Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Night Suds - Saranac Autumn Pils


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Saranac's Autumn Pils.

This weekend's short respite from the winter weather that we had been experiencing in the Northeast provides the perfect excuse to review Saranac's Autumn Pils. The Autumn Pils is part of this year's 12 Beers A Falling mix pack which also includes the new Dark-tober Fest Lager (reviewed here kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2014/11/sunday-night-suds-saranac-dark-tober.html) old standards Black Forest (reviewed here kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2010/01/sunday-night-suds-saranac-black-forest.html), traditional Octoberfest (reviewed here kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2009/10/sunday-night-suds-saranac-octoberfest.html), Pumpkin Ale (reviewed here kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2008/11/sunday-night-suds-saranac-pumpkin-ale.html) and recently introduced Legacy IPA (reviewed here kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2014/02/sunday-night-suds-saranac-legacy-ipa.html).

I am not a big fan of pilsners, largely because they are the staple of macrobreweries and usually lack taste. However, I can appreciate when a craft brewery makes the effort and produces a decent pilsner. The Saranac Autumn Pils is true to the style and they have produced a clean, crisp pilsner which can be consumed on its own, or with light fare such as pizza or lightly fried foods. The beer pours a golden yellow, but significantly darker than the mass produced pilsners. There is a little bit of hop bite in each sip (maybe that's why I like it) and the perfect carbonation which is characteristic of Saranac brews. 

Saranac Autumn Pils is under the Kosher Supervision of the Va'ad of Detroit as is every other beer produced at the Matt Brewery plant in Utica, NY. Keep in mind, Saranac brews some of its High Peaks series off site and these bottles do not have kosher certification from the Va'ad of Detroit.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about this beer, please follow this link www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/99/134294.

As always, please remember to drink responsibly and to never waste good beer unless there is no designated driver.

If you've tried this beer or any others which have been reviewed on the kosher beers site, please feel free to post your comments (anonymous comments are acceptable).

Finally, if you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Toldos

The following is a brief summary of some of the thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Bereishis 25:29 the Torah writes about Yaakov making lentil soup and that Esav came from the field and was tired. The Medrash explains that Yaakov was making the lentil soup because the word had just come that Avraham had died and Yaakov was making round food which was the  traditionally meal made for a mourner.

R' Frand cited the Tolner Rebbi who asked three questions on this story. The first question is - why does the Torah use the word Nazid as a synonym for cooking? The verb Mevushal is much more common, so why does the Torah need to go out of its way to use a less familiar word for cook?

The second question - why does the Torah wait so long to tell us that Yaakov was making lentil soup and bread? The story begins at Bereishis 25:29, but we don't learn what was actually cooked until Bereishis 25:34.

The third question relates to a Medrash which states that Avraham and Yitzchak were very wealthy men. They certainly had servants who could cook. Yaakov had been sitting and learning - why does he need to stop his learning to cook the soup for Avraham? 

The Tolner Rebbi quoted the Malbim who explained that Vayazed can mean cook, but it can also mean planning or scheming. The connection between the two words is that when a person plans or schemes, he cooks up a plan. The Torah's use of Vayzed teaches that Yaakov had great planning and forethought because he wanted to honor his father. He did not want his servants to cook the food and he would just serve it. Yaakov wanted to do this himself and he did not want the servants to assist.

This is also why the Torah does not tell us immediately what Yaakov was cooking. The end result was not important yet, the Torah just wants us to know that Yaakov was cooking something for his father. Later, we can learn what was being cooked.

R' Frand explained that this was a fundamental difference between Yaakov and Esav - Esav just wanted to have something done and the process is immaterial. But to Yaakov, the process and the stages are important as well. Esav is similar to the word Asu - was done. But Yaakov is a heel which is a way to get to the end result.

R' Frand closed the vort by mentioning a story about the Meitzitur Ilui. When he came from Europe in the 20's and saw children playing with toys he cried. He later explained that if he had a chance to play with toys when he was a child, he could have been a bigger Talmid Chacham. Why? Because there is what to be said for learning how things work and going through stages of childhood and adolescence and "figuring things out." Growing up in Europe he had been deprived of this stage and he felt that exposure to this part of life could have made him even greater.

After finishing the vort, R' Frand mentioned the tragedy that took place earlier this week in Jerusalem. He noted that the people who were killed were Kedoshim because they died Al Kiddush Hashem. He observed that they died in a holy place, while doing the holy act of praying, while wearing the holy tefillin and tallis.

R' Frand suggested (and he stressed that it was not meant to be binding on anyone) that people should take on an additional level of kedusha this Shabbos because these evil murders were a breach in the kedusha. R' Frand suggested that people try to make their Shabbos more kodesh by limiting the reading of secular periodicals and discussing secular things.

R' Frand closed with the disclaimer that he is not a prophet and that he does not know that this is the right thing to do, but everyone should do something to make a tikkun for what occurred.

If you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com/ to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Night Suds - Blue Moon Cinnamon Horchata Ale


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Blue Moon's Cinnamon Horchata Ale.

I admit it. Even though Mrs KB and my daughters are foodies, I never heard of Horchata...until I got an email tip that Blue Moon would be brewing a new beer which was spiced with Horchata. I quickly went to the internet and found out that it is a traditional Latin American beverage and can be made of ground almonds, sesame seeds, rice, barley, or tigernuts. 

Months went by and I did not see the beer and I figured that it would be coming out in the spring or possibly in the special edition 22oz bottles. But then I stopped in the beer store and saw that the Cinnamon Horchata Ale had been substituted for the Gingerbread Spice Al in this year's Winter Brewmaster Sampler box.

As you can see from the picture above, the Cinnamon Horchata Ale pours a very pale yellow and it is quite cloudy. But this beer is not short on flavor. There is an immediate sweetness, but it is not cloyingly sweet and there are interesting flavor notes of cinnamon and a cream-like richness.

I would not pair this beer with a main course, but could see having this with desserts like pumpkin or apple pie. I spoke  with a beer store owner out in Riverhead and he said that he had sold out his six packs of the Cinnamon Horchata Ale. I have not seen it available in six packs, but if I do locate them, I will be experimenting with pairing this brew with many a dessert (the Brewmasters Sampler Box only has two of these).

Blue Moon Cinnamon Horchata Ale is certified kosher by the Orthodox Union. For the experts take on the Blue Moon Cinnamon Horchata Ale, please click here beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/306/131839.

As always, please remember to drink responsibly and to never waste good beer unless there is no designated driver.

If you've tried this beer or any others which have been reviewed on the kosher beers site, please feel free to post your comments (anonymous comments are acceptable).

If you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com/ to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Chaye Sarah

The following is a brief summary of some of the thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

R' Frand noted that Parshas Chaye Sarah contains a very detailed story about Eliezer finding a wife for Rivka. The story is 67 pesukim long and is repetitive at time. R' Frand explained that Chazal write that it is nicer to hear the conversation of the avos in place of the Torah of their children.

R' Frand quoted R' Aharon Kotler who said that the reason for the statement is that a halacha can be learned through reasoning, but Middos need to be observed and read.

R' Frand quoted Bereishis 24:2 wherein the Torah states that Eliezer was the Moshel (ruler) over all that he had. The Medrash explains that he controlled his yetzer. The gemara goes one step further and says that his name is Eliezer because he would portion out and "water" people with Avraham's Torah.

But even though Eliezer was a great man, Avraham tells him to go to find a wife for Yitzchak in Aram Naharayim. Eliezer asks - what if she won't come? Avraham responds, it does not matter, if she won't come you are absolved from this promise.

R' Frand quoted a pasuk from Yirmiyah which says that Canaan has false scales. The Medrash explains that this refers to Eliezer and that Eliezer was measuring, trying to figure a way that Yitzchak could marry Eliezer's daughter. The Medrash further explains that Avraham said to Eliezer that there is no way that his daughter could marry Eliezer because Eliezer descends from Canaan which is an Arur and Avraham is a Baruch.

R' Frand said that there are two conflicting lessons which can be learned: (1) Eliezer was a tzaddik and taught the Torah of Avraham and (2) Eliezer could not be trusted as to his thinking of his own daughter for Yitzchak.

How can these be synthesized? The answer is that when someone is personally involved they are a nogeah b'davar - they are conflicted and it warps the person's perspective. Even though he was a Tzaddik, he could not divorce himself from his personal feelings.

R'  Frand then taught a second (connecting) lesson from the story. The Torah states at Bereishis 24:31 "Bo Baruch Hashem." Chazal teach that Eliezer who is an Arur was changed from an Arur to a Baruch. How did this happen? Because Eliezer was told that he was an Arur and his daughter was not good enough and still he followed Avraham's mission and he quickly took to the task of finding the wife for Yitzchak. He decided to do the job to the best of his ability and he rose above his personal conflict.  By doing this, Eliezer left behind the Arur and was transformed into being a Baruch.

If you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday Night Suds - Saranac Dark-tober Fest Lager


This week's Sunday Night Suds looks at Saranac's Dark-tober Fest Lager.

As you can see from the picture above, this year Saranac put a dark spin on the traditional Octoberfest lager and introduced a dark version of the Octoberfest. The beer is part of this year's 12 Beers A Falling mix pack which also includes the new Autumn Pils, and old standards Black Forest (reviewed here kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2010/01/sunday-night-suds-saranac-black-forest.html),  traditional Octoberfest (reviewed here kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2009/10/sunday-night-suds-saranac-octoberfest.html),  Pumpkin Ale (reviewed here kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2008/11/sunday-night-suds-saranac-pumpkin-ale.html) and recently introduced Legacy IPA (reviewed here kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2014/02/sunday-night-suds-saranac-legacy-ipa.html).

The Dark-tober Fest lager is richer than the usual Octoberfest and the malts make this a thicker, slightly more bitter lager. But this beer is hardly a one note brew as the malt are complex and provide a variety of potential pairings. This beer would go well with char-grilled chicken and other smoky meat dishes. I could also having this beer with rich savory dairy dishes such as cheese topped onion soup.

Saranac Dark-tober fest Lager is under the Kosher Supervision of the Va'ad of Detroit as is every other beer produced at the Matt Brewery plant in Utica, NY. Keep in mind, Saranac brews some of its High Peaks series off site and these bottles do not have kosher certification from the Va'ad of Detroit.

To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about this beer, please follow this link www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/99/134535.

As always, please remember to drink responsibly and to never waste good beer unless there is no designated driver.

If you've tried this beer or any others which have been reviewed on the kosher beers site, please feel free to post your comments (anonymous comments are acceptable).

Finally, if you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Vayera

The following is a brief summary of some of the thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha this evening. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

R' Frand started the vort by mentioning the Rashi on Bereishis 18:4 where Avraham offers the angels a bit of water to wash their feet. Rashi explains that Avraham thought that these people were part of a sect which worshiped the dirt of their feet. Avraham did not want avodah zarah in his house, so he made them wash. Rashi continues and explains that Lot was different than Avraham as Lot told his visitors to rest and then wash their feet.

R' Frand noted that Rashi on Bereishis 19:2 did not make the comparison with Avraham. Instead, Rashi on Bereishis 19:2 explains that Lot was concerned about the image he would have if the people of Sodom saw that they had washed feet. Because Sodom was against having guests, Lot did not want it to look like he had been keeping the guests for a long period of time. Therefore he told them to rest before washing their feet, because if the "hospitality police" showed up, he could say - they have dust on their feet - they just came!

R' Frand (quoting the Tolner Rebbi) asked three questions on these statements of Rashi: (1) The two statements of Rashi appear to contradict as Lot differed from Avraham for a purpose! (2) Why does Rashi mention Lot in the first statement but not even discuss the comparison in the actual Lot story? (3) Why does Avraham tell the angels to take a little water? He gave them delicacies to eat including tongue with mustard, so why was he stingy with the water?

R' Frand answered these questions by stating that the way of the world is to honor a guest, but suspect him - treat him well but count the silver when he is leaving.

R' Frand said that Chazal teach the rule differently. He quoted a mishna in Maseches Derech Eretz which states that that you should be suspicious of your guest like he is a thief, but respect him like R' Gamliel. The mishna then tells a story about R' Yehoshua who brought in a guest and gave him lodging upstairs. After the guest went upstairs, R' Yehoshua took away the ladder. The guest started to collect the silver and was about to descend when he fell and broke his leg. R' Yehoshua found the guest and the guest began complaining about the lack of ladder, even though he had the stolen goods at his feet. From this R' Yehoshua said - suspect a man like a thief, but honor him nonetheless.

R'  Frand said that the message of the stories is that you should suspect, but not be overt in your suspicions. Avraham told the guests - take a bit of water and wash. If he had said take a lot and bathe they would know that he suspected them. But Avraham was subtle.

This also answers the question as to why Rashi mentions the difference with Lot in the first pasuk. Lot never understood that Avraham was doing this for a purpose, so he did not emulate Avraham. Later, Lot had a reason not to offer water first, but it was not because he was like Avraham.

The Tolner Rebbi then linked the Mishna in Maseches Derech Eretz to the famous Gemara in Berachos involving R' Yehoshua and R' Gamliel. The Gemara tells a story about how the two had different calculations of when Rosh Hashanah would fall. R' Gamliel as the Nasi said that he would enforce the law by mandating that R' Yehoshua come with his money bag and staff on the day R' Yehoshua thought was Yom Kippur.

The Gerrer Rebbi asks - if R' Gamliel wanted to make a point, why did he not R' Yehoshua to come and eat a sandwich on Yom Kippur? He answered that R' Gamliel did not want to crush R' Yehoshua. By having him come with his walking staff and money he was merely violating muktza, but eating on Yom Kippur is a Kares violation. R' Gamliel was not looking to break him and make him feel like nothing, that was why he only had to come with his staff.

R' Frand concluded that this was the message of the Mishna in Derech Eretz - R' Yehoshua teaches to suspect the guest, but respect him like R' Gamliel did for me.

If you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!