Thursday, November 8, 2012

Friday for Fifteen

Before my husband and I were married, we really enjoyed dates at  Sharp Edge in Pittsburgh, which offers a wide variety of craft and import beers. We enjoyed trying new things and broadening our knowledge and palette (and that lovin' feelin') at the same time. This week's Friday for Fifteen is a sort of take home version of that date; if you don't have a date, do this with one or more friends. It's a lot of fun! 

us on one such date to Sharp Edge

The Drink: Sampler 6-Pack of Beer. I have several recommendations based on value to quality ratio, availability, and accessibility in the sense of taste (pun completely accidental). Try the Saranac Adirondack Trail Mix Variety Pack ($7.99/6, $13.99/12), The Dundee Craft Pack ($10.99/12), or the Great Lakes Sampler Pack (I'm having a hard time pinning down a price online, but its not an expensive brand). These beers are gateways out of the land of Bud Lite and into the land of the connoisseur. Another option is a "choose your own" six pack, which some grocery stores offer (usually around $9.99, depending on the brands). Whatever you go with, you want to make sure that you have at least four different styles (such as IPA, Porter, Stout, etc, you get my drift) represented in the mix. 

The How-To: Pour a bottle of each of the different beers in the pack. Put them on a tray, unlabeled, moving from least to most intense in terms of flavor (you might have to take a nip in the kitchen if you don't have enough experience to make an educated guess based on type - life is so hard sometimes...) Make sure to keep the bottles in the same order and out of sight.  Smell a beer, and then sample it, letting it swirl around the inside of the mouth and over the tongue. Sample the beers, seeing who can guess the style of the particular beer and pull out some of the key flavor components (e.g. citrus, chocolate, coffee, etc.). And finally, drink the beer!


The Food: True beer experts like Michael Jackson (the other one), recommend just nibbling bland crackers between beers to avoid influencing how you experience the beer itself. If you plan on drinking the [at least] four beers that you just opened, you will definitely need something more substantial. Try this simple nacho recipe (under $7). 

Preheat the oven to 425*. 
Spread a layer of tortilla chips on a cookie sheet. 
Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle on some garlic salt. 
Add any extras you like, such as chopped (and drained) fresh tomatoes, olives, hot peppers, or whatever sounds good to you. 
Cover liberally with shredded cheese. 
Bake until cheese starts to melt and then switch to broil to brown the cheese. 
Remove from the oven and squeeze a lime over the nachos. 


  1. I LOVE this idea, and so will Patrick : ) When we were first married in Wyoming we would often drive to a small brewery in Montana and always order the sampler--he would then try to educate me about good beer : )

    I love the picture of you and Joe!

    1. Thank you, Sarah! I remember you telling me about that brewery - I was so jealous : ) I hope you enjoy it; you will have to let me know which beer you go with. There are lots of good choices in Colorado, or so I hear. Yes, that pic really brings back a lot of memories from that time in my life. Ah, memories..

  2. This is such a cool at-home date idea! I actually live not too far from Pittsburgh, so maybe we'll have to check out the real thing sometime!

  3. Thank you, Stephanie! You should check it out! They actually have multiple locations in the area, each with a slightly different feel. Let me know what you think!


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