Monday, February 24, 2014

Blanche de Bruxelles & a Seafood Boil

It is still decently cold in Texas as I write this post. Today was spring-like weather but next week it is expected to dip back into the 30's. I really can not complain but this Florida girl is starting to miss long summer beach days with  nice beer and a good seafood meal shared with friends. So I am reminiscing of one of my favorite beers and meals of all time: Blanche de Bruxelles and a Seafood Boil. 

A white ale is a light wheat-based ale which is traditionally brewed with coriander seed and orange peel. A traditional Belgium style beer that is the Belgians call “witbier”.

Blanche de Bruxelles, in my opinion, one of the best white ales brewed on the planet. It has all of the style requirements (light color, citrus wheat taste, slight orange aroma, slight spice, carbonated mouth feel, etc.).

This brew pours as a cloudy, yellow, straw color with a think head. The aroma is a citrus, orange smell that is a mixture of the wheat and orange peel in the brewing process. Wheat already has a slight citrus or sweet taste which is complimented and emphasized by the orange peel. The taste is very similar, yet well balanced and mild. This beer has a slight hop taste but is very balanced with almost a lemon, spice, or citrus aftertaste. This beer is very drinkable and refreshing.

This beer could be paired with a citrusy or light pasta, especially with seafood such as a shrimp dish.

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 So here are a few tips for a successful seafood boil:

  1. Share your boil with good friends. Seafood is not inexpensive so it would be beneficial if you were in good company.  
  2. Buy quality, fresh ingredients. (hence the reason number one is so important) You can always tell if someone tries to skimp and serve "previously frozen" ingredients. There is nothing worse than a fishy, slimy, stinky, boil. So don't do it.
  3. The boil should be well seasoned. I prefer to use a good quality beer such as a Sierra Nevada IPA with a large amount of Old Bay seasoning. Also, don't forget to buy apple cider vinegar and add a few splashes of that to your boil. The vinegar adds to the savory flavor of the boil and serves a dual purpose of allowing the seafood to separate from their shells with greater ease. 
  4. The fillers for the boil can vary. I prefer to add pan seared chorizo, red potatoes, and corn. Other variations include white potatoes, onions, bell peppers, etc. Chose what you can find in season ad your local market.  
  5. Butter! Use the real stuff. Your body will thank you for not clogging it with chemical laden "I can't believe this is butter-like chemicals".
  6. Ask your butcher/seafood market personnel for extra white paper. They are usually more than happy to accommodate your request and your guests will appreciate not having to eat their boil off of potentially dirty news paper.  

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