ABC’s of Women, Beer and Food: Letter S

Baby, you’re got style! Let me clarify: Baby = my beer. Hence my beer has Style. Our letter du jour is S and today it stands for Style. Beer Styles in specific.

Did you know there are dozens of styles of beer? Formal guidelines from the Beer Judge Certification Program and the Great American Beer Festival allow for a great many identified styles. And new ones are constantly testing the boundaries, being added and perhaps sometimes subtracted from the ranks.

Style Umbrella

Style Umbrella

Here’s how WEB likes to edutain about Styles:

  • Beer as a universal beverage category is an open umbrella.
  • Under that open umbrella of Beer falls two more categories: Lagers and Ales
  • Underneath those two categories of Lagers and Ales fall all the styles.

Styles of food: I’ve not considered or thought about that particular way to describe food before. Who can school me here? Maybe it’s a genre of ingredients, culture influence and other considerations. Maybe we should simply let the ingredients stand alone, giving them equal access to our food making whims. Experimentation after all is the key to discovery.

So go ahead – enjoy beer and food with style, in all styles. I’ll join you.

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ABC’s of Women, Beer & Food: Letter R

Ready? Yes, when beer’s ready, its delicious, properly fermented, moved to serving tanks or packaged for sale, and then on the way to being enjoyed. When food’s been grown, harvested, prepared and on the table, there’s few things more anticipated and enjoyed.

Beer & Food need time to be 'Ready'

Beer & Food need time to be ‘Ready’

Today’s letter is R as in Ready. Ready as in the time it takes to plan, nurture, gather, serve and fully savor beer and food. Being ready takes both motivation and patience. Motivation to look at the entire processes and follow them through to an appropriate completion.

Green Beer, if you’ve ever heard that term, means that the beer is immature which is not desirable. Immature beer has not fully completed its own journey on the way to offering you the best it can be in your glass.  Astute brewers, pro and home, know that while it’s tough to be patient sometimes, it’s best for the beer. To push through a beer that’s still green can have not only less than stellar basic experiential results, it can punish the rest of the batch.

Food’s the same way. Why harvest too early? Let things mature at the rate that helps the fruits of our labors develop and best take advantage of the elements that will lend to a delicious result. Cooks who are patient will reap and be able to share incredible flavors the fully ready food will afford our senses.

Ready? Plan, nurture, execute, enjoy. All while being patiently motivated.

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ROW, ROW, ROW Your Raft

Women Enjoying Beer is very excited to be partnering with ROW Adventures for an annual Rafting trip. Here’s the scoop, straight from ROW:

Family Raft & Craft – Beer For All Ages!
Here’s a Dionysian celebration for the entire family!  Raft by day and enjoy libations at night – for everyone in the family.  We bring delicious craft beer from several Oregon breweries along with craft root beer, ginger beer and other non-alcoholic choices for those under 21.  Each is paired with snacking foods that highlight and enhance the flavors of the drink.  We are delighted to be working with Ginger Johnson of  Women Enjoying Beer who brings her specialized knowledge to each evening’s tasting.  This superb itinerary marries exciting whitewater rafting by day and exclusive craft beer and beverage sampling by night. This trip is absolutely perfect for craft beer enthusiasts, craft beverage enthusiasts and for whitewater rafting lovers looking for a fun new twist to the normal adventure.
 
Join us for Family Friendly Craft & Raft with ROW Adventures

Join us for Family Friendly Craft & Raft with ROW Adventures

The Rogue River is one the world’s greatest rafting adventures and the only of it’s kind to offer lodge to lodge rafting throughout the entire summer. This way, guests can have cozy, warm cabins and private bathrooms after an exhilarating day of river rafting. To learn more about this river, please visit our Rogue River rafting trip page.

The trip will feature beer of both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic form – think root beer!!! So it’s geared towards families that want to raft, sip, nibble & share, create great life long memories.
This will be my 4th year on the river with one of the safest and well run rafting company around. They’ve also recognized by several well respected voices in the travel business. The dates are July 20 – 22, 2013.
Book it here – see you then!

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Inaugural Swig & Shop Menu

Last night we enjoyed being part of a private Swig & Shop at Fabric Of Vision. If you’ve followed us on Swig & Stitch before, let me tell you Swig & Shop is another variation of the idea of fabric & sewing technique demos interspersed with beer tastings.

YUM! Talk about a great combination. With Swig & Shop, it was a fabric picking event. Meaning: Sandi, the owner of Fabric of Vision, lead the small eager to learn group through picking fabric, talking about pairing different fabrics. Talking about why you like and don’t like something, how it ‘goes’ or doesn’t and all the why’s related to our fabric and sewing choices.

It was almost surreal to hear her talk about fabric that way since WEB is all about asking the Why on women + beer. Another great reason we’re collaborating on these events. We both understand that the Why is what drives action. Knowing the What is not enough. You’ve got to ask the Why.

She talked about empowering yourself to know what you do like and what you don’t – and that’s where the Why comes in. Once you say “Yes, I like that” or “No, I don’t like that” asking yourself “Why” will make you better able and more confident in keeping the process moving forward.

Intensity also made an appearance. I was continually stoked to hear these similar concepts relating to beer and fabric! Yet another example how beer is truly universal, and I’ll give fabric the same credit.

Swig & Shop

Swig & Shop

It was a really interesting exercise to witness. Having a fondness for fabric and sewing as well, it resonated with me too.

Here was the menu WEB laid out to fortify between the pickings.

Beverages:

  1. Laurelwood Portland Roast Espresso Stout
  2. Lindeman’s Framboise
  3. Valley View Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
  4. Montinore Pinot Gris 2011
  5. R.W. Knudson Sparkling Organic Pear juice

Nibbles:

  • Dark chocolate malted milk balls (Sadly not from Briess!)
  • Ripe red bell peppers
  • Sesame crackers
  • Organic mixed cherry tomatoes
  • Walnuts
  • Rumiano whole milk Monterey Jack cheese
  • Dried banana chips

All fun, all delicious, all educational, high value. And that’s how we swig & shop!

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Double Vision Doppelbock

Yum yum yum yum….

We had the pleasure of enjoying a Grand Teton Brewing Company Double Vision Doppelbock with dinner over the weekend. WOW! So delicious, clean and beautiful.

P1100828It’s been awaiting the right meal and so it happened: we choose to pair it with fresh grilled beef hamburgers and mashed Yukon gold potatoes & sweet yams, with a bit of Parmesan cheese and sour cream. The smoothness of the beer was utterly sublime with the earthiness of the meal.

Keeping in mind that color is not flavor, the glass really brought this beers gorgeousness out in the open for us to admire. Poured into a tulip style glass, it gave us a lovely aromatic experience, we could see the ‘legs’ of the beer slip back into the main body, and it was so much fun to see a rich creamy head that lasted for some time.

Thank you to our friends at Grand Teton Brewing in lovely Victor Idaho. It’s always a fun day to enjoy their beers. And no, they didn’t pay me to write this. I do it freely and happily when I want to crow about high quality, flavorful, well made beer.

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ABC’s of Women, Beer and Food: Letter Q

Q is a favorite character in the Bond films for me. So pints up for today’s letter Q – long may it stand for QUALITY.

Quality is one of the most important aspects of beer and food. Quality can be measured. Preference and quality are different things entirely. Never confuse the two.

I’ve covered getting rid of words like “good” and “bad” before since those are arbitrary and subjective. What’s good? What’s Bad? And what of the raft of other why’s that accompany these words – “why is X good/bad?”

When you shift to a quality perspective, beer and food gets reframed for the benefit for all, starting with giving the beer and food a fair shake regardless of your preferences and prejudices.

Quality is Queen

Quality is Queen

Just because you don’t like this beer or that food, does not mean the quality is inferior. It means you may choose not to like it – fine. Do so. Do so with class and tact and remember ALL brands started small.

When I started WEB I used to cringe at people making disparaging comments about certain brands of beer, based on what they liked – or thought they liked sometimes based on murky memories and bad experiences, which were in no way the beers fault to begin with. Now I welcome the comments.

It’s still an ignorant shame that there’s a growing population of reverse beer snobbery as it pertain to the explosion of beers in the country. As humans we have the intelligence capacity to be compassionate, make our own decisions, change our minds and be diplomatic. Please use your humanity to like what you like and accept what others like as well with equality.

WEB encourages a focus on quality. After that it’s all a delicious downhill sleigh ride.

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ABC’s of Women, Beer and Food: Letter O

Oh! We’re already up to letter O in our series on Women, Beer and Food. Let’s celebrate Oxygen today.

Oxygen is both necessary and damaging, at various stages and and in different amounts, to both beer and food.

We need Oxygen to grow the raw ingredients for beer – H needs a 2O after all. Grain and hops need fresh clean air. Yeast is affected by it as well. For food, growing conditions and environments are enormously impacted by the air quality and anaerobic situations as well.

Get some fresh Oxygen in your brain

Get some fresh Oxygen in your brain

Once beer has been carefully made, storage should exclude Oxygen since at that stage of the game it’s a detriment and begins to accelerate the degradation of quality and flavor. There is dissolved Oxygen in beer yet to store beer in the presence of oxygen is what encourages chemical changes to take place which dramatically affect our experience and the quality of the beer.

Food storage practices rely on oxygen in some form as well. Storing things in airtight containers allows very low airflow and oxygen exposure. Anyone who’s ever cut up a fresh piece of apple or pear knows that it begins to oxidize: it turns brown due to exposure to oxygen in air. In some cases it doesn’t critically and negatively impact the food. That said, the obvious indication that something is changing should be a sign to learn what the heck is going on and learn how to properly act and respond.

Go ahead and learn how Oxygen in involved in and affects your beer and food. There are loads of resources on the net, in your local library and through professionals on the fields.

Take a deep breath and keep learning.

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ABC’s of Women, Beer and Food: Letter N

Nummy…Noble Hops…Nitrogenated…

While all of these are N worthy, today’s Letter N word is Nice.

Huh??

Yes, Nice. There’s a very unsavory and growing faction of people in the beer community who are making blanket judgements that certain beers are better than others shearly based on size of volume produced and ownership. That certain ones are uncool and bad, and some are good and worthwhile to attend to. Some stores are even choosing to eliminate choices for the very consumers they serve based on this judgement.

P1100709Being Nice means being diplomatic, being an ambassador, being kind and NOT being a judge. Leaders in any arena have a nice quality to them: business, community, family, friendships, social circles, service clubs. Do you want to lead or be lead?

Like the beers you like. Remember these things all the same:

1. All companies, beer and food and otherwise, start and started small in size. To now disqualify a beer or food because it’s successfully grown – by the support of the very same people who are now shunning it – is hypocritical and uncouth. Plus it’s totally ridiculous. Many times quality grows as a businesses income comes in, affording an increase in many facets that positively impacts the goods.

2. Size isn’t what matters here. Quality is. Is the company quality focused? Ask that instead of ‘what’s the volume of product produced and sold?’

3. Let everyone choose the beer and food they want. Freedom of choice is why there are so many choices and one thing that makes America and many countries in the world special.

4. Beer and food all start in the same way: with raw ingredients, by people, and for people. Before you dismiss a product out of hand simply for the volume of their products, take a look at their business and organizations. How many people to they gainfully and purposefully employ? How many suppliers, vendors and growers are impacted by the operation? Has there been any shift of quality?

5. Large and global brands are still great choices for some. And we’d agree with transparency that people are calling for in the interest of full disclosure. More and more people want to know who and where what they put in their gullet comes from. Agreed. When making your decisions though, return to deciding based on quality and flavors you enjoy.

6. We highly encourage not using labels for beer. Dark, light, craft, crafty, heavy, and so on. These are moving targets, arbitrary based on the judge or judging body. Don’t swallow anything whole unless you educate yourself first AND look at the wider implications of your choices if they affect others.

It makes WEB dismayed to see this reverse niceness and kick to the teeth of some long-standing brands that are growing in size that have (and had) fanatical followers because they were the small-er when they started. Now all the sudden the brands aren’t good enough…what?! Makes no sense.

In fact I’ve been to plenty of smaller size breweries whose obvious lack of commitment to cleanliness and sanitation is way more disturbing that larger ones. Yikes! Cleanliness is critical to high quality operations of all capacity and volume sizes. Do you know how clean the brewery and production facility is before you make that judgement, before you extol or condemn? Get educated first.

In most cases, size has little to do with enjoyment of a brand. Quality does. Unless some gross injustice of power, ingredients, quality or impact has occurred, we say stick with what you like. Being nice about beer and food is acting with graciousness and class, never judging.

No one likes a judgmental jerk. Don’t be one. Be Nice. Progress is made with nice.

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ABC’s of Women, Beer and Food: Letter M

Moderation is the featured word in our series today for the Letter M.

It could easily be Mmmmmmmmm or Malt or Mash.

We choose moderation as it’s part of the essence of enjoying beer: doing so in moderation.

Beer + Food in Moderation = Success!

Beer + Food in Moderation = Success!

What exactly is moderate beer enjoyment? Well, if you choose not to drink it then it’s time spent with others. If you do imbibe beer, then it’s all about savoring and regulating consumption. Regulation of consumption is what every brewer I’ve ever met would want for her beer. To be enjoyed in moderation, in moderate quantities, preferably with people and food. Moderation is about slowing down, not slamming. Moderation is being responsible about the quantity of beer you consume and making sure your actions are in keeping with class, tact, and civility.

Food enjoyment echos this idea. Both beer and food have nutrition and energy. And anything in excess is, we well, excessive and therefore denigrates the subject at hand as well as the partaker. Therefore food consumption needs to be moderate as well. Savored. Slowed down and truly enjoyed. Again, with other people and with respect and temperance.

Moderation can be a perfect vehicle for sharing beer, sharing food, and enjoying more out of life. Cheers to moderation.

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2012 GABF Media Luncheon Musings

With a nod to the new year and Julia, I want to reflect on the 2012 GABF Media Luncheon menu today. It’s a piece of paper that I keep and read periodically with fondness and a Pavlovian-like mouth-watering response upon reading it.

Table set up at the GABF Media Luncheon

As we start into a new year, we want to continue to encourage all eaters of drink and food to explore, expand and change your own boundaries of what beer and food together can do.

The Luncheon had 6 delicious courses, all featuring at least one beer with the foods. Ready for this?

Welcome: Paparazzi Pale, brewed by Julia Herz, Craft Beer Program, Brewers Association & Brainless on Peaches, Epic Brewing

Appetizer: Braised Pork Belly paired with Telegraph Brewing Company’s California Ale.

Intermezzo: Pumpkin Sorbet made with Breckenridge Autumn Ale paired with Vida y Muerte by 5 Rabbit Brewery

Entrée (carnivore): Colorado Lamb Shank braised with Odell Cuttthroat Porter paired with La Cumbre Elevated IPA and Catawba Valley Le Saison Noire

Dessert: Apple crepes paired with Flying Fish Exit 4 and Maui Brewing & Dogfish Collaboration Liquid Breadfruit beer

Cheese Course: Buratta paired with Founders Blushing Monk

Pure deliciousness!

Thanks the Saints of the Tastebuds!!! Everything was interesting to try, some courses resonated louder than others – all of it was very well done by the host and hotel kitchen staff.

I’m always appreciative of being able to attend the luncheon for a number of reasons. First being that I can and do pass this information forward – continuing the education of beer, beer and food, and experience that we can all benefit from. I also seriously look forward to seeing so many friends and colleagues at this luncheon. And as an avid cook myself, it’s a great stimulus for my own pursuits…which invariably make it into our presentations, this site and various other edutainment outlets.

So this year make a pledge to yourself to try, try and try again. The best case scenario is you learn a lot. The worst – you get to try again! Cheers ~

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ABC’s of Women, Beer and Food: Letter L

It’s time to give lager is full respect – so today’s L is for Lager.

Lager (German: storage) is a type of beer that is fermented and conditioned at low temperatures

It’s fascinating to me in the course of our research to hear so many disparaging comments about “lagers”. Why is this?

Lovely Lagers – so delicious and sometimes under appreciated

Some people are basing modern beers on faded, old, mythical and inaccurate memories that involved a lager style beer. Some people have opted to adopt a reverse snobbery in America for lagers. In our research, there are many reasons which we see, hear and record for these bias. There are prejudices, grudges, and other human emotions that cloud what can truly be.

And while that is very human, it’s also very human to take control and change your mind by educating yourself before making any sort of decision.

Like people commiserating on a sporting event that happened years ago (please -NO!!!). Rehashing the past doesn’t push anything forward and it gets really old to listen to, really fast. Get over it and move on. There are thousands of beers and foods waiting to be enjoyed, savored, sampled, and shared.

Relating modern-day variety and quality to the time you got sick from a kegger in high school or college is so grossly unfair to the beer and the brewer! Plus it’s selectively closed-minded. Would you want people to judge your clothing taste based on you running around in diapers at 2??

For those who conceitedly state “I only like ales” I feel truly sorry for you. You’ve just closed yourself off to flavors, quality and opportunity to keep exploring the wonderful world of beer.

For those that embrace lagers and ales, cheers to you! Preference and quality are two different things. A memory of something – anything – that had a negative outcome or connotation is an ignorant way to move forward in life.

Lagers are exceptional in the fact that they have such gorgeous refreshing profiles that you have to be a very accomplished brewer to make them; flaws have nothing to hide behind these delicate and amazing beers.

I’ll ring in the new year with a lager…or an ale… No matter. It’ll be paired with foods and to me all beer is worth celebrating.

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ABC’s of Women, Beer and Food: Letter K

Question: What’s the world biggest beer can?

Answer: The Keg!

With a nod to my friend and colleague, Burc, I love educating on the biggest beer cans there are: kegs.

Content kegs at Fort George Brewing

Kegs are what finished beer is shipped in to stores and establishments, sometimes within brewpubs and taprooms as well. Okay, so you most likely already know that. Did you know there are different size kegs? Half barrel – which is the one we most often refer to as ‘a keg’. There’s the quarter barrel and sixth barrels too. For operators who serve beer on draught, depending on how quickly you sell keg beer, size matters.

Kegs have an interesting herstory – read more here.

A keg is a great way to store, ship and serve beer. No light exposure and – if properly dispensed – no oxygen introduction either. NEVER use a hand pump that relies on oxygen to move the beer out of the keg. It’ll kill the beer’s flavor and carbonation fast. As a researcher I can tell you that many people have bad memories of early life beer experiences partly because they drank beer (sometimes too much) that was pushed with air. No no no!

Just like you wouldn’t leave quality food and ingredients *out* where they shouldn’t be, beer needs to be cared for too. Food and drink will give you the best experience they can when you do your part – kegs for beer is a piece of that equation.

If you value the quality of the beer you enjoy and make, treat it with respect. Kegs can do that, so do our part and use the proper gas and equipment to push the beer out to your glass, keeping the kegs refrigerated as well.

Cheers today to draught beer, beer kegs, and all the delicious liquid a’waiting for us inside!

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Hoppy Holidays Menu 2012

Guests enjoyed a very tasty and fulfilling, nutritious and delicious menu of beer and food last Friday at our annual Hoppy Holidays event. A birthday – or should we say ‘beerthday’ – party of 9 also joined us. What an honor to do a double celebration: personal holiday for her and 8 friends as well as celebrating beer and food as we know it right now.

Jicama salad..almost ready!

Here’s the menu we savored:

  • Burnside Brewing Sweet Heat paired with Jerk Pickled Green Beans with Apricot glaze
  • 21st Amendment Fireside Chat paired with Butternut Squash and Celery Root Soup with Tarragon
  • Lindeman’s Cassis Lambic paired with Fennel and Jicama Salad with Pomegranate Seeds, Slices Almonds, and Balsamic Reduction made with the Cassis
  • Alameda Papa Noel Olde Ale paired with Molinari Salami, Fennel Salami, 4-year Gouda, Glazed Roasted Figs, and Marcona Almonds
  • Bonus Beer: Standing Stone 2012 Barleywine
  • Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout paired with Raspberry Chocolate Ganache Tart with Ancho Chili

Sound good?

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Swig & Stitch December 2012

There’s no doubt: Beer is a social component of life. It brings people together, everyone has an opinion about it, and it gets people talking. Positive change happens in the form of education.

gorgeous tulle under a holiday tree from Fabric of Vision

Swig & Stitch, the ongoing series WEB does with the brilliant Sandi of Fabric of Vision, happened again Tuesday night. Here’s the tasting & pairing menu we enjoyed:

  1. Two Towns Bad Apple Semi Dry hard Cider with housemade Clam Chowder
  2. Guinness classic Dry Irish Stout with Black Angus meatloaf and gravy
  3. Sierra Nevada Celebration with grilled tomato and cheese sandwich triangle
  4. Lindeman’s Framboise with 3 layer chocolate fudge cake

Suffice it to say tummies and taste buds were happily sated, minds opened, and conversation generated.

We had a bonus too: Pete of Pete’s Gourmet gave us samples of his Stout Beer Bite Candy to try. Listening to the crinkly wrappers being undone was a fun sound, followed by “mmmmmm”.

Care to join us or hire us to bring Swig & Stitch to you? Contact Ginger to discuss.

 

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ABC’s of Women, Beer & Food: Letter H

One of the four primary ingredients in beer is today’s featured letter: Hops!

Hop bines just before harvest

Hops or hop, depending on who or whom you ask, is the cone flower bearing plant that’s included in beer making to add flavor, aroma or both as well as stability in beer (read this). It’s an extraordinary plant to witness live. Growing on bines 18 to 20 feet in the air, spiraled around their supporting lead, all the way up to the sky!

Have you been to a hop farm before? Do you grow hops at your home? Have you ever smelled or rolled fresh picked hops in your hands, still sticky and damp? It’s ethereal.

Hop plants started getting used in beer following Gruit and is widely used globally in beer production (with a few exceptions). Here are a few more hop terms to increase your vocab.

The connection with beer and food here is that hops can accent different foods differently. Think of the crisp bite of a well balanced beer and how it pairs deliciously with cheeses, can liven up a mild dish and can mellow out a hot and spicy one.  Like any ingredient, the hop profile will best complement food when intensity is matched.

This fragile ingredient must be either used almost immediately after harvest from the hop yards or dried as a whole cone flower or pelletized for storage. Cold is needed to best preserve this beer beauty as with any agricultural crop, it starts to degrade as soon as it’s picked.

The hop farmers and growers are some of the most hospitable, smart and thoughtful people I’ve encountered in the beer community. Some exclusively grow hops, some grow other complementary crops. You can learn more by visiting the American Hop Museum too – check it out!

Gayle Goschie of Goschie Farms, Nancy Frketich of OR Hops & Ginger at the Goschie Farm, 2011

Support your local hop grower if you have one. Support your own hops should you choose to plant and grow them. They’re rhizomes and spread in the right setting so plant them accordingly (read: provide LOADS of room to climb and spread). They make great sun shade on a South facing rise, properly trained with twine.

One tip colleague Gayle Goschie, of multi generational Goschie Farms told me in growing my own: when you see the heads popping up in the spring time, cut them off – behead them. If you let them grow in that first blush, you’ll get lots and lots of leaves, which takes energy away from the flowers. Beheading them forces the plant to regenerate and send up more efficient bines focused on flower production. So if you want leaves, let them grow. If you want cone flowers, behead them.

While I can go on and on about hops, I’d also share that there is a growing faction of hop education opportunities. One example: I was invited to attend Hop & Brew School by HopUnion in Yakima Washington last September. What a fabulous treat and a big eye opener! Great people, passionate, plugged in, and passing the information forward. All to the end benefit of high quality hops in the beer we enjoy.

My glass is up today to hops and more especially the growers, farmers, brokers and researchers of hops.

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ABC’s of Women and Beer: Letter F

Fresh. Just saying the word connotes a certain welcome. ffffffrrrrresssshhhhhhhh

Fresh beer and fresh food is what we’re told is best. And what precisely does fresh mean then towards the end of beer and food?

Brewmaster Larry Chase of Standing Stone Brewing Company tells us that fresh in relation to beer means “clean flavor, height of flavor, the best the flavor will ever be; vibrant flavor.” Plus, he adds, “fresh beer is better for you.”

I’d agree about the better for you part as well since nutrition degrades with time once something is made or processed.

There are a number of resources online to review for yourself. Here are two I found on a quick search:

  1. The FDA is loaded – here’s a starting point.
  2. MillerCoors offers up some info.

Notice date codes on beer, ask the beertender how long the keg has been tapped, how to read bottle and can date codes, contact packaging breweries to make sure they include a code of date packaged, and ask the beertender how often the taplines are clean (should be 9 – 14 day cycle). These all relate to the fresh experience.

Talk to the produce folks and growers – they’ll be a wealth of information and can also point you down more educational avenues.

However you choose to enjoy fresh beer and fresh food, the key is being educated, exercising moderation and an active lifestyle. Fresh only helps when you take full responsibility to start with.

There is no such thing as a beer belly. It’s a belly from neglect of care, thoughtfulness, putting down the fork, and moving your body.

Take charge and enjoy!

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November Swig & Stitch Menu

Swig & Stitch is the brilliant brainchild of Sandi Globus, owner of the superbly wonderful store Fabric of Vision. And vision she has.

Sandi started Swig & Stitch a few years back to bring the idea of socializing while learning about sewing techniques. It’s not quilting – she conducts useful and transferable sewing techniques with projects that feature the said techniques.

Swig & Stitch pairs Beer with Sewing Technique Demos

I have the distinct honor and pleasure of working with Sandi in a beer centric S&S. She’s done a wine focused event for 4 years – last year we joined forces and now offer a second monthly event with beer. YUM!

She leads with the instruction, I intersperse beer and food tastings, and a great edutaining time is had by all. The guests are plugged in members of the greater community, with all sorts of backgrounds, Some like to sew, some don’t, some like beer, and some are discovering that they do!

It’s all about creating a ripe learning environment, front loaded with the right structure and benefits so everyone walks away happy. None of it is difficult if you’re thinking ahead, paying attention, and taking care of your guests.

Here’s the menu we chose this week, working with our fine host 4 Daughters Irish Pub. Thanks to Brandy, Abigail, Tim & Crew!

Try this at home.

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ABC’s of Women, Beer & Food: Letter D

D is for Delicious.

Beer is and should be delicious. Food is and should be delicious. But what is it precisely that makes something delicious to us?

Take a read here about nuerogastronomy. And this article tells us “Experience is also an important determinant of…preferences…”

So deliciousness is the combination of many things according to different sources.

What do you think ‘delicious’ means? Or rather – what does delicious mean to you?

try and try again

However your definition unfolds and is explained or described or not, beer and food is meant for nutrition. So does it have to be delicious for us to partake? Of course not. And clearly there are signals of certain flavors that can be warning signals. It’s part of the enjoyment and social facet to enjoy your drink and food so as to fully embrace the exercise.

I say: enjoy what you like by trying everything you can. Truly, as long as it isn’t poisonous, when you give something a try once or a few times even to get a few opportunities to experience it, you may find your next favorite flavor.

Sip, nosh, nibble, quaff.

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Cooking With Beer And Iowa Girl Eats

It was a distinct pleasure to take the stage last week in Des Moines Iowa for the Iowa’s Premier Beer, Wine & Food Expo presented by HyVee. Having lived in central Iowa for a while, it was also great fun to ‘be back’ and reconnect in person with friends and colleagues.

Kristin & Ginger at the Beer Expo - Cheers!

One of the highlights was to take the Royal Flooring Stage with Kristin Porter, Iowa Girl Eats. Kristin is a delight to collaborate with and super easy to work with, good sense of humor and very knowledgeable on food preparation. Her tag line says a mouthful: “Eat well. Run often. Travel Far.”

We co-presented on cooking with beer, Kristin leading the recipe charge and cooking, me emceeing and keeping the guests with mouths watering entertained between the techniques and food creation. I happily featured delicious and diverse beers from the Doll portfolio with tasty success.

Cooking with beer with Kristin, IGE

Beer is an excellent cooking ingredient and if you’ve yet to use it as such, DO SO! It’s flexible, full of flavors and easy to manipulate. Plus you can use flat beer that you simply won’t drink or is left over from time to time. freezing beer in ice cube trays is an easy and simply way to ‘store’ it until you want it.

Results? Mouth watering guests who did indeed get to taste (some came back for seconds!) Kristin’s flavorful recipes – of course made with beer. I choose Summit’s Winter Ale for the beer that cooked with Kale, bacon and browned butter. Seriously delicious.

Hope to work with Kristin again – with a name like that, it’s a good sign for beer!

Tomorrow: Review of the Beer & Glassware session I gave at the Expo

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ABC’s of Women, Beer & Food: Letter C

If A is for Aroma and B is for Brewing, C is for cooking with beer.

Cooking is what brewing is and it’s what we often do with our food to prepare it. When you look up the definition of Cooking, here’s what you might find:

“The process of preparing food, often with the use of heat.”

And while all cooking does not require heat, it’s an integral part of some cooking methods. What would a cake be for want of an oven, a stew be without heat from an element and a creme brulee without company of a live flame? They’d not the same things at all.

Beer is the same way. With no heat, you entirely change the process and everything about what it is – beer and food both. Some sources cite the higher nutritional value of cooked foods and some say raw foods are the way to go.

As with techniques, it’s all in perspective, what’s available, tools, setting, and preference. Remaining open to both (with or without heat) leaves you set up for flavor opportunity that you may otherwise close yourself off to. And that’s no fun!

Wherein lies the heat in cooking? Baking, roasting, sauteing, simmering, broiling, braising, poaching, barbecuing, smoking, broasting, broiling, frying, grilling, searing, steaming, and reducing….and brewing. There are oodles of techniques and methods of cooking using heat. Indeed, our intake and nutrition landscape would be dramatically different if we had no heat to cook with.

What’s your style? How do you like to cook? What ingredients do you like to cook with? What beers do include in your ingredients lists?

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