All posts by Derek Sheppard

An Update on Hale’s Ales

If all goes as planned, beer geeks may have to break out their protractors to decide where to eat in Silverdale.

Mike Hale, founder of Seattle’s Hale’s Ales, said nothing’s been set in stone, but the options for a restaurant and brewery in Kitsap County are pointing to Silverdale. He hopes to open by next winter.

(I wrote about the initial plans a while back.)

So, would that mean war with perennial local hot spot Silver City Restaurant and Brewery?

Not necessarily, Hale said, offering an explanation thusly:Imagine a Friday night, and all the people waiting in the lobbies of Silverdale’s eateries, including Silver City. Then imagine all the other folks hungering for a reasonably-priced meal and good beer who stayed at home to avoid the crowds. There’s enough people there to make things interesting, and make it work as a business.

Hale and I sat down for a brief chat Wednesday night at The Manette in Bremerton, where he was doing a promo for his beers, including a new imperial stout. (More on that later.)

If he were to come to Kitsap, which the Suquamish resident has been looking into for a while, he hopes to open a restaurant and brewery about the same size as Silver City.

The bulk of production would remain at the Fremont/Ballard area brewery.

Brewing over here would allow Hale’s brewers to stretch their legs into wilder territories yonder.
“It’s where we can do the experimental beers comfortably,” he said.

The bulk of production for the Hale’s mainstays would be in Seattle, a much larger operation, with the seasonal and experimental stuff largely happening over here.

Hale said he’s gotten interest from landowners and landlords in Poulsbo, Suquamish and Port Orchard, but not a ton from Bremerton, he said.

“They would come to Bremerton, too,” he said. “But they’re already in Silverdale.”
They being customers.


Speaking of experimental beers, Hale was pouring malty samples of a new beer, Pikop Andropov’s Rushin’ Imperial Stout.

Heavy on the roasted malts and black as night, the ale’s dark hue sends an ALL CAPS telegraph to your taste buds.

Unlike some other imperial stouts, which can either exhibit syrupy or overly-astringent characteristics (Did I mention it’s not uncommon for an imperial stout’s ABV to creep into double digits..before the decimal.), Hale’s is relatively smooth. That doesn’t mean one-dimensional.

“You don’t get it in the first sip,” Hale said. “You have to work through it.”
He likened it to a poem. You don’t get it on the first read.
At first the roasted malt character comes through, with a well-rounded mouth feel. A hint of smoke from its aging in oak barrels pokes its head in, too.
After a few more sips, you start to pick out more of the fruity undertones. I was getting dark stone fruits. Cherries, raspberries, etc. As always, brown sugar and molasses flavors blanket the palette.

Suggested serving temp is 55 degrees, which may surprise those of you who feel beer should be just north of 0 Kelvin. When beer actually tastes good, let it warm up. Please. Cold numbs your tastebuds.

I genuinely liked it, but still have a soft spot for another mega-stout, the Stone Imperial Russian Stout.
If you get your hands on the Pikop and want a little more oomph from the folks at Hale’s, just wait a few months. Hale said they’re reserving a portion of this beer to be aged six months in an old whiskey barrel.

I might have to give that one a shot, too…

– Derek Sheppard

Beef Shepherd’s Pie – But Not

Beef shepherd’s pie tastes great when it’s not beef. Well, it tastes just fine with beef, but I decided to get a little gamy and used lamb instead.

The recipe is HERE. I added a few extra herbs, because I felt like it (what are you gonna do about it, huh?), and substituted the protein. If you’re curious, it was darn near the same price per pound as ground beef at the Silverdale Safeway.

It’s hard to explain how it changes the flavor – earthy, gamy, etc. – but really the best way to sum it up is: It tastes like lamb.

Shepherd’s pies are generally cheap, easy and filling, plus it’s great to make a big ol’ batch and freeze some for dinners and lunches later, further stretching your dollar.The mini-pies in the pictures are currently frozen for lunches on a later date. The main event was a big casserole dish. It definitely makes enough to feed an average family.

If I were you, I’d take the filling recipe here as a baseline and get as creative as you want. Red Curry shepherd’s pie? Go for it. I think I got my next idea…

Beer Beef Stew

Beer Beer Stew

Beer Beef Stew. Those three words instantly take my mind to one place: The Boundary Bay Brewery and Bistro in Bellingham.

It was a favorite haunt of mine in my college days, and the Beer Beef Stew was a dish not to be missed on a cold November day. And it combines two of my favorite victuals. Beef and beef.

This is a recipe my girlfriend and I printed off a couple of years ago, (we keep a binder of the recipes we like) and can’t seem to find it on the Food Network site any longer. It’s not Boundary Bay’s but close enough to make my stomach happy.

The only changes were the substitution of chicken broth for beef (It’s all we had, and it worked fine.) and of course, I added about five cloves of garlic. Mostly because I couldn’t think of any reason not to.

In the beer department, we used Deschutes Black Butte Porter.

Recipe after the jump:

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Election Night = Atkins Antithesis

It’s election night at the Kitsap Sun. That means a newsroom buzzing at a later-than-normal hour with the chatter of cable news TV, the usual clicking of keyboards and chorus last minute phone calls as reporters and editors wait for our local results to stream in around 8 p.m.

Oh, and there’s the scrunching sound of napkins squeezed between pizza-grease-soaked fingers and the crinkle of candy wrappers. Keeping with tradition, we’re being fueled by pizza, courtesy of editor Scott Ware.

(We’ve handled the situation without fanfare, though it’s been a controversy in other newsrooms.)

We’ve also got a(nother) bag of extra Halloween candy to dispatch, and many of us went to the big coffee house you’ve undoubtedly heard of to get free Election Day coffee.

Since this is a food blog, I’ll give you the recipe:

1. Dial your pizza joint of choice and gracefully tolerate being put on hold for a minute.

2. When you’re back on the line with a real person, describe the size pie you’d like. Ex: Small, Medium, Large or Extra Large.

3. List your desired toppings slowly to the associate.

4. Wait 30 minutes, pay the delivery person (who will come right to your door!) and include a reasonable tip.

5. Open the box, pry off a slice of your pie and enjoy. Napkins are an optional, but recommended, addition.