logoby Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff

The Dynasty starts tonight! Oh Ricky Proehl, you raconteur you, such a quick wit. It’s appropriate that this game is being played so close to Halloween. Seven years later St. Louis still hasn’t recovered from the trick that replaced their treat.

This Rams team is horrible, they’ve been the  worst team in the league over the past two years. OK, they’ve got some competition with Detroit and Cincinnati for that title, but still seeing the Rams on the schedule this week is a nice Halloween treat for Pats fans.

Seriously, between San Diego and Denver the past couple of weeks, and looking ahead and seeing Indy and the Bills in the next two. This is the kind of break my nerves need.

The lead up to the game should even be good. I’m sure the 2001 Super Bowl will be replayed in the media all week. Despite the fact that there are hardly any key figures from that Rams team still around. Isaac Bruce, Mike Martz, Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and others have all moved on or retired.

If you miss those old Rams, and miss the old Patriots that beat up the ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ then just watch the NFL network leading up to the game. I’m sure Marshall will be on there running his mouth about the Patriots. See it’s not so bad, at least 7 years later our team still won, and the Rams are still bitter about it.

What other changes have hit St. Louis? Read on and find out. First, we need some food.

Patriots Daily Buffet Table Lamb Chops (Serves 6)

3 pounds Lamb rib chops
4 tablespoons Mild Curry Paste
1 bottle Belgian Pale Ale or Strong Pale Ale

Mix curry paste and beer into a marinade. Marinade lamb chops for at least one hour. You can use any type of lamb chops, but I prefer rib chops as they’re smaller and soak up more marinade than a larger chop will. Being smaller they also cook quicker.

Cook the lamb over a medium grill – 300 degrees, lamb is usually cooked to a medium-rare doneness. Rib chops will only take 4-5 minutes per side. 8 to 9 minutes total. Again, this is for the smaller rib chops, with a larger chop you will be cooking them for 12-16 minutes.

That’s all there is to it. Lamb has a reputation of being hard to cook, but it’s very easy. Don’t overcook it and it will taste great.

Time for a drink!

Our friends in St. Louis thought losing the Super Bowl and their Dynasty to the Patriots was a huge blow. Little did they know that the biggest dynasty in town, the Anheuser Busch brewing company, would be sold a few years later to a bunch of Belgians.

That’s unlucky for St. Louis, but lucky for the Buffet Table as now we have a reason to drink some Belgian beers. We’ll be concentrating on three of the numerous Belgian beer styles. Truly, you can not put Belgian beers within style categories, each one seems to be it’s own style. But people have tried, and we’ll go with those styles that have been established.

The three we’re drinking are Belgian Pale Ales, Belgian Strong Pale Ales and Belgian India Pale Ales.

Belgian Pale Ales were brewed to compete with the pilsners that were becoming more popular in Belgium post World War 2. They are similar to American and British pale ales. Tending to be less hoppy and bitter than their Ameri-Anglo cousins but with the addition of spice characteristics.

Belgian Strong Pale Ales are bigger, more alcoholic, spicier and more flavorful partner to the Belgian Pale Ale. At least in a relative sense, they are not necessarily hoppier than a Belgian Pale Ale. After WW2 Belgium imposed duties on spirits, and the sale of spirits in bars and taverns was also restricted. Brewers took advantage of the market created by these laws, and created higher alcohol beers like the Belgian Strong Pale.

Belgian India Pale Ales are usually as strong as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale but they are hopped to the level of an American IPA or Double IPA. This style was just invented in the last few years, as Belgian brewers got a taste of the big American IPAs. Hopping is usually done with European hops, although some brewers use American hops in their Belgian IPAs.

All three styles are bready, toasty, fruity and spicy. They have a fairly high carbonation level that cuts through the fat and spice of the lamb chops. A good combination as they will contrast with certain parts of our lamb while complementing others.

The prime Belgian Pale Ale is Orval. Everything else in the style has to be judged against it. Translating to valley of gold, this 6.9% ABV pale ale is golden. It carries a history of a magical fish returning a lost wedding ring to a princess. In gratitude the princess founded the monastery that still stands next to the fountain where she lost her ring. Interesting story, but I don’t know how anyone came up with it before the brewery was built. It must have taken a few Orval beers to invent the Orval backstory. This was also how Tully Banta-Cain recovered his lost Super Bowl ring.

Another good example from Belgium is De Dolle Oeral Bier. No magical fish behind this one, just a good beer. Another from Belgium is Cuvee de Ranke from De Ranke.

In the Belgian Strong Pale Ale style, the most famous is Duvel. Translating to ‘Devil’ this beer is a tweak at the religiously named monastery brewed beers in its range. At 8.5% this is a strong beer, but it doesn’t seem to be that high when you’re drinking it. Be careful as it can sneak up at you, another reason behind the devilish name.

Brasserie d’Achouffe brings out La Chouffe.  This one is brewed by gnomes. If the magical fish wasn’t enough to warn you that these beers can be strong, let the magical smurfs making La Chouffe be a second warning.

A final entry from Belgium is Affligem Blond. No devils, lawn ornaments or koi involved with this one.

Looking around the US, we don’t have any mystical creatures making beer, but we still have good examples of the Belgian Strong Pale Ale. Allagash  in Portland, Maine makes Allagash Grand Cru. Brooklyn Brewery offers Brooklyn Brewery Local 1.

In the Belgian IPA Style, De Ranke again shows up, this time with De Ranke XX Bitter. Brasserie D’Achouffe’s crazy gnomes also got a hold of a bag of hops and a thesaurus and offer Houblon Chouffe Doebbelen IPA Triple.  Urthel counters with Urthel Hop-It, brewed of course by gnomes again. Different gnomes though, these are bald and don’t wear hats. Kind of like the snorks instead of the smurfs.

Again for good beers without the fairy tales we have to turn to America. Allagash again helps out with Hugh Malone. Sales help support Organic farming, but don’t hold that against it.

Sixpoint Craft Ales, also from Brooklyn, NY doesn’t mess around with fancy names. Their Belgian IPA is just called Sixpoint Belgian IPA.

There you have it, one of the families of Belgian Beer styles. Some will be harder to find than others, but you should be able to find some Belgian Pale Ales, Strong Pale Ales, and IPAs at most well stocked liquor stores.