Happy New Beer!

Events are a lot of damn work.

So I’m always grateful for client partners who understand a few things:

  1. They want to work together to further beer education, for the beer and for the education.
  2. They understand we both have skin in the game and anticipate – ne expect – to pay me for my services.
  3. They are on top of the details. Logistics are involved and time-consuming – no wonder people specialize in events management!
  4. They forge ahead and make it work.

So my new year goblet of beer is raised today to the hard-working, smart and clever people with Fermenta today. I’ve the pure tasty pleasure to being their guest for a special January event coming right up on the 11th. Here’s the link – save your seats today (space is very limited and it’ll be a tasty blast into the new year).

I’ll even be bringing some bootlegged Women Enjoying Beer koozies as gifts for all guests. The company Kolder stole my logo this summer and called it a mistake’… (more on that another time).

This event is open to all flavor enthusiasts, all makes and models. We’ll have a grand time in Michigan Winter tasting, talking and learning together.

Like I say in the opening of my book, this is one of those occasions: “Lotta damn work, made easier with help.” Thanks.

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2016 Oregon Chocolate Festival Recap: Beer & Chocolate &…

First of all, THANK YOU to all the super engaged and fun flavor loving guests at the very recent 12th annual Oregon Chocolate Festival, Ashland Hills, Ashland OR.The organizers moved it to a roomier venue – and in my opinion, with great success. Way more room and opportunity for everyone to fully get around

Elegant tasting-ready room at OCF 2016, Ashland Hills

Elegant tasting-ready room at OCF 2016, Ashland Hills

and mingle. The previous venue is now too small for this ever-growing destination event.

It marked my fifth year presenting at this yummy Theobroma cacao saturated festival. Each year I’ve given lively & tasty beer and chocolate tastings. We’ve gone from a room that’ll seat 30ish to a tent that seats 45/50ish to (now) a roomy room for 80+.

When people started coming in, 30 minutes before the sessions started, I knew we were in store for more incredible crowds of enthusiasts. I’m happy to report, every single person who was our guest at all three of the sessions was a pure pleasure to have in the room! I especially liked the multi generational families with offspring of varying ages.

With 22+ Friday night, 80 – 100+ Saturday afternoon, and 80 – 100 Sunday, it was a packed crazy good time had by all. Can’t wait to return next year! I’m always humbled by guests who return to my sessions on purpose – so a special thanks to them all.

Russ, Ginger & Stacy - revved up for the 2016 OCF

Russ, Ginger & Stacy – revved up for the 2016 OCF

The sessions ran smooth in large part thanks to my exceptional (not exaggerating here) crew, starting with my second in command for the weekend, Russ. He’s a service professional, kept it all going, gave directions to the hotel staff (who are always fantastic too!), and made my job easy. Hats off to my colleague and occasional assistant Stacy, equally competent, sharp and guest focused. The hotel staff & crew, management and security hired – all of them were smiling, helpful and fun to work in delicious harmony with and for.

So – what’d we have, you may be asking? Good question! Let me whet your whistle with the menus we served. I encourage you to try this at home:

Friday / Always a Classic: Beer + Chocolate Pairing & Tasting

  • Standing Stone* Chocolate Stout with chocolate gingerbread cookies & Dagoba** Lemonberry Zest chocolate.
  • Barleywine* with shortbread cocoa sticks with Xocolatl** fondue + red raisins
  • Milk & Honey* with Scharffen Berger Coconut Macadamia fudge

Saturday / Together Forever: Beer, Wine & Chocolate Tasting

  • Barleywine* + Weisingers Syrah with barleywine poached Bosc pears drizzled with unsweetened** fondue and Rogue Creamery Flora Nelle blue
  • Chocolate Beer* + Weisingers Sauvignon Blanc with citrus cookies and mandarin oranges

Sunday / Better All The Time: Beer, Chocolate & Cheese Tasting

  • Noble Stout* with more Coconut Macadamia fudge + Scharffen Berger sea salt pistachio fudge and unsweetened coconut shavings
  • Twin Plunge Double IPA* with Orange** chocolate, mandarin oranges, and rustic french bread crostini topped with Rogue Creamery Cacow Belle cheese & either lemon orange marmalade or cherry citrus jam
  • Milk & Honey* with Milk chocolate** and water crackers topped with soft chevre, dusted with Drinking chocolate powder**

Hungry yet?


I’ll post recipes tomorrow.

*Standing Stone Brewing Company beers

**Dagoba Organic Chocolates


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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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Beer & Cheese, Cooking with Beer, and Beer & Chocolate

All of these were edutainment sessions I lead at last weekend’s inaugural Rogue Valley Wine (Beer) and Food Fest. As promised, we post the menus instead of handing out papers that invariably get recycled and not used.

Thanks to Lillie Belle Chocolates and Full Sail Brewing for the donation of their goods for the sessions. We’re also glad to feature the high quality Rogue Creamery cheese. Plus a thank you to Harry & David for letting us use their cool stage set up for best guest experience – Tim, Jeff, Kari, Brenda and crew. As well as Chateau of Hidden Jungle for his help with the beer.

Enjoy these ideas ~

Beer and Chocolate:

  • Full Sail Phil’s Existential Alt with Lillie Belle Perfect Illusion chocolate
  • Full Sail Session Black with Lillie Belle Purple Haze chocolate
  • Walk About IPA with Lillie Belle Lavender sea salt caramel

Beer and Cheese:

  • Rumiano whole Monterey Jack cheese with Walkabout IPA
  • Rumiano New York Sharp Cheddar with LTD 5
  • Rogue Creamery Flora Nelle blue with Full Sail Alt

Cooking with Beer:

The ideas here are innumerable and I riffed on using beer in all sorts of cooking applications. In addition to these I shared, here are a few more:

  • Dressings made with porters like a deep rich balsamic vinaigrette
  • Roasting red meats with deeply fruity beers
  • Quick breads with Belgians and hefeweizens
  • Sauces and reductions with flavors that fit

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Spring Beer & Wine Fest 2012 WEB Educational Sessions

Spring Beer & Wine Fest 2012

Friday found us at the annual Spring Beer & Wine Fest in Portland, Oregon.

We gave a tasty Beer & Cheese pairing session on the stage Friday with much success. As promised to fest goers – and is our habit to post menus following events – here’s the line up we featured:

The fun-loving attendees of the session learned to smell their beer and name some of the characteristics, including colors and flavors. It’s important to educate everyone on the value of being able to talk specifics about beer. 

Tomorrow: The Saturday Cooking With Beer ideas imparted at the Spring Beer & Wine Fest.

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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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Cheese & Beer

Good looking crew

Good looking crew

What a great combination!

I had the distinct honor to be a part of a special fun ceremony in Ashland with Standing Stone and Rogue Creamery in the last week or so.

As the one with a camera I was, by default, the official photographer. Call Standing Stone to inquire about their forward thinking bike program.

Thanks to Rogue – the whole smashing crew – and Standing Stone.

Roll on!!

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