Grilling.com Goes to Anheuser-Busch
December 7, 2012
One of the great experiences of the last Kingsford Invitational was a tour of Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis. Grilling.com interviewed brewmaster Sarah Schilling about her role at the company, her love of grilling and suggestions for pairing brews with holiday dishes.
What is your role at Anheuser-Busch?
I am the Brewing Specialist for zone support in North America. I support brewing operations and process improvements throughout all eighteen of our breweries in North America. My current responsibilities are focused on expanding brands to new producing locations and supporting logistics planning processes. I also participate in daily taste panels, which evaluate the quality of samples from throughout our zone and the globe.
What is your background in the brewing world?
I have worked at Anheuser-Busch for twelve years, and have served in many different roles in zone engineering, at the Columbus, Ohio brewery, and now zone brewing. I am an active member in MBAA (Master Brewers’ Association of the Americas), and am a Brewing Ambassador at Anheuser-Busch, which is our program for brewing professionals like myself to lead events with consumers where we teach about the brewing process and tasting basics.
Does you grill at home?
I do grill at home, but consider this a tag team effort with my husband, which is the way I learned about grilling and fondly remember my parents grilling together almost every summer evening growing up on the farm, “eating off the land,” as they would say. I do the preparation, including any sauce or marinades, and he executes on the grill.
(Photo courtesy of PatioDaddioBBQ.com)
What are your favorite holiday Anheuser-Busch brews?
I love this time of year!, We are entering the holiday season for specialty seasonal offerings in beer, a lot of offerings that bring a lot of unique batch attributes and “catch-me-while-you-can” appeal because they are special offerings in limited quantity. We do a lot of experimenting this time of year with spiced beers in seasonal offerings. I anticipate Fall every year for sampling the variety of one of my favorite beer styles, pumpkin beers. The varying degree of spice, pumpkin, and sweetness ensure a new experience each season from several local and regional brewers, including our ShockTop Pumpkin Wheat, which I think has great balance of all flavor attributes.
What are your favorite holiday flavors in holiday beers?
Right now we have out the Brewmasters’ Project, a 12 sampler pack of three “winners” based upon consumer voting feedback at sampling events of six finalist recipes. The recipes were collaboration of brewmaster teams, and really there were no winners or losers in this Project as I see it. It was great fun to sample all of the creations through the process leading up to the sampler pack.
This was a unique opportunity for our U.S. brewmasters to showcase their brewing expertise and for consumers to connect to the endless possibilities of beer styles. My personal favorite is from L.A., for the slightly aged fruit fermentation that comes out in the aroma of this beer, and balances well the slightly higher hop bitterness than found in Budweiser; it is really quite seasonable. That pick is totally based on personal preference, though…I have received tons of accolades in sampling events for the St. Louis beer which pays homage to the original Budweiser recipe by featuring varieties of Hallertau and Tettnang hops commonly used in St. Louis brewing during the 1800′s, slightly hoppier than Budweiser, but still has the crisp signature finish of a Budweiser…and my husband’s personal favorite is Bud Bourbon from Williamsburg, Va. which was aged on bourbon staves and with vanilla beans, it has a sweet aroma and slightly oaky finish – perfect for serving slightly warmer than a typical pilsner. Sipping it from a brandy snifter gives this beer an elevated position and is perfect for fireside chats this time of year…just picture families gathered around the fireplace after dinner or friends on a patio huddled near a fire pit!
What are some of your favorite paring suggestions for holiday dishes?
Shock Top Midnight Wheat with bacon wrapped dates for a warm-up appetizer or with Cincinnati-style chili (complimentary attributes of sweet and heat)
Project 12 Batch 63118 (St. Louis) and Grilled Chicken with Chipotle-Lime Butter (spicy and floral hop characters help balance heat from chili and grilled preparation)
Project 12 Batch 23185 (Williamsburg) and mushroom stuffed Filet of Beef
Project 12 Batch 91406 (Los Angeles) and braised pork Budweiser and Budweiser Jalepeno cheese soup.
I also like wheat beers with pork, or try Shock Top with Pear and Cranberry Stuffed Pork Roast, or for extra flair, try Shock Top Raspberry to enhance the fruit-stuffing component of the pork roast.
Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with Grilling.com, Sarah!