One Theme, A Growing Story

Each month, Tasting Table’s Monthly Editions explores a single topic from a variety of delicious angles. Our December issue, Fire and Ice, examines dishes and drinks in which extreme temperature helps to create delicious flavor. Keep checking back here to watch the story grow.

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    What ramps are to spring, eisbocks are to winter.

    The singular style of beer can only be produced in the coldest of temperatures. It is created by taking a strong lager called a bock and freezing it. Since alcohol solidifies at a frostier temperature than water, the alcohol separates from the liquid, which turns to ice. Removing some ice creates a more concentrated, more flavorful beer with an elevated alcohol level.

    Up next, a few of our favorite iterations of this wintertime treat.

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    Kulmbacher Reichelbräu Eisbock

    According to lore, the eisbock style was born more than a century ago, when a wooden barrel filled with Kulmbacher’s bock was accidentally left outside during a cold snap. The beer mostly froze, and when it was discovered, the brewers chipped away the ice, leaving behind a surprisingly rich brew. A happy accident, indeed: Kulmbacher’s amber-tinted offering registers 9.2 percent ABV and has a bouquet of figs and chocolate. It’s a fine accompaniment to dessert.

    $3; Click here to buy.

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    Schneider Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock

    On its own, this German brewery’s strong weizenbock (weizen is German for “wheat”) is a superb, banana-nuanced delight. But a freezing stint turns it into a luxurious, snifter-worthy treat. The hazy, chestnut-hued eisbock’s complex aroma slinks from raisins to cloves and butterscotch, with a creamy texture. Expect flavor with plenty of honey and dried fruits, backed by bananas and cloves. At 12 percent ABV, this eisbock is like a liquid sweater.

    $5; Click here to buy.

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    Hofstetten Granit Ice Bock

    This rustic Austrian brewery makes its base bock by caramelizing the wort--the unfermented broth created by boiling grains with water--with superheated rocks. The brewery then ferments the beer in granite troughs. The process gives the toffee-scented, burgundy-brown eisbock intensified flavors of caramel, which are evened out by herbal undertones. The 11.5 percent ABV, syrupy beer is somewhat sweet, but the sugar levels somehow stay in check.

    $7.50; Click here to buy.

  • SENT DECEMBER 19, 2011


    To a Degree

    Light a fire with these grills and ovens from across the country

    At the table, food is either hot or cold. But in the kitchen, chefs know that temperature covers a much broader spectrum. To wit, we peeked under the hoods of several new...

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  • SENT DECEMBER 15, 2011


    TT Plated: Parsnips

    A vegetable to root for

    Many vegetables depend on sunshine for sweetness--but not the humble parsnip, which actually becomes sweeter after the first hard frost. And, in places where the ground doesn't...

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  • SENT DECEMBER 13, 2011


    Full Metal Drink It

    Blue blazer mugs are the ultimate dare for the dipsomaniac

    The gap between home and professional bartender, it seems, is shrinking. Of course, recent books such as Brad Thomas Parsons's Bitters or Jim Meehan's P.D.T. Cocktail Book...

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  • SENT DECEMBER 8, 2011


    Ice King

    Trading knives for chain saws--plus a DIY ice guide

    Most of the time, you can find Richie Farina, a sous chef at Chicago's Moto restaurant, wielding knives behind the pass. But one Wednesday a month, Farina trades his knives for a...

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  • SENT DECEMBER 1, 2011


    Icy Hot

    Extreme temperature, better flavor

    When it comes to temperature, we usually favor moderation. After all, we prefer our subway cars air-conditioned in the summer, and nothing is more annoying than running out of hot...

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