November 10 2007 Beer and Brewing Newsletter
Lucy Saunders - The Best of American Beer & Food - Cookbook with Recipes
This year, at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival, this warm and engaging beercook spoke with the expertise of a saavy culinary artist, whether she was presenting her book to the media or demonstrating her culinary skills to festival-goers in the Beer & Food Pavilion.
Beer Cookery - Tennessee Butter Cake
The Beer Fox says, “A rich pound cake, moistened with the flavors of Water Gap Wheat."
Beer Cookery - Sassy Sassafrass Gingerbread Cake
The Beer Fox says, “Spicy and sassy, just like YOU!”
Beer Fox Tip of the Week:
Turn your Beer Bar into a "Better Beer Bar." You know what your mother always told you about gaining a bad reputation. Don't let anyone steam-roller you into carrying only brands from the mega-breweries. Just as good wine bars become well-known, so do good beer bars. Local Craft beers and desirable imports from Belgium, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Japan, Australia, and England should make up a significant part of your beer menu.
If you don't have a beer menu, design one. It can be as funky as a chalk board with constantly changing items, a stapled skinny of folded paper several pages long that you create on your computer, or a leather bound volume chock full of beer information, including recommendations for dinner pairings, style characteristics, flavor profiles, or historical tales. Hysterical tales will work too! Feel free to add a little humor to it. There's no need to be overly posh. The more interesting you make your menu, the greater attention it will pull from your patrons. As they linger or laugh over each beer listing, their curiosity will build. This translates into more sales and bigger revenues.
Serve beer in glassware that will enhance its appearance and aromas. If a Belgian calls for a chalice or goblet, flaunt it with style. Use pokals, tulips, and snifters to your advantage. Serve beers in glasses with logos, whenever possible. Teach your staff about beer - how to pour it with flair, discuss it in a creative way, and pair it with food.
Rotate your offerings often, and keep those tap lines clean. Hold beer dinners or beer-and-food-pairing nights. Trivia nights that focus on beer-centric themes will educate your patrons in a fun way, and go a long way to increasing the comfort level among those who know little about the craft beer scene (but don't want to appear stupid in front of their peers). Above all, enjoy your patrons. Their comfort with you will increase their comfort in your better beer bar. The pleasure will be yours.
Beer Fox Laugh of the Week:
After three weeks in the Garden of Eden, God came to visit Eve.
"So, how is everything going?" inquired God.
"It is all so beautiful, God," she replied. "The sunrises and sunsets are breathtaking, the smells, the sights, everything is wonderful, I have just one problem.
It's these breasts you have given me. The middle one pushes the other two out and I am constantly knocking them with my arms, catching them on branches and snagging them on bushes. I do hate to complain but, they're a real pain," reported Eve.
Eve went on to tell God that since many other parts of her body came in pairs, her limbs, eyes, ears, etc., she felt that having just two breasts might leave her body more "symmetrically balanced."
"That's a fair point," replied God, "but it was my first shot at this, you know. I gave the animals six breasts, so I figured that you needed only half of those, but I see that you are right. I will fix it up right away."
And God reached down, removed the middle breast and tossed it into the bushes.
Three weeks passed and God once again visited Eve in the Garden of Eden.
"Well, Eve, how is my favorite creation?"
"Just fantastic," she replied, " but for one oversight. You see, all the animals are paired off. The ewe has a ram, and the cow has her bull. All the animals have a mate except me. Sometimes I feel so alone."
God thought for a moment and said, "You know, Eve, you are right. How could I have overlooked this? You do need a mate and I will immediately create a man from a part of you. Now let's see, where did I put that useless boob?"
Now doesn't THAT make more sense than that stuff about the rib?
Craft brewers are enduring tough times this year, as hops and barley become a more prized commodity and prices climb through the roof. Decreasing yields worldwide are the result of a complex web of problems: the pestilent powdery mildew fungus that has attacked the hop crop in the Yakima Valley; the worst drought on record in Australia; hailstorms across Europe that wreaked havoc on crops; extreme heat in the western United States; decreased yields in China; a domino-effect across farming communities who have replaced barley and wheat fields with corn in answer to rising demands for ethanol, followed by those planting feed crops to replace what has been lost due to corn-ethanol production; and real estate developers paying huge sums to farmers who had been struggling during the years of excess hop production.
Prices have tripled and quadrupled this year, forcing brewers to raise prices and tweak recipes in answer to the demand.
Craft Beer of the Week Award
La Roja - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Dexter, Michigan, USA
Style - American Biere de Garde
La Roja pours like hot, wet, orangy copper, with edges of shrimp and salmon, dressed with a tangerine-tinged head of beige. Aromas of cherries dipped in spiced Island rum merge with earth and mustiness that wows the olfactory senses. Warming sensations of smoked Kentucky bourbon are brightened by sweet maltiness and dark rum-dipped fruit. Spiced notes of licorice and wood-soaked oakiness prevail. Residual tartness lays on the tongue, and smoothes a light primary effervescence.
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Carolyn Smagalski, Beer and Brewing Editor
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