Beer In Bismarck: McQuade’s & Women Get Together

There are great people everywhere. I truly believe that.

And when I get to work with and around them, it makes it all for motivating.

63 terrific enthusiasts ready to taste beer + food at McQaude's

63 terrific enthusiasts ready to taste beer + food at McQaude’s

Last weekend found me participating in a women + beer event in the lovely state of North Dakota, at the McQuade Distributing Company HQ with 3rd generation company president and very inspiring person, Shannon McQuade-Ely.

Shannon and I have worked together before and it was with particular relish and enthusiasm I was asked to help put together (possibly a first for ND) a women and beer + food fundraiser. What a success it was!!

Picture this:

  • Roomy room, 63 women present to support a cause, try new things, and meet new people.
  • 4 beers, 1 cider, food tastes to match them all.
  • Sunday afternoon, 4 – 6 pm.

Suffice it to say, they were lined up outside well before we started (RSVP’s were required), the seats were full of engaged women of all ages and knowledge levels, and they eagerly embraced the event. Knowing in my gut it was going to be a home run, I was thrilled when it actually happened.

You can tell the success level of an event, to a certain extent, with the noise level – particularly if you have to regularly ask people to quiet down. It’s a good sign because that means everyone’s chatting and have a great time. Great time = success. I had to shush often (and always allow open times for guests to chat unhindered…it’s good to get people talking).

Cheers to Shannon (r) - a smart & savvy leader, beer lover and frolleague

Cheers to Shannon (r) – a smart & savvy leader, beer lover and frolleague

A special thanks to Shannon and the whole McQuade’s team and all the people who bought tickets. We’ll surely do it again with increased success. The fuse has been ignited, there’s no keeping smart and flavor seeking women back!

Here’s the menu we enjoyed:

Anyone hungry??!!

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Beer + Food + Quilting = Swig & Stitch

  • Did you know that quilting in America experienced a renaissance in 1976 due to the United States Bicentennial?
  • Did you know that quilting and jazz are two uniquely American arts?

With roots from all over, America adopted and ran with both of these quintessentially (now) classic elements of everyday life. What was once perhaps necessary (quilting with scraps so as not to waste), quilting is in a fade out phase. It’s time to rejuvenate and instigate a much younger wave of quilting enthusiasts into the aging quilting population.

Sandi leading the quilting session last night.

Sandi leading the quilting session last night.

Last night was the inaugural Quilting Edition of Swig & Stitch, a monthly gathering for all that Sandi, Fabric of Vision, and I conduct. She’s done them for years – first with a wine meet-up. 3 years ago we started a beer version that’s been very successful and energetically received.

Stepping out with a special quilt version was a natural step. I found myself leaning in to the story of quilting and information within this fascinating facet of life.

Coupled with beer + food tastings, Swig & Stitch is an engaging educational endeavor that I’m very happy and proud to be a part of. Thanks to our fine Host, 4 Daughters Irish Pub, and all the guests who perpetuate this event in good taste. And a big fluffy thanks to Sandi for the vision and opportunity to work side by side, beer by beer, project by project. Lucky me.

4/29/14 Swig & Stitch Menu

  • Stella Artois with Chicken Pot Pie
  • Ninkasi Total Domination with Tomato Bisque soup and bleu cheese crumbles
  • Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA with 4 Daughters’ signature Oregon Salad

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Grizzly Peak Winery & Beer

Sunday inaugurated a brand new idea to a local winery: Beer & Wine tasting, together. The open-minded and community oriented owners, Virginia and Al of Grizzly Peak Winery, were gracious hosts of this first time effort. They’re taking their time to build the winery slowly and

delicious Grizzly Peak Wines waiting to be tasted...

delicious Grizzly Peak Wines waiting to be tasted…

steadily with great results.

It’s a lovely location that exhibits a lot of love, hard work and investment. What a perfect place to hold a tasting event. It’s a place many consider for other events, as they’ve hosted plays, weddings and all kinds of other happenings.

With much success, the room filled with over 20 guests, 2 hosts and a few other special people to enjoy a sunshine filled afternoon learning about beer and wine together. The cheese and chocolate that accompanied the tasting was a flavorful and impactful addition as well.

Why beer and wine? Because you don’t have to only like one. You don’t have to choose one over the other. They are both eagerly awaiting the opportunity to give your senses a terrific experience.

The first time I gave a beer and wine event it was also at another winery. It’s yet another reason we need to shatter the idea that one beverage is the elite, the only, the one that strangely earns the self-imposed and very unsavory title of snob. And really it doesn’t surprise me since the wine folk I know embrace beer. After all it takes wonderful beer to make tasty wine!

Ginger & Virginia - happy tasters!

Ginger & Virginia – happy tasters!

Flavor is where you find it. The exploration of various liquids and solids can be enjoyable for all if the mind is open before the lips even part.

Menu: Beer & Wine, Together Forever

Cheeses featured were from Cypress Grove Chevre: Midnight Moon and Bermuda Triangle

Chocolates featured were from Dagoba: Hazelnut, Lemon Ginger, Beaucoup Berries, New Moon

I invite you to taste the two categories side by side – chocolate and cheese in the mix only teaches us more varieties of what’s possible for our palate.

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Great Flavor Partners, Beer & Chocolate

People file in…anticipating flavor and fun…they’re happily satisfied.

So went our annual Beer & Chocolate Tasting sessions at the recently concluded 10th Annual Oregon Chocolate Festival. The whip sharp and inspiring Karolina of Ashland Springs Hotel (Neuman Hotel Group) started the festival 10 years ago to create a shoulder season event for residents and visitors alike. Suffice it to say: it’s been a big success.

Ashland is home to 23K+ permanent residents, a few thousand University students and innumerable visitors every year. A festival of this caliber is a pleasure to be a part of – Karolina and her fantastic assistant Paula along with the entire crew (Gina, Charlie, Gigi, and dozens more staff) are a joy to collaborate with.

Find a local beer class - and take it!

Find a local beer class – and take it!

When I approached Karolina 3+ years ago to inquire about adding their first ever beer and chocolate session, she was ready to embrace it – new, interesting, and attractive to the hundreds of guests that visit the fest. Some of them year after year after year, from far and near.

I love teaching. The lightbulb moments, the opportunity to open minds and pleasing palates, the myriad people you meet and the comfortable and accommodating setting are all reasons the love continues. Teaching in an ideal setting helps make it the best it can be for the guests too, never mind the presenters (!).

Get out and support your local festivals. Attend as a paying guest, volunteer to help, and spread the word.

Here are the menus for the 2 sessions we gave this year. Hope to see you in class next year!

Great Flavor Partners: Beer & Chocolate

Saturday

  1. Milk and Honey Ale with Roseberry
  2. Twin Plunge IPA with Lavender Blueberry
  3. Humboldt Fog
  4. Hop Night Cascadian Dark with Mint

Sunday

  1. Steel Cut Stout with classic Dark
  2. Noble Stout with New Moon
  3. Truffle Tremor
  4. Milk and Honey with Eclipse
  5. BONUS: award-winning Amber (with whatever was remaining!)

A great time was had by all – thanks to all the guests, new and returning. Cheers til next time –

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Winner of 2014 Oregon Chocolate Festival Ticket Giveaway

In a highly scientific and competitive contest, we are happy to announce that the flavor lover Felicia Reninger has won the giveaway of 2 tickets to the 2014 Oregon Chocolate Festival, March 8 & 9, 2014. Congratulations Felicia!

In asking for help to choose, Twittersphere community member @cingoodwoman chose #2 without knowing anything else other than to pick a number – see I told you: highly scientific. And I was glad for help as I wanted to give all three finalists free tickets!

Cassie, Ginger & Karolina at the 2013 Chocolate Festival - having a ball!

Cassie, Ginger & Karolina at the 2013 Chocolate Festival – having a ball!

The complementary tickets from the venerable Karolina, originator of the festival and amazing Marketing Director of the Ashland Springs Hotel. Our many thanks.

In the spirit of fun and sharing, I wanted to share the top three contenders and their creative entries (which is what we asked for).

1. Sasha Tokareff

I need 2 free tickets to the OCF! Oregon Chocolate Fest! I need them because my boyfriend lives in Boston and chocolate is the only thing keeping me sane!”

2. Felicia Reninger

“Yes! I would like the two tickets to the chocolate festival! I attended last years event, all by myself, but the sorrow of going alone was soon forgotten. I was drunk on chocolate and forgot my loneliness! This year my sister said she would go with me, and it would be awesome to surprise her with a ticket.”

(Also, Ginger’s beer and chocolate tasting class inspired my homebrew. Been pairing and tasting ever since!)”

3. Mary Sharbatz

“YES! I want to Win 2 Tickets to the OCF 🙂 I have not been to one of Ginger’s Beer & Chocolate classes yet, and I’d love to go to this festival! Sounds divine 🙂 Ashland is calling my name. I have never won anything before, and to be chosen would feel so great, like I hit the jackpot!”

Thank you to everyone who entered. I sure hope to do it again next year. All the finalists are encouraged to come find me and take a photo at the fest – I’ll have some goodies for all three.

In the meantime, know that this tasty festival happens this weekend, starting with a fancy dinner Friday night, Saturday & Sunday are the festival and I’ll be there Saturday (12-1) & Sunday (1145-1245) giving Beer & Chocolate classes (3rd year running). You can register for them here – and they’re free. Heck of a value to be sure.

Cheers & chocolate to you ~

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Oregon Chocolate Festival 2014 Ticket Giveaway

If you’d like two complementary tickets to the uber luscious and fun 10th Annual Oregon Chocolate Festival happening March 8 & 9, Ashland OR, then speak up!!

Here’s the mash:

  1. Get to our Contact page, scroll down to General Inquiries (past the Media Inquiries)
  2. Fill it out specifying you “YES! I want to Win 2 Tickets to the OCF” in the How Can We Help You space.
  3. Include full first and last name, email address and one good fun reason we should give them to you.
  4. Entries taken until Sunday March 2nd.

We’ll draw a winner randomly from all entries – women & men are encouraged to enter. The only thing that would trump the random selection process is if someone gets super creative with an entry. Extra weight to creativity!

Festival Link here.

p.s. We’ll be offering our usual tasty Beer & Chocolate classes Saturday & Sunday too – register here.

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Bring On The Questions!

Last night’s monthly episode of Swig & Stitch was particularly gratifying. It’s always fun, enlightening and invigorating – for me and the guests.

And last night was all the more engaging for a few reasons.

1. We had a really nice guest list of both returning and new folks. We’re glad for and appreciate both.

2. The beer and food pairings were really in a groove. Our host 4 Daughters Irish Pub and the GM, Brandy, are super easy to work with and we’ll stay as long as it’s still groovy.

3. When talking with a few guests (2 brand new, 2 having been to only one S&S before), I asked them what they wanted to learn about. The questions that came from them helped drive the nights beer education forward.

Swig & Stitch: Beer & Food tastings partnered with Sewing technique lessons = success!

Swig & Stitch: Beer & Food tastings partnered with Sewing technique lessons = success!

As an educator, I’m keen on knowing what the audience wants to know. It’d be pretty conceited if I only talked about what I wanted to talk about. All audiences are different and many presenters seem to neglect that. They get caught up in themselves and the material and forget who the heck they’re there for!

One of the questions that was a terrific one to discuss was this: How do I learn to like beer? WOW! Talk about open-minded, willingness and a desire to learn. In reply to this question, I asked her why she wanted to like beer…and we chatted for a bit until I needed to move to the next table.

It’s a great question and precisely the reason why we do the qualitative research WEB conducts. These are powerful “why” questions – they drive our decision-making process and are important in all facets of progress.

Thanks to Tammy and all the attendees last night. Here’s the menu we enjoyed.

p.s. I got a few more questions from the guests to explore at future episodes…all welcome, RSVP’s in advance needed. Contact Fabric of Vision to reserve your seats.

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Gluten Free Tasting

NOTE: This post was originally drafted during our HomeFreeTour, which started in September 2009. Enjoy the post & thanks for reading.

gcj

Our friend April in Kirkland WA was good enough to invite some friends over for a tasting while we’re on the road. It was huge fun and I believe all the good humored guests learned at least a few new things about beers and ciders.

Gluten free = lots of flavor!

Gluten free = lots of flavor!

This is my first mention of cider I think…and they fit nicely for diets that require glutenfree beverages. Plus here in the Northwest, where I currently am, apples abound!! Whew!

Here’s what the menu looked like (foods gotten at Trader Joe’s).

  1. Course 1 – Redbridge with soft tangy Chevre on soyrice crackers
  2. Course 2 – Newton’s Folly Draft Cider with Washington Honeycrisp apples, apple smoked garlic cheddar cheese, and corn/potato/rice tortilla chips
  3. Course 3 – Fox Barrel Black Currant Cider with fresh spinach &mixed greens salad with local melon, pears, and almonds and a touch of champagne gorgonzola dressing
  4. Course 4 – Green’s Discovery Amber Ale with freshly smoked salmon
  5. Course 5 – Bard’s Gold with Dagoba chocolates

Mmmmmmmm….All Gluten Free, all flavorful and fresh.

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Beer & First Taste Oregon

There’s little I enjoy more than giving a tasting seminar. And yesterday I got to literally feed the beast.

As a guest presenter at First Taste Oregon, we got on stage 3 times to give the following sessions:

Mmmmm! Cooking with Beer & Cheese

Fire Mountain Brew House, Gilgamesh Brewing, and Willamette Valley Cheese Company graciously provided beer for this tasty and sample oriented session. I offered ideas on using beer in cooking, along with cheese – though sometimes both were included, others not. One primary idea shared was to use beer in the cooking of Mac & Cheese. Decide on a complementary beer as well as amount of beer used in the boiling and in the cheese sauce (starting with a bechamel base will up your success). Cooking any remarkably bitter beer will only amplify, in a relatively unpleasant way, the tannins in the hops. Not what you want nor pleasing to most palates. A Porter, Stout, Red, Amber or Brown would be a better choice. The super flavorful Smoky Gouda from Willamette Valley was a spot on match to pair with the Fire Mountain Steam Fired Stout and the Gilgamesh Hopscotch.

Mmm, Ahhh – Smelling & Tasting Your Beer (and other beverages!)

Again, thanks to Fire Mountain for providing beer for the session & Willamette Valley Cheese Company. We’ve featured WVCC before, a few years ago at the first ever beer & cheese tasting the Oregon Cheese Festival had ever had. Suffice it to say the crammed room, Standing Room Only at that session was indicative of the enthusiasm for people to embrace beer and cheese together!

This seminar featured less common WVCC Chive Black Pepper Gouda – wow!! What a perfect example of a food to smell and taste.

Beer & Wine: Together Forever, a Tasting

In addition to the beer, in this session we build the flavor bridge between beer AND wine. There’s every reason to enjoy and explore them both. Get rid of the ‘vs.’, go for the ‘and.’ Try some side by side and explore the similarities and differences. We served the remainder of the WVCC Smoked Gouda (smoked with apple & pear wood I think) and also rolled out the uber delicious Cypress Grove Chevre Humboldt Fog & apparent seminar crowd top pick Midnight Moon. All of them were gone in a flash.

Pyrenees Vineyard & Cellars graciously provided the session with a delicious bottle of their Grenache. Yum!! A big thanks to them letting us include them in the session. I know the guests loved it too!

My thanks to the fantastic hosts – Ingalls Agency, Peter – the super helpful and adept sound pro, and the engaged guests. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did – see you next year to enjoy more flavors together.

p.s. the music at the fest was great – by Brady Goss & salsa band Son Melao

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Beer & Sewing

If you follow us then you know we collaborate with a local business for a monthly meet-up. It’s called Swig & Stitch and is the brilliant and useful brainchild of Sandi, partner in S&S and owner of Fabric of Vision.

Swig & Stitch

Swig & Stitch

Really, the name of her business speaks for her. She’s got vision, a real grounded sense of life, purpose and humor. Oh – and she really enjoys beer. It’s a pleasure to work with her to educate people on sewing technique demos and beer & food tastings.

The menu we enjoyed last night, at our fine host 4 Daughters Irish Pub:

  • Spinach salad paired with SOB Porter
  • Corned beef and cabbage with the 4 Daughters house Brown
  • Vanilla ice cream float with Guinness Dry Irish Stout

Classic, basic, yummy.

Thanks to the great guests who join us. As I always say, the guests make the party!

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Big Beer Recipes

Last weekend found WEB in Vail, Colorado for the Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines festival. It’s an annual event hosted at Cascade Resort, put together by the incredible Lodge’s. A big thanks to them for this longstanding well run event featuring “big beers” – aka robust, higher alcohol, full flavored beers.

Big Beers, big flavors

Big Beers, big flavors

I had the opportunity to present Cooking With Beer. With a room full of 35 folks interested in quaffing and noshing, we walked through 3 different foods prepared with various beers. Here’s what we covered.

Course 1

Collage, by Deschutes and Hair Of The Dog, was used in making slow cooked Roasted Pork & Beans. The beer was used to rehydrate beans (small red chili, pinto, great northern) and added a deeper flavor overall. Along with the other ingredients added including cooking in some dark Dagoba chocolate, the dish was a good match for the Collage, a rich and enormously flavorful beer. A bonus flavor kicker of Cypress Grove Bermuda was a hit as well.

Course 2

Sixth Glass, by Boulevard Brewing, was utilized in a humus mix. A local food coop has a lovely dried humus mix, ready to welcome liquid to come to life. Sixth Glass was added in the mix, along with red bell pepper and chopped cilantro and a few other goodies and served with the beer including a small chunk of CGC Midnight Moon. A new spin on a simple dip gave it new life.

Course 3

This course proved to be a great wrap up. Ladyfinger cookies were soaked in Fluxus by Allagash Brewing. We scooped a fresh dip of Blue Bunny Natural Vanilla ice cream, topped it with the soaked cookies that had been tossed with Dagoba Lemon Ginger chocolate shavings and fresh lemon zest, and voila! A new explosion of flavor.

Many hearty thanks to all our guests, to the super troop of fest volunteers who took directions well in a very condensed time frame, to Lilly & Diane, and to Laura for believing the topic has merit for this sophisticated crowd.

And of course, our glass is up to the Brewers who supplied these special beers. They’re already limited releases – to give us some of them for this express purpose is humbly appreciated:

Naomi of Allagash, Todd of Boulevard, and Cam of Deschutes are to be commended for making the beer possible.

Cooking with beer is a specialty for us and when you’re ready to bring in new flavors, new ideas, and an entertaining presenter, be in touch. Have ideas, will travel.

Cheers to next Big Beers, Vail!

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In The Kitchen Series WEB & KTVL

What a ball! To work with a reporter interested in offering useful and enjoyable information about beer and food. Thanks to Molly Trotter, Reporter at KTVL Channel 10 for the engagement.

Molly & I In The Kitchen

Molly & I In The Kitchen

Here are our spots from earlier this week, In The Kitchen With Ginger, all made with beer:

The recipes are on the news channel website with the links. I hope you enjoy whipping one or more of them up for yourself.

I’d be remiss if I neglected to mention and thank Caitlin Conrad, another very able-bodied Reporter at KTVL for our first few segments together, as well as one segment with Jenica Villamor, Reporter. Kingsley Kelley, station General Manager, is due recongnition for his support and unfailing fun professionalism he brings to everyone who gets to meet him.

Enjoy the clips  – we’ll share more in the future, as they happen.

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Tasty Holidays, Swig & Stitch Style

Swig & Stitch: learn about beer and sewing techniques. Both useful and fun.

Swig & Stitch: learn about beer and sewing techniques. Both useful and fun.

Cheers to those folks who have and continue to attend our monthly Swig & Stitch events. Last night we held our December beer version with much success again.

4 Daughters Irish Pub is our host, with the very talented and professional (and fun) GM Brandy at the helm. Tim (server), Alec (beertender) and crew always treats us well and we’re glad to meet there. Everyone is welcome to register for these events and can do so with Sandi of Fabric of Vision – here’s the contact info. 

It’s a great opportunity to learn about a life skill: sewingpartnered with beer education. I lead the beer tasting and food pairing, based on the fresh beers 4 Daughters has on draft and the foods on their menu.

Cheers to a tasty holiday season! Here’s what we enjoyed.

  • Widmer Hefeweizen with 4 Cheese Fondue (havarti, white cheddar, fontina, gouda)
  • Alameda Yellow Wolf Imperial IPA with spicy honey glazed chicken bites, carrot + celery
  • Lindeman’s Framboise with Black and Tan brownie (fudge + peanut butter)

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Swig & Stitch 11.12.13 Menu

Swig & Stitch is a collaboration, brilliantly started by Sandi Globus, long time successful businessperson and owner of Fabric of Vision. We’ve been conducting a monthly beer version of Swig & Stitch for going on three years (she started with a wine bar 7 years ago and it’s still going strong!).

Each month we meet at our host, 4 Daughters Irish Pub, wherein Sandi proceeds to teach sewing techniques, illustrated via specific projects. She educates, shares, answers questions and leads. I get to intersperse beer and food tastings (3 times) between the illustration projects.

Since we’re at a public establishment, it’s inevitable that people come into the usually open room where we meet and look around, realize there’s ‘something going on’ and amble out. Something going on for sure.

Education, social, value.* Sewing technique workshop partnered with beer tasting. What a great combination!

Heck, we have people that don’t sew very much, people that don’t drink very much beer and they all come for the 3 Universal Truths listed above.*

We’ll keep at it since it’s successful all around. Here’s the menu we enjoyed last night.

Want your own Swig & Stitch party? Hire us directly (it’s a trademarked name too). Be in touch.

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How Beer Goes With Everything

“I like to talk about how beer goes with everything.” – MLHedgmon

How true indeed. And so honest in its truth.

beer + food = classic & delicious

beer + food = classic & delicious

By its very nature, beer has 4 foundational ingredients: water, grain, hops and yeast. After that anything can go as far as additions in making beer. Homebrewers are endlessly creative, pro brewers are pushing whatever envelopes they like, and consumers are gobbling it all up!

Beer can and does pair beautifully with an infinite range of foods. It’d be nothing short of impossible to list everything and all the myriad potential combinations.

What’s a go-to pairing for you? Try not to use the word ‘favorite’, since indicating a favorite indicates you’ve drawn a line in the sand. Leave the sandy path open and use ‘go-to’ instead.

Tell me what kinds of beer and food combinations you delight in. Let’s make a list of ‘everything’ and share it forward.

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Home Beer Dinner

A quiet settles over the small group gathered…to be interrupted only by occasional murmuring and delicate clatter of flatware and dishes and glasses moving from table position to mouth and back again.

Note: This article was written for Your Home with Karie Engels, published 11.7.13. Ginger is a weekly contributing Beer Writer at your Home – it’s a great site chock full of ideas & flavor!

This is a very typical part of a beer dinner – the quiet once the supping has begun. Last night I had the pleasure of conducting another one of these remarkably wonderfully delicious events.

Bandarillos await their turn at the table

Bandarillos await their turn at the table

In this case it was a dinner that was included with the tree I design and decorate for the Festival Of Trees each holiday. The generous donors to my tree are wide ranging and last night the fresh beer came from a local beer store and the food from a local tapas restaurant.

I’m very grateful for the gracious participation of those who choose to give. I only ask once primarily because I don’t like to be hounded when I’m on the receiving end of a request. There are donors that give year to year like Alpha Beta Hops, Ninkasi Brewing, Gathering Glass studio, and Bricktowne Brewing. This year we’ve new givers in Dogfish Head Brewery, Weisinger’s Winery, SkiDuck, Total Wine & More, OMSI, Mt. Angel Oktoberfest, Author John Holl, and Recology.

The dinner was a collaboration of three of us then and was enthusiastically embraced by the hosts, making it an extra pleasure for all involved.

We’re designing and decorating a tree again this year, with the live potted plantable tree sponsored by Recology. We believe that those who give believe in the power of giving back, community engagement and education. Indeed, it’s what drives WEB forward.

Colleague & friend, Chef Braden plating the braised pork belly

Colleague & friend, Chef Braden plating the braised pork belly

Here’s the menu we enjoyed last night.

New Belgium Abbey Ale paired with Bandarillas skewers (dried figs, chorizo, Manzanilla olives, Manchego Cheese)

      Sierra Nevada Pale Ale with Ceviche (Hamachi, Scallops, lime juice and zest, lemon juice, cilantro, shallots, sea salt)

      Lagunitas IPA with Andalucian Salad (arugula, Serrano ham, smoked blue cheese, black mission fig vinaigrette, chopped Marcona almonds)

      Crabbies Ginger Beer with Cider braised pork belly (Strong Bow Cider braised White Marble Farms pork belly, with mashed butternut squash, roasted garlic, crème fraiche, drizzled with braised Pink Lady apples and micro arugula)

      Southern Tier Crème Brulee and Flan (sweet custard, topped with candied walnuts)

Delicious? Why, yes. Cheers to the next glass ~

g

Go Here: It’s the time of year for fresh apple ciders and perrys. Visit the orchards and cider & perry makers. Buy some deliciously crisp and flavorful fruit, bring some home to eat and decorate with, and give some to your local food bank (call first to find out the guidelines).

Try This: Host a fall beer dinner. It’s easy, fun and if you prefer, you can hire Ginger to do it all to let you fully enjoy the experience with your guests. Contact info here.

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Beer Writer John Holl To Visit Southern Oregon

I’m thrilled to announce that John Holl, accomplished beer writer, author, colleague and friend is coming to Southern Oregon to do some book events around his latest release – The American Craft Beer Cookbook.

Join us for a Cookbook signing with John Holl

Join us for a Cookbook signing with John Holl

John’s great fun to be with, is an educated professional beer community member and travels about sharing, teaching, judging and overall encouraging the enjoyment of beer, delicious beer.

Here’s the mash for Monday 16 September 2013:

  • 2 Public events in Ashland – one at Standing Stone Brewing Company and one at a local bookstore.
  • Private event: We’re hosting John at our home for a fun, tasty and casual house book party!!! If you are or plan to be in the area and would like to join us, call me directly. It’ll be in the evening and he’ll be available to chat, buy and sign books and have a great time. I’ll make a few of the recipes in the book for guests to nosh on, My Fine Husband will serve fresh beer.

Anytime we can help support colleagues and friends doing things that are good for the entire community, we’re ready to do so.

Cheers to John, cheers to good books, cooking, beer, and a tasty time for all.

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Hail Toronto! And The TFOB

Otherwise known as Toronto’s Festival Of Beers, hosted by Beerlicious.

What an honor to be the first American to take the stage at the Labatt sponsored Grilling Tent in Toronto last weekend. The tent is a lively and fun (and tasty) place to sit and enjoy a whole different facet of this long-established and flavorful event.

Roger, Thirst For Knowledge & Matt, Rock Lobster Food Company

Roger, Thirst For Knowledge & Matt, Rock Lobster Food Company

The organizers are thoughtful, super helpful and accommodating and made the experience ultra enjoyable for me all around. A few reasons why:

1. Communication by all those who were helping me was very good. They were all very available and forthcoming in their contacts and accessibility. From the very first emails with Courtney to Grilling Tent instructions from Jeremy to talking with Roger Mittag – Emcee for the tent to BeerRadio with Les Murray.

2. The assistance in the tent for my actual session (cooking with beer, I made 2 versatile sauces on the grill) of the Briquettes, Francesco, and sous chef Nicole. Literally, these fine people made it effortless and were extremely welcoming and helpful.

The fabulous Courtney of Beerlicious (western hat)

The fabulous Courtney of Beerlicious (western hat)

3. The Brewmasters Series tent and other educational opportunities were smart and well received features of the fest. I finally got to meet Roger of Thirst For Knowledge at this tent before his highly informative and fun Beer 101 class.

4. Meeting the other Grilling Tent personalities like Christian Pritchard, Matt & Hugo of Rock Lobster Food Company, Jeremy Parsons, Afrim of the Cheese Boutique, as well as Ted Reader. What a great bunch of fun loving, flavor loving, passionate beer and food folks.

5. The fest guests were all robustly having a grand time! Thanks to those who sat in on my session, the last one on the last day and shot me questions from the floor. I always say the guests make the party and I mean it. Shout out to Lisa & Steve whom I met in the Series session.

Bouyant and very fun Christian Pritchard

Bouyant and very fun Christian Pritchard

6. The host hotel, The Gladstone, was a funky and fun place to stay, assisted by Kalvin and crew. It was easy walking distance to the fest to some exercise to and fro was ideal to see more of the neighborhoods of Toronto.

What a thrill! I sincerely hope to return next year. Toronto has much to offer, beer wise, food wise, and people wise. Thanks Beerlicious and everyone who made the visit for WEB all the more eye opening and delicious.

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Raft & Craft Beer and Food Menu, 2013 Trip

Ahhhhh…to float down a mighty river…to sip and nosh on tasty goodies…to enjoy excellent company.

Sound like a dream? Well, it’s a reality every summer – or at least we’ve been at it the past 4 summers with ROW Adventures, a high quality well-regarded adventure company based in Idaho, with trips all over the globe. Enter: the annual Raft & Craft trip with Women Enjoying Beer and ROW.

This year, our able and friendly guides, Tom and Aylan, lead the group down a section of the Wild and Scenic Rogue River. Wild and Scenic is a unique designation – read more about it here. Suffice it to say that there are no roads that accompany the river where we primarily rafted, it’s truly a great wilderness, and stunning to behold.

Alison, one of the fabulous Raft & Craft guests, & Ginger - ready for white water, tasty beers & food

Alison, one of the fabulous Raft & Craft guests, & Ginger – ready for white water, tasty beers & food

We added the root beer component to make sure all guests could fully enjoy the flavors. A shout out to my helpers, Brenden and Jarrett, for their assistance. Beverages and food should be accessible to all. And beer is family friendly when exercised in moderation, as all beers should be – root or otherwise!

I hope you come join us on a future trip. Heck, don’t wait! Go adventuring as you wish. If you want a beer and or root beer component, WEB is also available to assist in that arena. It’s great tasty fun.

Menu:

Night 1 = Zevia Root Beer with licorice curls; Blue Sky Root Beer with gingersnap cookies; Ninkasi Believer Double Red beer with salami, cashews, and cheddar cheese; Burnside Sweet Heat with Kettle  BBQ potato chips and dried California apricots.

Night 2 = Root beer making with Torani Root Beer Syrup and Blue Sky sparkling water True Seltzer and also with Hansen’s Club Soda with organic licorice chunks, sea salt Kettle potato chips, and dried mango; Ninkasi Maiden The Shade beer with chorizo and Monterey Jack cheese; Southern Tier Choklat beer with almonds and chocolate malted milk balls.

Good resources:

  1. Talk to your local homebrew shop as many also assist with home brewed sodas – thanks Tonessa at Grains, Beans N Things!
  2. Homemade Root Beer Soda & Pop, Stephen Creswell. Fun book loaded with fun herstory and recipes.

Comments »

Try, Try Again

One of the keys to enjoying beer is to try everything. Like a friend I know says, you can’t say you don’t like something if you don’t try it.

I’d add to that: you can’t say you don’t like something if you haven’t tried it in the last year. Why base a potentially wonderful current experience that you can have on old, bad, or poorly remembered memories?

Try it. Then try it again if it doesn’t quite hit you the first time.

Give flavor a chance.

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