My girlfriend and I started off the morning with a brisk walk up the always scenic Highway 61. She wanted to see the wildflowers that are blooming like crazy in our neck of the woods–but me? I was on a mission.
Okay, the wildflowers were very beautiful, but what I really wanted was coasters. You heard me. Coasters. You know, the ones bravely keeping your cold drinks off coffee tables since time immemorial?
Anyway, I needed a new set since I moved into my new place, but I wanted something….North Shoresy. So when I came across a Superior Hiking Trail called the Lakewalk, I wasted no time. I scoured the shoreline for the flattest, most stable rocks I could find.
Behold! My all-natural, totally organic, green-for-the-environment coaster set, forged by the mighty waves of Lake Superior!
Okay, call it a pile of rocks if you want, but do you know how tricky it is to find four perfectly flat, similarly-shaped, virtually-identical rocks that get concentrically smaller?
Pretty darn tricky.
So now I can comfortably enjoy a cold beverage in my new place. And I’ve been mighty thirsty lately, what with all the talk of beer around the proverbial water cooler at work. Why is everyone buzzing about beers at work? Well, maybe it’s because we have the sweetest beer fest on the shore coming up in a couple weeks!
That’s right, the Hopped Up Caribou Beer Festival is just 10 days away. And frankly, I’m pumped. I tried so many awesome beers last year, and this year there’s even more coming and–well, I’ll get into that more next week.
In the mean time, the conversations at work have been drifting to “The Best Beers of All-Time.” Everyone up here is pretty opinionated when it comes to brews, but I thought it would be cool to ask Wally, the Exec Chef at my restaurant.
Because, let’s be honest, if there’s two things I like talking about, it’s beer and food.
Chef Wally also happens to be my cousin. Over the years, we’ve sampled many tasty beers. A couple years ago, when I started my blog, Wally joked he was going to start a beer blog–you know, to trump my blog, cousin-rivalry-style–and over the years we just kept talking about the “Chef Wally Beer Blog.”
Try a good beer? ”That’s one for the Beer Blog, right, Wally?”
Well, in honor of my cousin and the fast-approaching beer festival, I finally put the big guy on the spot: What are your 5 favorite beers and what would be the perfect meal to pair them with?
After all, who else would you trust about alcohol and food if not this guy:
So, here you go, Cuz. The inaugural post of the Chef Wally Beer Blog. Top 5…go!
Traditionally speaking, Wally loves him some Schell’s beers. And the Pils is a very traditional Bavarian Pilsner. Very refreshing and great to wash down a Grilled Salmon Steak dressed in a Lemon Caper Butter. Yum.
I told you: Wally loves Schell’s, especially this light-in-color Maibock. Wally’s dish on a dish: ”This is going to go great with Asian food–my pick is Orange Chicken with cracked red peppers to throw in some heat.”
While Wally and I tend to part ways on our beer-pinions, we both have an affinity to red ales–and Odell’s is no exception! The whole Odell’s lineup is something to write home about, but the Red Ale is a standout favorite. And what’s going to really bring out that crimson flavor: a Bacon Cheeseburger, with Sharp Cheddar and seasoned with Black Pepper.
The crown jewel of local beer aficionados, this heavy stout goes great with game birds. Wally’s pick: Smoked Pheasant with Gouda Mashed Potatoes. Yum!
Gamechanger! Within the last year, Wally discovered Tallgrass Breweries. These guys put out some excellent beers, but none stuck out for the big guy as much as the IPA. It’s Hop City and pairs great with anything spicy, but Wally likes a Spicy Shrimp Curry with this bad boy.
There you have it, folks–the top choices from the pro! It goes without saying that Wally’s excited for Hopped Up since his old reliable, Schell’s, is on the guest list…but he also said Fitger’s brought some great beers last year. Do I smell a head-to-head?