I Think We Can Do Better

“I think we can do better.” – Julia Herz, Beer and Food Summit, CIA, St. Helena CA 2015

Julia’s a wise and savvy person. And I agree with her entirely.

We all have the power & tools to be better.

We all have the power & tools to be better.

I know we can do better to invite women into beer. I know we can do better to describe beer flavors and attributes. I know we can do better to explore pairings of beer and food together. I know women can pull a chair up to the table to get involved. I know beer brands must be fully respectful to everyone they wish to sell beer to. I know we can do better in so many ways.

Doing better means you have to have a mark in which to see what ‘better’ means.

So if we think, say, pairing  beer and pizza is good, I’d say – we can do better. Let’s look at focusing in from the way too generic Beer and Pizza to something like Porter and Crimini Mushroom Pizza. That’s better.

To pair beer and cheese: we can do better by pairing not just any beer and any cheese. We can use a great resource like Janet Fletcher’s Cheese & Beer book to educate ourselves and learn to match flavors.

To market beer: we can do better by universally assuming full respect for all people, all makes, models, identifications and preferences. Who cares what all those ‘things’ are when what the human population simply craves togetherness. Let’s do better by getting together over what is universal: flavor.

We can do better. And we can do a bit better every day. In the interest of continually improvement, we can all do better when we realize that doing better makes the world better too.

Doing better means one thoughtful action at a time, adjusted to be better. Try it. Have fun, see improvements domino.

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Holiday Gift Ideas

Good Grief, Charlie Brown!! It’s the giving season again….

And where ever and however quickly it came from (seriously, only 300+ days ago??), tis the season. While I give the gift of books in particular year round, I want to share a few favorites with you today for beer & flavor lovers everywhere.

Books:

yum yum yum...Beer Pairing, by Julia & Gwen

yum yum yum…Beer Pairing, by Julia & Gwen

Beer Pairing, The Essential Guide From The Pairing Pros, Julia Herz & Gwen Conley *just* released  (2015 Voyageur Press). I’ll have Julia sign my book when next I see this dynamo of the beer gospel. Both she and Gwen have cut a smart swath to helping people enjoy beer. It’s a comprehensive book on what, why, when, how and why not of beer and food pairing. A great read and flavorfully inspiring, once you buy one for yourself get a few for others.

Cheese & Beer, Janet Fletcher (2013 Andrews McMeel Publishing). Janet’s written a few dozen books on food – cheese being her forte and oh-so-deliciously so! Others include Cheese & Wine, The Cheese Course, Yogurt (a personal fav go-to), and Four Seasons Pasta. All dandy and mouthwateringly fun and functional. Her writing style and the information she gives us is timeless and well rounded by smarts and broad world view.

Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer, Maureen Ogle. Maureen is an historian and was inspired to write about beer upon wondering what her next book was – and at that moment having a Budweiser truck cross her path while driving. Inspiration struck and she’s tells the story starting in the 1880’s to modern times. Great read like many with herstorian context: you learn way more about way more than you think.

The American Craft Beer Cookbook, John Holl (Storey Publishing 2013). John’s an accomplished journalist and definite flavor lover. I’ve had the pleasure of sharing many beers with him as well as having hosted a book signing party when the book came out. He’s collected recipes with beer in them and paired with beers from brewpubs across this fine country. With sidebar stories and additional beer suggestions included, this book is a winner winner beer for dinner.

Beyond books, I’d invite you to find a few Women Enjoying Beer & Men Enjoying Women Enjoying Beer goods on our shopping page. Since we’ve exited a very successful festival circuit run, we’ve got a few goodies remaining looking for great homes. Be ahead of the curve as they may be collectors items soon!

Your Local Brewery

SSBC Gift Six pack

SSBC Gift Six pack

Our local breweries need our business. They pump ridiculous amounts of effort & money into our local economies, all the way up to the federal level (ask them about excise taxes, for example). Visit them all, as you can and see fit. Ask them questions, listen, share, buy and support. One of my locals, Standing Stone Brewing Company, sells Brewer For The Day packages as well as the holiday Gift Six Pack. Order a keg in advance to help celebrate in tasty fashion, give the gift of lovely glassware.

Homebrewing

Home brewing abounds in America! It’s a fabulous opportunity to learn to cook a whole new recipe: Beer. Locate your local shops and go to a demo, hang out with the local clubs, and start making your own. Like food cooks, many professional “beer cooks” start by homebrewing. The American Homebrewers Association is a super place to start.

Whatever you do, give the gift of flavor this season – and year round. Start with flavor first, experiment, try, share and repeat. Beer changes as does everything else in life so pour it on.

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Beer And _________

What do you like to pair beer with?

Everything should be fair – or fare – game since beer is an excellent pairing partner.

Here are some ideas for you today.

1. Beer and breakfast. The secret of pairing and tasting at any time is quantity: keep it small. Breakfast is an ideal time of day to taste as our senses are well rested and ready to serve. Plan a breakfast or brunch of sweet fruit topped waffles with savory sausage. Pair the plate with a smooth and low alcohol Belgian or Wit beer. The yeast and wheaty contributions complement the meal very well.

2. Beer and cheese. It should be it’s own course, of course. With many a resource to echo this sentiment and many resources to explore, my go to is Janet Fletcher. Her life experiences and savvy are the best guide. She’s got plenty of excellent easy to utilize books as well – I’ve got the yogurt one on my shelf (gets used a lot!). She’s got the chops, is a straight shooter and tuns of fun. You’ll learn a lot, much to the happiness of your tastebuds.

Janet & Ginger

Janet & Ginger

3. Beer and dessert. This is still a new idea to many. Desserts with beer or desserts paired with beer or desserts made with beer – they all qualify. Use beer when baking chocolate cakes, put a few tablespoons in malted milkshakes, use it in the crust of a tart. Then be sure to pair beer with desserts. The beer world is overflowing with flavor choices: when you find one you like, note it. If you taste one you don’t, move on to the next.

4. Beer and fish & shellfish. These natural partners are truly meant to be together. With the unlimited rainbow of possibilities from the fermenters and from the water, try try try! In my work with Port Orford Sustainable Seafood, I’ve experimented a lot and found many pleasing combinations, opportunities and am spurred on to keep going…which I will!

The key to enjoying beer and food is to try. When you discover magic, note it and then keep trying other things. Figure out your stalwart Go-To’s (never a favorite) and keep looking, cooking, and tasting.

Beer and life go well together. Enjoy it in moderation, savor the flavors, and start sipping!

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