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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Oakshire & KLCC Festival Collaboration Beer

It’s usually a fun thing to try a collaboration beer. At least two, sometimes more, breweries all digging into the sandbox together – making something delicious for us to sip.

Matt of Oakshire Brewing

Matt of Oakshire Brewing

And this weekend will pose a fresh flavor opportunity to try another. Read on as Matt Van Wyk, head of Brewing for Oakshire, Eugene, shares all about it:

“Ours is called Understutz KLCC Hefeweizen,” states Van Wyk, referencing this annual fest beer that is highlighted at the KLCC fest, a fundraiser for the local public radio station. “I suspect others have ‘names’ for their beer style.”

Each year, Eugene area brewers work together to create a Collaboration Brew specifically for this Festival.  Following last year’s Tour of the British Isles, brewers chose to continue showcasing European style beers with A Tour of Germany.  Participating breweries each chose a sub style of German beer to brew, deciding the recipe on their own.  The common thread is that every beer is of German origin and follows the German Purity law of 1516, or Reinheitsgebot [though there is a braggot in the bunch this year]. Taste them all and enjoy this tour of Germany, created especially for the 2014 KLCC Microbrew Festival by our highly skilled local brewing community.

Agrarian Ales – Roggenbier
Claim 52 – Oktoberfest
Falling Sky – Rauchbier
Hop Valley – Nacht Schmerzen Swartz Bier
Hopworks Urban – Eisbock
McMenamins High Street – Wunder Bär Munich Dunkel
Ninkasi – Helles Bock
Oakshire – Hefeweizen
Plank Town – Bock
Sam Bond’s – Dana’s Alt Düsseldorf Altbier
Steelhead-McKenzie – Dortmunder Export

Track Town – Dunkelweizen
Viking Braggot – Altbier

Cheers to everyone who’s brewing and playing along. See you to sip then!

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SAVORING Oregon Beer & Cheese

If you were able to attend SAVOR last weekend, you’d know it was a tastebud heaven focused on American beer & matching foods. Delicious is what we’d call it!

Happy and accomplished brewers Larry of Standing Stone (l) and Matt of Oakshire(r) at SAVOR Salon 2012

Ginger had the pleasure of moderating a few Salons, added value special sessions, Friday night. As promised to the crowd, here’s the menu of the early session Friday June 8th.

Perfect opportunity to keep the elevation of beer moving forward. Ideal flavor exploration opportunity. Stunning setting (National Building Museum).

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FORE! Courses at Cedar Links

WEB’s meet-up for May was at gracious repeat host, Cedar Links Golf Club in Medford Oregon. Kelley, his cool mom Theresa and fun server Alexis, all treated us well.

Every month Women Enjoying Beer meets at a location in the Southern Oregon area to learn about beer. The 1.5 hour meet-up revolves around a select 4 small pour beer and food pairing. We’re glad so many businesses are eager to welcome us in, we have anywhere from 10 to 30 women each time, and it’s loaded with fun, engagement and flavor exploration.

The menu we enjoyed, in order:

  • Boneyard RPM IPA with lemon pie on crushed graham cracker crust
  • Good Life India Brown with puff pastry and sun-dried tomatoes
  • Oakshire Line Dry Rye with Thai inspired chicken pasta
  • Good Life Mountain Rescue Dry Hop Pale Ale with fresh baby tomato, basil, and mozzarella

With the pattern that is the meet-ups, we had Veterans (those who had been before) and Newbies. New attendees always receive a Welcome packet of goodies. I love giving away goodies and everyone likes getting them. It’s a simple, economical, and easy “thank you for being here” gift.

We also talked about American Craft Beer Week, the 2012 Rogue Flavor guide and took a short walk around a bit of the course before the event started.

So thanks to all – who attended, hosts, and supporters.

Beer businesses: if you choose to host women + beer groups, call on us first to help you develop a proper and successful plan. It’ll get you jump started in the right direction.

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The Works: Beer Education Class Launch

A local beer store, Beerworks, recently joined forces with WEB to launch their own signature beer education classes. We dubbed them “The Works: Beer Education Classes”. Simple, easy to understand and a play on the business name.

Success was present the very first night and the seats filled right up (which goes with smart planning). Basic format of one hour in length, one topic, and a select number of seats available – first pay, first sit.

It was fitting to feature Ingredients as the topic of this inaugural class and they were easily gathered to use in the class. I already have a super helpful malted barley kit from Briess, already had some whole cone hops from Indie Hops and procured a small flask of liquid yeast from my local brewery. Water is really good in our area and it flowed straight from the tap. We even took time to taste the water, which perhaps some never do in beer education.

Education is a simple powerful animal. To create a new variation of a known quote, A mind once stretched cannot return to its original shape. Stretch those minds and it’ll benefit everyone.

Here are the beers tastes we served to compliment the lesson components: Oakshire Overcast Espresso Stout (malted barley), Good Life IPA (hops), New Belgium Lips of Faith Series Farmhouse Saison (yeast)

The Series will run once a month and each topic will focus in on another aspect of and related to beer. June 19th is the next one, topic = Glassware, and you can register at Beerworks with payment to save your seat.

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Beer & Cheese, Beer & Cheese, Beer & Cheese!

At the recent 8th Annual Oregon Cheese Festival, we had the pleasure to conduct the inaugural Beer & Cheese pairing session. Our friends at the Rogue Creamery (event hosts) were gracious, had everything together and the events was sold out – SRO even! Proof positive that festivals and events should offer fun educational sessions for the guests and attendees.

A BIG THANK YOU to Tom, Tasha, David, Carey, Anna, Francis, and the whole crew of Rogue Creamery for putting on such a well run and well received festival. Seriously – it’s one of our favorites because it goes sooooo smoothly.  And it’s very well attended because of that – the guests have a great time, which also makes it a good investment for us as well.

Sue & Larry, great helpers, prep the cheese

The audience in the cozy room were engaged, polite and had some terrific questions about beer specifically. A bonus for me as the leader of the session was that friend and colleague Matt Van Wyk, brewer of Oakshire Brewing, was also in attendance.

I’m one of those people who always welcomes anyone in the room – most especially the folks who are directly tied to the going-ons. Matt supplied 2 of the 4 beers I chose to pair for the session. He was gracious, fun and chimed in & answered questions with thoroughness and tact. I know the guests enjoyed having a brewer in the mix as well, particularly one that could speak to the beers in front of us.

The other brewer was in fact at the festival, as their brewery booth, enlightening more folks about beer – Larry Chase, Standing Stone.

Matt Van Wyk and other guests at the tasting

Since we rarely hand out paper programs that people have to then schlep around or toss or recycle, we always post menus on our site following an event. As promised, here’s the tasty line up we used to edutain and converse about.

The line up was a great cross-section of beers and foods to pair. The best ingredient of the tasting: The People. We’re already excited to get back to it next year.

As requested, we’ll cover why beer and cheese do in fact pair so nicely later this week. Thanks to Australian guest Mashka for asking. Stay tuned!

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Chile Stout Chocolate Cake

As an avid cook, Ive ‘discovered’ adding Chile in chocolate baking recipes for an enhanced flavor experience. My latest favorite is a cake I’ve modified based on Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s Chocolate Chile Cake. I’m a big fan of Lynne and find her food and cookery knowledge to be incredible, she’s a gracious and fun person to listen to and I’d love the opportunity to dine with her.

Alas – for now, enjoy the cake. I’ve included the modified frosting recipe as well. As one who doesn’t want the cake to disappear under the frosting, it’s a much smaller batch recipe than her original.

We enjoyed this cake at last night’s WEB meet up with Oakshire’s Overcast Espresso Stout.


Chile Stout Chocolate Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, making sure the oven has a centered rack. Butter (I use bacon grease) two 9″ round baking pans on the sides and lightly flour; place fitted parchment or waxed paper rounds in the bottoms of the pans.

Her suggestion to use a stand mixer with wire whip is good: Combine 2 cups + 4 tablespoons of all purpose unbleached white flour, 2 cups granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, half teaspoon of salt, and half cup unsweetened cocoa powder in the stand mixer until well mixed. You may need to stop the mixer and turn the dry ingredients a time or two.

In a smaller sauce pan, cook 1 cup of stout with 2 heaping tablespoons of chili power. If the chili powder is the typical grocery store variety and not as potent as you’d like, make sure they’re heaping spoon fulls. If it’s fresh, gauge accordingly. Simmer these together and then remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of vanilla.

Add half cup softened butter and half cup pureed applesauce to the dry mix and beat thoroughly on low (it’ll be grainy, that’s good). Increase speed to medium and add 1 more cup of stout and half cup of either buttermilk or yogurt. Add 2 large eggs, one at a time until well mixed.

Now add the warm stout and chili powder liquid to the mixture until reasonably combined. Pour the batter into the pans and bake for 35 – 45 minutes – depending on your oven and altitude. I find in Southern Oregon, I have to cook it at least 45 minutes.

The sides will be free of the pan when done and it’s not a tall cake. Remove them from the oven, set a timer and let them cool for 10 + minutes on a rack. Turn them out and remove the paper from the bottom, returning them to the rack to cool completely.

Stout Frosting

Combine 5.5 tablespoons of butter with one third cup of cocoa on a small saucepan and melt over medium heat. Once thoroughly mixed in, add one eighth cup of yogurt or buttermilk, stir until blended. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 cup of powdered sugar, about a third cup at a time to make sure it’s smoothly blended. Stir in 1 tablespoon of stout and allow the frosting to cool for a little while. If you place it in a glass bowl, it’ll cool faster.

Once it’s about room temperature, pour some on the top of the lower level (it’ll just reach the edges). Place the second layer of cake on top of the first frosted one, and pour the rest of the frosting on that top surface, spreading as little or much as you wish. If it’s still slightly warm it can drip attractively over the edges.

A 22 ounce bottle of stout covers the recipe nicely – with enough left over to enjoy while you are baking or to save for other cooking.

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