Monday, April 6, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

Our fifth wedding anniversary last week called for a special evening. For us that means staying in, cooking, and having some special beers in the comfort of our house. On the occasion of Mike’s 40th birthday a few years back I had surprised him with a trip to Philadelphia and New York (fantastic beer and food trip, but I do have to add that one of the highlights was the Rodin museum in Philadelphia), and to this day he still sighs with joy at the memory of a meal he had while on this trip – a risotto incorporating lamb shanks. So I attempted to replicate this memorial meal for him, and it was a treat. The lamb shanks had been slowly braised the night before in a rich brown stock incorporating Mike’s Munich dunkel until the meat fell from the bones, and I used the stock from these very shanks to cook the risotto. Sides were kept very simple- a green salad, and some fresh lightly steamed asparagus. I enjoyed a Hofbrau maibock while cooking, and beers with the risotto were Mike’s ESB, Mike’s dunkel, Mike’s winter warmer, and our special anniversary beer, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot 2004. We had been given a case of Bigfoot as a wedding gift (we wed in 2004) from our homebrew club, and every year on our anniversary we open one and share it. (The last bottle will be shared in 2029, I’ll be 69 and Mike will be 63!) For, me, the Bigfoot was just reaching perfection (I prefer Bigfoot with a little bit of age). The colour was astounding and I couldn’t stop marveling at its gorgeous dark copper hue, and it was luscious and malty with plenty of hop character and bitterness still showing. I thought the hop character overpowered the risotto somewhat, but every drop was, of course, consumed. The best beer with the risotto was, not surprisingly, the dunkel.

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