I organized an East versus West Coast IPA tasting on Saturday night. You can see the setup here. Please note, the seemly Real Simple-esque picture does not show you the destruction that follows when four people consume 160 ounces of high-octane brew in a single-blind tasting.
Peak Organic Brewing Company’s IPA, Portland, ME (7.1% ABV)
Somerville Brewing Company’s Slumbrew Flagraiser IPA, Ipswich, MA (7.5% ABV)
Brewmaster Jack’s Ambrewsia Imperial IPA, Holyoke, MA (7.7% ABV)
21st Amendment Brewery’s Brew Free! Or Die IPA, San Francisco, CA (7.0% ABV)
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s Torpedo Extra IPA, Chico, CA (7.2% ABV)
Bear Republic Brewing Company’s Racer 5 IPA, Healdsburg, CA (7% ABV)
Sixpoint Brewery’s Bengali Tiger IPA, Brooklyn, NY (6.4% ABV)
“Smells like Heineken; tastes dirty.”
“I want to like it, but it has an odd finish—like dishwater.”
“A good IPA for winter—a woodsman’s beer.”
“Smells like my gym bag.” “Fruity, but a bit like B.O.”
“Tastes like clean plants, like you watered the lawn and then drank it.”
“Caramel smell; almost brown butter-like; like a financier.”
“I want to drink this on a boat.”
An entire loaf of no-knead bread studded with chunky flecks of fleur de sel intended to balance the sweetish bitter brews.
Plus a few narrow strips of rye focaccia I had squirreled away for such an occasion, with a version of Yotam Ottolenghi’s hummus, spiked with cumin.
And slices of fallen soufflé cake. Also known as the cake to end all chocolate cakes.
Lest you think this cake praise was swayed by consuming my weight in high-powered IPAs—let me assure you—I had it for breakfast the next morning. It was good, if not better, in its following days.
Its inspiration came from a beautiful photo in Gather Journal mashed with a riff on the late Richard Sax’s chocolate cloud cake in bon appétit's most recent edition. It’s a rich, yet light cake with an almost cheesecake-like quality. I ruffled it up with a little Peychaud’s bitters. Though you can’t taste the Peychaud’s, I believe its subtle anise and nutmeg notes add warmth to the cake, deepening it.
The decision to dust or not to dust with powdered sugar is yours, and yours alone to make, though I think I prefer the look without it. What you cannot forgo is the sprinkling of sugar on top, which adds an additive crunch and a hint of sweetness to an otherwise mildly sweetened cake. The powdered sugar had dissolved into the cake the following morning, letting the glints of crystallized sugar shimmer through again. Which was how I preferred it in the first place.
“This gal’s a stunner.”
Peychaud’s Fallen Chocolate Soufflé Cake
½ cup (1 stick) butter, cut into 1-inch pieces (plus more for the pan)
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp sugar, divided (plus more for the pan)
10 ounces 60-80% Taza dark chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tbsp canola oil
6 eggs, divided
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbsp Peychaud’s bitters
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ tsp kosher salt
powdered sugar (optional)
Set the oven at 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust with (the granulated) sugar; tap lightly to remove any excess. In a large heatproof bowl set over simmering water, combine the butter, dark chocolate, and oil. Stir until the chocolate and butter melts. (You can take the bowl off the simmering water before everything has fully melted; it will continue to melt from the residual heat.)
Meanwhile, separate 4 of the eggs. Place the whites in a stand mixer and the yolks in a medium bowl. To the yolks, add the cocoa powder, bitters, vanilla, salt, ¼ cup of sugar, and the 2 remaining eggs. Whisk until smooth.
Once the chocolate butter mixture has fully melted (be sure it’s well combined), gradually whisk in the yolk mixture.
Beat the egg whites on high until frothy and then gradually add in ½ cup sugar, with the mixer still running. Beat until firm peaks form. Gently fold the whites into the chocolate in 2 additions, until the mixture is just incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan. Smooth the top and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tbsp of sugar. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the cake is puffed, starting to crack, and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let cool fully in the pan on a wire rack before releasing it. The cake will collapse slightly and continue to crack and pull away from the sides of the pan as it cools. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
-This cake is flourless, which could be perfect for the start of Passover. I’m no expert in religious dietary restrictions, though I seem to think the Peychaud’s (and possibly vanilla) might be problematic….
-Keep any leftovers in an airtight container. Mine was gone after 2 days, but definitely kept wonderfully in the interim. (Also, I used a mixture of Taza bars that probably averaged out to 70% dark.)
-P.s. the winners of the tasting were Peak Organic and 21st Amendment. Slumbrew did very well too. I won't discuss some of the others, because it's mean.