Archives for

Beer & Food

archives

Bones and Brew Festival

The first thing I noticed as I made my way to the 14th Annual Bones and Brews Festival was everybody and their dog seemed to be headed for the same place I was. In a place the size of Portland that tells you something. The 14th Annual Bones and Brew Festival, a benefit for the Oregon Zoo was held August 2nd and 3rd in Portland’s historic Pearl District next to Rogue Ales Public House and Distillery.

BBQ Master

I’d seen the fest listed for years but , even though I’m a HUGE fan of good BBQ, I’d never felt like making the trip back to Portland a mere week after the end of OBF. That is no longer the case. The sounds of happy people and the heavenly aroma of pork BBQ filled the air as I entered the three city streets closed off for the fest. The barriers transformed this little piece of the Pearl District into Portland’s largest neighborhood backyard BBQ. Grill-masters competed with each other, offering succulent foods including traditional, Hawaiian, Asian, seafood and vegetarian barbequed edibles.

Thirsty festival goers eagerly chose their libations from 25+ Microbrews on the street of Microbreweries, many from the Northwest like Roots, Double Mountain, Ninkasi, New Old Lompoc, Mt. Hood Brewing, Hopworks, Lucky Labrador, Captured by Porches brewpub, Laurelwood, Willamette, Alameda, Rogue, Eugene City Brewery, and Issaquah Brewhouse and more.

Cheers

Bones and Brew is a family-friendly event and there were plenty of activities for the kids, buckets of chalk for hopscotch and sidewalk drawings, face-painters, musical acts, and a designated kid zone. Our four-legged family members weren’t forgotten. Dogs were more than welcome at Bones and Brew in fact it seemed to be a requirement. My dog, Maggie, made lots of new friends as she enjoyed gourmet BBQ dog treats and lapped up all the non-alcoholic dog brew she could lay her paws on.

I didn’t get around to visiting the dog psychic, I’m not sure I want to know what Maggie has on her mind, or give her the chance to blab all kinds of embarrassing family secrets to a total stranger. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your perspective, my dog was already recently washed so I had no need for the dog wash station but apparently there were many dirty dogs in attendance because they seemed to be doing a brisk business each time we walked by.

Kobe Blue Ball Contest

There were fun contests happening periodically throughout the 2 day event. I watched the Kobe Bleu Ball eating contest with horrified amazement as contestants jammed Rogue’s signature Kobe beef and blue cheese meatballs into their mouths to see who could consume the most in 3 minutes. They didn’t even have to swallow, just kept pushing more and more into their mouths until they looked like crazed chipmunks on a feeding rampage.

Kobe Blue Ball Champion

Live music by Chervona, Oh Captain, My Captain, School of Rock, PK Flyers, Power of County, The Ty Curtis Band, and Bucyrus Erie, rocked the main stage. Chervona, a local Russian band, is so energetic and so much fun to watch, if I had to describe the music I’d have to call it a sort of gypsy punk polka and I enjoy it immensely. Chervona was followed by School of Rock. It’s exactly what you think it is. Except these kids aren’t in a program based on the movie, the movie was based on their program and these kids are very talented. They blew everyone away with fantastic covers of iconic hits of the 60’s and 70’s.

BBQ street included Tennessee Red’s, Cousin Kenny’s, and My Brothers BBQ. Tennessee Red’s won this year’s People’s Choice for Best Ribs, Cousin Kenny’s won Best Sauce and Best Brisket, and My Brothers BBQ won Best Pulled Pork.

What better than an evening of tasty BBQ, great craft beer, and excellent live entertainment? I can’t think of anything, can you? This event just became an annual for me. See you there next year.

Check Presentation

Over 4,000 people attended the Bones and Brew event this year and $11,000 was raised for the Oregon Zoo’s new Predators of the Serengeti exhibit. 100% of admission donations go to the Oregon Zoo. Sponsors included Portland Magazine, Portland Street Car, Portland Tribune, and Snake River Farms.

To see more photos from the festival, take a look at the Bone & Brew Photo album.

archives

Yes Whey! Fred’s 17th Annual Beer & Cheese Tasting

It seems fitting that Oregon’s biggest annual beer event, The Oregon Brewers Festival, is preceded by a small gathering at Portland’s Rogue Ales Public House, where Fred Eckhardt schooled and entertained a sold-out crowd of enthusiasts on beer, cheese, and delicate art of milking a manatee.

A generation of brewers and beer enthusiasts cut their teeth on Fred Eckhardt’s writings on brewing and beer styles. His nurturing support of Oregon brewers like The Widmer brothers, Karl Ockert of BridgePort, and John Maier of Rogue Ales, to name a few, has helped make the Oregon beer scene what it is today.

A Beer and Cheese tasting may sound like an extended-pinky event to some of you but Fred really does manage to find a wonderful array of Oregon cheeses to pair with equally special Oregon craft beers. Add generous dollops of history and Fred’s personal stories and you have the makings of a great evening.

The 10 beer and cheese pairings sampled were:

  1. Roots Organic German Style Helles paired with Tillamook White Aged Cheddar
  2. Klamath Basin Golden Ale paired with Ancient Heritage Scio Feta (from sheep’s milk)
  3. Rogue Dead Guy Ale paired with Tumalo Farms Pondhopper
  4. Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar paired with Monteillet Fresh Chevre
  5. WalkingMan Knuckledragger Strong Ale paired with Oregon Gourmet Willamette Valley Camembert

Break for a cleansing glass of Rogue Spirits Spruce Gin

  1. Rogue Chocolate Stout paired with Rogue Creamery Chocolate Stout Cheddar
  2. Eugene City Brewery Triple Jump Pale Ale paired with Juniper Grove Redmondo Goat Cheese
  3. Issaquah Frosty Frog Spiced Smoke Beer paired with Rogue Creamery Spiced Chipotle Cheddar
  4. Hair of the Dog Fred Strong Old Ale paired with Rogue Creamery Oregonzola
  5. Rogue Olde Crustacean Barleywine Ale paired with Maytag Blue of Iowa (the only non-Oregon cheese offering)

Is your mouth watering yet? Mine was as the wait staff circulated the room with trays of beer and cheese.

The room went quiet as Fred began to speak, “Why beer and cheese, and not wine?” he asked, “Well, let me quote this New York wine writer, who said that ‘wine and cheese is a train wreck in the mouth.’ Wine and cheese have nothing to do with each other, but beer and cheese are both simple, nutritious foods born of grain and nurtured by fermentation.”
Fred referred to the cheese and beer flowchart we’d been provided, which to my untrained eyes, showed they had exactly two things in common, grain and packaging. I guess you could see similarities in the process of each if you pulled back, way back, and looked at each process on the most basic terms. Truly, the only similarity between beer and cheese I’m really interested in is they both taste good, especially together.

The Discussion

The volume in the room rose as we all sampled our first pairing, Roots Helles and Tillamook White Aged Cheddar. Next to the cheese on the plate were pretzels and apple slices. Fred instructed us to make a sandwich of the three, take a bite and munch it up and then take a sip of the Helles. Delicious! The sweet and salt worked together to bring out the hop character in the Helles.

“The milk of most mammals has been made into cheese,” he said,” even yaks, reindeer and manatee — though I have no idea at all how they milked the manatee.”

“Manatee’s have milk?” I wondered as my brain digested that little tidbit, “Who the heck…”

“But milk they did,” Fred continued as I strained my ears to hear more, “because manatee cheese was an ingredient in the baldness elixir that Sir Francis Drake brought back from the New World to the thinning-on-top Queen Elizabeth. Manatee cheese, mixed with rum and chewed tobacco, to be exact: After three weeks, the Queen decided it wasn’t working and She Was Not Amused. Sir Francis had to beat a hasty retreat to escape a death sentence … leaving me still wondering how you milk a manatee.”

An apple pretzel cheese sandwich

The wait staff swung into action and delivered the next pairing. It was getting harder to hear Fred as the noise level in the room began to drown out Fred’s microphone. Where’s a cattle prod when you need one?

The second pairing was Klamath Basin Golden Ale and Ancient Heritage Scio Feta. I’d never had Feta from sheep’s milk or Klamath’s Golden Ale before so I was eager to sample each separately and together. The Feta was wonderfully salty and firm. The Golden Ale light and mild. The combination…perfect.

I could hear Fred on and off with the ebb and flow of the crowd.

“Cheese Tasting is just like beer.” he said, “Look – Sniff – Taste – Evaluate – and then Post Evaluate.”

Fred

As the third pairing was delivered he rattled off the 7 types of cheese. Now the cheese guild describes them this way, “Fresh, Natural Rind, Soft White, Semi-Soft, Hard, Blue, and Flavored.” Here’s how I think I heard Fred describe them, “Unripe, Barely Ripe, Curds, Ripe, Ripened,” and something else I couldn’t quite make out. I tried to figure out where Tumalo Farms Pondhopper, paired with Dead Guy Ale, fit into that list. (Pondhopper turned out to be an aged goat cheese, infused with hop flowers and steeped in Oregon beer.) I didn’t taste the hops in the cheese but it was good and the pairing was excellent.
Fred continued to dish out beer trivia and cheese facts as more beer and cheese circulated the room. Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar paired and Monteillet Fresh Chevre. I love Hazelnut Brown Nectar but I’ve never been a big fan of soft white cheese. “What the heck,” I thought and dove in, “this is what we’re here for.”

The cheese had a very light taste and the texture of ice cream. When I took a sip of the Hazelnut Brown Ale they seemed to cancel each other out, leaving me with nothing but the texture of the cheese. Interesting, but I’d rather have the beer by itself.

As the fifth pairing was served the room had gotten pretty loud. I did catch a couple interesting things Fred said.

“I spent my 7th year on a goat farm – When you flunk 1st grade there’s hell to pay!” and “For those of you ladies who are interested, I will be conducting a tour of the men’s room after the last pairing…”

The pairing, Walking Man Knuckledragger Strong Ale and Willamette Valley Camembert arrived. The cheese had a thick rind with a soft cheese center the consistency of Velveeta. The cheese itself had a bitter finish, but when combined with the strong ale it seemed to cancel out much of the beer hop bite and bring out the sweetness of the malt. Not bad together, don’t think I’d eat the cheese alone though.

Time for a break! We were served Spruce Gin by Rogue Spirits to refresh our taste buds. Whew! It woke mine up. I’m not really a gin man but I could get used to this stuff.

Toasting Fred

We’d all just settled back into our seats when the sixth pairing was served. Rogue Chocolate Stout and Rogue Creamery Chocolate Stout Cheddar (also made with Rogue Chocolate Stout.) Both were delicious separately and when combined the sweet chocolate really came to the forefront.

The seventh pairing, Eugene City Brewery Triple Jump Pale Ale and Juniper Grove Redmondo Goat Cheese was a bust. The ale was good, the cheese okay, but the combination did not make my mouth happy.

The eighth pairing, Issaquah Frosty Frog Spiced Smoke Beer and Rogue Creamery Spiced Chipotle Cheddar, made up for the previous and I found both delicious separately and excellent when combined.

With the ninth pairing Fred warned the group that anyone allergic to penicillin shouldn’t try the cheese. For some reason that didn’t set off alarms in my brain. Hair of the Dog Fred Strong Old Ale and Rogue Creamery Oregonzola were served. “Oregonzola? What the heck is Oregonzola?” I thought as I studied my sample. It sort of resembled blue cheese, and I hate blue cheese. I took a bite and found out it was indeed a form of blue cheese. Thank god I had a glass of beer to wash it down with…yuck! Sorry but as far as I am concerned, Blue cheese falls in the same taste category as liver, you either like it or hate it with a passion.

And so, when the final pairing of Rogue Olde Crustacean Barleywine Ale and Maytag Blue came around I politely offered my cheese to someone else and finished off the evening with the strong bite of Old Crustacean hops on my tongue.

Fred's toast

There was a vote at the end of the tasting. The Issaquah Frosty Frog Spiced Smoke Beer paired with Rogue Creamery Spiced Chipotle Cheddar received the most votes and was named best pairing of the evening.

As Fred conducted his tour of the men’s room for a giggling group of ladies, I thanked my host and left. It had been the perfect start for the busy week that is Oregon Brewer’s Festival, and I look forward to more Fred tastings in the future, next time I’ll sit closer, maybe Fred will divulge the secret of how they milked that doggone manatee.

For more pictures of Freds 17th annual beer and cheese tasting go to Flickr.

archives

Hundreds of new recipes for the Super Bowl

Great Food Great BeerIt would seem you might measure the history of how Americans perceive the relationship between beer and food, and thus the status of beer itself, based on the covers of beer cookbooks. And perhaps the photos inside.

Witness the progression of covers for what we call “beer cookbooks.” Bob Skilnik writes in Beer & Food that breweries of the early post-World War II took a disjointed approach to putting beer and food together in consumers’ minds. Storz Brewing in Nebraska was unique, long publishing booklets and eventually a hardcover cookbook in 1956 that was jammed with recipes.

The cover of that book, however, featured unplucked game birds hanging upside down and awaiting attention. Few photos accompanied the recipes themselves. By 1983 Anheuser-Busch did a little better with The Official Budweiser Cookbook, an 80-page collection of recipes on medium paper stock with nearly 20 full-page color photos. But, like the cover featuring Potato-Kielbasa Salad and Beer Rye Bread, most were hearty “down-to-earth” dishes.

Great Food Great BeerCompare that to the recently released Great Food Great Beer: The Anheuser-Busch Cookbook, 300 glossy pages thick with luscious photos filling every other page. Pure food porn. The one on the left features Roast Red Peppers with Garlic and Garlic-Stuff Mushrooms (recipes below).

The 1983 cookbook opened with a quick history of Anheuser-Busch and just the briefest primer on how beer is brewed. Great Food Great Beer begins with a bit more history, goes even lighter on the beer making and instead gives a dozen pages to the aesthetics of beer &#151 such as pairing food with beer, pouring beer, glassware, and menus for entertaining. Each recipe includes a suggested beer pairing, always suggesting a beer A-B brews or distributes as well as style — for independent souls who might go their own way.

As one review of the book noted, “with the Clydesdales now pulling the bandwagon for beer-and-food pairing, the concept is likely to get a much wider airing.”

The beer-and-food education, in case you were wondering, is not as extensive as in the first half of Lucy Saunders’ The Best of American Beer & Food, nor are the recipes introduced with the extra bit of information that emphasize the artisanship at the core of her book.

The recipes also do not appear quite as challenging or perhaps as wide-ranging as in Saunders’ book, but we’re not talking meat and potatoes or “Fried Pheasant al la Storz” (to choose one from the 1956 book). Recipes such as Grilled Snapper Packets or Leek and Chanterelle would even impress a wine drinker.

Available in clubhouse stores and online before Christmas, Great Good Great Beer hit bookstore shelves this month. Just in time for the Super Bowl.

Roasted Red Peppers with Garlic

8 red bell peppers
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Preheat the broiler. Place the bell peppers on a baking sheet and broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat source until the skins are blackened and blistered all over, turning as needed, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper or plastic bag and close tightly. Let stand for 10 minutes (the steam will loosen the skins).

2. Meanwhile, on a cutting board, using the flat side of a chef’s knife, mash the garlic with the salt, then transfer to a small bowl. Add the olive oil and pepper, stirring well to blend.

3. Peel, stem, and seed the roasted peppers and cut lengthwise into strips 3/4 inch wide. Arrange the pepper strips on a platter and drizzle with the garlic oil, scraping it out of the bowl to get all the garlic. Garnish with the parsley and serve warm or at room temperature.

Cook’s Tip: Roasting intensifies the flavors of vegetables, and red peppers are no exception. You can roast the peppers in the oven or on the grill. You can prepare these peppers up to a day ahead, then cover and refrigerate. Let them come to room temperature and drain off any excess liquid before serving. Be sure to use very fresh garlic, as old garlic will taste bitter and strong.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Garlic-Stuffed Mushrooms

2 heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs; see Cook’s Tip) or plain dried bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
24 large button or cremini mushrooms, stemmed
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. In a small saucepan, combine the garlic and cream over low heat. Slowly cook until the garlic is soft enough to mash with a spoon, about 45 minutes. (The cream will be reduced and thick.) Remove from the heat and mash the garlic into the cream with a fork, making a rough purée. Stir in the panko and salt, mixing thoroughly.

2. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Lay the mushroom caps, top side down, on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Brush the edges with the olive oil and fill the centers with the garlic mixture.

3. Bake until starting to brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to plates or a platter, discarding any released liquid. Sprinkle with the pepper and serve.

Cook’s Tip: The vast amount of garlic here is tempered by being slowly cooked in cream, resulting in a rich, mild garlic stuffing. Panko, or Japanese bread crumbs, is very light and crunchy. You’ll find it at Asian markets.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

archives

More than beer at ‘SAVOR’ May 16-17

SAVORThe Brewers Association continues to reveal more details about “SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience” May 16-17 In Washington, D.C.

The event will feature “educational salons.” Scheduled speakers include: Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Jim Koch of Boston Beer; Randy Mosher, author of “Radical Brewing”; Marnie Old, Assistant Dean of Wine Studies at the French Culinary Institute; Garrett Oliver, brewmaster of The Brooklyn Brewery; and several “savvy cross drinkers” including Lauren Buzzeo, Assistant Tasting Director of Wine Enthusiast magazine; Ray Isle, Senior Editor of Food & Wine magazine; and Ken Wells, Senior Editor of Conde’ Nast Portfolio.

The BA previously announced the 48 breweries that will pour beer at SAVOR.

From the press release:

The public can enjoy three different tasting sessions scheduled May 16th and 17th at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium located at 1301 Constitution Avenue, N.W. in Washington D.C.

Today, American beers are judged to be among the world’s best and have earned a respected place at the table alongside wine. In fact, two-thirds of today’s wine drinkers consume beer. This past summer National Public Radio observed, “Beer has gone from the House of Commons to the House of the Lords.” Additionally, Gallup in July 2007 confirmed beer is still the most popular adult beverage in the U.S.*

To ensure attendees can interact directly with the craft brewers, each session will be limited to no more than 700 consumers. Tickets are $85 each and will include a wide variety of small dishes and appetizers crafted to match the taste profiles of craft beers, a commemorative tasting glass, souvenir program, Craft Beer Taster’s Journal, and 2-ounce samples of specially selected craft beers. Federal City Caterers, which has catered many White House functions and Congressional receptions, will orchestrate the food menu.

The event will wrap up American Craft Beer Week celebrations across the country.

archives

Dean Biersch returns to beer business

Gordon Biersch co-founder Dean Biersch plans to return to the brewery restaurant business next year, rolling out a concept the North Bay Business Journal says “could be a new chain.”

Biersch and Dan Gordon opened their first Gordon Biersch brewpub in 1988, turning it into a national chain that they sold eventually sold and a stand alone microbrewery.

Biersch left the company a year ago. A Sonoma resident, he plans to reopen the 105-year-old former electric-rail depot that most recently housed Sebastopol Brewing. He plans to reduce the brewery size to make more room for the kitchen and diners.

HopMonk Tavern will serve a variety of beers brewed elsewhere. That will include a pilsner from Gordon Biersch, but also many seasonal beers and in a variety of styles beyond the German-inspired beers that are the hallmark of GB.

Read more in the Business Journal.

archives

Brewery lineup for ‘SAVOR’ announced

The Brewers Association has announced the lineup for “SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience” May 16-17 in Washington, D.C.

The BA notes: “Tickets for each of the three sessions are limited to the first 700 ticket purchasers. The $85 ticket includes a commemorative tasting glass, souvenir program and Craft Beer Taster’s Commemorative Journal, fabulous food and craft beer pairings, seminars, and 2- ounce samples of specially selected craft beer.”

The participating breweries were chosen in a random drawing designed to represent all the country’s regions. They are:

21st Amendment
Abita Brewing Co
Allagash Brewing
Avery Brewing Co
Blackfoot River Brewing Co.
Boscos Brewing Co
Boston Beer Co
Brooklyn Brewery
Clipper City Brewing Co
Deschutes Brewery
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Florida Beer Co
Flying Dog Ales
Foothills Brewing
Four Peaks Brewing Co
Free State Brewing Co
Full Sail Brewing Co
FX Matt Brewery*
Great Divide Brewing Co
Great Lakes Brewing Co
Harpoon Brewery
Heiner Brau Microbrewery
Hoppy Brewing Co
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Legacy Brewing Co
Montana Brewing Co
Natty Greene’s Brewing Co
New Albanian Brewing Co
New Belgium Brewing Co
New Holland Brewing Co
Otter Creek Brewing
Pelican Pub & Brewery
Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey
Rock Art Brewery
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery – Des Moines, IA
Rogue Ales
Russian River Brewing Co
San Diego Brewing Co
Sierra Nevada Brewing
Smuttynose Brewing Co
Southampton Bottling
Sprecher Brewing Co
Stoudts Brewing Co
The Saint Louis Brewery
Troegs Brewing Co
Two Brothers Brewing Co
Williamsburg Alewerks

Details.

archives

Pizza beer . . . no, really

Pizza and beer, a natural, yes?

But pizza beer? For the next few weeks, Walter Payton’s Roundhouse will be offering pizza beer on its menu — flavored with tomato, basil, oregano and garlic.

Homebrewer Tom Seefurth of St. Charles earned the right to have his beer made at the suburban Chicago brewery based on its success in homebrew competitions. Walter Payton’s brewmaster Mike Rybinski annually scales up a prize-winning homebrew batch to serve at the restaurant.

“Most people have pizza and beer; now you can have pizza in beer,” Rybinski said. “It’ll go great with pastas and all sorts of stuff.”

“The French are always famous for pairing their wine with food, and I wanted to create a beer that’s good with food,” Seefurth said. “And what’s America’s favorite food? Pizza.”

archives

Five beer urban legends

Maureen Ogle’s Ambitious Brew sparked ongoing discussion among beer drinkers in part because its history of American brewing begins in the 1840s, with the rise of industrial lager.

That doesn’t mean the American brewing industry didn’t exist before then, beer historian Bob Skilnik points out in his new book, Beer & Food: An American History.

“Although it would take years after the Revolutionary War for the diverse elements of an indigenous brewing industry to come together, the Eastern Seaboard was teeming with an active ale brewing industry, decades before the introduction of lager beer. Early nineteenth century Philadelphia and New York in particular were thriving brewing centers,” he writes in a press release.

He’s put together a list of Five Urban Legends of American Beer History that the book tackles.

Another one he tackles: The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock because they ran out of beer. Yes, a myth.

archives

Time features spicy side of Fal Allen

Time features American brewing pioneer Fal Allen’s innovative beers at Singapore’s Archipelago Brewery in a story it headlines “Waiter, There’s a Herb in my Beer.”

Andrea Teo, Archipelago’s managing director, expects Allen to uses spices.

“I thought, what a great name: Archipelago somehow resonated with spices and islands . . . What if we make a spiced beer with indigenous local spices?” she asked.

Some of Allen’s beer include use ingredients like tamarind, palm sugar, ginger, lemongrass and even wolfberries, which are normally used in traditional Chinese medicine.

archives

Cornish cattle lapping up local beer

A Cornish farmer is likely the first in England to feed his cattle beer, the BBC reports.

They also get a massage to help produce the speciality Kobe-style beef, based on traditional Japanese production methods. In Japan, Kobe beef is produced only by the expensive Wagyu cattle, but outside the country it can be sold as Kobe-style beef.

Farmer Darren Pluess said the cattle have taken to the beer. His wife agrees, saying Saturday night can get rowdy.

“If they don’t have enough and they run out, when we bring the beer in they get incredibly excited and run riot,” she said. “I don’t think they’re alcoholics because they do have water as well if they want, but they certainly do enjoy it.”

archives

Thirsty Traveler offers beer advice

Ever watch The Thirsty Traveler – Kevin Brauch – on the Fine Living Network?

Pilsner Urquell has hired him to host a new website called the Beer Advisor.

“Today’s beer aficionados want more than just a beer, they want a total beer experience, and they rely on their trusted bartender to guide them,” said Evan Cohen, U.S. brand manager for Pilsner Urquell. “Beeradvisor.net is a comprehensive resource that arms bartenders, wait staff, restaurant managers and others in the hospitality industry with all the information they need to give their patrons the experience they’re looking for, and then some.”

Although Pilsner Urquell is the sponsor, the Czech beer – SABMiller now owns the brand – does not get particularly preferential treatment.

The presentation has the same feel, some would say sophistication, as the TV series. In his show, Brauch wanders the world in search of all manner of drink, so he might check out vodka in Russian, then beer in Alaska (the latter obviously focusing on the craft beer). In contrast, this site – as Cohen’s statement would indicate – is oriented first toward those who sell beer.

If you visit you’ll quickly conclude that Pilsner Urquell put some bucks behind this project. So – and I ‘ve written about this before – why is it that when you visit a beer website that asks for your age that you have to enter it on every visit? The site may remember all sorts of other things about you, but not your age. It’s not just a nuisance, but trust me on this, when you get older you don’t always want to be reminded of your age.

archives

Beer Risotto wins national cooking challenge

National Beer Wholesalers Association’s (NBWA) Cooking with Beer Challenge, the judges named a winner. Linda Rohr, a 53-year-old publicist and project manager from Darien, Connecticut, was won first place in the National Beer Wholesalers Association’s (NBWA) Cooking with Beer Challenge, earning her a trip to Cancun for two for her “Quick and Easy White Beer-Seafood ‘Risotto’ with Fresh Herbs.”

Rohr’s recipe, a quick and easy risotto-like dish made with orzo pasta, scallops and shrimp was praised by judges for its ease of preparation, versatile serving options and outstanding flavor. Unique to the recipe is the addition of a bottle of white beer, which is used to steam the seafood. Taking second place and a cash prize of $1,000 was Emil Topel, 36, a chef from Phenix City, Alabama for his “Lager-Steamed Thai Turkey and Shiitake Dumplings with Pale Ale Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce.”

Ten finalists from around the country were chosen from hundreds who submitted recipes featuring beer. Beer was the only required ingredient in the recipes, and contestants were allowed to enter any type of dish in the contest.

Quick and Easy Seafood “Risotto” With Fresh Herbs
Serves 6

1    12-ounce bottle White Beer
½ cup   fish stock
12 large   scallops, halved
12 large   shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 TBS   olive oil
1 cup    thinly sliced shallots
4 cloves   garlic, minced
1 (5.4 ounce) pkg   Boursin-style herb and garlic flavored cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup   julienned sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
3 cups   hot cooked orzo
2 cups   baby arugula
¼ cup   freshly snipped basil, divided
2 TBS   minced cilantro, divided
2 TBS   freshly snipped dill, divided
¼ tsp   freshly ground pepper
1 tsp   smoked sea salt or kosher salt
2 TBS   olive oil
¼ cup   freshly shaved Parmesan cheese for garnish

Place white beer and fish stock in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add seafood and cook just 2-3 minutes or until just opaque. Remove seafood with slotted spoon and set aside. Increase heat; bring liquid to a boil, reducing by half.

Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, sauté shallots in olive oil until caramelized. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute more. Stir in cheese, sun dried tomatoes, beer and stock reduction, orzo and seafood. Heat through. Stir in arugula, fresh herbs (reserving 1 tsp of each for garnish). Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Divide among six plates. Garnish with more fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese.

archives

Beer and food bonanza

Because sometimes you need a little nourishment before the next beer . . .

– What to serve with that turkey next week? The Brewers Association offers a primer: This Year Beer Goes With The Bird!

– Don Russell also mentione beer and turkey in his Joe Sixpack focusing on beer as a gourmet ingredient – recipes included.

– Britain’s Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has a booth at this year’s BBC Good Food Show. Beer experts and best selling authors Roger Protz, Tim Webb and Jeff Evans will lead a variety of tastings for the Great British Beer Experience.

“Good food and good beer go perfectly together, so it makes sense that they should both be showcased under one roof,” said CAMRA Marketing Manager Georgina Rudman. “More than 130,000 people visit the BBC Good Food Show every year and we are extremely excited to have grasped the opportunity to bring real ale to those consumers who may not have tried it before.”

archives

Put down the mussels and pass the Duvel

Philadelphia’s Don Russell (author of the Joe Sixpack column) has the second in his series about the relationship of good beer and good food.

Today he collects suggestions from chefs and beer writers, including descriptions that will make you hungry and thirsty. For instance, chef Sanford D’Amato of Coquette Café in Milwaukee pairs St. Amaud French Country Ale with smoked, oven-dried tomato and chevre tart with fresh thyme.

“This beer has a rich, deep red, ripe fruitiness with anise licorice hints that is quite delicious, but a bit heavy and cloying with some foods. With the tart, the smoked tomatoes swallowed up a good part of the sweetness of the beer, standing right up to it, and the combination of the slightly bitter smokiness of the tomatoes and the goat cheese’s acidity brought out a mid-range of delicious flavors in the beer that were barely detectable before. The beer tasted much spicier and the tart’s flavors were brought together. For my taste, each made the other better.”

As the authors of “What to Drink with What You Eat” write: “One plus one equals three.”

archives

Double Chocolate Stout cookies

Double ChocolateDouble Chocolate Stout cookies are back this month in the Northwest. “Last year when we first introduced the Double chocolate Stout, we had the quadruple the normal number of customer comments,” said David Saulnier, president of Cougar Mountain Baking Co.

Cougar Mountain uses BridgePort Brewing Co.’s Black Strap Stout as in ingredient in the cookie. The alcohol bakes out of the cookie, but flavors from the stout – most notably chocolate, molasses, coffee, other roasted quality and even an underlying smokiness – meld nicely with chocolate chunks in the cocoa-based cookie.

Cougar Mountain introduced Double Chocolate last year as a “Flavor of the Month” and brought the cookies back this October. “People were wowed by such an original flavor, and they thought the resulting cookie was great,” Saulnier said.

Not surprisingly the cookies pair very well with Bridgeport Black Strap Stout. The flavors in the cookie and beer echo each other, with the understated alcohol in the beer heightening the flavors and the roasty-bitterness at the end cleaning the palate. For another bit of cookie and sip of beer, of course.

Since the cookies come eight to a box (made from 100% recycled paper) we felt it out obligation to find some other good pairings for you. The cookies are intensely flavored so you need a beverage that will stand up to them. Yes, milk works well. Most wines won’t.

Beyond the Black Strap Stout we found that Brewery Ommegang Ale, currently brewed for Ommegang in Belgium, and New Belgium Frambozen both worked well with the cookies. The Ommegang is powerful enough to stand up to the chocolate, in part because it shows certain chocolate qualities. We particularly liked the way licorice in the beer matched the cookies. The raspberries (juice, actually) used to make Frambozen turn the Double Chocolate cookies into a double dessert.