Showing posts with label Stout. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stout. Show all posts

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.

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 30, 2013

Top Beers and Beards from the Asheville Winter Warmer

Both the beers and the beards were on full display at the Asheville Winter Warmer this weekend. Thirty-one breweries, a cidery, and some moonshiners each brought their finest to the show, while every bit of facial hair in the house was perfectly groomed -- for the most part.

These were some of the exceptional specimens from the event, in both the beer and the beard categories:

December 18, 2012

Southern Appalachian Brewery & Dupont State Forest

Triple Falls, Dupont State Forest
Despite rainy weather for most of the weekend, my girlfriend and I managed to avoid it on Saturday as we explored a bit of Western North Carolina with our new four-legged companion. We ventured first to Dupont State Forest, about 50 minutes south of Asheville and 15-20 from Brevard. The plan: do some hiking, see some waterfalls, then check out Southern Appalachian Brewery in nearby Hendersonville.

Dupont State Forest

After a nice drive through rural North Carolina, passing farms and horses and sheep along the way, we entered Dupont State Forest and parked at the Hooker Falls parking area.

I'm no Bill Bryson, but I do enjoy a walk in the woods from time to time. Even though this was mid-December and only the evergreen foliage remained, the beauty of the area was stunning. On a 2-3 hour hike along well-maintained trails, we saw multiple waterfalls, including Triple Falls and High Falls.

December 8, 2012

Burlington, VT: Magic Hat's Winterland Variety Pack


"A performance in every bottle."
Christmas came early for this beer writer. Arrived on my doorstep a week or so ago was a sampler of three beers from Magic Hat Brewing Company's Winterland Variety Pack. It may not be "local" for many readers (unless you live in Vermont), but the company widely known for their #9 "Not Quite Pale Ale" has some new seasonals out that might be worth a try. Plus, readers from Costa Rica may be interested in what the new Florida Ice and Farm/Cervecería Costa Rica subsidiary has to offer.

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 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.

June 19, 2012

Charleston, SC: Closed for Business

After depositing our spoils from CBX, Cristina and I strolled up King Street to see what other Charleston beers we could find at Closed for Business.  Featured as one of Draft Magazine's Best Beer Bars of 2012, this pub has 42 taps, including select craft beer from across the country and many of the local drafts.  All the beers are available in 10 oz., 16 oz., or 1-Liter servings, and you can also fill up a growler to take home.  Food-wise, Closed for Business prides itself on buying local, sourcing from producers such as Ashley Bakery, Bell Honey, Fresh Pickleworks, Mepkin Abbey, and a number of local farms.

We walked in and started with some Crispy Green Beans (with homemade ranch), a Holy City Weak Sauce Stout, and a Coast HopArt IPA.  The beers were both good, but those green beans were killer...

June 6, 2012

Costa Rica: Treintaycinco - La Fábrica Artesanal de Cervezas

cerveceria treintaycinco costa rica
Some people say you must be insane to try to make craft beer in Costa Rica. Well, the guys at Treintaycinco may very well be crazy, but I think they're onto something.

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Ignacio Castro Cortinas, one of the founding members of Treintaycinco, a small craft brewery soon to hit the market. Treintaycinco is a trio of Venezuelans made up of Ignacio, his best friend from college, and his brother-in-law. At first they were told they were nuts to try it, that Ticos would never get past drinking Imperial. OK, fine: they're doing it anyways, with attitude and a distinctive local flavor. Their venture is currently located just outside of San Jose in the town of Escazú, where Nathanael Montaño does most of the brewing, and Ignacio and Luis Alfredo "Frito" Araque focus on branding and recipe development.

My first question was, how did they come up with the name Treintaycinco?

May 6, 2012

Announced: World Beer Cup 2012 Winners

This just in:

Winners of the 2012 World Beer Cup, a.k.a. "the Olympics of Beer Competition," have just been announced by the Brewers Association.  Brewers around the world are surely celebrating with a Sunday brew!

Special shout outs to some of the breweries from my travels:
  • Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Richmond, VA
    • Category 6: Herb and Spice Beer
      • Bronze Medal: Hardywood Gingerbread Stout
  • Blue Mountain Brewery, Afton, VA
    • Category 17: American-Belgo-Style Ale
      • Silver Medal: Blue Reserve
  • Devils Backbone Brewing Co., Roseland, VA
    • Category 35: Vienna-Style Lager
      • Gold Medal: Vienna Lager
  • Boscos Brewing Co., Memphis, TN
    • Category 52: German-Style Pale Wheat Ale
      • Gold Medal: Boscos Hefeweizen
  • Revolution Brewing, Chicago, IL
    • Category 66: English-Style Summer Ale
      • Gold Medal: Cross of Gold
    • Category 94: American-Style Stout,
      • Gold Medal: Rise American Stout
  • The Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, NY
    • Category 79: British-Style Imperial Stout
      • Bronze Medal: Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout

It's a big world of beer out there!  Check out the full list of winners here.


April 26, 2012

Costa Rica: La Primera Festival Cerveza Artesanal

While craft beer is taking the US by storm, the movement in other parts of the world is just starting to gain momentum. This past Saturday was the first ever Festival Cerveza Artesanal in Costa Rica, organized by the small but growing community of craft breweries, homebrewers, retailers, and enthusiasts in this Latin American country known for its ecotourism and laid back, Pura Vida attitude. (Pura Vida translates to "the good life" or "the pure life" and can be used to say hello, goodbye, or in response to the question "how's it going?")

The festival was held outdoors on the swanky shopping strip Avenida Escazú, in a suburb of San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. The weather was perfect, with a good mix of both Ticos and foreigners arriving for the event right on time.

March 17, 2012

Imbibe Mag: 6 Ways to Make the Most of Your Irish Stout This St. Paddy's

Some amazing recipes for cooking with your Irish Stout in Imbibe Magazine the other day. I've made Chocolate Stout Cupcakes before using some of my very own homebrew (cerveza casera en espanol) -- they were "pure evil."

Now, for the true beer nerd with too much time on their hands (per NPR):



Everyone have a safe and enjoyable St. Patty's Day!

-D

January 27, 2012

Cooking with Beer

One major benefit of being a homebrewer is that you often have a variety of really good beer on hand. This surplus of cerveza, while keeping you and everyone you know sufficiently buzzed, also lends itself to experimentation in the kitchen. Over the past couple months, I've used beer to make stir-fried brussels sprouts, spicy spent grain stew, and chocolate stout cupcakes.

Pale Ale & Garlic Brussels Sprouts

My girlfriend and I really love brussels sprouts. Sure, by themselves they're pretty bitter, but if you cook them right (for me that usually means lots of garlic), they're delicious. Plus, they're really good for you. Brussels have practically no fat (we'll fix that don't worry), are packed with vitamins C and K, have a nice dose of fiber and protein, and are low in the glycemic index. So, when I saw this recipe from Stone's new cookbook on BillyBrew.com, I knew I had to give it a shot - with a few personal tweaks, of course.

Steps 1 - 3: Steam 1 pound of brussels in salted water for about 4 minutes. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Slice the brussels in half lengthwise.

Brussels post-steam and about 6 cloves chopped garlic.

Steps 4 - 5: Heat 1/4 cup olive oil (that's good fat!). Start with high heat but take it down to medium before it starts smoking. Add 1/4 pound diced pancetta (the tasty fat!) and cook til brown.

Not good fat - but yummy fat.
Steps 6 - 7: Add 6 cloves of minced garlic. Turn up the heat and add the brussels. Stir fry for 4 - 5 minutes.


Step 8: Add a bottle of pale ale. Nothing excessively hoppy, because the beer will cook down and that bitterness will be condensed. The recipe calls for Stone Pale Ale, but since I didn't have any of that, I used some of my homebrewed Amarillo Pale Ale in a Stone IPA bottle. Is that wrong? I don't think so. Cook til the beer is almost all gone.


Steps 9 - 11: Use a 1/4 cup of vegetable stock to deglaze the pan, let it cook off completely, and transfer the brussels to a bowl or serving dish. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss with sun-dried tomatoes and parmigiano-reggiano cheese and serve!


Yup, I ate it all in one sitting.  The only thing I'd do differently next time is make sure that pancetta is nice and crispy.  Man, I'm getting hungry...

Spicy Grain Soup


Whether a homebrewer or a commercial brewer, one question that comes up a lot is what to do with your grains after they've been mashed. I suppose you could just throw them out with the garbage, but I usually compost my spent grains and trub. The grains, however, can also be used to make bread, cookies, or in this case, soup. I decided to hold on to some of my spent grains to use in this recipe from Food & Wine in place of the barley, bulgur, and rice.

Long story short, this soup came out great. Basically I skipped steps 1 and 2 from the original recipe because the grains we already cooked through the brewing process. You start by sauteing the onions, garlic, and chile peppers, roughly chopped because it all gets pureed in the blender later. Then comes the broth, cilantro, diced tomatoes, and seasonings. Just for fun, I substituted about half of the vegetable stock with some of my homebrewed chocolate stout.


After cooking this mixture for 45 minutes, it all gets pureed together. ***Let the soup cool a little before you blend it and be careful. You don't want hot soup to spill all over you, so fill the blender less than half way full to start with, blend in small batches, and hold the top on TIGHT. You'll end up with something like this:


Then come the mushrooms, black beans, carrot, zucchini and parsnips. Trader Joe's carries a bag of pre-diced parsnips and rutabagas that will work just fine.




For the last step, all I had to do was take a couple cups from my spent grains and throw them in the soup. There's still plenty of protein and fiber in those grains to make this a very healthy meal! Unlike what we have here for dessert...


Chocolate Stout Cupcakes


I don't have any photos from this experiment, but let me tell you -- these were pure evil, in the best sense of the word. My girlfriend and I made these right before Christmas using this recipe from the Food Network. Again, I used my chocolate stout in this recipe, but I'm sure Guinness will work just fine. The only tweaks we made were to use margarine instead of butter and to cut the powdered sugar in the cream cheese icing down to 3/4 cup. That was plenty sweet for us.


These turned out to be some of the best cupcakes I've ever had. They were super moist for days and the icing had flavor, not just sugar. From scratch is really the way to go.


So get in the kitchen already -- what can you make with homebrew or beer from your local brewery?

November 15, 2011

Homebrew for Hunger Festival Recap

First of all, welcome to all new subscribers!  Glad to have you on board!

This past Saturday was the 1st Annual Homebrew for Hunger Festival and it was a blast! I really enjoyed sharing my beer, getting feedback, and talking to people about homebrewing in general. Best of all, the event raised close to $6,000 and collected about 200 pounds of food for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. That's enough for over 25,000 individual meals, or three meals a day for over 8,500 people dealing with hunger!

October 7, 2011

Atlanta, GA: Wrecking Bar Brewpub

Have you ever been to a restaurant where every single thing you try is fantastic?  That's what happened this past weekend at the Wrecking Bar Brewpub in the Little Five Points neighborhood of Atlanta.  I discovered what is possibly the best brewpub in the South.

September 27, 2011

Walker's Chocolate Stout

My Oregano Hoptoberfest is still chugging away, but with a new carboy in the mix I thought I'd go ahead and get started on another batch. To stay on the experimental streak, I'm making a chocolate stout and will divide the batch into two parts. Half of it will stay as is and to the other I will add a type of mint I have in my garden called Walker's Low. Adding mint was partially inspired by the "dry-minted" Black & Red from Dogfish Head, but I've found Eric Steen's work out in Colorado encouraging as well.

Here's the recipe I came up with:

1 lb. Briess 2-Row Caramel 60L Barley Malt
0.5 lb Roasted Barley
0.5 lb Crisp Black Malt
0.5 lb Crisp Chocolate Malt
6 lbs. Briess Golden LME
1 lb. Lactose Powder (non-fermentable sugar for sweetness)
4 oz. Cocoa Powder
1 oz. Northern Brewer hops (at start of boil)
1 oz. Fuggles hops (at 15 mins to go)
White Labs Irish Ale Yeast
1 oz. Walker's Low (leaves added to secondary fermentation for half the batch)
Estimated ABV: 5.9%

Just blowing off some krausen.
I mashed the grains for 1 hour and tried something new: I did a vorlauf, brew-speak for running the wort back through your spent grains to improve clarity. I mixed up the cocoa powder in about a cup of water before adding it to the boil so as to avoid clumping. I had some technical issues with my new carboy, so I had a hard time getting precise reading of volume and temperature. As a result, I think the wort was a little warm for when I added the yeast -- the next day I had krausen (foam) coming up through the airlock. To prevent some kind of disaster, I rigged up a blow-off tube to give all that foam a place to go.

Check out my Brewing 101 post for a more detailed description of the homebrewing process.

August 31, 2011

Beer Book: The Homebrewer's Garden

The Homebrewer's Garden: How to Easily Grow, Prepare, and Use Your Own Hops, Malts, Brewing HerbsThis book was written for the true Do-It-Yourself-er. The Homebrewer's Garden is all about growing and using with your own ingredients for making beer. The authors explain clearly and in depth what it takes to grow hops, grains, and herbs for your homebrew. Included are diagrams and complete instructions for:
  • building a hop trellis
  • planting hops rhizomes and caring for the bines
  • building an oast (for drying your hops)
  • growing over 40 different herbs to use in your beer (including basil, coriander, mint, and rosemary)
  • growing, harvesting, and malting your own barley and other brewing grains
The authors also include over 25 recipes to get you started brewing with your homegrown ingredients: Mixed Berry Porter, Oregano Pale Ale, Ginger Ale, Quinoa Bitter, Chicha de Jora, Pumpkin Ale, and Dandelion Stout, just to name a few.

Whatever your skill in brewing, this book will open up countless new possibilities! Check it out!

July 29, 2011

Live from Legend Brewing Company - Richmond, VA


The last time I wrote about Legend, I was reporting from Barret's Seafood Restaurant in Williamsburg.  This time I'm going straight to the source.  To start things off, I went with the old standard, Legend Brown Ale, which according to the Legend website poll is preferred by over a third of responders.  To chase that down, I ordered a pretty respectable Kabob sandwich with a side of Brown Ale sauerkraut.  Believe it or not, you can actually taste the beer's influence on the kraut.  I understand not everyone is a fan of boiled cabbage, but if you appreciate the German culinary influence I suggest you give it a shot.

Next up, a cask-conditioned Pale Ale: smooth, with a substantial foam head and dominated by citrus and floral hop notes.  Given that this beer is made with four varieties of hops, it does demonstrate a pretty complex flavor.

And to round things out... I sampled a Smoked Chocolate Stout, and while I dig the smokey beers (something of a novelty in the States right now), I'm not too keen on drinking a whole pint of it at the end of a session.  Maybe at a barbecue.  I'm going for the IPA instead.

Surprisingly less hoppy than the Pale Ale, clear and golden, it's a little spicy and has the mouthfeel of a lager.  I like it!

Unfortunately, Legend only offers tours on Saturdays at 1pm, so I won't get a chance to see the inner workings of the brewery this time around.  I'll have to make that happen next time I'm in the area.  Stay tuned!

June 28, 2011

NOVA Brew Fest

A beautiful day, beautiful people, and lots of delicious beer.  Not a bad way to spend a weekend.


The Northern Virginia Brew Fest was held this past Saturday and Sunday in Leesburg, VA, about an hour west of Washington, DC.  Roughly 50 breweries were in attendance, plus arts & crafts vendors and some local bands.  I went up to volunteer, but had plenty of time to sample brews before, during, and after the event.