St. Louis-based 4 Hand Brewing Company collaborated once again with Happy Gillis chef Josh Eans to produce and release Preserved Lemon Gose, a tart wheat beer with a slightly salty finish. The lemon flavor is derived from lemon zest, plus lemon verbena, lemon basil, and lemon balm harvested from Prairie Birthday Farm in Kearney, Mo.
The recipe has remained the same over the past three years of this seasonal release, but each iteration presents a slightly different character.
“When you are using natural and wild ingredients, there is always some variation year to year,” Eans said. “We celebrate this. This year’s batch has more salinity and minerality, and is a little less sour. It’s almost savory in a way.”
The low-alcohol session beer pairs well with food. Eans, who owns and operates Columbus Park Ramen Shop and Happy Gillis with his wife Abbie-Jo, recommended ramen as an ideal food pairing with the gose. In fact, ramen is listed on the beer label as a pairing suggestion.
“The salinity and light tartness cause it to pair wonderfully with a rich bowl of ramen,” Eans said. “Additionally, I find it to pair wonderfully with oysters. The salty, briny quality is a perfect match. It’s also beautiful with lighter cheeses, such as goat cheese or fresh cheese curds. For our beer dinner coming up with 4 Hands, we are going to make a fresh pasta with herbs pressed into the dough to pair with it.”
The 4 Hands Beer Pairing Dinner at Happy Gillis (549 Gillis St.) is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 27. Six beers from 4 Hands will be paired with six courses ($75, plus tax and gratuity, limited seating), including some limited releases and rare beers from the brewery’s cellar. Call 816-471-3663 to make a reservation.
High Plains Brewhoff on the Horizon
The fourth annual High Plains Brewhoff, a homebrewing competition and beer festival presented by Brew Lab (7925 Marty St., Overland Park, Kansas), is set to return from 2 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 23 in Downtown Overland Park. Guests taste, judge, and vote for their favorite craft beer from more than 130 selections brewed by 44 teams. The winning homebrewer will up-scale up their recipe at Brew Lab and the beer will be featured on its taps.
This year, festival organizers have allotted more space for competing brewers and guests. Brew Lab will have food available, served food truck-style. The Ragged Few will perform as the featured main music act. After the festival, guests are invited to a wrap party inside Brew Lab.
Limited tickets still remain for the invitation-only festival. For tickets, visit Brew Lab.
Pumpkin Beers, Love ’em or Leave ’em?
Much like Starbucks’ maligned and celebrated pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin beers return each fall season to the delight or dismay of discerning drinkers. We put out a call to the Beer Tasting Kansas City group on Facebook and had local craft beer imbibers weigh in with recommendations and observations on this seasonal beer. Here’s what they had to say.
Wes Wheeler: Finding good IPAs or stouts are easy (and more readily available). A good pumpkin beer is few and far between. Imperial Pumpkin Smash by Crown Valley Brewing & Distilling Co. is the best pumpkin beer I’ve had.
Drew Ward: Pumpkin beer is all that is wrong with the world; however, Crown Valley Imperial Pumpkin Smash is the only acceptable pumpkin beer.
David Schumacher (homebrewer, SchuBrew): I’m looking forward to having Dogfish Head’s Punkin in the market this year. I enjoy the malty flavors and slight spice of the beer.
[Fun fact: Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione created the concept for Punkin in 1994, when he entered the homebrewed beer in a Delaware baking contest. The beer, made with actual pumpkin, brown sugar and fresh spices, took best of show over all baked goods.]
Bri Burrows (homebrewer): The pumpkin beers by O’Fallon are decent with little pumpkin pie spices. I used to be a huge fan of Southern Tier’s Pumking. My palate has changed. It now tastes like I’m drinking cloves right out of the spice jar.
Heather Marie Hawks: I do not like pumpkin anything. That being said, I’ve found the one exception: O’Fallon’s Vanilla Pumpkin.
Greg Dotson: Rumpkin from Avery Brewing is the only acceptable pumpkin beer that I can say out loud that I consume. Aged in rum barrels with blackstrap molasses and spices, the 18.5-percent shouldn’t be scary. Pumpion from Elk Valley Brewing and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Pumpkin Ale from Lexington Brewing are close runner-ups.
Jennifer Helber (owner, Grain to Glass): Great American Beer Festival gold medalist Steven’s Point Brewery Whole Hog Pumpkin is my favorite. It’s only in Kansas City for a few weeks and not in big volume.
Colony Ale House (312 Armour Road, North Kansas City, Missouri) has released Hatter and Hare Mad Tea Ale, a tart ale made in collaboration with Hugo Tea Company, available in its taproom.
The tap list at Red Crow Brewing Company (20561 S. Lone Elm Road, Spring Hill, Kansas) includes Isabelle Belgian Blonde, Louise IPA, Elaine Rye Porter, Donna American Wheat, Frances Pale Ale, and Loretta Lager, released on Sept. 13th.
Torn Label Brewing Company (1708 Campbell St.) has several new releases (See additional releases on Sept. 20 and 22.) this week at its taproom and on draft throughout Kansas City. Oscar, a German-style Pilsner made as a session lager for fall, exhibits floral, lemongrass aromas, and a crisp, honey-biscuit sweetness. Also, Hang’em High Batch 14 is the latest in this experimental hops series. Iteration 14 highlights juicy Columbus hops from Kansas Hop Company for a wet-hopped version of the IPA. Wet-hopped refers to hops used less than 24 hours after harvest.
— Pete Dulin writes about food trends for Flatland and is the author of the KC Ale Trail. Follow @FlatlandKC and #TapList on Twitter for more food news and trends.