The weather was terrible, but that did not deter our annual tradition of the beer tasting before the Krewe of Versailles Parade. This is our 11th year. Usually we have the beer tasting on the bayou side. We had to go with plan B because of the rain.

ImageThank God for my neighbor and cousin, Eli, who offered her carport to conduct the festivities. Her sheltered space saved the day. Great beers and great food were enjoyed by all.

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A great black bean soup, frenchalatta sandwiches, and dips of eggplant caponata and hummus with chiplote peppers and adobo sauce were great compliments to the beers. Let’s not forget the barbecue. There were tasty ribs, smoked boudin, green onion sausage, pork grillades, and hot dogs with a homemade deer chili.

ImageHot, spicy chicken wings and portobello mushrooms were also on the menu. The portobellos are made and expected every year. They make a great appetizer. Here are the ingredients:
6 portobello mushrooms
*Oyster sauce
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil1 tbsp. soy sauce
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp. dry oregano
Freshly ground pepper
5 sprigs fresh parsley

*I use Lee Kum Kee Oyster Sauce, which can be found in almost all oriental grocery stores.

Line a rimmed baking tray with aluminum foil. Remove stems, and then scrape out most of the inner black gills of the mushrooms with a regular table spoon. Cut each mushroom into 1/2-inch thick slices, usually resulting in about 5 pieces. Put slices on tray. Put some oyster sauce in a small bowl, and with a pastry brush, baste each slice of mushroom with the sauce.

Peel cloves of garlic, and cut each one in half. Place pieces of garlic all around mushrooms. Sprinkle soy sauce and olive oil over mushrooms, same with oregano and fresh pepper. Then add the parsley.

Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Uncover and pierce and secure each mushroom with a toothpick and serve.

Over 40 people participated in the beer tasting. It was great to hear and see the various reactions and opinions of the brews, especially when one was asked if they would like to try some “Moose Drool.” I thought it was neat when the tasting started with an ale made by monks out of the state of New Mexico and ended with Chimay Grand Reserve, which is made by Belgium monks. Someone remarked the tasting was a religious experience by starting and tasting with beers made by monks.

Who knows, but I thought the beers were really good. Here’s the list of beers for this year’s tasting:

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Monk’s Ale | Abbey Beverage Co. | Abiqulu, New Mexico

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Southampton Double White | Saratoga Springs, New York

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Alaskan Amber Alt Style Ale | Juneau, Alaska

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Omission Pale Ale | Widmer Bros. Brewing Co. | Portland, Orgeon

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Green Man ESB Amber Ale | Ashville, North Carolina

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Moose Drool Brown Ale | Big Sky Brewing Co. | Missoula, Montana

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Santo | St. Arnold Brewery | Houston, Texas

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Chimay Grand Reserve | Belgium

 

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