Kicking off Summer with some Spice! Beer Review

Featured Contributor: Craft Brew Gal @CraftBr3wGal

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Summer Swelter Ale is a seasonal Herb/Spiced beer brewed by Baxter Brewing Co. ABV: 4.70% EST Calories: 141
Baxter is located on 130 Mill Street, Lewiston, Maine.

Starting out in 2011 Baxter is fairly new to the game, but they already have six solid brews under their belt. If you haven’t had the chance to grab the Baxter Backpack just do it. At the end of that variety pack I felt like I had a good understanding and appreciation for what these guys are offering. Baxter currently distributes to Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. They actually just started distributing to New York also which is exciting news, so spread the word!

Summer Swelter has a lite golden, hazy body with a brilliant white fluffy head. I would definitely approach this pour gingerly. This brew has a luscious lemony bitter lime scent to open up your sinuses, complimented with a bubbly, earthy bitterness masking each sip. Very smooth and lite sips, not to mention the earthy properties combined with the bitterness really act as a really nice, crisp, palate cleanser. I get a ton of lime with this beer and decided to investigate…I found out that Baxter uses Kaffir lime leaves to brew this beer. I know what limes are… but Kaffir lime leaves I had not heard of. Sooo… I looked further into this plant.

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Kaffir lime leaves are used a lot in Thai dishes. The leaves are thicker and dark; Small and mighty also when it comes to flavor. To prepare these leaves you are supposed to roll them and slice them much like basil. If you are interested in reading more about this plant I found a nice small direct article with photos also for visual aid.  The only somewhat negative thought I have regarding these leaves are their potency. These leaves are just so bold… almost too bold. I feel like the bitter properties really cancel out the sour sweetness you should be getting from the lemongrass. The lemony notes are still present but definitely not defined as well as you would wish.

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Overall this is a great beer for the summer. I’m impressed with the creativity also; It’s nice to see a brewery go against the grain a bit and come up with something seasonal but not predictable. I feel like it’s really easy to release a shandy, or session to hit off the summer, but a sessionable spiced herb beer… that is interesting and I appreciate that. I would give this beer a 3.75 out of 5 stars, I found this very enjoyable to drink and I even learned a few new things regarding ingredients they used. I would recommend trying this brew, it’s a fun time for the summer.

I paired this brew with homemade mac and cheese. I used the Summer Swelter to make the cheese sauce, so in honor of this brew I named this dish, “Sweltering CRAFT Mac and Cheese”. Here’s the recipe straight from my blog if you had an interest:

Sweltering CRAFT Mac and Cheese(CROCKPOT!!)
What you will need:

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1 lb. pasta (I used Rigatoni and it came out perfect)
4 Cups Milk
3-4 tbs Minced Garlic
¼ Cup Butter (salted) or olive oil (I used ½ butter ½ olive oil)
¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese
¼ Cup Cream Cheese
¼ Cup mozzarella cheese
1 slice American cheese (I broke into four pieces to melt easier)
Salt and pepper to taste (I also used rosemary, oregano and basil but you can pick your herbs and spices)
3-4 tbs of flour or potato flakes
1 egg
¼ Cup Baxter’s Summer Swelter Spice/Herb beer (you can sub for another lite beer but I would go with a mild shandy or a mildly spiced lite beer. If the sweetness is too intense it could overpower the cheddar cheese. Baxter’s Summer Swelter was the perfect balance of bitterness and spiced flavor to add to a cheddar mac and cheese. The bitterness from the lime peel in the brew perfectly complements the bitterness in the cheddar cheese) (Jusstttttt saying 😛 )

Instructions:

• Wisk together egg, melted butter, flour and milk
• Turn on crockpot to high
• Add pasta and butter egg combo
• Add all other ingredients and spices
• Add beer

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• Stir every 15-20 mins
• Leave on high until noodles begin to soften (that was about half an hour in for me)

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• Turn on low stir every 15 minutes until noodles are al dente
• TURN OFF HEAT
• If not for immediate consumption put in fridge and re heat in crockpot on high for 30 minutes to an hour until warm (stir every 10 minutes)
• EAT!!

Thanks again for reading everyone! Next review should be out shortly.
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Be safe and have fun,

Craft Brew Gal
Sources:
http://www.thaitable.com/thai/ingredient/kaffir-lime-leaves
Www.ratebeer.com/beer/Baxter-summer-swelter-ale/216084/

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Craft Brew Gal

Craft Brew Gal from Southington Connecticut.
I'm an elevator operator for my day job but other than that friends, family, clean good food, cooking, great beer and traveling take up my time.I'm an arts and crafts addict and make some hand knit beer items I sell on etsy @CraftBrewGal, I do monthly trivia and giveaways that I set up through my twitter @craftbr3wgal.

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