Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bacon & Beer? Seriously??


When HogsBack Brewing announced that they would be collaborating with another local brewery, Broadhead, to release a bacon-flavoured stout, I got all tingly in my nether regions. I love stout. I love bacon. I firmly believe that life would be less exciting without them.

But the more I thought about this combination, the more I started thinking: do I really want bacon in my stout?

The tingly feelings stopped.

What if I didn't like bacon-flavoured stout? What if trying it turned me off of stout, turned me against bacon?

Highly unlikely.
Aporkalypse Now Oatmeal Bacon Stout
Hogsback Brewing Company (with Broadhead Brewing Company), Ottawa ON
ABV: 5.5%
Beer O'Clock rating: 4.5/5
Colour: deep, dark walnut brown that lets no light pass through; the pale, beige head is creamy and dissipates quickly but leaves a fine lace.

Nose: smoky, toasted malts and rich, roasted coffee; as it opens, the bacon comes through and makes me salivate.

Palate: charred wood and smoke that projected images of crispy bacon in my mind. The beer coats the tongue and the toasted malts follow to the finish and lingers. The smoke, at the back of my throat, reminds me of an Islay malt.

Overall impression: this is a great oatmeal stout. I am somewhat reminded of McAuslin's St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout, but there is something more to it. And in a way, a little too much more.

As I said, this is a great stout. But when I first tasted it, I thought that something was missing: food. This is a great beer to enjoy with food; on its own, I felt the smokiness was a little overwhelming.

But because I was reviewing the beer over lunch, that solution was quickly put into place. And because I was working from home yesterday, I had many lunch resources at my disposal.

I decided to make a sandwich that I refer to as my Borg sandwich: a Borgwich. It is perfection and it is unbelievable with Aporkalypse (aBorgalyptic).

Ross' Borgwich consists of the following:
  • a handful of baby spinach, raw and washed
  • fresh tomato, thinly sliced
  • extra-old cheddar cheese (I use a brick of Black Diamond, cut about 2 mm thick and enough to cover a slice of bread
  • multigrain bread (the more grains and seeds, the better)
  • 2 eggs, fried in lots of butter, over easy (but not too runny; just enough to drizzle without running all over the place)
  • 3 strips of bacon, cooked to taste (I prefer medium to crispy)
  • dried dill and pepper, to taste
  • spicy barbecue sauce, to taste
In a skillet, cook the bacon. Do this step so that the bacon is essentially finished cooking before you fry the eggs.

Heat a small fry pan at medium heat and melt about a tablespoon of butter (I use a cast-iron pan with a 6-inch diameter). Place the toast in the toaster on a light setting (enough to crisp the outer face of the bread but still soft on the inside—about 4 minutes, depending on your toaster). Crack the two eggs in the fry pan, carefully, not to break the yolks. Add dill and pepper.

When the egg whites have cooked but the yolks are still runny, carefully flip them (again, don't break the yolks). Leave the pan on the burner but turn off the heat.

Assemble the sandwich in the following order, from bottom to top: first slice of bread; bacon, cheese, eggs (you may need to fold edges of white to make it fit); barbecue sauce; spinach; tomato; second slice of bread.

Cut the sandwich so that both yolks break. If you've cooked them properly, the yolk will ooze, not run.

Eat and enjoy with a nice glass of Aporkalypse Now.

Yes, this is a decadent sandwich. I don't even want to think about how many calories it holds. But Aporkalypse is a decadent beer. I don't expect you'll have it often.

But have it as much as you can, while it's around. You can start by attending the stout's release, this Friday, February 8, from 5–7 pm at The Heart and Crown on Preston Street. Assuming it stays around, it will also be on tap at the WinterBrewed festival on Sparks Street, February 16–17.

Bacon and beer? Absolutely! Aporkalypse Now rekindles my love for both of them. And like my Borgwich, this stout strives to embody perfection.


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