Hopped Up Eugene May 15-21
Failure can result in some pretty amazing outcomes. I failed to remember not to pour cold water in my hot Pyrex dish a few years back, resulting in glass all over the stove and floor and a ruined meal (and they say Pyrex won’t break, proved them wrong!). When looking for beer to go with our Pho soup last month, I grabbed what I thought was 10 Barrel S1nist0r Black, a surprisingly light bodied dark beer which would pair well with the brothy soup. I could not have been more wrong. What I ended up with was 10 Barrel’s Project: Failed Red Ale. I was not happy once I realized my mistake. But sometimes trying for one thing gets you another, and while you may not have originally wanted it, the result is exactly what you were looking for.
Like making beer, the process to bring about homemade Pho is lengthy and takes a lot of patience. So too with beer, the end product is worth the wait, as well as the running around town to find all the ingredients to make Pho! I used this recipe that was recommended by a friend. It gives very detailed instructions. I suggest reading the steps to broth making several times prior to starting. This will give you a clear path, without having to constantly refer back to the blog. Once you have made the broth, the hard part is over. Store the left over broth, and assemble the soup as depicted in the blog post.
The combination of Project: Failed and the Pho was a huge surprise. I was very skeptical, but was not going to open anything else, the beer was getting drank. I left about 20% of the fat in the broth, and there is an amazing richness I would have never expected in such a seemingly simple soup. A bold malt scent melds with the aroma of savory beef bone and garnishes of cilantro and lime. The caramel and creamy smoothness of the beer magnified the richness of the broth, bringing out all the flavors of the spices used; ginger, licorice from the star anise, cinnamon and clove. The thinly sliced beef in a spoonful of broth magnified hints of sweetness in the beer, something I would normally not pick, but worked really well with the dish. A delightful meal for a cold and rainy May evening.
Judging from the hilarious video the brewery posted on their site telling the story of Project: Failed, I would say that the art of failure has been mastered. The crew at 10 Barrel is clearly happy with the results, and so am I. 10 Barrel Brewery is located in Bend Oregon, with Pubs in Portland and Boise, Idaho.
And in another stroke of beer genius, earlier this year the brewery rolled out beer vending machines that I swear if I ever come across, I will be running for quarters! This is something I have not seen since it was 3am in Brugge Belgium, out of beer and informed by the hotel staff that on the basement level, we could use our Euro coins to buy some cans. Can I throw out a delighted Squee of delight for the beer machine!?