FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK :: Sunday Dinner…and a Monster Ale

by Harvey Gold on February 23, 2011

Spinach Lasagna, with and without chipotle pepper flakes, Asiago and Spinach chicken sausage, sautéed onions, garlic bread and salad w Brooklyn Brewery’s Barlywine Style Monster Ale (Born in 2010).

First off, this was a really tasty lasagna, very simple and easy to make. The recipe, handed from, we think, a cooking show, down to a family friend, to a daughter, to us(so more of a lateral hand-off) can be found at The Dollimama’s Vintage Warehouse. The pan-fried, caramelized onions and Asiago and chicken sausage offered a bit of a zing to accompany the smooth, creamy experience of the lasagna. We first sampled the beloved chipotle pepper flakes on plain cheese pizza, so thought we’d try a little here, both as a taste sensation and to see how the Monster Ale responded to the heat.

The ale poured almost headless. What’s in the photo came from a serious attempt to generate a head with the pour.  Caramel in color, the nose a bit ambiguous (or maybe MY nose was), the flavor was like the color, a malty brown sugar element to it. In trying the chipotle flakes on a bite’s worth of the lasagna, we learned that a) this wasn’t a very tasty idea, and b) the ale was clearly poised on the tongue to jump to the rescue, but as it turned out, it didn’t need to.

Reviewed on the YBN facebook page a few weeks ago, we’ve already raved about Monster Ale. This night we were reminded of how remarkably smooth this barleywine is, even at this early point in it’s development. The alcohol was present more in the sense of weight, as if a contributor to the firm viscosity of this brew, as opposed to a noisy 10.1% ABV trumpeting it’s presence as something to be observed as a separate element of the experience. This allowed for an excellent pairing, and of course, in all cases, a potentially dangerous ale.

The sweetness of this beer was nice, landing on the back of the tongue, both much later at room temp, the last sip of the night, displaying a complex, and delicious makeup, and as a great note in accompaniment to the salty, savory garlic, onion, and cheese of the meal. So we’ll call this pairing a real success.

Of course we have some 2010 Monster stashed to check out again in a couple years, and expect it to be delightful. Kudos to the crazies at Brooklyn Brewery.

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