Espacio by Ecliptic [Beer Review]

Espacio Cookies!

Recently, I attended Ecliptic Brewing’s release party of their Espacio Mexican-Style Lager.  The beer was amazing.  Like a fancied up Corona, the amount of lime was pretty good.  Just enough to be noticeable.  It went really well with the tacos that were offered at the release party.  Espacio is a classic light lager, I would definitely appreciate a cold can of it on a good, hot day.  However, sometimes, Portland’s grey weather is not fashionably appropriate for a Mexican lager.

Since I’m a baker, I draw inspiration from almost anything around me.  The Espacio was no different.  After the release party, I went home and created a custom cookie that would go great with a can of Espacio on a good, hot day.  The recipe is below for you to try yourself.  The hint of chili adds to the lime already in the Espacio.

Espacio Cookies:

  • 3/4 C butter (room temp) if butter is salted omit 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 C powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg (room temp)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 3/4 C cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder (or to taste)
  1. Sift flour, salt, cocoa, cinnamon, chili powder together.
  2. Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Add vanilla and egg to butter mixture, scrape bowl and mix until combined
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients until combined. Dough should pull off the sides of the bowl and stick to itself. If the dough sticks to sides it may be too wet, add some flour (little at a time). If the dough is crumbly it is too dry, add little bits of milk or egg white to moisten it.
  5. Press into large flat disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in fridge for at least 30 min.
  6. Roll out to 1/4” thickness between two pieces of parchment or wax paper (using more flour can overwork the dough) cut out desired shapes and bake on parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  7. Make sure cutouts are at least a half inch apart.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 14 minutes and let cool completely before decorating.

What is a beer you love that you would like to see a custom cookie for?  Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

 

Samai Distillery – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Samai Distillery’s Manhattan

I recently checked out Samai Distillery, Cambodia’s first and only premium rum distillery. They create hand-crafted, premium rums using high-quality, locally grown ingredients and a process that pays tribute to age-old rum making traditions.  Samai Distillery rums are complex and full of character, displaying a flavor profile that reflects the uniqueness of the Cambodian offerings. It is rum that Cambodians can take pride in.  “Samai” is the Khmer word for ”modern,” a new generation, looking towards the future. Samai Distillery is the first generation of rum in Cambodia.

Samai hosts lots of events in their distillery space.  The fundraiser my roommate and I attended was for a local NGO, Animal Mama, that works with animals – specifically street dogs / cats and the rehabilitation of retired de-mining dogs called, Home of the Heroes.

While at the event, we tried two of Samai’s rums:

Samai Gold Rum

Identity: Fine Cambodian Molasses
Origin: Cambodia
Alcohol: 40% alc/vol
Aging: Special French & American oak barrels and Sherry Casks.
Tasting notes: This handcrafted rum has natural hints of vanilla, dark chocolate, and caramelized honey, balanced with a touch of Asian influence.
Awards: a Silver medal at the International Spirits Challenge 2017 in London and a Silver medal at the Barcelona Rum Congress 2017.

How to enjoy: Best enjoyed when sipped neat or in exceptional cocktails.

AND:

Kampot Pepper Rum – This was my favorite of the two.  I love Kampot Pepper so a rum with a little bit of a kick was right up my alley.  Definitely going to pick up a bottle in the near future.

Identity: Fine Cambodian Molasses. Made exclusively with Red Kampot Pepper from La Plantation
Origin: Cambodia
Alcohol: 38% alc/vol
Aging: Matured for 6 months in stainless steel tanks.
Tasting notes: Considered one of the most aromatic and delicious pepper in the world, Kampot Pepper gives this rum a crispy sweet aroma with overtones of guava and eucalyptus. Spicy, fresh, and elegant, Kampot Pepper adds just the right kick to this exceptional rum.
Awards: a Double Gold Medal at the Madrid International Rum Conference 2017 and a Bronze medal at the International Spirits Challenge 2017 in London.

How to enjoy: best enjoyed when sipped neat or in exceptional cocktails
Find your Samai Kampot Pepper Rum: 5cL, 20cL, 70 cL.

How Samai Rum is made:

It all starts with locally-grown sugar cane – nurtured by a warm Cambodian sun and fertile Cambodian soil. Only specially selected, high-quality sugar cane is used to produce the rich, caramel molasses that defines the complex base of all Samai premium rums.  Their fermentation step involves molasses and select yeast and takes place in specialized stainless steel vats, under carefully controlled conditions. The result is a mineral-rich mash at 10% alcohol/volume, full of character and ready for distillation.  They use a handmade, 1800’s-style copper alembic pot for distillation (which we actually saw in action during the event!)  A rectifying lentil enables a purer distillate at 75% to 90% alcohol/volume, while keeping the rich character of the raw ingredients intact.  The distilled spirit is brought down to 65% alcohol/volume, aged in French & American Oak barrels and Sherry casks. These barrels impart delicate flavor characteristics into the rum, whose character evolves in complexity, with each passing day.  The best part – they taste each barrel carefully. Only rum from select barrels is expertly blended, brought down to 40% alcohol/volume and then allowed to rest.  When Samai’s distinctive flavor profile is achieved, the rum is hand-bottled in-house and ready to be experienced – complex and intriguing rums, born of Cambodia’s natural riches.

Have you ever been to Cambodia?  What is your favorite drink there?

Espacio Mexican-Style Lager by Ecliptic Brewing

Space Tacos Fiesta at Ecliptic Brewing

Espacio Mexican-Style Lager Celebrated with a Release Party at the Ecliptic Brewing Pub.  Originally brewed for the 2017 Oregon Brewers Festival, Espacio Mexican-Style Lager with Lime Zest is making its return as an official part of the Ecliptic Brewing Seasonal Series line-up.  To celebrate the release of the beer Ecliptic will host a Space Tacos Fiesta at the pub featuring a taco takeover and more.

“Espacio is a beer that people have been asking about since it debuted at OBF.  Now that it is becoming part of our line-up I knew we had to throw a party.” said Marketing Manager at Ecliptic Brewing, Karolyn Simon.  “Tacos and Espacio go great together and the idea of a Space Tacos Fiesta came to life!” explained Simon.

On April 5th from 3-10pm Ecliptic Brewing will stop serving their pub menu as usual and instead will feature a delicious line-up of tacos, flan, margaritas, and beer.  Hot Mama Salsa will also be on site from 4-9pm sampling out their delicious, fresh, and authentic salsas.

Space Tacos Fiesta: Espacio Mexican-Style Lager Release Party

When:  April 5th, 3-10pm

Where: Ecliptic Brewing, 825 N. Cook Street.

What: Espacio Mexican-Style Lager, Tacos, and more!

For up to date details about the event, visit the Facebook event page here.

About Espacio Mexican-Style Lager with Lime Zest

Don’t add lime to your beer, let the brewer do it for you! Fresh lime zest adds a subtly citrus tartness to this liquid sunshine lager.  ABV 4.8%  IBU 40

Espacio will be available in both draft and 6pk-12oz cans throughout the Ecliptic Brewing distribution network. 

About Ecliptic Brewing

Ecliptic Brewing is a venture from John Harris, an Oregon beer icon whose background is steeped in the state’s rich craft brewing history. The name Ecliptic unites Harris’ two passions: brewing and astronomy, and as such, the brewery celebrates the Earth’s yearly journey around the sun through both its beer and restaurant menus. Executive chef Michael Molitor rotates his seasonally inspired menu every six weeks in accordance with the old-world calendar. Harris’ signature beers include Orbiter IPA, Carina Peach Sour Ale, Starburst IPA, and Capella Porter. For more information, visit: www.eclipticbrewing.com.

Ecliptic beers are available at the brewery (825 North Cook St), in cans and bottles and on tap throughout the area, and distributed by:  Maletis Beverage (Portland, Salem, Vancouver WA), Bigfoot Beverage (Eugene, Bend, Coast), Fort George Distributing (Norther Oregon Coast, Southern WA Coast), Summit Beverage (Sourthern Oregon), Northwest Beverage (Seattle, Tacoma), Odom (Easter WA, Norther Idaho), Dickerson Distributing (Bellingham), Crooked Stave Artisans (Colorado), Freedom Distributors (North Carolina), and Graybeal (Eastern Oregon).

Have you been to Ecliptic before?  What is your favorite beer there?

Hops Brewery – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Beckie and I at Hops

I found out about Hops Brewery when a tuktuk advertising their brewery drove past me while I was in another tuktuk heading to work.  I knew it was the place to take Beckie when she came to Cambodia and I have been back several times since.  Hops Brewery also has a beer garden is in a touristy part of  Phnom Penh follows the idea of any German beer garden in the world – to convey a feeling of warmth, friendliness, and belonging to their visitors.  Plus, they let me bring Bullet, which gives it a very home-y, Portland vibe that I love.  If you need a place to relax and get a great craft beer, Hops Brewery is the place to go by the Riverside.

As Cambodia’s first independently owned international beer garden, Hops is proud to brew their beer following the more than 500 year old German purity law and brewing tradition (Reinheitsgebot).  They only use water, hops, malt, wheat and yeast to produce one of the most natural and pure beers in the Kingdom.  Apart from the water – Hops imports all-natural ingredients from Germany’s best regions. Their brew water is purpose-filtered and treated, ensuring that minerals stay in – guaranteeing that unique Hops’ taste. Beer fans are welcome to try their brew water at the counter to savor its unmatched quality!  (It’s interesting that they advertise this on their website since every time I come to Hops, I have to buy water if I don’t remember to pack my own.)  In the food arts world, craft beer is a beverage that not only enhances food when paired with a dish, but it is also often brought into the kitchen as a cooking ingredient. Hops sometimes use Hops’ beer for some of their house dishes to enhance the experience.

Celebrating International Women’s Day at Hops with friends!

Hops currently has four beers and one cider available for purchase.  Of course Beckie and I tried them all:

  • Mango Cider – Clearly, Beckie and my love of fruit beers is well documented.  This cider did not disappoint.  It is delicious, refreshing and a great welcome drink for anyone visiting Phnom Penh.
  • Golden Angel – A hit with every beer lover.  “Situated between a classic smooth lager and a German pilsner beer.”  (For the record, pilsners are a type of lager…)  Hops’ Gold Angel is a fusion between Asian and European tastes.  Gold Angel is refreshing, easy to drink and seduces to always want – more.  (It was also the beer given out at Hops for International Women’s Day.  There is a saying here in Cambodia. “Boys are like gold and girls are like white cloth.” Meaning a brick of gold can get dirty and you can wipe it off and it still retains it value. Where white cloth, once stained is ruined. There are a few great NGOs here trying to change that mindset with the saying “women are gold”. Happy to support them today on International Women’s Day.
  • Amber Witch – Hops premium wheat beer is highly refreshing and less filling than a traditional wheat beer.  It is brewed with top-fermentation following an original, south-German recipe.
  • Red Fury – The essence of 32 years of experience by our brew master and was created for beer connoisseurs.  A full-bodied beer composition, higher in alcohol but smooth in its finish.  Brewed following a German recipe itself based on an English stout, this unique beer is of sensational quality.
  • HOPS’ IPA – A shiny, dark-red English beer with a bulky taste and an increase bitterness rooted in Hops special “Cascade” hops.  (This is funny to me since my motorcycle here is named, Cascade, for the hops and valley I grew up in – in Oregon, definitely not Germany…)

Have you ever been to Phnom Penh?  What is your favorite beer there?

 

Siem Reap Brewpub – Siem Reap, Cambodia

Siem Reap, Cambodia

A few months ago, my best friend and fellow beer buddy, Beckie and I, traveled to Siem Reap to check out Angkor Wat.  This was mostly a thank you present for watching Bullet for three months and a little bit of a birthday present and a professional congrats to her being kick ass at her job celebration.  Like all best friend trips, I googled breweries in Siem Reap and stumbled across the only brewery in the area.  Siem Reap Brewpub is a microbrewery with own restaurant and bar in the heart of Siem Reap.  You can walk to it from the Night Market / Pub Street.  The restaurant provide relaxing atmosphere for you to enjoy fresh beers. All their beers are produced in this microbrewery using the finest Malt from Germany, Hops from Australia, Craft Yeast from New Zealand and Clean Local Water.  (I thought it was interesting that they openly advertised this last fact.  Since most tourists are nervous about the local drinking water.  However, beer brewers know that most impurities are killed in the process of making beer).

Their Brewmaster, Neo Say Wee, was a hobbyist turned professional brewer.  Neo has been brewing crowd favorites and award-winning ales and lagers for both locals and foreigners alike for the last 10 years, satisfying hundreds of thirsty customers daily. Neo setup Singapore’s first Homebrew store in 2004 becoming the go-to source of all brewing ingredients and equipment to help local hobbyist develop their home brewing craft. Being a brewer and owning Singapore’s first Homebrew store didn’t stop Neo from setting up the first Homebrew Club where he conducts beer tasting and brewing sessions, beer related discussions and even regional microbrewery tours for members. Always the market leader in the local beer industry Neo continued to fine-tune his skill and became Singapore’s first and only accredited beer judge certified under the Beer Judge Certification Program in 2010.

Siem Reap Brewpub

Here is what we tried:

  • Blonde Ale – Light and delicate maltiness. Low level of bitterness. Floral hops aroma.
  • Golden Ale – Malty with a touch of toastiness. Medium level of bitterness. Piney hops aroma.
  • India Pale Ale – Rich and rounded flavor of malt. High level of bitterness. Fruity hops aroma.
  • Dark Ale – Complex malt body. Low level of bitterness. Intense dark chocolate aroma & flavor. Brewed with 100% local organic Palm Sugar for the unique Cambodian taste.  While it was a little too hot to be drinking a dark beer.  I really enjoyed this beer, the story about the palm sugar and the taste.
  • Honey Weiss – A naturally cloudy Hefeweizen (Wheat Beer).Low level of bitterness. Rich honey aroma and flavor. Brewed with 100% local organic Wild Honey from Mondulkiri for the unique Cambodian taste.  This beer was a close favorite of mine.  I loved the taste of the local honey, which is definitely something to taste when you come to Cambodia.
  • Saison Ale – A touch of Rye malt. Medium level of bitterness. Delicate lemongrass aroma with pepper corn aftertaste. Brewed with 100% local organic Lemongrass and Pepper Corn for the unique Cambodian taste.  This was both Beckie and my favorite beer.  The gentle spice from the pepper corn gave it an impressive saison feel without being overwhelming.

Have you been to Siem Reap?  What was your favorite beer there?