“Funk and sour is the new hops,” or so I’ve heard. Lots of local breweries are working on a funk or sour program, and both Coppertail and Green Bench have foeders of their own for oak-aging their beers. Hype or not, most of the worlds great breweries maintain these programs and some of them for hundreds of years. Tangent Brewing, one of Tampa’s up-and-coming breweries, intends to lead the bay area in the production of sour and Brettanomyces beers. I asked Rodney to write up an introduction to some funky and sour beers in an easily accessible manner – and what better way to do that than with cheese and dessert pairings? Enjoy the pairing suggestions, and if you have a chance, look for Tangent at an upcoming beer fest. They’re pouring at the best of them, including during Tampa Bay Beer Week.
BEE-B-Q is a series of dinners focusing on meals paired with ciders and meads made from Cigar City Cider and Meadery. A recent menu included “Cowboy Dan’s Baby Back Ribs”: baby back pork ribs served with Cigar City Cider’s Cowboy Dan caramel cider-based BBQ sauce, crushed peanuts, and smoked sea salt; orange blossom chicken: chargrilled chicken thighs with Cigar City Cider’s Orange Blossom Mead honey mustard BBQ sauce. Typically includes beer/mead paired specially with the menu.
See also: Eggs and Kegs events; a brunch series hosted by Cigar City Brewery.
Check out the Loko Cuisine website at: http://www.lokocuisine.com/
- When: usually the last Friday of the month, dinner-time
- Where: Cigar City Cider and Mead
- How much: $25/head
Egg and Kegs is a beer-based brunch served at Tampa’s Cigar City brewery on the third Sunday of every month. A recent menu included: country ham and espresso red-eye gravy made with CCB’s Cubano Espresso brown ale; southern cajun shrimp; jalapeno cheese grits; baked french toast with CCB rum barrel aged Caffe Americano double stout caramel sauce. The meals usually include pours of well-paired beers and additional related beers are available on draught.
Tampa chef-cum-entrepreneur John Loscalzo created the Eggs and Kegs series in 2009. John writes:
In 2009, I needed a creative outlet for my love of food, cooking, and community. Being a special education teacher, I knew it was nearly impossible to add a full time cooking gig to my plate.
My motivation was to create social events and dinners that were designed to showcase unique businesses and incorporate local ingredients and beverages while providing an awareness of sustainability within the community. After talking with local business owners about my concept and researching shared kitchen spaces, LOKO Cuisine was created. I was able to support local businesses through food featuring my culinary creations. I have collaborated with businesses such as Cigar City Brewing, Yuengling Brewery, Bells Brewery, Highland Brewery, The Wild Rover Brewery, Late Start Brewing, Brewers’ Tasting Room, Jonathan Wakefield Brewing, Florida Avenue Ales, Rock Brothers Brewing, Hideaway Café, Felicitous Tea & Coffee Shop, World of Beer, The Florida Aquarium, Exalted Warrior Foundation & Yogani, Mr. Empanada, Cappy’s Pizza, Cork & Olive, Lit Lounge and Tampa Street Market.
John’s Eggs and Kegs events are a staple of local Tampa beer culture. Look for them on the third Sunday of each and every month, usually at Cigar City.
See also: BEE-B-Q events; a 4-course dinner series hosted by Cigar City Cider and Meadery.
Check out the Loko Cuisine website at: http://www.lokocuisine.com/
- When: usually the third Sunday of the Month, brunch-o’clock
- Where: Cigar City
- How much: $25/head
If you’re an aspiring brewer, at some point you’ve probably wondered how your product would be received in the public market. Sure, your wife/girlfriend/mom says your beer tastes “good”. And yes, your friends love it. But she’s your mom. And they’re your friends. And its free beer.
Well, if you’re not afraid to introduce your product to the often critical craft beer drinking public, Rick Wolfe wants to put your suds on tap at his new craft beer bar, Brewers’ Tasting Room (BTR). “I want this to be a launching-pad for aspiring brewers” Rick told me during a recent Sunday afternoon visit, “The word Brewers’ is both plural and possessive; this is every brewers’ tasting room. Here, we are a community of brewers.”
Located less than a mile north of Gandy Blvd on 4th St. North in St. Petersburg, BTR offers a rotating selection of craft beer that couples well with the authentic Cajun food prepared fresh in the kitchen. Walking in, eyes are immediately drawn to the 2 barrel brewing system showcased behind the copper plated bar. Prices are very reasonable ($4-$7 for appetizers, $8-$11 for large plates), especially considering the portion size; the Jambalaya was terrific and paired well with the Two Brothers Cane and Ebel I ordered.
But what makes Brewers’ Tasting Room truly unique is its emphasis on collaboration and community. There are small breweries popping up all over Florida and Tampa Bay. Unfortunately, these breweries are being born into a competitive Red Ocean marketplace; further, the quality of beers being produced varies widely. Before an aspiring brewer quits his day job, drains his life savings, and maxes out his credit cards, Rick is offering a free test trial. If you think your beer can stand up to the likes of Lagunitas, Stone and Cigar City, you can submit a sample to BTR. On a quarterly basis, Rick will contract several BJCP certified judges to, as objectively as possible, rate the submitted beers according to overall taste. If there is an exceptional beer in the lot, the brewer will be invited to back to brew in BTR’s 2 barrel system. Rick, a home-brewer for over 15 years, provides the equipment and will pay for all the ingredients in exchange for the opportunity to put that beer on one of his 10 taps devoted to aspiring local brewers. It’s of no cost to the aspiring brewer and Rick and Matthew Brown, a manager who brews some very impressive beers himself, can also aid brewing process. Sales volume for each beer will be tracked to give the brewer an idea of its true popularity.
The core of BTR’s model is about showcasing beer brewed by the community; these beers are not an afterthought, rather they are the focal point. “There’re a lot of great home-brewed beers that will never get out,” Rick says, “This tasting room will feature them.” In the true spirit of this collaboration concept, successful brewers have the opportunity to, with the help of BTR, package and distribute their product (BTR has a full distribution license). Though the community brewing has not begun on a full scale level yet, Rick imagines the enterprise will be in action by mid-to-late summer. Chris Barrs has already brewed his delightful Amber Ale in the BTR system – look for it on tap in the coming weeks.
Talking with Rick, you understand that he truly wants to help local aspiring brewers succeed. Community and family values make up his character. Though he now has two day jobs, he is quick to point out that his third job, the “number one priority”, is family. He is a loving husband and proud parent of two young kids.
Brewers’ Tasting Room has an eclectic offering of live music every Friday and Saturday. Trivia night is Tuesday and often brings in a knowledgeable craft beer crowd. Though this is far from a sports bar, BTR has two TV’s for all available sports games.
Bob Sylvester of St. Somewhere will be brewing some of his tasty stuff on the morning of Saturday, June 8th. The brewing starts at 10:00am and is followed by a “keep the glass” tasting at 2:00pm. Pulled Pork Sandwiches (souse vides style) will be served for $2.
Hope to see you there!
Looks like Brandon’s going to get a new watering hole within the next 30 days or so – the AMC 20 Theater in Regency Square is getting a MacGuffins.
The MacGuffins concept is simple: watch a movie, drink a beer and eat a meal. I just hope they have some craft beers, too. Prices are about $10-$15 per plate.
There are at least three Catholic Saints associated with beer-making. One of them, Arnulf of Metz (depicted with a mash rake in hand) is responsible for for the legend of the beer mug – a never-ending supply of beer. The legend goes something like this: a group of his parishoners went searching for the hermit Saint’s body in a rough and tumble land. Parched, they prayed to Saint Arnold and miraculously their steins were filled with beer. Sounds like a nice guy, huh?
Saint Arnold’s memory lives on at the Saint Arnold Brewery in Houston, Texas. Every week day from 11am to 1:15pm chef Ryan Savoie prepares an incredible prix fixe menu. Not only is the food plentiful and delicious, but in true Saint Arnold fashion the glasses of beer are never empty.
Friday’s lunch was carbonade flamande, or for the less Flemish among us, beef stew. Made with beer. Served with frites and a side green salad with a homemade vinaigrette.
So the stew: it was incredible: thick enough to stick to your ribs, savory and delicious. Fork-tender cuts of beef, mushrooms, onions, and carrots float lazily in the gravy. An island of sour cream and a dollop of coarse spicy mustard went along for the ride.
The french fries are light and airy with a perfect crunch and just the right amount of salty-goodness.
As far as salads go, this one was pretty good – a variety of greens, carrots, fresh croutons, cucumbers, and a fantastic house-made vinaigrette lightly applied and perfectly seasoned. I only added a little dash of pepper to the salad, otherwise it was perfect.
Not only was the food delicious, but the beer was incredible, too. I tried the Santo and the Elissa. I’ve never had a Kölsch before, and was pleasantly surprised. Both were eminently drinkable. I’d even consider the Santo to be a sessionable beer – it felt pretty light. The Elissa however was probably most similar to our old favorite Jai Alai – a great balance of sweet malts and grassy hops. Good old Saint Arnold would be proud.
The lunch didn’t stop there however – we also had a chocolate torte and a strawberry short cake, both house made and incredible. The Elissa was a perfect match with the torte. Words can’t describe the foodgasm that was had that day.
The brewery itself is housed in an old Houston Independent School District industrial kitchen or administration building or something like that. Basically its a massive old factory building. Brick. Tall ceilings. Old staircases and windows and stuff. Lots of character.
Downstairs is the brewing operation while upstairs are some massive mash tuns and an incredible beer hall. (By the way, words don’t do this place justice, so check out the incredible Google Maps interior rendition!) Like everything else in Texas, the place is massive – apparently official seating for over 200 people, communal style.
All in all – it’s worth the $20 that you’re going to spend, especially if you consider that you’re going to get to try some great beer too.
The brewery is located at 2000 Lyons Avenue just north of downtown Houston Texas. Check their website for current menus and stuff: www.saintarnold.com.
I can’t do it. I can’t eat the whole thing. It’s massive, and spicy.
I must look like one of those bears that just polished off a deer, blood red hot sauce dripping from my beard. A dazed look in my eyes.
This is a delicious burger is filled with many delicious things including fresh (not pickled) jalapeños, vinegary hot sauce, and blue cheese. Lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle all come along for the ride, and what a wild ride it is.
I paired my Volcano burger with a sour Rodenbach Grand Cru. The dry beer helped quench the flames from the volcano. It was a majestic pairing if I do say so myself. Before dinner I whet my palate with an Ommegang Abbey Ale – a fantastic example of a Belgian Dubbel. Both beers were on draught and served in proper glassware.
The place offers a bunch of great beer on draft, even more (including some great Belgians) on bottle, and has a great atmosphere to boot. It’s pretty small though, so get in early if you want to partake.
Burgers and such are about $10 but they’re worth every penny. And they come with tater tots.
Also: the place is family friendly. Lots of families with kids on a Thursday night, but also enough space to keep ’em separated from the homebrew beer geeks.
Overall: surprised such a cool place could be found in this part of town. I’ll be back.
And if you’re wondering: I did it.
May, 2013 Follow-up: I went here with my kids in tow on a Wednesday night. I have young-ish kids (combined age of both of my kids is only 10) and while the waitstaff was awesome, I learned that there is no kids menu and they don’t have regular juices or milk on hand. They do however have some delicious soft drinks in bottles. So I do stand by my assertion that you can bring kids successfully – but just not young ones.
May, 2013 Follow-up #2: I met with the owner Ty this past weekend and he mentioned to me that he’s happy to customize a dish for kids or hack something off the menu for the kiddos. He’s a dad of two youngish kids himself, so he gets it. If you’re concerned, I say give it a shot, just not on a hoppin’ bar night like Friday or Saturday. Maybe earlier in the evening?
Stein & Vine is located at 827 W. Bloomingdale Ave. (Bloomingdale and Kings Ave., South West corner, across the street from the car wash. Look for the sign that reads “PUB”).
There’s a book of M. C. Escher prints on the repurposed-pallets-cum-table in front of me.
In the background, the proprietor offers to turn anything into a shake – “you could even mix nutter fudger and banana pudding.”
Phoenix plays softly in the background as my kids draw on the chalkboard paint wall in the kid area. Ancient garage sale oil-paining portraits of Army men, housewives, and old black men watch over us all.
Before I know it, Laurel’s breaking the last of my waffle bowl into pieces and offers me a a coconut curry soaked piece. It was delicious.
If you’re in the mood for something out of the ordinary, give this place a shot. We had the coconut curry, banana pudding, and chocolate shock. The chocolate habañero was awesome, as was porky’s delight. There was too much on offer to enjoy them all.
I did make a point to try the Youngs Double Chocolate Stout ice cream, being the beer lover I am and all. It was actually remarkably delicious – the malty beer mixing gently with the soft chocolate flavors was incredible. I kept thinking about how delicious it would be with Hunahpu.
Prices range from $2.50 to $7.00. Take away is available, but why would you? This place is cozy and yummy.
Revolution Ice Cream is located at 220 W. Brandon Blvd between Kings and Parsons on the North side of the street.