Wanting a warming winter dish for a cozy Sunday supper with good friends, a flavorful beef stew I had made years ago came to mind. Beef Carbonnade, a Flemish beef stew made with Belgium-style ale seemed to be the obvious choice for a pairing with the New Irish Ale, a session brew from Nevada Brew Works which Jim had picked up earlier in the week. Looking through my stash of recipes, I was unable to locate the recipe that I had made all of those years ago. Searching online, I found an intriguing recipe from Charlie Palmer in Saveur Magazine for Carbonnade (Flemish Beef and Beer Stew). Though the recipe called for a dark Belgian abbey-style beer, I was sure that the balanced, malty Irish Red would work quite nicely in the recipe. Wanting to research Irish Red Ale further, looking to balance out the menu with other compatible flavors, I went to my favorite on-line resource, CraftBrew.com, and looked up Irish Style Red Beer. This was the description that I found there:
"The Irish-style red ale is a balanced beer that uses a moderate amount of kilned malts and roasted barley in the recipe, which gives the beer the color for which it is named. Featuring an approachable hop bitterness which rests on the palate, this typically amber-colored beer is brewed as a lager or an ale, and can often have a medium, candy-like caramel malt sweetness. This style may contain adjuncts such as corn, rice, and sugar, which help dry out the beer’s finish and lessen the body. It also often contains roasted barley, lending low roasted notes, darker color and possible creation of a tan collar of foam on top. With notes of caramel, toffee and sometimes low-level diacetyl (butter), think of the Irish red ale beer style as a cousin to lightly-toasted and buttered bread." Tasting the NBW Irish ale after reading the above, confirmed my choice of main dish, and the site also suggested poached pears (a recent fascination of mine) as a perfect pairing for dessert!
Making the Carbonnade on Saturday and allowing the flavors to meld and intensify overnight made preparations for Sunday Supper much easier. That afternoon, Jeanne and Tim arrived right on time and were welcomed by the rich aromas of the Carbonnade warming in the oven. We headed out to the patio to enjoy a pre-dinner glass of the Irish Red Ale (yes, we live in Las Vegas and can sit on the patio, even in the dead of winter...), before adjourning to the dinner table inside. Paired with fresh glasses of ale, the stew was fragrant and complex, with its deep flavors of caramelized onion, the richness of the reduced red ale, a slight sweetness from a touch of brown sugar, and a piquant tang of cider vinegar. Accompanied by buttered parslied noodles, carrots roasted with butter, maple syrup, and thyme, and served with crusty French bread, the meal was indeed the perfect pairing choice for Nevada Brew Works New Irish Red. (The pears poached in a reduction of tart cherry juice, agave nectar, a splash of raspberry vinegar, and flavored with a vanilla bean were pretty darned good with the ale, as well!) That afternoon, we enjoyed the food, the beer, and the conversation immensely, but most of all we enjoyed the company. A good meal with good beer and good friends just can't be beat!
Nevada Brew Works
The Arts District
1327 S Main Street, Ste. 160
Las Vegas, NV 89104
702 - 664-1500
Follow us @ https://www.craftbrewvegas.com/