|Killer graphic design, better beer.|
|The Boston Phoenix|
Mikio Kiuchi, brewer of Japan's preeminent craft beer label, Hitachino Nest, will be meeting and greeting at Jose Pistola's tonight beginning at 5 p.m. Matthius B. Niedhart of prestigious importer B. United will be making the rounds, as well.ï¿½ Jose's owners, Casey Parker and Joe Gunn, have pulled in some rarely-seen drafts to welcome Kiuchi, Niedhart and all the drinkers surely descending on their establishment tonight.
Hitachino Ginger Ale, belgian-style White and Espresso Stout will be poured on draft, as well as Hitachino XH in bottles ï¿½ XH isï¿½ an American-style strong ale matured for 3 months in Shochu (distilled sake) barrels.
The bold brews of Kiuchi have more in common with experimental beer from Belgium's smallest breweries, like De Dolle, than with typical Japanese light lagers. It is fitting that DeDolle's unusual Christmas ale, Stille Nacht, and tart, funky triple, Dulle Teve, will be on draft tonight, too.
Jose Pistola's, 263 S. 15th St., 215-545-4101
|Cold beer, hot pear pair|
|Photo l Michael Persico|
With spring just over three weeks away, we're coming up hot on outdoor drinking season. The sidewalk tables emerge from storage, and the wheat beer starts pouring like April rain.
Wheat beers come several major styles, including Belgian Witbier spiced with coriander and curaçao orange peel; German Weißbier, a category that includes hefeweizen, dunkel Weisse, kristall Weisse and Berliner Weisse; and American wheats in styles both mimicked and original.
These beers are almost always top-fermented with ale yeast and brewed with unmalted wheat instead of malted barley, which produces a lighter colored beer (hence "white"). The popularity of these easy-drinking styles increased dramatically as American drinkers and brewers alike were exposed to such classic quaffs as Hoegaarden White and Spaten Franziskaner. Some American brewers have made wheat beers that are faithful homages to original styles; see Allagash White. Others seek to take the typically low-alcohol wheat brew somewhere more extreme.
Southampton Publick House is located halfway between the Chanel and Saks boutiques and the barbecues smoking on the beach, in the village of Southampton on Long Island, New York. Connecticut brewer Phil Markowski was recruited in 1996 to handle brewing operations, and has since garnered accolades from publications (BeerAdvocate best brewpub, 2003) and medals (Great American Beer Fest, World Beer Cup). One of the most popular beers at the brewpub that is also bottled for distribution nationwide is Southampton Double White.
A hazy, unfiltered wheat beer, Double White differs from other styles in that is rings in at nearly 7 percent ABV. Otherwise, it holds true to Belgian form, refreshingly flavored with coriander and bitter orange peel. Publick House executive chef Randall Wilson took a few minutes to tell Meal Ticket about cooking with, and pairing, Double White.
"One of my favorite beers that we serve is Double White," says chef Wilson. "I especially like to finish sauces with it. If you cook beer for a long time, the bitterness from the hops takes over and becomes unpalatable. If you use the beer, cut with wine for sweetness, to finish a dish, the subtle flavor of the beer comes through opposed to the bitterness." Take a look at Wilson's recipes for pan-roasted cod with Double White butter and bruléed pears after the jump.
Meet Southampton brewer Phil Markowski during Beer Week, on Tuesday, March 10 at 6 p.m. at The Belgian Cafe, 21st and Green streets, 215-235-3500.
Randall Wilson's Method for Pan-Roasted Cod with Double White Butter
Chef suggests searing a fillet of cod in a little neutral-flavored oil, three minutes on each side over medium-high head to ensure a crisp sear on each side. Add a few sliced shallots and garlic cloves to the pan; 7 minutes in a preheated 375-degree oven should cook the cod through.
Pour out the old oil and add a splash of fresh olive oil, a lump of butter, a splash of white wine and a splash of Double White beer. Over low heat, baste the fish with the liquid until liquid is slightly reduced. Toss in a bit of chopped flat-leaf parsley. Serve immediately.
Randall Wilson's Method for Bruleed Pears at Home
"In the restaurant, I would do this with a propane torch," says Wilson, "but at home, it can be done on the stove in a Teflon pan." Cut a pear in half lengthwise and scoop out the seedy center with a spoon. In a non-stick pan, melt a small lump of butter and splash of olive oil over medium-high heat. Place the pear flesh side down in the pan when it is very hot, and allow it to sear for 4-5 minutes, without moving it. Chef likes this served immediately, as he enjoys the textural contrast between the cool crisp pear flesh and the sticky, burnt surface. If you like your pear cooked through, stick the whole pan in a 350-degree oven for 5 minutes. Wilson eats this dish with a cold glass of Double White close at hand.
Larry Bell's Two-Hearted Ale is the most kick-ass American beer. You know, since Bud is now owned by some goddamn Euros.
Philadelphians got their first taste of Two Hearted in early 2008, and the pale ale was a smash from the first sip. Though the golden beer packs a hop wallop, is is more than simply bitter. According to the Bell's Web site, "American malts and enormous hop additions give this beer a crisp finish and incredible floral aroma."
Not only is the brew clean, crisp and floral, it weighs in at 7 percent ABV for serious bang-for-the-buck. It has the bright complexity of the best Belgian goldens, combined with an thoroughly American hoppy bite that registers on every part of your tongue. Though unlikely to convert Miller/Bud drinkers into micro aficionados, it is simultaneously the most approachable and precisely crafted pale ale ever.
I'll be telling Larry Bell himself when he rolls into town for Philly Beer Week. The eccentric brewer gets straight to work with a meet and greet on opening night, Friday, March 6 at The Bishop's Collar at 7 p.m., then streaks down Fairmount Ave. to shake hands at St. Stephen's Green by 9:30 p.m.
The Bell's for Boobs event at Devil's Den is Saturday, March 7; Devil's Den will be donating $1 from every Bell's beer sold to breast cancer research -- choose from the standards, the almost-legendary HopSlam and a secret rare firkin. Rounding out the exhaustively paced weekend, the man returns to the scene of last year's debauchery with a dinner at Jose Pistola's on Sunday, March 8, adding a little grub to the mingle.
Ask the dudes at The Foodery on 2nd and Poplar when they are getting the Two-Hearted mini-kegs back, and we'll have a mini-keg party, with mini-keg stands.
|Sebbie regards Stilton.|
|Photo l Michael Persico|
Ever take a look at the babe on the Rogue Chocolate Stout bottle and wonder, what do you have to do to get your face on an amazing beer? The chick is Sebbie Buhler, the Oregon brewery's East Coast rep and all-around badass.
Sebbie herself was in town on Wednesday getting some Beer Week events in order, and she spared a moment to offer us a beer and cheese pairing — one of her passions, along with pairing beer and chocolate.
The huge quantity of chocolate in Rogue Chocolate Stout, along with malted barley and tons of hops, give it a full body that can only be matched by an equally robust cheese. "Stouts call for stinky cheese," Sebbie opined. The best match? "Colston Bassett!" she said firmly, and Di Bruno's cheesemonger Hunter agreed.
Colston Bassett Stilton is the only remaining traditional Stilton; it is produced in Nottinghamshire, England. The curds are hand-ladled over the course of four days, creating a cheese that has "sweeter flavors of dried fruit and maple syrup, with the refined character of walnuts, tobacco and old leather," according to Di Bruno's description.
With a fistful of blue cheese in one hand and a chilled chocolate stout in the other, I have to agree that the funk of the cheese makes a fine foil for the smooth and roasty beer, which tames the cheese's salty wildness. The pairing elevates each solitary product from merely excellent to absolutely transcendent.
To get your face on a bottle, you gotta be good — and Sebbie is epic. "Gotta head out," she said, giving Hunter a farewell pound. "See you when you least expect it."
Colston Bassett Stilton is $29.99 per pound at Di Bruno Bros., and Rouge Chocolate Stout can be found at any bottle shop or distributor worth their foam.
|Who's got my Russian River Beatification?|
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
Beer Bitch to beer dorks, hoarders and cellarmasters: I know what you've got. Whether it's 2004 vintages of Gouden Carolus Cuvee van de Keizer or Schlitz signs from the swingin' seventies, we want to see it. And maybe purchase it from you. Leigh Maida of the Memphis Taproom and Local 44 is hosting a Philly Beer Week swap and she wants you. Well, she's married, so what she mostly wants is your stuff. Bring it out.
This is an open call for any vintage beer or breweriana collectors interested in setting up shop for the afternoon. The event will be held on Sunday, March 15, noon-3 p.m. There is no fee to join in, but space is somewhat limited, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your place. (Act fast!)
This is a chance for seasoned collectors to buy/sell/swap treasures and an opportunity for the rest of us to try to get ahold of rare or never seen beer and beer related stuff.
For details & directions: www.memphistaproom.com
Memphis Taproom, 2331 E. Cumberland St., 215-425-4460
|A chalice of Heavy Seas Below Decks|
|Photo l Michael Persico|
Brewed by Baltimore's Clipper City Brewing, this malted barleywine is a super-bomb at 10 percent ABV, but the rich, mellow flavor bears no telltale burn. The warmth spreads through your belly as you sip, a 10-ounce, $5 goblet lasting longer and providing far more savor than a similarly priced, quickly downed yellow pint.
The garnet-brown ale poured with a moderate cream head that dissipated rapidly, leaving little lacing on the glass. The nose was of nutty roasted malts and sweet, yeasty baked bread. Typical to the barleywine style, the mouthfeel is full and heavy on the tongue, but initial malt sweetness gives way to a freshening dryness. The finish is quite clean and dry for such a big, strong beer.
Below Decks was brewed to celebrate Clipper City's 10th anniversary, with Pale, Crystal and Carapils malts; Magnum, Fuggles and Goldings hops contributed aroma and flavor with mild bitterness. The complex ale is the perfect partner for Prohibition's massive pub burger crowned with a bacon-wrapped, roasted Vidalia onion.
This winter warmer is pouring on draft at Prohibiton Taproom while it lasts. It's ARRR-guably the best barleywine you can get for your five gold pieces.
|Triumph brewer Patrick Jones mashing in.|
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
Jay Misson, former Director of Brewing Operations for Triumph Brewing Co., was working at Gordon Biersch in San Francisco in 1996, when his intern Peter Kruse asked him how he would brew a classic German pilsner. Scratching out a quick recipe, he handed off the paper and forgot about it. In June of 2008, Misson suddenly passed away.
Though Misson is no longer with us, his spirit — and his recipe — is. After Jay's death, Peter Kruse got in touch with writer and Malt Advocate editor Lew Bryson through his blog, Seen Through A Glass, where Jay had been eulogized by both Bryson and many friends. He mailed a copy of the hand-written recipe to Bryson, who passed it along to Patrick Jones, head brewer at Triumph's Philadelphia location, and Casey Hughes of Flying Fish, who decided to pay tribute to their friend by collaboratively brewing his Pils Jay's Way.
Meal Ticket arrived at Triumph at the crack of 9 a.m. to photograph Jones and Hughes mashing in for the first-ever batch of Pils Jay's Way. The scrawled-on-a-napkin sort of recipe had never been brewed until Feb. 3, 2009, and will debut at Triumph's Klash of the Kaisers on Thu., March 12. This Philly Beer Week event will feature up to 10 local pilsners subjected to both expert and audience judging to determine the finest in the land. The contest will have entrants from Sly Fox, Dock Street Brewing, Nodding Head, Earth Bread + Brewery — and of course, Triumph. Any type of pilsner is welcome, from a classic German or Czech style, to modern American or Mexican interpretations. "Anywhere else in the country," says Hughes, "you couldn't even find 10 local pilsners." Any guest at the event may purchase a sampler of all entries and submit a ballot with their vote for the People's Choice Award.
|Casey Hughes of Flying Fish adding hops|
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
Jones expects that Pils Jay's Way will exhibit the key characteristics of a German pilsner. "Plenty of early hop additions will give this significant bitterness in the back of your throat, with a malty flavor on the tip of the tongue and some residual sugar," he says. "Alcohol should be in the low fives."
When I asked Jones and Hughes why they wanted to make Pils Jay's Way, they both looked sad. "We all worked in Florida at the same time," said Hughes. Jones and Misson were both employed by Gordon Biersch in Miami, while Hughes was working at Key West Brewery. "We've all been friends for a long, long time," added Jones.
Misson was a beloved pioneer of the craft beer scene. The guy was brewing German lagers by strict Reinheitsgebot standards since 1978 (in a German brewpub attached to Action Park in NJ, of all places!). He trained many brewers, including Jones. By all accounts, he was a brewer devoted to classic German styles — Bryson even called him a "lager chauvinist." At Klash of the Kaisers, those who were influenced by Misson's teachings on brewing proper lagers and pilsners will have a chance to raise a glass of the man's beer, to the man himself.
Pils Jay's Way will debut at Klash of the Kaisers, Thu., March 12, at Triumph Brewing Co., 117 Chestnut St., 215-625-0855
Last year, one of the most happening events of Philly Beer Week was Meet The Brewer. Bars all over the city hosted brewers from far and wide, and many of the brewmasters toted along new or rare beers for those to came out to hang with them. As often happens at these things, a few beers turned into many shots of tequila and some of us ended up staggering home as the sun came up over the Delaware.
Barring the potential for debauchery, the events are a prime opportunity to grill these guys (and a few ladies) on what goes in their beer. Wondering why Rob Tod chose to age his Allagash Curieux in Jim Beam barrels? Dying to know if there's a Belgian yeast in Larry Bell's Two-Hearted? This is your shot. You don't have to buy ticket to many of these things, either, which makes them suitable for a quick glass and chat, or hop your way across the grid sampling everyone's offerings. Shots of tequila at dawn are optional (but bloody likely).
A full day-by-day schedule is available at PhillyBeerWeek.org; there are already 176 events listed as of Jan. 28, with more on assuredly on the way. Full details for each listed event listed below are here.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Luncheon with Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head at Teresa's Cafe & Next Door in Wayne, 12:30 p.m. Sam, the defining brewer rockstar, boasts more groupies than David Lee Roth ever did in his prime; watch them gasp and fawn over the man at this suburban beer destination.
Bill Covaleski of Victory Brewing will appear at The Four Seasons at 5 p.m., so if you crave swank surroundings with your award-winning Prima Pils or Old Horizontal, check him out here.
Young buck Casey Hughes of Flying Fish is at Johnny Brenda's all-draft haven at 5 p.m. Bet he'll take over their two beer engines with something unusual.
Southwark is better known for slow food and classic cocktails, but they maintain a bitchin' beer list, as well. Brian O'Reilly from Sly Fox Brewing will be appearing at the beautiful bar at 5 p.m.
The lovely, luminous Hildegard Van Ostaden is one of Europe's few prominent bruesters (female brewers). Her Urthel line of beers will thrill your tastebuds while Hildegard charms your socks off, at Monk's Café at 6 p.m.
Local boy Tom Kehoe of Yards Brewing gets really, really old school at the City Tavern, 6 p.m. Yards' line of beers based on historical recipes by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington should moisten your throat for some revolutionary-style debate.
Carol Stoudt, one of the originators of the craft beer movement in PA at Stoudt's Brewing, shares her stories of 20 years spent shoveling out the mash tun, at McGillin's Old Ale House, 6 p.m.
The big boys from Stone Brewing in Escondido, California are on hand for a dinner at Gullifty's on the Main Line, 7 p.m. Begin training with high IBU pale ales now if you expect to come out on the other end of this event without your tongue burned off from hops.
Adam Avery of Avery Brewing in Colorado ventures down P'unk Ave. to the P.O.P.E. at 9 p.m. He's another one that attracts hordes of female fans; no wonder he and Sam get on so well. Oh, and his beers are pretty good, too.
Rudi Ghequire of Rodenbach brews the number one oak-aged Flemish sour in the world, Rodenbach Grand Cru. He'll be on hand to talk about this refreshing heritage style at 11 p.m. at Monk's.
This is just one day of Meet The Brewer events. Click over to PhillyBeerWeek.org for sooo many more.
|This beer does not exist.|
Brooklyn Brewing brewmaster Garrett Oliver is famous for his outspoken resistance to the "big beer" movement. That contrarian attitude is turned inside out with his latest and most coveted beer: Black Ops Imperial Stout, which weighs in at a healthy 10.7% ABV. The brewmaster shares his feelings on his new beer on the label:
Brooklyn Black Ops does not exist. However, if it did exist, it would be a robust stout concocted by the Brooklyn brewing team under cover of secrecy and hidden from everyone else at the brewery. Supposedly “Black Ops” was aged for four months in bourbon barrels, bottled flat, and re-fermented with Champagne yeast, creating big chocolate and coffee flavors with a rich underpinning of vanilla-like oak notes. They say there are only 1,000 cases. We have no idea what they’re talking about.
We don't know what they're talking about, either. The super-limited brew was released in December, with only 8 cases making it to Brooklyn's Philadelphia distributor, Muller Beverage. Our sources at Muller say they sold 5 cases to Tria owner Jon Myerow for his 18th street location, and they still have 3 cases in the warehouse (which are apparently not for sale). Calls to Tria revealed that Myerow is sitting on his 5 cases of the big bottles -- release date top secret.
If I had to guess, I'd say the man is waiting for Philly Beer Week (March 6-15) to share his stash of Black Ops. I mean, if you're going to all this trouble to acquire a beer that doesn't exist, hiding its release in the plain sight of thousands of thirsty beer dorks is the most effective cover of all.
|Left to Right: JOE porter, Best Bitter, Backwoods Bastard|
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
Though better known for gritty rock shows and grittier restrooms, The Khyber has been serving fancy-ass import beer for ages. "We used to have over 200 bottles," says five-year Khyber veteran bartender Jeremy Thomson. "We had tons of import bottles before there were beer bars like Monk's."
As the bottle list went the way of the blocked fire exits, the Khyber draft list grew to encompass a variety of notable local and national microbrews. Here are a few you should Drink Immediately:
Founder's Backwoods Bastard (Grand Rapids, Michigan)
Each $6 goblet of this 9.2 percent ABV powerhouse has more going on than a hipster-filled hot tub of PBR. Founder's takes their Dirty Bastard scotch ale and ages it in a bourbon barrel to create mouthfuls of complex flavors. Jeremy Thomson commented that "Each sip hits me a different way." The aroma on this baby is pure Scotch, sharp and sweet with evident heat from the high alcohol. The ale's predominant taste is straight whiskey, leavened by oak and tea, and sweet but bright malt. A long finish and warming effect completes the serious beer experience.
Philadelphia Brewing Company JOE Porter (Philadelphia, PA)
Brewed with 50 lbs. of Fair Trade Peruvian coffee, this just-released local brew keeps session drinkers going with a hit of caffeine and 5 percent ABV. Though porters appear as dark as Joey Vento's heart, they drink much lighter than they look. This is a smooth and mild porter, with a nose of roasty coffee grinds. The coffee element was well-integrated and not overbearing; gentle enough that even a non-coffee drinker like myself enjoyed a glass. $4 a pint.
Gritty McDuff's Best Bitter (Freeport, Maine)
Rare East Kent hop flowers are used to bitter and flavor this classic English-style beer. The malts and hops in the golden glass are beautifully balanced and quite sessionable at 5 percent ABV, especially to drinkers exhausted of tongue-drying hop-bombs. Gritty's is distributed by Bella Vista Beverage, who are committed to getting the name of this brewery on the lips of the famously discerning Philadelphia beer crowd. From first tastes, it seems Jeremy Thomson had a bit of second-sight when he ordered this keg of Best Bitter blind. $5 per pint.
The Khyber, 56 S. 2nd St., 215-238-5888
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