By Iron Chef Leftovers
Sage and chervil, two wonderful culinary herbs, but not something that you would associate with beer. Sage really tends to pare itself well with fats, and is most tasty when sautéed with butter and pumpkin ravioli. Chervil is a relative to parsley and is wonderful on salads, lending notes of anise to the dish. Because of the Iron Brewer competition at Beverage Place Pub, Odin and Epic got to use these two herbs in a head to head competition.
Epic Ales – the beer poured hazy yellow in color with strong notes of Belgian yeast, sage and pineapple in a surprisingly complex nose. The initial taste was much drier than I was expecting with light notes of black licorice balanced with a slight sweetness. The beer then builds on the sage component, starting out hidden before a long but subtle incline before being joined at the end by some light citrus. The Belgian notes are a background player throughout the beer and this beer is surprisingly well balanced without the herbs dominating the beer or the Belgian flavors dominating the herbs. Given the Belgian treatment, I guessed it was Odin and I was wrong.
Epic’s version of the beer sunned itself with 3 window boxes out of 5.
Odin – The beer poured golden yellow in color with heavy sage and grain on the nose and very strong yeast suggesting a pilsner. The beer starts slightly sweet before giving way to a distinctive and pronounced herb flavor – you can definitely taste both the sage and the chervil in this beer, but is still maintained the pilsner like character of the beer, providing a nice crisp balance. The beer finishes long with hints of salt and sugar while still managing to be balanced and slightly dry. This beer had a much more pronounced use of the herbs while still balancing that with the beer character, and I thought that this beer would have been perfect with a grilled chicken breast because of its herb component.
Odin’s version of the beer cultivated a solid 3 Anthriscus cerefolium out of 5.
Both of these beers were well done, but I picked Odin’s as my favorite and so did the crowd.