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Archive for May, 2012

Old Credit Brewing and Food (Part 2) No Comments »

For part two of the Ontario Brewer Podcast on Old Credit Brewery, Mirella and Old Credit assistant brewmaster Ralph Senuto focus on the Old Credit Holiday Honey and Old Credit Amber Ale. Ralph leads a tasting of the two beers, explaining how ingredients and process affect each beer’s flavour and appearance. He also provides some tips on proper serving temperature.

Mirella and Ralph are joined by Chef Howard Dubrovsky, who shares his perspective on the flavours in each beer and how these flavours inspired some surprising pairings. As the group samples through the pairings, Chef Howard shares the recipes for each dish. The first pairing illustrates how contrasting flavours can play off each other and highlight notes in the beer.  The second is a complementary pairing in which the beer flavours & texture complements the food, resulting in what Chef Howard describes as a flavour profile that is “larger than the sum of its parts”.

A special thanks to our partner for this podcast: Howard Dubrovsky

At the age of 10, able to copy dishes he saw prepared on TV, Howard Dubrovsky was already experimenting with foods and flavours. It was not long before Howard realized that making great food would be his life’s calling. Howard is a published writer, photographer, kick boxer, food stylist, and world traveler – oh, and an accomplished chef. Howard has all the gastronomic chops you’d expect from a top culinary artist. But, it is this comestible connoisseur’s modernist ethos and edgy, DIY attitude that separates him from the rest of the pack. As likely to kick back with science geeks as to swap recipes with other chefs, Howard is hip, hungry, and on the cutting edge of cuisine. Howard has appeared on numerous TV programs and was the owner of the highly acclaimed restaurant L.A.B. in Toronto.

Old Credit Brewing and Food (Part 1) No Comments »

For this month’s edition of the Ontario Brewer Podcast, Mirella Amato of Beerology gets the inside scoop on Old Credit Brewery from brewery president Aldo Lista and assistant brewmaster, Ralph Senuto.

The pair discusses the history of the brewery and the unique brewing process introduced by the original Old Credit brewmaster Orrin Besco. Aldo Lista shares the story of the Old Credit logo and the seven-year legal battle that was fought to keep it. Aldo and Ralph then share some info about the Old Credit Amber Ale and Old Credit Holiday Honey, which are the two featured beers this month. Finally, the two discuss which of the three Old Credit brands is their favourite and why.

Pairing Ontario Local Beer With Local Cheese No Comments »

by Andrew K.

After a few dozen visits to the Covent Garden Farmer’s Market in London, Ontario, I realized that I really liked cheese and craft beer – especially those made in Ontario. Unfortunately, I didn’t once think of combining them. Wine drinkers seem to have the monopoly on food pairings, and so it just didn’t occur to me that beer and cheese could be beautifully matched.

It turns out they work perfectly together. Craft beer is diverse enough (perhaps even more so that wine) that beers can deal handily with all the types and degrees of flavor found in cheese. And since Ontario’s beer and cheese scenes are full of great companies producing world-class products, you don’t have to worry about one outshining the other. Just take this guide in hand before you head down to your local farmer’s market, and when you get to the LCBO or Beer Store on the way back, you’ll be ready to explore some classic pairings for beer and cheese.

1. Highland Blue Cheese with Stonehammer Oatmeal Coffee Stout – Back Forty and F&M Brewery.

Tangy, rich, and herby, the Highland from Back Forty is not for the faint of heart. To stand up against the thick, sharp taste of the blue mold, only the Stonehammer Oatmeal Coffee Stout will do. This beer from F&M Brewery has the heavy mouthfeel that oat adjuncts can add, and there’s enough balance between sweetness and bitterness that the coffee, oatmeal, and chocolate notes all work well together. The Oatmeal Coffee Stout has everything that is underrepresented in the cheese, and that’s what makes the combination work so well together.

2. Heritage 6 Year Cheddar with Crazy Canuck Pale Ale – Balderson and Great Lakes Brewing.

Dry, crumbly and strong, this is the oldest cheddar that Balderson make, so it needs a similarly kicking beer to even it out. It’s a mistake to go too heavy on the mouthfeel here though, and too much bitterness will overwhelm the cheddar (which is still a fairly mild cheese). Pairing wines with this sort of cheese is a similar balancing act: not too dry or tannic, and not too fruity or sweet either. For those reasons, I’d recommend an American-style pale ale with enough west-coast hops to notice, but not too many to overwhelm. From Great Lakes Brewing, the Crazy Canuck Pale Ale fits the bill.

3. Neige de Babette and Netherworld Cascadian Dark Ale – Brebis and Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery.

The last of three cheesemakers from Lanark County on this list, Brebis is a thoroughly French affair. Their Neige de Babette is a coulommiers-style cheese, which is like a less-squishy brie. The rind is probably the most distinctive part of the cheese, though it’s incredibly rich, so whatever beer you drink with it better be malty or it will not keep up. To that end, crack open a bottle of Flying Monkey’s Netherworld. It’s a “Cascadian Dark Ale,” and it tastes a little bit like the offspring of a dark lager and a hoppy porter, which is just the thing to balance out the coulommier rind.

4. Mozzarella with Dark Lager – Empire Cheese and King Brewery.

If you’ve ever had beer with good pizza, then you’ve already had a good taste of what the right lager can do for mozzarella. With the milky, clean, and nearly sweet flavors of mozzarella, you’ll want to get something a little darker and effervescent to contrast it. To that end, the King Brewery Dark Lager is a perfect match. It’s a Munich dunkel, which is brewed with the same philosophy that mozzarella is made: with only a few ingredients of the highest quality. Unlike other lagers, the dark Munich malts give body and depth to this beer, which offsets the milky creaminess of the mozzarella. All said, though, it’s still a very drinkable lager, so if you do end up putting your cheese on a pizza, you’ll have something great to wash it down with.

5. Chèvre and a Belgian-style Wit – Fifth Town and Mill Street Brewery.

You know what they need in the Toronto airport? A Fifth Town booth. They’ve already got a Mill Street bar where high-flying management consultants can get growler fills of any of their great beers while waiting for their flight, and that’s great. But considering how well any of Fifth Town’s chèvre is matched with the Mill Street Belgian-style Wit beer, it’s quite possible that there are serious business synergies to be maximized. Until that happens, we can find other ways to enjoy the value-add that this cheese-beer partnership represents. In English: the Wit works so good with chèvre. Fifth Town makes powerful enough chèvre that the unfiltered yeast really makes a difference, and the big citrus taste of the Wit is actually just what a tart goat cheese could use. In sum, you should optimize your leverage over low-hanging fruit by picking up a wheel of Fifth Town chèvre and a 6-pack of Mill Street Wit.

Andrew is a Community Coordinator at He is a homebrewer and food-eater who is always ready to tackle new cooking challenges with the help of his local farmer’s market.

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