Baconalia! Review: Petite BLT Sandwiches with Two Brothers Bitter End Pale Ale

Baconalia! Offering

On the Right: Petite BLT Sandwiches with Two Brothers Bitter End Pale Ale

Despite the fact that I billed Baconalia! as a tasting and my guest list was void of irresponsible drinkers (well, relevant varieties of irresponsible) I still wanted to provide a couple of items with some substance.  I ended up making two types of sandwiches, the first of which is the subject of this week’s review.  I kept it pretty classic, except that I didn’t put any mayo on the bread.  First of all, I wasn’t sure how quickly they would be eaten and salmonella is kind of a tacky party favor.  I mean, while it’s true that nothing says class like a glue-ridden coozy, takeaway salmonella just is not acceptable.  The second reason was that one of my guests has some pretty significant food allergies and mayo is a no-go for her; it was important to me that everything on the table be safe for her.  I did have mayo in the fridge had anyone wanted any, but honestly: when you provide bacon and beer, people tend to be pretty well set.
Because I was making a lot of things in a short time, I decided to make these AS EASY AS POSSIBLE.  I could (and did) make these slightly ahead as the bacon doesn’t really need to be warm, but tomatoes can only cozy up next to bread for so long before things get soggy and gross.  In addition to wanting these to be easy to assemble, I also wanted them to look neat and tidy and not be a disaster to eat.  Again for ease, all Baconalia! foods were finger foods.  If there’s anything that compliments the class of a gluey coozy, it’s a group of people eating with their hands. 
Back to ease.  While I wanted to provide something a bit more filling, I needed to balance that with the fact that I was offering twelve courses and twelve beers.  Not everyone puts it away like I do.  I bought a long baguette, which I sliced on the diagonal, to make the slices a bit larger.  I was totally and completely lazy and bought bagged lettuce – romaine, I think – which whatever: I still washed it.  I didn’t mean to, but it sort of just happened.  The leaves were the perfect size.  While I normally like beefsteak tomatoes in a BLT, for ease and size I used romas.  A simple slice was perfect.  I did not have guilt over lowering my tomato standards as this was not tomatalia, although depending on how my garden goes…For the bacon, I used Hormel Black Label Bacon which continued to live up to its delicious standard.  After it was cooked and pat dry enough, I used my kitchen scissors to cut the bacon to size.  Um, I remove and clean the undersides of heating vents.  Like I’m going to permit bacon to dangle untidily and asymmetrically out of a sandwich?  Hardly, especially when I could sample the bit I trimmed.  A good hostess should sample things anyway, to make sure she does not serve anything bad or gross.  As expected the BLTs were not gross; they were quite delicious.  With several new things to taste, it was nice to incorporate a traditional favorite.  I put almost toothpicks in the sandwiches, as we were going all finger food and all class, but then realized that would be superfluous and wasteful. 
I paired this with Two Brothers Bitter End Pale Ale.  It’s an American Pale Ale, but word on the street is that it could pass for an English Bitter.  I personally have not done a blind taste test, ala the Pepsi Challenge, but I think those are all bogus anyway.  What you ought to take away from that last bit is that this is an APA that is a bit bitter. Bit bitter, ha. 
This beer is pretty smooth and has an easy feel in the mouth.  I thought it went nicely with the density of the baguette.  It’s pretty malty, but not in a way where it overwhelms the other flavors. Since I did not toast the bread (I prefer my BLTs untoasted and it was my party) I thought some toasty malt flavors might add some of that element.  As its name suggests, this is a beer that’s sort of like, “YO!  I’m pretty smooth and cool, but watch out – I’m also bitter!”  I thought the salt of the bacon with the sweetness of the tomato provided a fun juxtaposition with the bitter, citrus-y kick of this beer.  Since the kick hits at the end, the subtlety of the (bagged) lettuce was not lost completely.  It did get a little overwhelmed, but I don’t know anyone who eats BLTs for the lettuce.  Trust me, my friends are not that sort.  Nobody came for the lettuce.
Offering something with a bit more “meat” than just meat was a good call on my part.  There weren’t any incidents or anything, but I know that I was glad to have them available to me, and honestly – shouldn’t my parties be about me having a great time?



1 Response to “Baconalia! Review: Petite BLT Sandwiches with Two Brothers Bitter End Pale Ale”

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