Thursday, July 24, 2008

Brewfest and the Best Iced Coffee

Brewfest '08 was such a success on our part! This was a celebration of Joe's and my fourth anniversary, and we shared it with our good friend Lissa and a rotating game of cribbage. Whenever one of us left to get another "taste" of beer, another person took their place in the game. So we all won.

For those of you who think that Brewfest is the LEAST romantic place to be on an anniversary, let me fill you in. We chose to have our handfast on the morning of a Brewfest day. We exchanged vows, snogged publicly, and had our reception with beautiful three-tiered cakes made by Teresa, who is now making cakes for Pearl Bakery.( By the way, if you ever want gluten-free, dairy free cakes, she can do it. Just google Teresa Ulrich cakes, because, not only is she our friend, she's awesome. One day I'll tell you about the cribbage board cake she made for Joe's 44th birthday.) We then headed down to the Brewfest, and later sampled our homebrew. It was a 3 Parties in One Day sort of Wedding. So, for us, Brewfest is terribly romantic.

Our favorites this year: New Holland's "Dragon's Milk" stout (which sold out before we left); Widmer's "Full Nelson" Imperial IPA-- to be honest, I can't stand the average Widmer brews, but their Brewfest Offerings are always satisfying, and this unique IPA is testament to the Widmer days of old, very complex, full-bodied and delicious; and of course, no IPA fan would be happy without a sip of Russian River's "Pliny the Elder", a straightforward hoppy Imperial IPA.

I also had a sip of the coffee stout that Surly Brewery offered. Which leads me to my recipe for the Best Iced Coffee.

1. Brew up four cups (eight if it's a french press) of the best coffee you have. I like Peets Decaf Mocha-Java; it costs a little more, but it's water processed and sooo worth it. I also like to use a french press, but if you don't have one, drip will be fine. Once brewed, pour 2 cups of coffee into a glass measuring cup and sweeten to taste, then add a little extra sugar. Stir in and cover.

2. Let all coffee cool for half an hour. Then, pour coffee from original carafe (unsweetened) into an ice cube tray and freeze. This should use up the two cups of coffee. Put the coffee that you poured into a measuring cup into the fridge.

3. Once coffee-cubes are solidified, you can make your iced coffee. Use about 4 cubes to 1 cup chilled coffee. I like a big bunch of soy milk in it, but you can make it however you want. You'll have more cubes left for later iced coffees, and can make the amount you want.

Here's a fun variation on your ho-hum iced tea, this will make 4 glasses of Iced Tea, enough for a tea party. I like Herbal Teas for this, or a nice black-currant tea.

1. Boil up a quart of water. Use 8 tea bags in a quart measuring cup and pour hot water over them. (If you are saying "Egad, 8 tea bags, feel free to half the recipe).

2. Cover and let steep as long as the package says to. Then remove tea bags and chill.

3. When ready to serve, put ice in a pint glass, pour in one cup of tea, and add fizzy water (eg- Pellegrino Water) to the glass until cup is full.

Now you have a nice fizzy drink for you and your guests.

Okay, and now I have to go to bed, so---- The End.

3 comments:

Amanda said...

So glad you two had a great celebration day. It's fun to relive the handfast with you too. Congrats on four great years, and here's to fifty-four excellent more! :)Love you!

Ben said...

Coffee Bender is made by adding cold press coffee to Surly's normal Bender. Bender is not a stout but rather a bit of a mix of styles. Brown ale/porter with a good bit of hops would be the best way to describe it. Awesome stuff. There's a reason it won a gold medal for coffee beers at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival.

Hazel Dodge said...

Ah, elusive Ben, you leave no profile, but yeah, I stand corrected. Frankly, it was a wee bit late last night when I got to typing and I could tell you tales of what I'd been doing earlier in the evening that had my mind a bit addled (like, um, drinking...) but yes, very good and point taken.

by the way, I don't profess to be a beer expert, I'm just kinda in love with the stuff. Beer is like my second boyfriend, and you can always love your boyfriend, but you can never really KNOW him.

Cheers.