Showing posts with label Beer and Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Beer and Food. Show all posts

January 29, 2014

A Trip to NH and VT: Hill Farmstead, Heady Topper, lots of snow

I took some time last month to visit a friend who was back in his home territory of New England for a short break. Like me, he's a craft beer fiend, so we made sure to take advantage of as much of the local beer scene as we could. Our adventures included a delicious dinner at the Farmhouse gastropub, a trip to Hill Farmstead, a sampling of the highly sought after Heady Topper, and a massive homebrew day.

Burlington, VT: Farmhouse Tap & Grill

Hill Farmstead Edward
Hill Farmstead's Edward - a fantastic
beer from Vermont
To start things off we visited a beer bar and restaurant in Burlington called Farmhouse Tap & Grill. This turned out to be one of the best gastropub experiences I can remember. I started out with an "Edward" from Vermont's Hill Farmstead (5.2% ABV, 85 IBUs). Even though we were going there the next day, I couldn't wait to give it a try. The beer did not disappoint. A clean, hop-forward pale ale, the epitome of an American Pale. The commercial description of Edward gives some indication of the care the brewer puts into this beer:
Edward (1917-2002) is our grandfather; Hill Farmstead Brewery rests upon the land that was once home to him and his five children. In his honor, this American Pale Ale is dutifully crafted from American malted barley, a plethora of American hops, our ale yeast and water from Edward’s well. It is unfiltered, naturally carbonated, and dry hopped. Aromatic and flowery, with impressions of citrus and pine, this is the ale that I dream to have shared with Edward. 
The food that followed was also excellent, from the local cheese plate to potato croquettes to the locally raised beef burgers. I highly recommend a visit to Farmhouse if you're ever in Burlington.

After several more local beers, a raging metal show, way too many Rolling Rocks, and an attempt (and failure) to kill a keg of Switchback Pale Ale, we called it a night.

Trip to Hill Farmstead

We were saved the next day by one of the most greasy and delicious bacon, egg and cheese bagels I've ever encountered. Rejuvenated, we got on the road for Hill Farmstead, picking up a four-pack of the famed Heady Topper along the way. If you're unfamiliar, Heady Topper is one of those insanely popular beers that people travel far and wide just to try. We would sample it later that night.

Hill Farmstead VT
Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro, 
The trip to Hill Farmstead Brewery was about a two-hour drive from Burlington, but it was gorgeous. With about six inches of fresh snow on the ground, we drove through the backwoods of Vermont to arrive at the brewery in the tiny town of Greensboro, VT (pop. 770). The brewery is relatively small (be warned: bring cash!), producing only about 2000 barrels of beer a year. But that didn't stop them from being named Best Brewer in the World by RateBeer in 2013. So even though their beer rarely leaves VT, many people like us are willing to make the trip.

We got there just before closing and went through a quick sampling of their beers. They were excellent across the board, but our favorite was Edward. We picked up a growler of it and a bottle of their port barrel aged Damien, an imperial stout, and hit the road again.

(Hill Farmstead recently made the news by announcing that after their expansion, they would cap production at 150,000 gallons of beer per year -- a very unusual move for craft brewers these days. Read the article in the New York Times.)

Heady Topper

The Alchemist's Heady Topper
That night after the long beer adventure, we opened up the Heady Topper. As mentioned before, Heady Topper (8% ABV, 75 IBUs) has a fanatical following, with people traveling long distances just to try it. Someone was recently arrested for re-selling Heady Topper on craigslist. The brewer who makes it, the Alchemist, made news recently by announcing that they would close their retail shop because they were overwhelmed by people trying to get their hands on it. There was quite an uproar following this announcement, reduced only by the news shortly afterward that the Alchemist would attempt to meet demand by opening a second brewery. There must be something in the water in Vermont, because people are going crazy for these beers!

For us, we were lucky to grab a four-pack Thursday morning about 10 minutes after it was delivered to the convenience store. In another ten minutes we might have missed our chance. The can instructs the drinker to drink from the can itself. As soon as up open it the hops aromas explode out of it. It's one of those Double IPAs that just sticks to your teeth. It's pale in color, leading me to believe that the caramel malts are restrained so as not to take anything away from the bitterness. This beer is probably the biggest showcase of American hops I've ever had. Would I drive 600 miles just to try it...maybe.

Big (Cold) Brew Day

Over the weekend a number of homebrewers got together to brew. Despite being 10 degrees outside, it was a great time. We drained the Edward, a couple of beers I brought from Asheville, and dozens of different homemade beers and meads. Needless to say, we warmed right up.

I brought two of my favorite recent beers from Asheville, including Green Man's Harvester (an amber ale made with Riverbend malt and German hops) and Firebreather, a Belgian Strong Ale aged in rye bourbon barrels, a collaboration between Asheville's Burial Beer Co. and Hi-Wire Brewing. I believe the northerners were pleased with the southern representation.

For those of you interested, here is the recipe we ended up using for the brew day, an imperial brown ale.

Imperial Brown Ale
(10-gallon batch, all-grain)

Ingredients
25 lbs. Maris Otter
2 lbs. Riverbend Appalachian Wheat Malt
2 lbs. Chocolate Malt
.5 lb. Crystal 80
.5 lb. Aromatic Malt
.75 lb. Biscuit Malt
2 oz. Kent Golding @ 60 min
1 oz. Kent Golding @ 15 min
1 oz. Fuggles @ 10 min
2 oz. Fuggles @ flame out
Ringwood Ale Yeast
*batch divided between two fermenters, one to get oak chips, one to get oak chips with bourbon

Stay tuned -- I hope to review it soon! Big thanks to Milo for a great weekend!

September 4, 2013

Highlands, NC: Ruka's Table Masters the Beer Pairing Dinner

Narrow, winding roads lead into the mountains of Highlands, NC, the kind that make you wonder how the treads on your tires are doing. Suddenly the forest road opens up to offer sweeping views of the surrounding states. Located in a small resort town in the Nantahala National Forest, Ruka's Table sources ingredients from its neighbors in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, and delivers food fit for any of the best restaurants in Atlanta, DC, or New York City. Head Chef Justin Burdett recently presented a beer pairing dinner showcasing many of these local ingredients.

Prior to working at Ruka’s Table, Burdett was Chef de Cuisine at Miller Union, a highly regarded farm-to-table restaurant in Atlanta. In March 2013, he was named among the top chefs in the Southeast by Food & Wine Magazine. He has also competed on the Food Network show "Chopped" -- and won.

August 22, 2013

Local Beer Event Roundup

A lot of exciting beer events coming up in the Southeast: beer dinners, festivals, New Belgium "Clips" Film Festival... Are you ready?

Tonight, Aug. 22, 2013 - Oskar Blues Pint Night at the Brew Pump

The Brew Pump is a brand new beer bar in a converted gas station at 760 Haywood Road in West Asheville. This is the bar's first pint night, featuring our new neighbors from down in Brevard. There will be bluegrass music with Steven Shealy, free Oskar Blues merchandise, and the El Kimchi Food Truck will be on site providing the grub.

See you there.

Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013 - VA Craft Brewers Festival

August 1, 2013

The Grove Park Inn Goes Craft: Edison Craft Ales + Kitchen

The attractive interior space opens into
even more impressive mountain views.
Someone made a very wise move when they decided to make craft beer and local food the focal point of the Grove Park Inn's classy new restaurant. 

Edison Craft Ales + Kitchen carries ten North Carolina beers on tap, including several local brews. Edison will offer flights of up to four pours, allowing drinkers to sample some of North Carolina's finest ales and lagers. The draft beer selection is rounded out by number of quality canned and bottled beers, again with a focus on the regional and local.

July 31, 2013

Top 5 Experiences from the 2013 Beer Bloggers Conference

The 2013 Beer Bloggers Conference
was held at the Boston Park Plaza
Hotel, July 26-28.
I returned home on Monday from the Beer Bloggers Conference and wow -- what a marathon. I first flew to Boston and immediately bussed up north to spent a couple days with my little brother in Bar Harbor, ME. I then linked up with the pre-conference excursion in Portland, ME, before heading back to Boston for the conference itself.

Zephyr Adventures did a fantastic job organizing the whole thing. If you're a blogger who writes about beer, wine, food, or fitness and wellness, I highly recommend you checking out their annual conferences as an opportunity to network with others and elevate your blogging and social media skills.

Rather than give a full play by play, here are my top five experiences from the weekend (in chronological order):

July 24, 2013

Off to the Beer Bloggers Conference!

I'm en route (via Maine) to the 2013 Beer Bloggers Conference in Boston, MA. It should be a super beer geeky good time!

In addition to getting back to visit a world class craft beer city, I'm looking forward to...

Things kick off Thursday afternoon in Portland, ME. I will report here, on Facebook, and Twitter as time allows and do my best to avoid a wretched four-day hangover.

Will you be at #BBC13? Hit me up!

Tonight: Mother Earth Pairing Dinner at Ruka's Table

Late notice, yes, but this beer dinner sounds pretty amazing. Ruka's Table is in Highlands, NC, about
an hour southwest of Brevard.


For Immediate Release: 

May 13, 2013

5 Places to Take Beer Lovers Visiting Asheville

For everyone who visits Asheville, checking out the beer scene is imperative. My girlfriend and I have been very fortunate over the past several weeks to have a number of friends and family in town to visit and it's been a blast sharing the new city with our guests. Here are a few of the spots we've taken people so they can see -- and taste -- the Asheville beer scene:

the wedge brewing
Afternoon chillin' -- The Wedge Brewing Company

Located in the River Arts District, the Wedge has fantastic beer, a great outdoor patio, and usually food trucks on site to pair with your brew. It's the perfect place for kicking back on a sunny afternoon. The day we were there, El Kimchi was serving up their Mexican/Korean fusion deliciousness. Hopheads must try the Iron Rail IPA. Be sure to check out the Wedge's outdoor cinema series this summer and the Just Brew It homebrew festival on May 25th.

March 8, 2013

Atlanta Beer, Bourbon, & BBQ Fest Recap

Chef Christopher Davis of NC's
Little Red Pig Championship BBQ
Cooking Team
While James was enjoying the Panama Micro Brew Fest, my girlfriend and I traveled down to Atlanta for the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival at Atlantic Station. It was unusually cold, so cold that it actually snowed! (in Atlanta? in March? Yup.) As a touring festival with upcoming dates throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, here's a taste of what you can expect from upcoming editions (minus the cold, I hope).

The BEER

We started things off with a new local brewery, Monday Night Brewing from Atlanta, GA, and tried their Draft Kilt Scotch Ale (well-balanced bitterness, hint of smoke) and the Fu Manbrew Belgian-Style Wit (light, crisp, with a touch of ginger). Both solid beers.

January 28, 2013

How to Present an Incredible Beer and Cheese Tasting

This weekend's "No Whey Friday" beer and cheese tasting event absolutely lived up to expectations.

Beehive Barely Buzzed cheese
Michael Landis, of Atlanta Foods International, made an intoxicating presentation that stunned the 50 or so people in the meeting room at the Four Points Sheraton. As a Certified Cheese Professional, lead trainer for the Institut du Fromage, and international cheese judge, Michael brought expertise that made the event as educational as it was delicious. It was essentially a master class on how to conduct an amazing beer and cheese tasting.

January 25, 2013

5 Beer and Cheese Pairings That Will Rock Your World


Image used with permission via Rogue Ales and Spirits
At the 2012 Great American Beer Festival this past October, nearly 50,000 people descended on Denver to sample over 2,700 beers from nearly 600 American craft breweries. What blew me away though, more than any hopped-up IPA or high gravity Belgian quadruple, was a series of beer and cheese pairings that left my palate in a state of shock.

During the Saturday afternoon session of GABF, the American Cheese Society and Atlanta Foods International presented a seminar titled, “The Best Wine for that Cheese is Actually…Beer,” in which five phenomenal, award-winning cheeses were paired with five world-class beers from Utah’s Uinta Brewing Company. I was thrilled to learn that a similar event will be presented this weekend in Asheville.

December 22, 2012

Asheville, NC: Wicked Weed Brewing Preview


Wicked Weed in Asheville, NC
Photo: Wicked Weed Brewing
"Community" was the word of the day when I visited Wicked Weed Brewing last week. Scheduled to open December 28th at 5pm, Wicked Weed is expected to make a big splash in Asheville with a number of adventurous beer styles, including a range of Belgian ales, sour beers, saisons, West Coast-style IPAs, and barrel-aged beers, all to be complemented with "enlightened pub fare." Having won the People’s Choice award at this summer’s Brewgrass festival, the Asheville community is sure to give Wicked Weed an enthusiastic welcome on opening day.

The brewing team at Wicked Weed includes brothers Walt and Luke Dickinson and their good friend Eric Leypoldt. Both Luke and Eric bring experience from Dogfish Head, but all three got their start in homebrewing. Walt began homebrewing in California in 2000, and his brother Luke caught the bug soon afterwards. Like many others in their profession, what started as a hobby turned into a dream, and now they're neck deep in it.

November 20, 2012

Chapel Hill, NC: Homebrew for Hunger 2012

At the second annual Homebrew for Hunger festival, nearly 50 homebrewers and nine craft breweries teamed up to raise money and canned food for those in need.

The event, 
held at the West End Public in downtown Chapel Hill, raised over $8,500 through ticket sales and raffles to support PORCH, a volunteer organization providing hunger relief to families in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area. 

The event was expanded from one session last year to two this year in order to accomodate more tasters and to raise more money. Still, the event completely sold out in advance. 

October 29, 2012

What in the World is Beer Can Chicken?

Photo: Beer Can Chicken Blog
We've got a fun post on the Local Beer Blog today. Eric Moore runs the Beer Can Chicken Blog, but if you're like me, you've probably never heard of beer can chicken. So what the hell is it? Basically, you stuff a chicken with a can of beer and throw it on the grill. Here's Eric to explain...

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The first two questions people usually ask about beer can chicken are:

1. "Why would you want to do that?"
2. "How does it work?"

But for the readers of this particular blog, I’m betting there is a third question lurking in the back of your minds…namely, what if we want to rock this recipe using some tasty local brew? You know, a beer that actually tastes like something?! The answers will be revealed readers…along with some tips for how you can use a bottled micro-brew for your chicken, if your favorite small-batch, local beer is not available in cans.

Let’s start with the first question: "For the love of God, why would you do that to a chicken?"

October 25, 2012

GABF Recap: Part 2

The remainder of the Great American Beer Festival and the long weekend in Denver was a blast. A little hazy, a little rough on the body, but packed with good food, good times, and great beer. (Read Part 1 here.)

Friday

The Kitchen's Portobello Sandwich with a
Denver Beer Co. Summer Ale.
After some much needed sleep and lots of water, Friday began with another trek up the Cherry Creek Trail towards downtown. I stopped in for lunch at the Kitchen, located on the corner of 16th and Wazee St. in LoDo.

Anticipating that some veggies might help soak up the beer ahead, I opted for the Portobello Sandwich. Locally-baked ciabatta with sautéed red onions, gouda cheese, house-made hummus, and greens -- the sandwich was fantastic! The mushrooms, onions, and greens were all regionally sourced and organic. The sandwich was accompanied by house fries (from organic Idaho potatoes) and homemade ketchup. (Homemade ketchup? Gotta try that!) Some Denver Beer Company Summer Ale washed it down. Awesome.

Heading to the festival a little early, I walked around the convention center for a bit sans crowd and snapped some photos.

October 18, 2012

GABF Recap: Part 1

Last week, I went to the Great American Beer Festival as a representative of the North Carolina Brewers Guild. I didn't drink as much as a lot of people at GABF, but I had my fill and had an awesome time in Denver, probably one of the best beer and food cities in the US. Here's the highlight reel from my long weekend:

Wednesday

Arriving Wednesday afternoon, I went straight to Great Divide Brewing Company in downtown Denver on Arapahoe and 22nd Street. The place was slammed with GABF pre-gamers and a disproportionate number of bearded men. I got an Oak-Aged Yeti, a big, robust Imperial Stout, which at 9.5% kept me good and warm.

Next stop, I went with my cousin and his roommate over to the Walnut Room for pizza and a Fat Tire, the classic amber ale from Colorado's own New Belgium Brewing Company. It was nice to get away from the GABF hot zone for a bit to see part of the "real" Denver, which turned out to be a theme that carried on through the weekend and made for a unique experience.

After dinner, I played it safe and got some much needed rest for the days ahead.

October 8, 2012

Gracias Panama, Hello Asheville

It's time to announce a big transition for me and the Local Beer Blog. Over the past few weeks, I've departed Panama and moved back to the US. Until further notice, the Local Beer Blog will be based out of BeerCity USA: Asheville, NC! Makes sense, right?

July 23, 2012

Book Review: Eat the City

a book about local food producers in New York City
A Tale of the Fishers, Foragers, Butchers, Farmers, Poultry Minders, Sugar Refiners, Cane Cutters, Beekeepers, Winemakers, and Brewers Who Built New York
Book by: Robin Shulman
Review by: David Ackley

“Food is culture. Food is an art the economy will sustain.” - Tom Mylan, butcher, from Eat the City

Today’s fascination with craft beer is very much part of a larger local food movement. In addition to enthusiasm for local breweries, there is also great interest in locally-produced, artisanal products of all kinds, from wine, cheese, and honey, to vegetables, bourbon, and beef. But who are those people on the other side of the table at the farmer’s market? Who are the people tending urban gardens and working behind the bar at the local brewery?

July 13, 2012

Decatur, GA: Girls Night Out at Brick Store Pub

Today's feature is a guest post by my partner-in-crime, Cristina Hall. She is a marketing consultant and holistic health coach-in-training. She writes about health, cooking, and wellness on her blog, La Solutionista.

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As a native of Atlanta, there are a lot of things that I miss about the city while I am away – buying fresh Georgia peaches from a local farmer, shopping at Trader Joe’s, The Wright Gourmet’s Signature Mustard Sauce, drinking SweetWater 420 on draught at Dagwood’s (my all-time favorite pizza place), and of course, my wonderful girlfriends. At the recommendation of a friend who used to work there, I recently visited the Brick Store Pub with three girlfriends for drinks and dinner. Now, I will also miss the amazing beer selection and atmosphere at this relaxed but lively restaurant in Decatur, GA.

Skimming their website beforehand, I was excited to learn that the pub was celebrating its 15th Anniversary with a week-long celebration. That evening they were featuring sour beers, a style recently introduced to me by a friend in Charleston.

June 30, 2012

Nashville, TN: Craft Beer Bars and Brewpubs in Music City

Next stop after Asheville: Nashville!

Often times when you talk about Asheville people think you say "Nashville" and vice-versa. But where Asheville is Beer City USA, Nashville is undeniably Music City USA. It's an important distinction when comparing the two cities on the craft beer spectrum, but still, Nashville has plenty to offer the craft beer lover, and the options are quickly increasing. It just helps to know where to look.

When I lived in Nashville, Yazoo Brewing was about the only spot on the map. It's still the big contender in Music City, and I definitely recommend stopping by their taproom. Their Imperial Smoked Porter, a beer named Sue, is a must-try.

For this visit, however, I wanted to highlight a few spots around town that might carry Yazoo as well as some other local and regional beers.