So, Saturday is Bastille Day, and this past week has felt very Revolutionary for us here at Revolution and Beer. A protest against a tax dodging company, a trip to Washington DC just for starters. We’re working hard on two books and gearing up for the second season of our television show here in Chicago. It seems altogether fitting that it should culminate with Bastille Day. It brought to mind my first, unpublished, novel, with a character who believes that all human history and future can be described or predicted using the French Revolution as a template. I thought of beer.
Just out this month is a beer by the always consistently good New Belgium Brewery out of Fort Collins Colorado, one of my favorite small towns. I have some keen memories camping in the Rockies along the Poudre River, but back to the beer, revolution and Bastille Day.
6.7%Alcohol By Volume, ABV, this modestly priced India Pale Ale is really anything other than modest. It poured into a pint glass with a hearty ½ inch snow white head with a beautiful opaque Baltic amber color. Quickly I discovered a rich floral aroma with just a hint of spice and warmed hops. I let that settle in the glass a moment, awaiting my perfect food pairing choice to arrive, which I will get to in a moment.
Interesting that with all that occurred this past week that it should come to be punctuated so perfectly by Bastille Day. The single thread running through all of the events the past week were the power of peaceful protest, which brought to mind some brilliantly appropriate quotes by Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre, or more simply, Robespierre. He opposed the fates that ultimately were bestowed upon the necks of the royal family, opposed an unnecessary war against Austria and believed that violence was not the way to spread the values and ideals of the revolution.
“Tout institution qui ne suppose pas le peuple bon et le magistrat corruptible est vicieuse!” Which translates to “Any institution that does not suppose the people good, and the magistrate corruptible, is evil!”
So it was this that I was thinking of as I took the first sip of French Aramis IPA, the summer offering from New Belgium. That first malty impression was rounded out with a subtle orange sweetness, It followed nicely by a lingering hoppiness, which, after sampling several fruit-infused beers this week was a welcome return to tradition.
I really wanted to showcase this beer with something befitting the day as well as the beer. It must be obvious at this point that the perfect food to pair with an IPA with a that hint of orange, on the eve of the anniversary of the French Revolution would absolutely be Thai food! What else? French food? Zut Alors!
The place we preferred was a little family place in the neighborhood, called Cilantro, http://cilantrothaikitchen.com/, with simple and understated dishes. I chose a basil dish with duck and a light chili sauce with a medium spice. Stir fried with garlic, green beans and red peppers until the basil leaves held the slightest crispiness and the garlic had cooked into the sauce with juices from the duck. The herbalness of the basil, softened by the garlic nicely complimented the hops. The spice of the sauce was balanced sublimely by the sweetness of that hint of orange. Vive la revolution! La vous allez! Bonne fête de la Bastille!
Catch WC Turck and Brian Murray only at RevolutionandBeer.com. Watch us every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m., on Chicago Cable Channel 19. Please don’t forget to Like us on Facebook.
ACTIVISTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS: If you have a cause to champion, please let us know. We proudly stand with you in the important work of strengthening the grassroots support network for the city of Chicago.
BEER! Catch the Beer of The Week review with 900poundgorilla, along with weekly food pairings for our featured beers by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author Carole Cooper here. Find all of the great beers we review each week at www.glunzbeers.com.