Mt. Hope Brewfest – May 14, 2011

3 May

beer

The Mt. Hope Brewfest is coming up soon! Spend a few hours and enjoy craft beer, food, and entertainment.

Join other lovers of beer on May 14, 2011 for one of two sessions. The first session is from 11am-3pm and the second session is from 4pm-8pm. Tickets (for you imbibers out there) are $40 in advance, $45 at the door. If you are the DD (I don’t envy you, but appreciate you!) then the entry fee is $15 in advnace, $20 at the door.

The entrance fee includes all the buffet food and musical enjoyment you can enjoy. For those of you paying for a drinking entry you’ll also receive a tasting glass. Make sure you purchase your tickets in advance to guarantee you’ll get a tasting glass! Beer just tastes better from a glass.

Naturally, make sure you are of legal age to drink. No shenanigans. Play nicely. No peeing behind the buildings. Ahem.

Are you a homebrewer? Whether novice or master, feel free to sign up for the homebrew competition! Last day for entering your brew is May 7, and there are specific rules and guidelines you must follow to be considered for the competition.

Breweries that will be ready to fill your glass:

Swashbuckler Brewing Company

DuClaw Brewery

Hometown Beverages

Flying Fish Brewing Company

Slyfox Brewing Company

Smuttynose Brewing Company

Weyerbacher Brewing Company

Intercourse Brewing Company

Bube’s Brewery

Appalachian Brewing Company

Spaten North America

JoBoy’s Brew Pub

Mountain State Brewing Company

Straub Brewery

Boaks Beer

Woodchuck Cider

Strongbow Cider

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

Union Barrel Works

Yuengling Brewery

Roy Pitz Brewing Company

Brewery Ommegang

Troegs Brewing Company

Lancaster Brewing Company

Victory Brewing Company

Belukus Marketing Company

Yards Brewing Company

Rogue Ales

Erie Brewing Company

Are you salivating like I am?

There will also be a variety of retail vendors and if you’re hungry you can fill your plate with pulled pork, bratwurst, chicken chili and more. If you enjoy dancing when your blood starts warming up (like me), check out one of the stages for live music that’ll be going on all day long.

Check it out! I’m sure we’ll be there–babysitter dependent, of course.

The Porterhouse Brewing Company, Dublin

28 Apr

It’s 7:30am and I’m ready to talk to you about beer. More importantly, I’m ready to talk to you about traveling for beer. We recently returned from a lovely vacation to the Netherlands and Ireland, and of course one of the first things we look for anywhere we go is local breweries. Tilburg (NL) had a nice spot called for Belgian beer, called Little Devil (my favorite was Barbar). Ireland had all the traditional Irish pubs that you expect, with charming live music or friendly local clientele, but for the beer we couldn’t help but fall in love with what The Porterhouse Brewing Company has going for them.

Porterhouse Brewing Co

Oh, and in case you are wondering, we are indeed in Dublin in this photograph. It was sunny nearly every single day while in this gorgeous country, except for one brooding day while on a trip to see the Cliffs of Moher.

The Porterhouse Brewing Company brews their own beer and they do it quite well. On our first day in Ireland, about a week before we went to the actual brewery, we took a short little skip to Howth. Howth is a fishing community peppered with trendy boutiques and lovely cafes. Our wonderful host, Paul, took us to lunch at The House and it was at this establishment that I enjoyed not only the dish I always order if it’s on the menu:

charcuterie

(charcuterie, of course) … but I also ordered my first Porterhouse Brewing Company beer:

oyster stout

I’ve always been a tad skeptical about oyster stouts. I love oysters when they’re raw but my uvula rebels as soon as they’re cooked. I’m probably a bit backwards, eh? I’m okay with my quirks. The thought of tossing oysters in beer just sounds weird. Like, almost unnatural. But hey, I’m only living this life once so the oyster stout is definitely what I ordered. I enjoy challenging myself sometimes. Not too often, mind you, but plenty enough to make me feel a moment of empowerment.

The oyster stout? Delicious. Strong and smooth, it went down about as quickly as, well, a slippery oyster. I did mind my p’s and q’s and only had one. We had an early morning flight to Eindhoven the next day so I behaved.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about The House: please do go there. It’s a lovely cafe with a mouthwatering menu and the service was top notch. Prices were comparable to nearly everywhere else we ate in Europe and the town of Howth is a good diversion from the hustle and bustle of Dublin city.

Let’s go back into Dublin now and take the bus to the Temple Bar area. We’ll window shop for a few minutes, because Temple Bar is filled to the brim with all sorts of places perfect for those of you who have money burning a hole in your pocket. We’re done shopping now. Time to drink. Keep an eye out for The Porterhouse Brewing Company on Parliament Street because once there you can give your weary shopping feet a rest and throw back a few pints. I even invite you to sample some food from their menu, like the bangers and mash.

The building is impressive. There are several stories of seating and every wall is covered in display cases, all containing bottles of beer.

The walls are also filled with framed curiosities, like the old laws on being a drunkard or enabling a drunkard:

and there are several adorable little cubbies with a table and seating, for those of you who crave privacy.

The menu is full of whimsy and was a delight to read as we guzzled down a few pints.

The bathrooms are down in the basement and I didn’t see any lift so I’m thinking this place is not wheelchair accessible. [Note: Many thanks to Fiona at The Porterhouse Brewing Company for letting me know that the Temple Bar location is wheelchair accessible! That is fantastic to know!] Certainly it shouldn’t be a problem to come in and sit at the downstairs bar or tables but I know I can’t hold my bladder well once I’m a few glasses in. Interesting side-note on the ladies toilet: there is a coin operated hair straightener down there. So if the weather has your hair in an uproar you are set.

Along with a selection of their own brewed beers (like An Brain Blasta and Porterhouse Red), they also carry a range of other Irish craft beer and international beer both on draught and bottled.

Our bartender was efficient and friendly. The owner came in a couple times and we had a chance to have a small chit-chat with him about the brewing at Porterhouse. Things are going quite well for them and their business in the United States is such that they’re opening a satellite bar in New York City! If you find yourself twiddling thumbs in the Big Apple, make your way to the Financial District and look them up at Fraunces Tavern.

Definitely stop in one of the several Porterhouse Brewing Company locations and order yourself a perky pint. Don’t we all love them?

Monk’s Cafe In Philly Raising Money For Japan

7 Apr

The Monk’s Cafe will be tapping three kegs of Hitachino beer and donating 100% of money made from each pour to charity for Japan. I love this. It is social good. It is another example of how beer people are good people.

They will be offering a Red Rice ale, Ginger ale, and White ale.

The money will be going directly to the owner of Hitachino, Toshiyuki Kiuchi, and he will distribute it in the community in the area where he sees the most need.

If you don’t know about Monk’s Cafe think Belgian beauties. No. I’m not talking about this kind:

Photo by San Diego Shooter

THIS kind:

Belgian beer

Photo by Amber DeGrace

Do you like how I made the beer picture bigger than that of the girls? I have my priorities.

Anyway. Get your beer-lovin’ butt to Monk’s Cafe and order a few Hitachino Nest ales and tell all your friends that beer helps make the world a better place. It’s the truth.

The fundraiser starts at 11:30am on April 11th.

Cask Ale Festival – General Sutter Inn

4 Apr

Cask Ale Festival Token Sheet

This past weekend was the 3rd annual cask ale festival at the General Sutter Inn in Lititz, PA. The General Sutter Inn is a charming restaurant, lounge, and you can even sleep there (imagine that). Connected to the inn is the Bulls Head Public House, one of the most fantastic little English-style pubs in this area. They consistently have some of the best choices of hard to find brews on tap.

This is the first cask ale festival I’ve been to and it was excellent. I’ve grown to appreciate cask ales and enjoy trying beers on cask to pick out different nuances than their bottled or kegged cousins possess. If you aren’t sure what a cask ale is, you can read a good description of it here. This festival was set up on a ‘pay as you go’ basis and it was nice not paying a fee up front for a 3-hour window of time where you try to drink as many styles as you can in a short period of time. I liked being able to take my time choosing the beer I wanted and not feeling pressured to guzzle it down to try the next one. It was a perfect set up for the beer connoisseur.

The casks were set up in a large rectangular pattern in what seemed to be a ballroom at the General Sutter. We paid $20 for a sheet of tokens, each token equaling $.50. There were three different sized glasses to choose from, 10 oz, 16 oz, and 20 oz. Each beer had a certain number of tokens it cost for each size glass you were filling. We both chose the 10 oz glass so we could try the most beers with our sheet of tokens. There were 21 different casks available when we were there. Some kicked and others were put on. Here is a complete list of what was available when we were at the festival. I have put in bold the ones I tried.

The hours were enjoyable. They were full of tasty minutes (especially the 75 Minute part). Mike and I sat in the lounge, away from the hustle and bustle in the main ballroom area. The tables there were full and many people were standing. We arrived early enough in the afternoon to see some traditional male dancers perform. It was unusual seeing a men-only dance group, jumping and hitting sticks together in time to the music, but I loved it. It reminded me of a warrior dance, except slightly more jovial.

Lounge at the General Sutter Inn

We had a bite to eat in the lounge while enjoying our ales. I ordered the Schnitzel Sandwich and it was delicious. It was huge, seriously. Check out the size of my schnitzel (sorry, I can’t help myself).

schnitzel sandwich

I will definitely make it a point to go to the next cask ale festival at the General Sutter Inn, and any others within a close distance to where we live. Have you ever been to one?

Wordless Wednesdays – On Raising Homebrewers

23 Mar

We value teaching our children practical lessons. One of these lessons is the art of homebrew. They will learn science, math, and other fun facts through being junior assistants. It is also a treasured time for us to spend together as a family!

 

 

Ginger Rye Saison Recipe

17 Mar
Rye

Photo by LSDSL, Wikipedia Commons

Mike finalized the recipe and brew schedule for this weekend’s brew, a ginger rye saison. Recently we went to Sonnewald Natural Foods near Spring Grove, PA, to pick up a few things and browse around. Their store has fresh produce, canned organic goods, refrigerated items, vitamins & supplements, and a bulk-foods area. It’s perfect for those who are either just a bit crunchy like we are or are a lot crunchy. Mike picked up a few pounds of flaked rye, figuring we’d be able to use it in a brew at some point.

I have a couple books, The Homebrewer’s Garden and Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers, that both have recipes for ales that contain unique ingredients such as basil, oregano, ginger, lavender, and juniper berries. I wanted to do an oregano pale ale but Mike was a reluctant. He wasn’t sold on the honey basil ale either. We both agreed on a ginger rye saison — it’ll be a nice Spring brew, Mike will get to use the flaked rye, and I will get ginger.

Ginger Rye Saison

Mash:

5 lbs Pilsen Malt

3 lbs 2-Row Brewers Malt

2 lbs Rye Malt

1 lb Organic Flaked Rye

1 lb White Wheat Malt

.5 lb 2-Row Caramel Malt 10L

.25 lb Aromatic Malt

 

Boil (6.5 gallons):

60 minutes – 1 oz Tettnanger (3.5% AA)

30 minutes – .5 fresh ginger, chopped

20 minutes – 1 oz Tettnanger

10 minutes – .5 oz Czech Saaz (3.2% AA) and .5 oz fresh ginger, chopped

 

Yeast: White Labs WLP565 Belgian Saison I

 

Let’s see how it turns out! I know it’s going to smell wonderful.



Deschutes Brewery is Expanding

15 Mar
Deschutes Tap Handles

Photo by The Prudent Cyclist, flickr

Deschutes Brewery is one of my favorite craft breweries and I wish we could get it in Pennsylvania. Perhaps if their success continues that will happen one day. Currently Deschutes only distributes to my West Coast amigos and as sad as this is, I can understand. In fact, Dogfish Head recently pulled their distribution from several states in order to better provide to the other states where they do distribute.

Deschutes just announced today that they are expanding their operations. More space will be added to where their production area (more room for beer) and they are augmenting their current fermentation tanks with five new family members (more room for beer). They estimate that this addition with allow them to brew over 100,000 gallons more beer each year. There are also various green innovations they will be implementing, including a system which will reduce and reuse water by cleaning it.

There will be another phase of this project in which they’ll add even more fermentation tanks.

Please, dear Deschutes, please distribute in Pennsylvania? We’d be happy to have ya here. Congratulations to Deschutes on their success!

This information came from the Deschutes Brewery Twitter account (@DeschutesBeer) in the following tweet: It’s official, we are adding more tanks & remodeling the tasting room to better serve our faithful & future fans. http://ow.ly/4eXxt

Now, if only I had an Obsidian Stout right now …

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