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Beermania: UFC 143 edition

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Welcome to the UFC 143: "Diaz vs Condit" edition of MMAmania.com presents "Beermania."

The plan is to rate and review two different styles of beer prior to each UFC pay-per-view (PPV) fight card, with one brand representing each of the two main event fighters. For this edition, I will present a beer from California (Nick Diaz) and a beer from New Mexico (Carlos Condit).

As always, I have done my best to use beers that are of the same style and represent the fighter's home country (or state) for each post. With any luck, I can convince some you to try out a beer you normally wouldn't have sampled at the local watering hole. Also for this episode, we will be introducing a segment I like to call "Chocolate Silk's Cooking Corner," where everybody's favorite Mania foodie, Old Man Ulf Murphy, will give us some recipes that should compliment the style of beer being reviewed.

Here's how it works.

When reviewing a beer, there are typically five categories of concern: Appearance (A), Smell (S), Taste (T), Mouthfeel (M), and Drinkability (D). After a brief description for each category, based on my tasting notes, I will assign a letter grade to each beer.

Follow me after the jump to get started.

First up, fighting out of the blue corner, representing Nick Diaz and brewed out of Orange County, California, we have The Bruery Orchard White.

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Tale of the tape:

Beer: The Bruery Orchard White.
Brewery: The Bruery, Orange County, California.
Serving size: 750ml bottle poured into a 13oz Saison Dupont glass, 5.7 alcohol percent by volume.

From the Brewery:

Our unparalleled California White Ale offers flavors of fresh citrus, bready wheat and a hint of lavender. Enjoy!

ShivanTiger's Review:

A: Golden in color, slight cloudiness, big white head that doesn't want to leave the glass, a thick lacing after a glass swirl.
S: Very subtle nose, notes of wheat, a bit of lemon zest and just a hint of pepper, some lavender as it warms.
T: Similar to the smell, picking up lemon zest, some spicing from what appears to be peppercorns, and a bit of herbal flavors possible from the hops.
M: Very thin mouthfeel, nice carbonation.
D: Easy drinker, while the spicing is mild, I can see how some people could be turned off by it. Good beer for a hot summer day, maybe mix it with some OJ for a Sunday morning beermosa.

Overall: B

It's not the best Wit I've had, but I wouldn't turn it down on a hot day.

Next up, fighting out of the Red Corner, representing Carlos Condit and brewed out of Pecos, New Mexico, we have Abbey of Christ in the Desert Monk's Wit.

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Tale of the tape:

Beer: Abbey of Christ in the Desert Monk's Wit.
Brewery: Abbey Beverage Company Pecos, New Mexico.
Serving Type: 12 oz bottle poured into a 13 oz Saison Dupont glass. Unknown alcohol by volume.

From the Brewery:

For centuries monks throughout Europe have been recognized for crafting some of the world's finest beer. The Benedictine monks of New Mexico bring these same venerable traditions to Monk's Wit - a light refreshing Belgian-style wheat ale brewed with spices that endear you with a heavenly taste.

ShivanTiger's Review:

A: Very light straw color, not cloudy at all, appears more like a pilsner. Very thin head, leaving way to thin lacing.
S: Very mild smells, only thing I am picking up is slight wheat notes, nothing off-putting, but certainly not appealing.
T: Much like the smell this has little to no flavor, I do get a slight bit of what seems to be corn syrup.
M: Very thin, watery, not a lot of carbonation.
D: Yes it is easy to drink, but that's due to the fact it doesn't have much flavor.

Overall: D

It's time for the Monks to enroll in brewing school. This is not a Witbier, regardless of what the label says. It looks like a pilsner, tastes like Coors Light's older hipster brother. I am extremely unhappy that I am stuck with five more of these. Maybe I'll use it to make some beer boiled hotdogs.

Additional Witbier Tasting Notes:

It's a Belgian-style ale that's very pale and cloudy in appearance due to it being unfiltered and the high level of wheat, and sometimes oats, that's used in the mash. Always spiced, generally with coriander, orange peel and other oddball spices or herbs in the background. The crispness and slight twang comes from the wheat and the lively level of carbonation. This is one style that many brewers in the US have taken a liking to and have done a very good job of staying to style. Sometimes served with a lemon, but if you truly want to enjoy the untainted subtleties of this style you'll ask for yours without one. Often referred to as "white beers" (witbieren) due to the cloudiness and yeast in suspension.

Some other examples of the Witbier style would include:

Hoegaarden Original White Ale (Brouwerij van Hoegaarden)
Blue Moon Belgian White (Coor's Brewing Company)
Allagash White (Allagash Brewing Company)
Samuel Adams White Ale (Boston Beer Company)
Blanche de Chambly (Unibroue)

Witbiers should be enjoyed in a pint glass, pilsner glass, or mug at 45 - 50 degrees Farenheit.

Chocolate Silk's Cooking Corner, featuring Ulf Murphy

California Spinach Salad:

1/2 cup pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
Salt and ground black pepper
6 cups baby spinach leaves
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup walnut pieces
1/3 cup feta or bleu cheese (user preference)

Mix dressing ingredients one hour before hand and season to taste.

Grilled, Marinated Zucchini and Squash:

1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 clove garlic (some use more)
Sprig of fresh rosemary

Cut into 1/4" slices, chop garlic and rosemary extra fine and marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Cedar Plank Salmon:

1 cedar plank (6 by 14 inches)
2 salmon fillets (1 1/2 pounds total)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons Dijon mustard
6 tablespoons brown sugar

Soak plank in saltwater for two hours prior. Remove skin from salmon filets and place "skin side" on plank. Rub Dijon and sprinkle dry brown sugar over it. Indirect grill for 25 minutes on medium to medium high heat, spritzing with water if plank catches on fire.

Good food, good beer and good fights. What else can you ask for?

That does it for this edition, Maniacs.

Be sure to check us out in advance of UFC 144: "Edgar vs Henderson" for another go-round. In the meantime, keep an eye out for special "Beermania Pregame" posts leading into UFC on Fuel TV, UFC on FX, and UFC on Fox events.

And remember to stay up to speed on all the UFC 143 news and notes right here.

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