Oktoberfest! Beer Bananas

Beer Bananas 3 Oktoberfest! Beer Bananas

What is the most memorable line from the movie Forrest Gump? I hear Jenny hollering, “Run, Forrest! Run!” And Forrest expressing his undying love for Jenny, “Me and Jenny goes together like peas and carrots.”

Or Bubba and his undying love for shrimp. “You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There’s shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That…that’s about it.”

I am going to go with, “My mama always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’” Except my life is less like a box of chocolates and more like a six-pack of beer. I never quite know what I’m going to get…

Coffee – more so than chocolate – is the flavor I prefer when it comes to rich Stouts and Porters. Or so I thought. After trying a number of beers at Charlotte’s annual Oktoberfest festival (which is really a beer sampling on a giant scale), I picked two chocolate beers as my favorites. And one of them was a chocolate IPA. Who am I?

Beer Bananas 2 Oktoberfest! Beer Bananas

My boss retired today. At a luncheoun in her honor, she told us a story about an academic study that concluded incompetent people tend to overestimate their abilities while smart people tend to underestimate their abilities.

She went on about incompetence until she has us all thinking, “Well heck, is she implying we are all nincompoops?” And then she said, “So at this point she you are probably all thinking, oh gosh, what am I?!”

The point, she told us, was to achieve and maintain success by making a commitment to never stop learning. Even if you think you know something, sign up for a training or listen to what someone has to say about the subject or challenge yourself to learn about something new.

Four days ago, I would have told you I would drink an IPA only if it were the last beer on earth (unless it was Great Lakes’ Lake Erie Monster, for that I make an exception). But I tried something new, and now I am scheming ways to get my hands on a chocolate one. Four years ago, I would have told you that blogging is silly. I accepted a challenge to that notion, and now I’ve spent over an hour putting this post together for no other reward than that of sharing with you.

So keep learning. Less you end up described with a Forrest Gump quote: “Stupid is as stupid does.” Cheers!

Beer Bananas Oktoberfest! Beer Bananas

In case you need more Forrest Gump, you can find 20 classic quotes here.

In case you are wondering about those two new chocolate beers I loved, they were Thomas Creek’s Chocolate Orange IPA and New Belgium’s Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout. I used Atwater Brewery’s Decadent Dark Chocolate Ale for this recipe, and I loved it too.

Beer Bananas
  • 3 medium to large bananas, ripe but firm
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup chocolate beer
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • optional: ¼ cup peanuts, chopped
  1. Place the butter, sugar, and beer in a large skillet and bring to a simmer. The goal is to get the sauce to a smooth and thickened consistency, but take care not to overcook.
  2. Slice the bananas, add them to the skillet of sauce, and heat until warmed through, about two minutes.
  3. Scoop the ice cream into bowls and top with the bananas and sauce.
  4. Top with the chopped peanuts if desired.
I used Atwater Brewery's Decadent Dark Chocolate Ale.

Guinness Blonde Beer Dinner

August 13 081 Edited Guinness Blonde Beer Dinner

I have this thing for blondes and beer, so when my friend Mary invited me to join her at a beer dinner featuring the new Guinness Blonde American Lager, of course I said yes.

The first release in the Guinness Discovery Series – where Guinness will release a new brew twice a year – the Blonde American Lager “is twice as smooth, half as bitter and 80% lighter in color” than the dark Guinness Draught that likely comes to mind when someone orders a Guinness.

Admittedly, I was intrigued but skeptical. I wondered if a blonde Guinness would be likened to a marketing ploy akin to vortex bottles or born on dates, but I hoped my skepticism would be proved wrong. I was happy to find it was.

Brewed in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, the blonde is actually more of light golden amber that has a fine floral aroma from its combination of Mosaic, Willamette, and Mount Hood hops. Master brewer Joe Gruss described the flavors of the beer as caramely and biscuity from the malt at the front end and citrusy hops that finish out the back end. Although I cannot describe it quite so eloquently, I can say I thoroughly enjoyed the beer.

Sept 27 013 Edited Guinness Blonde Beer Dinner

I also thoroughly enjoyed our three-course dinner featuring dishes that complimented the blonde lager. The Peculiar Rabbit‘s menu offered the choice of goat cheese and dates, deviled duck eggs, or crispy chicken skins (we’re in the south, y’all) to start, followed by Churrasco skirt steak, chicken and waffles, or grilled pork chop for the main dish.

I went the poultry route, opting for the deviled duck eggs and the chicken and waffles. Mary claimed I was served a plate of chicken and waffles the size of my head, and she snapped proof as seen below.

Then we all shared plates of dessert that, provided my failure to take adequate notes, I hope I recall correctly. It went something like habanero cheesecake, sweet corn pudding, caramel shortbreads, chocolate brownie heaven, and vanilla panna cotta with blueberries. Delicious.

Guinness Beer Dinner Edited Guinness Blonde Beer Dinner

{photo credit: fervent foodie}

I had dinner with Mary again this weekend, and as I was yammering on and on about Oktoberfest, she asked me why, if I liked beer so much, then I did not just blog about beer. I answered something along the lines that I have very little idea what I am talking about in terms of beer. It either tastes good or it does not taste good.

I suppose food is the same way, but with a list of ingredients I can at least figure out what to add or remove. With beer, two brewers could start with the same ingredients, but one misstep along the way could lend beer a papery or tart apple or buttery flavor. I cannot distinguish those notes beyond recognizing they should not be in my beer.

Furthermore, people can have a tendency to act a bit snobby when it comes to beer, especially as the popularity of craft beers has rocketed skyward in recent years. My initial skepticism about Guinness brewing a blonde lager is evidence of that unfounded snobbishness. On the other hand, no one has ever acted snobby over a cookie, which makes blogging about dessert so much easier.

August 13 093 Edited Guinness Blonde Beer Dinner

I will leave you with my opinion that Guinness Blonde American Lager provides crisp flavor that will leave you pleased but will not weigh you down. A six-pack would be a perfect addition to a tailgate this fall and a pint a great accompaniment to dinner anytime. Cheers!

The beer and food I enjoyed at this event was provided at no cost to me, but the decision to share my thoughts on both was my own.


Oktoberfest! Maple-Ale Baked Apples

Baked Maple Apples 2 Oktoberfest! Maple Ale Baked Apples

Baked apples made an occasional appearance at the family dinner table where I grew up. I am not sure how Mom made them, but I am sure we always requested she add more marshmallows to melt over their caramelized tops.

These apples take on a grown up spin. Baked in a brown ale-maple syrup mixture and topped with a combination of oats, nuts, and spices, they beg for you to acknowledge it is fall. I hate letting go of summer, but I am okay with a consolation prize like this.

The recipe suggested pairing the dish with a pumpkin ale, so I opted against a brown ale and used Anderson Valley’s Fall Hornin’ Pumpkin Ale instead. I am generally enamored with any seasonal Anderson Valley puts out, and the Fall Hornin’ is no exception.

Anderson Valley suggests pairing the beer with hearty dishes like roasted root vegetables or steak chili and sweeter fare like cranberry scones or caramel flan. The beer also pairs well with cheddar or brie cheeses.

Apples Oktoberfest! Maple Ale Baked Apples

As for them apples, I would love to tell you what variety I used, but I cannot. What I can tell you is I grabbed three or four varieties from the Farmer’s Market and hoped for the best. If you do not share this shoot from the hip mindset (and if you are baking, I really hope for your sake that you and I do not share this quality), Bon Appetit has this to say about the best apples for baking:

  • Honeycrisp for tarte tatin
  • Mutsu (a.k.a Crispin) for pie
  • Pink Lady (a.k.a Cripps Pink) for coffee cakes or muffins

For more Oktoberfest recipes, visit the Oktoberfest recipe page here on L&F or see my beer meets food board on Pinterest. I also have a fall board full of apple and other seasonal recipes because I am slightly nuts about pinning every freaking recipe I come across really love fall. Cheers!

Baked Maple Apples 3 Oktoberfest! Maple Ale Baked Apples


Maple-Ale Baked Apples
  • 6 apples
  • ½ cup brown or pumpkin ale (I used Anderson Valley's Fall Hornin')
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup oats
  • ⅓ cup hazelnuts, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  1. Slice the apples in half, remove their cores, and place them cut side up in a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  2. Stir together the brown ale, maple syrup, and melted butter and set aside.
  3. Next mix together the brown sugar, oats, hazelnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
  4. Gently pour the liquid beer-syrup mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the hollow spaces left by the removed apple core and across the tops of the halved apples.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes or until tender.