leaf Centennial hops will also be used in the hopback to add to the aroma. What will differentiate Hoponious Union from a traditional IPA is that it will be lagered cold for an extended period of time. The result will be a fresh new take on a classic.
With our core beers well on their way, it will soon be time to brew our fall seasonal, Copper Legends, an Oktoberfest lager. Expect this to be ready at the end of August.
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