"Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain." -Oscar Hammerstein
Beer producers are finding ever more interesting ways to create something new. However, this often means rediscovering and revamping old techniques. American Solera’s Kingdom of Spiders, a beer/wine hybrid, blends two historical techniques: solera and the use of foeders (pronounced foo-ders). Solera is an aging process used for wine, marsala, vinegar, whiskey, and occasionally beers. The process involves gradually combining alcohol from various barrels of differing ages so that as the years pass and no barrel is ever fully emptied the average age in the finishing barrels increases. Kingdom of Spiders uses the solera process by combining slow fermenting beer of different ages, but it has a unique finishing process. The final aging and fermentation occurs in foeder barrels. These special barrels are a minimum of 600 liters and the largest ever was 1 million liters. In addition to finishing the beer in a foeder barrel, American Solera adds Cabernet Sauvignon grapes to the fermentation. This process produces a beer unlike anything I’ve had before.
Kingdom of Spiders hits the nose hard with a combination of fruit and yeast. In the aroma are elements of raspberry and cherry. This ale has a particularly fizzy carbonation which accentuates the flavor. The sour aspect of the beer is the featured element, but it blends well with the cherry and grape that comes through on the palate.
You can find numerous ways to use Kingdom of Spiders.. Try substituting in for red wine in cocktails. However, since it’s carbonated, also see if you can use it to replace champagne.
THIRST AND HUNGER
Twist on a Classic: Whiskey Sour
Since Kingdom of Spiders is fermented with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, I thought for the twist on a classic I could try replacing it for wine in a cocktail. I decided to float it in a whiskey sour and was happy with the result.
For the drink:
-2 oz bourbon (Isaac Bowman Straight Bourbon Port Barrel Finished)
-3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
-3/4 oz simple syrup
-1 1/2 oz Kingdom of Spiders
Combine the bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white in a cocktail shaker and shake without ice for 45 seconds. Add ice and shake 10 seconds. Pour through a Hawthorne and fine mesh strainer into the rocks glass. Allow the drink to settle for about a minute and a half. Pour the Kingdom of Spiders over the back of a bar spoon pressed against the glass just below the egg white foam.
Something Original: Your Trophies or Your Gold
I love “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” When I got this beer, I kept thinking about one of Charlie Kelly’s songs, when the gang tries to win an award, and the first line is “There’s a spider, deep in my soul.” So, I tried to channel my inner Charlie and this is what I got.
For the drink
-1 1/2 oz dark rum (George Bowman Caribbean Dark Rum)
-3/4 oz fresh lime juice
-3/4 simple syrup
-2 dashes Angostura bitters
-1 dash Regan’s orange bitters
-1 1/2 oz Kingdom of Spiders
Kingdom of Spiders Cork
Combine all of the drink ingredients except the Kingdom of Spiders in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for 10 seconds pour through Hawthorne and fine mesh strainer into the Tom Collins glass with ice. Add the Kingdom of Spiders and stir.
Eat Your Spirit: Foeder Beer-Batter Cheese Bread
Quick breads are perfect for when you don’t have hours to allow yeast to proof. I make Irish soda bread frequently, but this type of quick bread can be made with all kinds of different beers, cheeses, and spices. King of Spiders and Parmesan proved an excellent combination. Don't worry this odd looking bread tastes much better than it looks.
For the bread:
-2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-3 teaspoons sugar
-4 teaspoons baking powder
-1 teaspoon salt
-3/4 teaspoon pepper
-1/2 teaspoon Greek oregano
-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/16 teaspoon cayenne powder
-8 ounces Parmesan Reggiano grated
-10 ounces Kingdom of Spiders
-3 tablespoons melted butter
-Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
-In a bowl, whisk the ingredients from the flour to the cayenne powder.
-Grate the cheese and stir it into flour mixture.
-Melt the butter and mix it and the Kingdom of Spiders into the flour until just combined.
-Grease a 10-inch Dutch oven or cast iron skillet with butter.
-Place the mixture in the cooking vessel.
-Cook for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway through.
This post, like others about regions I have not been to, means this section of the post is a little different. However, the recommendations came from a born and raised Oklahoman, so I have the utmost faith in them.
-Ouachita National Forest, that spans Oklahoma and Arkansas, is the largest old-growth forest in the contiguous US.
-For more outdoors, check out the Wichita Mountains. I'll admit I didn't know Oklahoma had mountains.
Food and Drink:
-I've always imagined Oklahoma a land of BBQ.
-If you want barbecue after visiting American Solera, try Rubicon.
-From a real Oklahoman, Meers Store is where you get a burger.