Philly Beer Week 2009
Next Friday, March 6 marks the beginning of Philly Beer Week. Start the festivities off right by checking out the Beer and Cheese Smackdown at The Sidecar (2201 Christian St.,215-732-3429, thesidecarbar.com) starting at 6 p.m.
Two Michigan-based breweries, Arcadia and New Holland, are going head to head, matching beers with a lineup of six cheeses provided by the Italian Market's Claudio's. Thirsty/dairy-craving attendees will sample the brews with each cheese in a blind tasting to determine which beer they think complements each queso best. Fred Bueltmann of New Holland and Tim Suprise of Arcadia will be in the house, talking up their beers and pairing prowess while scrapping for Wolverine State supremacy.
And here's perhaps the most nonexistent biggest draw of them all: Yours truly will be hosting the event. There may even be a Felicia D. sighting. Meal Ticket: We exist in real life!
Space is limited. First come-first served tickets are $12 at the door.
Check back here regularly ï¿½ category: Philly Beer Week 2009 ï¿½ for all your Beer Week coverage.
|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.
This year's fast-approaching Philly Beer Week features somewhere in the neighborhood of 650 to 700 individual events, many of which will be covered here on Meal Ticket as well as in CP print. But let's give some daps to smaller events sneaking in there before the day planner-ravaging maelstrom.
Tomorrow, Feb. 24, Cantina Dos Segundos (931 N. Second St., 215-629-0500, cantinadossegundos.com) will have two beers from San Diego's Ballast Point on tap — Victory at Sea and Big Eye IPA. Victory, which we've never had the pleasure of trying, is a "big California strong porter with a coffee and slight caramel taste," says Dos co-owner Stephen Simons. Meal Ticket fave Big Eye, which was on tap at Royal Tavern for awhile (we also recently grabbed a pint at Time) is something of a classic American IPA, with bright, piney hops cut by a little citrus. Very fun and easy to drink.
This is a great opportunity to check out both of these West Coast beers on draught in Philly. Have at it.
|Grubb: brewer, supermodel|
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
Nodding Head co-owner Curt Decker is a quick wit, as anyone who has been barbed by him will attest (5 minutes later, when they figure out they've been zinged). His contrarian Beer Week event Don't Meet the Brewer will feature Nodding Head brewer Gordon Grubb and Ric Hoffman from Delaware's Stewart's Brewing Company. It's scheduled for Tue., March 10. Decker's wry tendencies must be contagious at the brewpub. "We're hoping no one will want to talk to us," says Grubb. "We don't want to answer their dorky questions, anyway." Joking? Who knows.
Grubb will debut his first-ever barrel-aged beer at the event, Da Phunk. The original beer, called The Phunk, was an amber ale fermented with multiple yeast strains, including the souring brettanomyces. After fermentation, it was transferred to a Chaddsford Winery red wine barrel and aged there for seven months. So what's Da Phunk taste like?
"It's sour, complex, lots of brett, a little oak and red wine," says Grubb. "It's dry and, well, FUNKY!" He added that the beer is less like a lambic and closer to an oude brune, but amber-red colored. The beer will be sold, along with some Stewart's brews, by the glass at Don't Meet the Brewer.
Don't Meet the Brewer, Tue., March 10, 6 p.m., Nodding Head Brewery, 1516 Sansom St., 2nd Fl., 215-569-9525.
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.
The second annual Philly Beer Week will kick off on Friday., March 6 with an event in the lobby of the Comcast Center. (When I was there recently to eat at Table 31, I kept seeing the statue of that lady and her kid looking toward the sky out of the corner of my eye and thinking they were real people.)
"The Opening Tap," as it's called, will start at 7 p.m., and will feature tastings, live music and eats from the Market at the Comcast Center. We're particularly intrigued by the "Best Of"-style awards ceremony curated by members of the local beer cognoscenti, including Lew Bryson, Jack Curtin, Don "Joe Sixpack" Russell, Home Sweet Homebrew owner George Hummel and Suzy "Beer Lass" Woods. It'll be interesting to see what these cats come up with, especially considering they were most likely blitzed while developing their list.
Tickets for the Opening Tap cost $40 in advance or $50 at the door. And don't forget about SEPTA's special Beer Week passes — now featuring the Philadelphia skyline on them!
After the jump, check out a list of the local breweries that've been invited the Opening Tap. Check Meal Ticket regularly for more Philly Beer Week coverage.
Barley Creek Brewing Company
Earth Bread + Brewery
Erie Brewing Company
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
Lancaster Brewing Company
Philadelphia Brewing Company
Reading Brewing Company
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