Friday, December 16, 2005

New Beer for Vegan !!!

A spectacular (animal-friendly) microbrew from England.

Vegen Beer"Those looking for a beer of exceptional quality to share over the holidays need look no further than Samuel Smith. Samuel Smith is one of the few remaining microbreweries in England and the only one to use the classic Yorkshire Square system of beer fermentation--brewed in stone squares at the Old Brewery in Tadcaster since 1758. Their distinctive heritage of beer brewing includes a special Samuel Smith strain of yeast, hand-weighed hops and fresh well water.

Six varieties of Samuel Smith's beer are available in the United States, and from the lighter-colored India Ale to the dark and creamy Oatmeal Stout, each variety has a colorful history that further accentuates its pleasurable taste.

Samuel Smith's India Ale, first brewed in the 18th century, is a highly hopped beer that was made to withstand the three-month ship ride from London to Bombay. This variety of beer became known as IPA, or India Pale Ale. Because of its floral smell and invigorating yet well-balanced taste, it's a great primer for those just acquainting themselves with fine beer. Food pairings include Indian curries, cheeses (such as asiago, colby, parmesan or sharp cheddar) and shellfish.

Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale is a bit darker than the India Ale and has a nutty, almost caramel-flavored finish. Brown ale is one of the oldest brewing styles in England; it's even mentioned by Chaucer. This beer is absolutely ideal for festive occasions. Similar to Newcastle Brown Ale, it's smooth and pairs nicely with a roasted game hen, barbecued duck, pepper steak, or spicier dishes such as paella, any Thai food and pineapple curry.

In the late 1800s, brewers formulated Oatmeal Stout for lactating mothers. At the time, some even described it as a nutritional drink. The oats impart a great flavor to this stout, giving it a creamy body and a slightly bittersweet finish. As would be expected, smoked meats and cheeses pair wonderfully with this beer. Surprisingly, many desserts also complement its oat taste--chocolate is a perfect choice.

Brewers first introduced Imperial Stout to satisfy the courts of the Russian czars. It had a high alcohol content to withstand the journey made across the Baltic Sea from England. One of the most striking characteristics is its deep chocolate color and coffeelike taste, giving this stout a rather aristocratic air. Suitable food accompaniments include walnuts, filet mignon, caviar, oysters Rockefeller and cheesecake.

The Famous Taddy Porter takes its name from England's first commercially brewed type of beer and the train porters who consumed it. Reintroduced in 1979 after a 50-year absence from the market, this is one of the more popular varieties brewed by Samuel Smith. It has an almost black color and a roasted barley flavor, with nuances of nuts and dark chocolate. This beer is almost a meal in itself. However, it goes very nicely with seafood dishes, steaks and chocolate.

But the beer most appropriate for the season is Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale. Historically, holiday festivals celebrated the oncoming winter season with special beer brewed for the occasion that had a higher alcohol content. This particular ale has a chestnut brown color and a sweet malty flavor with a hint of spices (particularly clove). Most holiday fare should go well with this ale, but standouts are smoked turkey with oyster dressing and ham with fresh pears and apples.

On a final note, all Samuel Smith beers are vegan products registered with the Vegan Society, so if some member of your family eschews the ham and turkey, slap her on the shoulder and put a Smith's in her hand."

Written by Alex Slawson

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