The brand-new Vendy Awards Master’s Cup will pit past Vendy aAwards winners against each other in an ultimate grill-off
Street Food Favorites Go Head-to-Head at Vendy's Masters Cup
In honor of the 10th anniversary of the Vendy Awards: New York’s premiere street food competition, the Vendys are bringing back past winners from the last decade to compete in a head-to-head grilling showdown for the new Masters Cup. The grill-off will take place on September 13 on Governor’s Island, and the finalists are the iconic Calexico (Mexican/Southern BBQ), Hallo Berlin (German Soul Food), King of Falafel (and his infamous chicken shawarma and white sauce), NY Dosas Guy (vegan Sri Lankan food), and Solber Pupusas (Salvadorian tortillas).
Most of the past winners have come a long way since their last trophy, like Calexico, who since their 2008 victory has opened up a fleet of restaurants across the city, and the King of Falefel’s goods can be seen at select grocery stores in the city.
The Vendy Awards themselves have also grown up since starting with a small contest of four food trucks in a parking lot — there are now over 175 vendors competing every year and competitions are held in Philadelphia, L.A. and Chicago. The finalists for this year’s regular competition will also be announced soon.
For the latest happenings in the food and drink world, visit our Food News page.
Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on [email protected]
5 spooky brews for Halloween
The ghouls and ghosts are taking to the streets for some mayhem on Halloween, and that’s all the more reason to barricade yourself in the comfort of your home with a few holiday-appropriate craft beers.
Looking for some hops to help you through an evening of passing out candy? Try this fresh-hopped IPA from Oregon’s Double Mountain Brewery. The bitter, herbaceous punch of the hops is nicely balanced by a slightly sweet finish.
The Halloween seasonal brew from San Diego’s AleSmith Brewery is available in bottles for the first time this year, and it makes the perfect accompaniment to a splatter-flick marathon. A hoppy amber ale, the veteran brewers at AleSmith find a fine balance between pungent hop aroma and toasty, caramel-sweet malts reach for this if you’ve got any caramel apples lying around.
Named for the industrial neighborhood where El Segundo Brewing Co. is located, and with an image of Ichabod Crane’s cranium-challenged nemesis, Smoky Hollow is a rich and dark scotch ale with a peaty, smoky malt character that lingers on your tongue. A good option if you’re not yet a hop-head, scotch ales are prized for being sweet and smooth, and Smoky Hollow is a natural match for any fresh meat off the grill (but especially sausages).
How about something lighter? From San Diego’s masters of Belgian-style brews The Lost Abbey, Witches Wit is a refreshing wheat beer delicately spiced with grapefruit zest, orange peel and coriander. Wit beers are easy drinking, and favorites among drinkers still developing a taste for craft beer, and they are a pairing go-to if sea creatures are on your Halloween menu.
Of course, the ever-popular pumpkin brews are natural matches for Halloween, and you have more options than ever when picking a gourdy beer. Gourdgeous from Hangar 24’s Local Fields series is a potent imperial porter that boasts an 8.5% alcohol and backs up the locally sourced pumpkins with rich chocolate malts and a lighter touch with the spices than many other pumpkin beers. But, if you’re looking for a beer that’s more like “pumpkin pie in a glass,” try the popular Shipyard Pumpkinhead.
All of the above beers besides Shipyard Pumpkinhead are available in single-serving bottles from better beer stores around town. Pumpkinhead is available in six-packs, and you may even find that at the chain supermarkets.
Bourbon’s Masters of the Craft
With the approach of the Kentucky Derby, you can bet a lot of bourbon will be consumed. Nowadays, that’s nothing new.
Over the last decade, bourbon has been on the kind of streak that horseplayers can only dream about. This is particularly true of the most expensive bourbons: not merely high-end ones, but those that are super-premium, in the parlance of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, a trade association. From 2004 to 2013, sales of these bourbons and Tennessee whiskeys more than tripled, to more than 1.2 million cases from 385,000. Among super-premium whiskeys, this rate of increase has been matched by only that of Irish whiskey, though the volume sold is puny alongside bourbon.
Bourbon had already begun its roll when the spirits panel last visited it, in late 2007. The bourbon industry had quite successfully been making up for lost time. In the last quarter of the 20th century, it had ceded much of the spirits field to other, better-marketed choices. Older aesthetes had abandoned bourbon, which was associated with rural rustics and the fedora generation, for the new single-malt Scotches. Younger drinkers had become enamored with vodka, which capitalized on slick marketing and fanciful bar preparations.
Recognizing the urgency of the moment, bourbon distillers successfully overhauled themselves as a significant option for connoisseurs. Instead of the inexpensive mass-market bourbons that for so long had been the industry’s focus, a new array of small-batch, single-barrel and special-selection bourbons emphasized the complexity and elegance prized by whiskey experts.
This was not simply marketing. It required recognition that bourbon could offer excellence. Rather than diluting greatness by tossing exceptional barrels of whiskey in with the mass of mediocre stuff, distillers realized that a small but significant group of consumers thirsted for what was exceptional. American society had given birth in the last 30 years to a connoisseur class for comestibles and beverages, whether for beer, barbecue, pizza, wine or cocktails. Whiskey was no different.
This was where matters stood in 2007. But bourbon has continued to evolve. Books exploring the spirit and its distillers have come out, including recently “Bourbon: A History of the American Spirit” by Dane Huckelbridge, and “Kentucky Bourbon Country: The Essential Travel Guide” by Susan Reigler. Cult bourbons have emerged, like Pappy Van Winkle (which incidentally was No. 1 in our 2007 tasting, when you could still find it at retail shops). Most significantly, small craft distillers have turned their attention to bourbon.
In 2007, when Sean Josephs opened Char No. 4, a whiskey bar and restaurant in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, he said he knew of only two American craft distillers. “Since then, the category has exploded,” said Sean, who is also an owner of Maysville in the Flatiron district.
This time, we focused on only bourbons from craft distillers. For the tasting, Florence Fabricant and I were joined by Sean and Robert Simonson, who writes frequently on drinks for the Dining section.
Bourbon can be made anywhere in the United States, not just in Kentucky, though that state and a handful of big distillers, who comprise dozens of different brands, account for roughly 90 percent of the world’s bourbon. By law, bourbon must be distilled from grains made up of at least 51 percent corn, and the whiskey must be stored in charred new oak barrels before bottling at 80 proof or higher. If it is aged in charred oak for two years or more, it qualifies as straight bourbon whiskey.
It is easy to understand the appeal of small craft distillers. Given the perception that corporate ownership diminishes the so-called authenticity of foods and beverages by focusing more on profits and efficiency than quality and craftsmanship, connoisseurs may be drawn to those distillers the way they are to microbrewers and family wine estates. Throw in the attraction of the local — small distilleries can be found all over the country, with more than 30 in New York State alone — and you have a formula for obsession. Of our top 10 bourbons, five came from New York, two from Colorado and one each from Tennessee, Ohio and Illinois.
Yet, as the panel found previously with gin, craft distillers are not automatically successful with bourbon. Or, to be more precise, newer distillers are not always better bourbon producers.
Partly, this may be a function of expertise. The big producers have decades of bourbon-making experience, and, as the marketing term “small batch” indicates, they are not always producing vast quantities. But it’s also literally a question of aging. Start-up distillers do not often have the luxury of aging their spirits as long as they may like, not when they need cash to start flowing. Younger whiskeys have their attractions, but by and large they tend to be fiery and aggressive, while smooth complexity generally comes from time in the barrel.
Indeed, many of the bourbons in our lineup seemed raw and unrefined, tasting more of cereal and grains than more-developed whiskey flavors, though our favorites surprised us with their complexity. In 2007, our top bourbons had plenty of age, at least eight years for most and 20 for the top-ranked Pappy Van Winkle. This time, none of our top 10 included an age statement.
Five Weeknight Dishes
Emily Weinstein has menu suggestions for the week. There are thousands of ideas for what to cook waiting for you on New York Times Cooking.
- This coconut fish and tomato bake from Yewande Komolafe yields a gorgeous, silky ginger-coconut sauce.
- A tasty recipe for sheet-pan chicken and potatoes by Lidey Heuck is really nice without being fussy.
- This vegetarian baked Alfredo pasta with broccoli rabe is inspired by pasta Alfredo, but with green vegetables added.
- Kay Chun adds asparagus and snap peas to spring vegetable japchae in this vegan take on the classic dish.
- You could substitute chicken or another type of fish in this summery grilled salmon salad from Melissa Clark.
“It’s almost unfair to judge them at this point,” Robert said. “It’s still a nascent industry. We’ll see where they are in 10 years.”
Nonetheless, they are in the market, and at super-premium prices, so they are fair game for judgment.
Most bourbon distillers use 65 percent to 75 percent corn, blended with some combination of rye, wheat or malted barley. Our No. 1 bourbon, Tuthilltown Spirits Hudson Four Grain Bourbon, used, as the label suggests, all four of these grains to produce a lovely, complex, savory and sweet spirit. No. 2 was from Brooklyn’s own Kings County Distillery, a raw yet exotic and deep spirit, while No. 3, from Hillrock Estate in Ancram, N.Y., was aged in a solera system, like sherry, which combines spirits of multiple ages.
At this point in their development, many of these whiskeys seemed more like curiosities than finished products: not at all bad, but offering potential more than anything else. Still, it’s a propitious moment for them to appear. Sean said the demand for bourbon is so great that an overall lack of supply has created an opening for these new products. He has gotten into the business with Pinhook, a new bourbon that is distilled in Indiana and bottled in Kentucky.
Pinhook, unlike the bourbons in our tasting, is an independent bottling. That is, it is labeled and sold not by the distiller, but by Sean and his associates. Many well-known brands, like Michter’s and Bulleit, are in fact independent bottlings, and many bourbons that may seem to be craft-distilled are in fact from independent bottlers. Often, the identities of the distillers and marketers are hidden in a snarl of contracts and happy talk, so if you are seeking a craft-distilled bourbon, it pays to do your homework.
In fact, I should have done mine better: Despite our best efforts, two of our top 10 bourbons, Breckenridge and Prichard’s, turned out to be independent bottlings. Both are craft distillers, but Prichard’s buys its bourbon already distilled and then ages and refines it further. Breckenridge distills bourbon, but is currently blending it with purchased bourbon until it can produce enough to sell only its own.
Legendary Chef Homaro Cantu Has Died
Gastronomy legend, social entrepreneur, and food scientist Homaro Cantu was found dead this morning in a vacant building on the Northwest side that he planned to turn into an organic brewery. According to the Chicago Tribune, Cantu apparently committed suicide by hanging . Author of the Miracle Berry Diet Cookbook, owner of Moto and Berrista (and now-closed iNG), and chef under Charlie Trotter, Cantu was a major force in the Chicago food scene. Though beset with recent legal and financial woes, he was a brazen individual who used food to entertain, enlighten, and transform. In 2013, Cantu described his last meal as his wife (chef Katie McGowan)'s homemade tomato and basil pizza. The 38-year-old chef is also survived by two children.
Event Thu Aug 07 2014
MOTOR RACING / SHAV GLICK : Two Power Boat Championships in the Southland
Power boats, with two national championship events scheduled, take the racing spotlight in the Southland this weekend with a Formula One oval race at Long Beach Marine Stadium and International Hot Boat Assn. drag races at Castaic Lake.
Formula One boats, the world’s fastest outboards with speeds of about 140 m.p.h., will race Sunday on a 1 1/4-mile oval course. Marine Stadium, built in 1932 for Olympic rowing events, has not been used for professional racing since 1982, according to Mike Little, marine operations officer for the city-operated facility.
Brian Daley of Alta Loma will be the favorite in his Yamaha-powered tunnel boat against a field of 20 entries. Daley won the American Power Boat Assn. championship in 1986 and was fifth in Formula One points last year. Other potential winners include Craig Wendt of Huntington Beach, the 1990 International Outboard Grand Prix champion Don Johnston of Riverside, Greg Foster of Anaheim, and Ron Wilson of Redondo Beach.
The first of two qualifying heats will start at 11 a.m. Sunday with the 50-lap feature race at 2 p.m.
The IHBA Chief Auto Parts Nationals at Castaic Lake will be highlighted by a bonus to be paid the first top fuel hydro to run 230 m.p.h. or blown alcohol hydro to reach 200 m.p.h. A sponsor has posted $5,000 for the nitro-burning top fuelers and $2,500 for the alcohol racers.
Ron Braaksma of San Bernardino, who has reached 225 m.p.h. in his 4,000-horsepower Madness top-fueler, says 230 is attainable. The record is 229 by Eddie Hill, who left drag boats to race dragsters on asphalt.
“Our combination (motor, prop, V-drive) is so sweet, we didn’t hurt a part when we went 225 at High Point (N.C.),” Braaksma said. “We know how to make it go 230, and I can guarantee you that we will step it up to hit and surpass 230 over the next couple races.”
Tom Wright, in his methanol-fueled Cuckoo’s Nest, has the fastest pass of 199.55 m.p.h. in an alcohol hydro boat.
Qualifying on Saturday will set the field for final eliminations Sunday. Castaic Lake is located five miles north of Magic Mountain at the Lake Hughes exit off Interstate 5.
The ninth annual WERA 24-Hours West--one of only two 24-hour motorcycle endurance races in the United States--will be held Saturday and Sunday at Willow Springs Raceway in Rosamond.
Team Suzuki Endurance of Lake Elsinore, eight-time WERA champions, will be heavy favorites in the twice-around-the-clock race over a 2.5-mile, nine-turn circuit near Edwards Air Force Base.
Team captain John Ulrich’s team is expected to challenge its own 24-hour mileage record of 2,215 miles at 92.29 m.p.h. made last year at Willow Springs. That average speed included pit stops and a 20-minute red flag period when all racing stopped.
In a 24-hour race, each team can use up to seven riders--but only one motorcycle. Riders can ride no more than two hours at a time. Team Suzuki’s GSXR1101 racing bike will be ridden by Chuck Graves of Granada Hills and Steve Patterson of Detroit during the daylight hours, with Kurt Hall of Hilton Head, S.C., Michael Martin of Carrollton, Tex., and Wes Cooley of Bend, Ore., handling the night shift.
The team was formed in 1980 by Ulrich and Bruce Hammer. After Hammer was paralyzed in 1982 when he crashed into a steel barrier at Elkhart Lake, Wis., Ulrich and Team Hammer won their first WERA national championship in 1983 and repeated in 1984. After two more victories in 1986 and 1987, Team Hammer became Team Suzuki and won consecutive championships in 1989-90-91-92.
They have won eight of 10 races this year, including a four-hour enduro last April at Willow Springs and clinched this year’s title two weeks ago in a six-hour race at Memphis, Tenn.
Racing begins at 3 p.m. Saturday.
STOCK CARS--Ron Hornaday Jr. will be seeking his third consecutive NASCAR Southwest Tour victory Saturday night at Saugus Speedway when he drives his Pontiac in the Featherlite Trailers 100 on the one-third mile paved oval. The Palmdale driver leads tour standings after 12 races with 1,873 points to 1,843 for Doug George and 1,836 for Rick Carelli, who has won six races. Figure 8s and a train race will complete the program. . . . Lance Hooper won his eighth Winston Racing Series sportsman main event last week at Saugus, Gary Sigman won his first track championship with a second-place finish. Sigman’s consistency paid off as he completed every lap of every main event all season.
Also Saturday night: Final NASCAR Winston Racing Series points race for sportsman cars at Orange Show Speedway in San Bernardino, Mac Tools Sportsman Grand Prix at Cajon Speedway in El Cajon, late models and dirt cars at Santa Maria Speedway and the final IMCA modified points race at Bakersfield Speedway in Oildale. . . . Ventura Raceway will hold a street stock program Friday night.
DRAG RACING--Top alcohol dragsters and funny cars will be featured in the Palmdale Meet this weekend at the L.A. County Raceway in Littlerock where the National Hot Rod Assn. will also hold a Division 7 sportsman championship meet. More than 400 entries are expected for the fourth of six Pacific Division events. Time trials and qualifying will be held Friday with final eliminations starting at 8 p.m. Saturday and resuming at noon Sunday.
SPRINT CARS--Winged outlaw mini-sprints are scheduled Saturday night at Ventura Raceway along with IMCA modifieds. . . . California Racing Assn. wingless sprinters will be at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix on Saturday night.
Best of Augusta 2020
It’s comforting to remember that even in 2020, by popular acclaim the worst year most of us have ever had the misfortune to endure, there are still plenty of bests to offset all the worsts. Please enjoy all the proof the following pages provide.
You say working from home means you aren’t up before sunrise anymore? Don’t worry. The clock may say brunch, but
Sunrise Grill will still serve you the best breakfast in town. Next most popular are Ruth’s Family Kitchen and downtown’s (that is, either Augusta or Aiken) New Moon Cafe.
The real tragedy here is that brunch at Edgar’s Grille , anointed as #1 by our readers, happens but once a week. Another potential tragedy: forgetting to remove your mask before that first delicious bite. Manuel’s Bread Café and The Partridge Inn also receive high marks.
Ah, something that happens daily. That’s more like it. And the menu at Village Deli is so extensive – 5 solid pages – that you can sample different good things there six days out of every seven. Edgar’s Grille shows up again here, as does TBonz Steakhouse.
No offense intended, but a proper business lunch should not happen in a strip mall eatery. The setting should suggest empires a-building, a place like
Augustino’s . At least that’s what readers suggest. TBonz Steakhouse takes first runner-up, followed by The Pinnacle Club, offering a superb setting for members’ business lunches (not to mention dinner) at the highest level (seriously) for more than 50 years.
In ordinary times, you might hop on a plane to central China to satisfy your craving for good Chinese food. This year, you’ll have to be content with Hunan Café , but readers say don’t despair: you’re in for a treat. Alas, it’s just as hard to travel to Japan right now too, so take readers up on their suggestions to also try Toki Japanese Steakhouse and Fujiyama Japanese Steak House.
Locations of Taqueria El Rey are popping up here and there across the area, so there’s no excuse for not visiting the best. Monterrey Mexican Restaurant and Vallarta Restaurante Mexicano (not sure what that translates to in English) are also short listed by readers.
Know what will be crazy? If scientists discover in a month or two that curry is the most effective weapon against COVID-19. If so, Curry Hut will be even more popular than it is now. Visit today and beat the rush! Taj of India and Namaste offer tasty karma too.
Italy made the news across the globe earlier this year for being a hot spot. Meanwhile in Augusta, Oliviana Ristorante has been a hot spot since the day it opened. Giuseppe’s Pizza and Italian Specialties scores 2nd, and Luigi’s (not too far away from their 75th Anniversary), takes 3rd.
Craft & Vine has earned a gold medal from readers for waking up taste buds. That’s the job of appetizers, right? C&V doesn’t even open until 5 pm, but it’s worth the wait. Other taste bud alarm clocks of note: The Bee’s Knees and Finch & Fifth.
Sconyers Bar-B-Que may well be the most handsome restaurant in the river region, but people don’t go there for that. It’s the barbecue that has made Sconyers rather legendary. If by chance you’ve never had a Sconyers experience, put on your stretchy pants and head over. Willie Jewell’s Old School Bar-B-Q is first runner-up, and Southbound Smokehouse follows.
This splinter faction of the barbecue world also marches to the beat of Sconyers , says the voice of the people. Shane’s Rib Shack is what you might call second rib, and TBonz Steakhouse third.
Despite its untamed name, Wild Wing Cafe has clearly corralled the secret recipe for wonderful wings. And now they’ve gone and done it in Grovetown, too. TBonz Steakhouse and Southbound Smokehouse offer some pretty fly wings too, say our readers.
“Beyond Casual” is the most accurate slogan in all the world, and it’s the property of our own hometown eatery, Rhinehart’s Oyster Bar . Boys and girls, we are on the map. T’s Restaurant and Abel Brown are also on board as top vote getters in this category.
Some say it’s almost criminal to eat the sushi creations at Takosushi, the reader favorite, because they’re like little sculptures. Preserve art! But never fear: eat these and they’ll make more, pinkie promise. Other A-list edible sculptures are offered at Solé Augusta and Izumi Japanese Restaurant.
Considering the dietary importance of protein, choosing TBonz Steakhouse (as readers did), is a very wise decision. Voters also have no beef (figuratively speaking) with Calvert’s Restaurant and Cadwalladers Cafe.
This being an election year, the catfish vote has been actively courted by every candidate. The incumbent often has a natural advantage, and sure enough,
T’s Restaurant will serve another year as your top choice. Second place goes to Old McDonald’s Fish Camp, and Café 209 wins third.
WifeSaver takes the gold again when it comes to fried chicken in this town. It’s the ultimate comfort food, and we have certainly needed that while at home. Pick some up today to combat the COVID blues. Researchers from the CDC (Chicken, Delicious Chicken) also recommend Maryland Fried Chicken and Frog & The Hen.
Many people think Sunshine Bakery is a division of Sunrise Grill, but they are not related beyond the connection between sunrise and sunshine (which, admittedly, is quite significant). Yes, Sunshine Bakery stands alone, especially in the world of soup (also, admittedly, quite significant). California Dreaming, right here in Georgia (Fun Fact: they tried Georgia Dreaming and it just didn’t work), takes the silver tureen, and Village Deli gets the bronze.
Money can’t buy happiness. But it can buy pizza, an important distinction. Your fellow readers suggest Mellow Mushroom is the best place to allocate the pizza portion of your household budget. Pizza Joint and Pizza Central are the other two toppings in this category.
Your Numero Uno is everyone’s favorite one-link chain restaurant: Nacho Mama’s . Diablo’s Southwest Grill (6 area locations) wins second place, and Monterrey Mexican Restaurant (did you know they have almost 70 locations across the country?) wins third.
You know what they always say about hot dogs: they taste best at the old ball yard. But when the old ball yard isn’t available — like during pandemics, for example — then they always say SnoCap has the best hot dogs. This is a food that’s all about atmosphere. Two other top dogs are Farmhaus and Village Deli.
The word hamburger originally comes from Germany’s second-largest city, so it’s no coincidence that Farmhaus wins this election. (Note the German spelling of house. See what they did there?) Whiskey Bar Kitchen and Gary’s Hamburgers also made the medals stand.
Before the invention of French fries, you might have had a hard time convincing people that elongated potato pieces would ever be a big hit. But they are, and have been for a long time. One history notes that Thomas Jefferson had “potatoes served in the French manner” at a White House dinner in 1802. Your top three 218 years later:
3. Whiskey Bar Kitchen
If you’re going to be punched in the mouth, it’s best to let Knuckle Sandwiches do it. But we assure you, it’s a good punch in the mouth. Hildebrandt’s continues to do what they’ve done so well since 1879, and Village Deli earns third.
Just any old collection of mixed greens does not rise to the occasion, but The Southern Salad does. Veg out or veg in, your choice. California Dreaming and TBonz Steakhouse will also gladly trade some of their greens for some of yours.
With a name like The Boll Weevil Cafe and Sweetery — is sweetery even a word? — they aren’t being exactly subtle about it. Just give in and go. You won’t regret it. (Ok, ok, you might. But in a good way.) Neighbors French Market Grille and Abel Brown Southern Kitchen & Oyster Bar also offer sweet dreams.
The big winner is actually lil’ – the Lil’ Dutch Bakery , to be precise. They pour the time and energy they save by dropping those three extraneous letters into their delicious goodies. Second place goes to The Boll Weevil, and third to Taylor-Made Kakes. You’ve never heard of Taylor-Made? Get with the program! She has more than 11,000 followers on Facebook!
Some things in the world of 2020 can be enjoyed just as well online. Not donuts. There is no substitute for the real thing, and voters recommend Krispy Kreme , Belair Donuts and Heroes Donuts, in that order.
Rumor has it that Bruster’s Ice Cream , your fave, offers vanilla. That may be a hoax, but we do know for sure that they have Chocolate Butter Batter Brickle Banana Chip Cheesecake Swirl Crunch. Cold Stone Creamery and Pink Dipper also have one or two flavors.
The world’s most popular beverage (just barely edging out vodka and scotch), coffee is item #1 on the menu at Buona Caffe , the top reader choice. Ubora and New Moon Cafe are other key suppliers to feed your addiction.
Just think: you could have been born in some desolate corner of the world where they don’t have WifeSaver and their superb iced tea. Count your blessings, people. McDonald’s gets 2nd and Chick-fil-A 3rd.
In a virtual repeat of last year’s election results, Toast Wine & Beverage , The White Horse Wine & Spirits, and Cork & Flame take the top three spots. When you’ve found a winner, stick with it.
When a restaurateur formerly owned a wine store, you can be pretty sure he knows his stuff, and so it is with Cork & Flame , the top reader choice. Craft & Vine and Frog Hollow Tavern are very worthy also-rans.
Beer Selection (Take Home )
There are big box brews and local lagers being produced all over the world, and Toast Wine & Beverage and Beverage Outlet take home the gold and silver as the best places to sample the planet’s offerings.
Which brings us to the World of Beer. Literally. It’s a huge planet we live on, but the World of Beer is conveniently located right here on Washington Road. Even better, readers say they have the best beer menu available. Arsenal Tap Room and The Hive score second and third.
A quality craft cocktail is 50% science, 50% art, and 50% flavor. If you doubt this formula, inquire within at Craft & Vine for all the supporting evidence you’ll need. Downtown’s shiny new Pineapple Ink Tavern earns the silver medal (go see why!), while Finch & Fifth takes the bronze.
In these challenging times, we need more than just an hour of happiness, so Finch & Fifth invites you to stay as long as you’d like (within reason). TBonz Steakhouse is also trying to do its part, as is Solé Augusta.
Appropriately enough, Tastefully Yours wins the category. When you hire a caterer, you definitely want tasty, and you want it yours, not somebody else’s. FatMan’s Café and Berry’s Catering battle for second and third.
Winning this category is a true key to success, and this year the honor goes to Chick-fil-A , proving once again that haute service can trump haute cuisine any day of the week (except Sunday). TBonz Steakhouse and Buona Caffe also place well in this noteworthy category.
In a year that has seen way too much actual down-home cooking, Goolsby’s is the best there is, say the ballots, at offering non-down-home cooked down-home cooking. And who doesn’t need that right now? Honey From the Rock and WifeSaver complete the top three.
Dining al fresco has always been pleasant, but it hasn’t been potentially life-saving until this year. Rhinehart’s Oyster Bar has plenty of socially distanced tables waiting for you. Solé Augusta and Pizza Joint also have a spread-out spread ready for hungry customers.
Your top pick, Pineapple Ink Tavern , may be new, but there is plenty of experience back in the kitchen. That experience pays off on your plate and then your taste buds. Readers also said a big “yes jo” to Nojo, a.k.a. Noble Jones. Try it! MeiMei’s Dim Sum House in Grovetown scores third place.
You cannot go wrong at any of these fine finalists: Whiskey Bar Kitchen in first, Frog Hollow Tavern in second, or Solé Augusta in third.
If one of these establishments isn’t in your neighborhood, call a Realtor (circle R and everything) today! Sheehan’s Irish Pub is on top, followed closely by Manuel’s Bread Café, and finally Beck’s, whom we hope to promptly see post-pandemic.
Best Hidden Gem
You could get lost the first time you search for Rae’s Coastal Café , but only if you don’t have GPS. With or without navigation, though, the votes say you’ll have no trouble finding your way back a second time. And a third and a fourth…Knuckle Sandwiches and Pineapple Ink Tavern are anything but hard to find, so don’t overlook those gems either.
Best Overall Restaurant
We conclude the dining categories with the one grouping that embraces the best of the best. The gold medal, blue ribbon trophy goes to Frog Hollow Tavern . Congratulations! Next, readers like TBonz Steakhouse, and they complete the classiest classification with Cork & Flame. Our (and readers’) compliments to all three.
Local Male Vocalist
There is no doubt Trey McLaughlin can sing. But how well? Well enough to be #1 in this worthy field of finalists. In second is last year’s #1, Ryan Abel. He even sounds great singing through a mask. Russell Joel Brown is third. Is Augusta sharing him with Broadway, or is Broadway sharing him with us?
Local Female Vocalist
The ballots sing the praises of Tyreon
Williams as the winner of the Augusta version of The Voice. Bethany Davis and ChaVonne Campbell are the first and second A-list alternates.
Local R&B Group
Being a group, The Lady & The Gents no doubt stand safely within separate 6-foot circles, but the music still comes out in perfect harmony. Tre Sounds (fronted by the aforementioned ChaVonne Campbell as lead singer) wins the silver medal, and Sounds Unlimited earns the bronze.
Local Jazz Band
The Lady & The Gents’ playbook includes lots of all-time great jazz classics. You can’t go wrong with that formula. Perennial favorite Garden City Jazz wins second.
Local Country Band
Kenny George Band released their new album, “Forgotten South,” just in time to meet a little virus flying in from China. But thankfully, music is immune to infection. Find them on YouTube and elsewhere, and look for their next live gig. Harlem Sons and Whiskey Run are scond and third.
Local Rock/Alternative Band
Ed Turner and Number 9 is quite possibly Augusta’s favorite musical group of any kind. They certainly are in this category, and we have the votes to prove it. Anybody’s Guess and Bethany Davis & the Southside Boys are the warm-up acts in second and third.
Local Bluegrass Band
The Mason Jars play classic bluegrass, which probably explains their name: they preserve the traditions of the genre. The ever-popular Eryn Eubanks is next up, followed by Bethany Davis and the Southside Boys.
Local Contemporary Christian Band
We have seen this name before: Trey McLaughlin & The Sounds of Zamar band, take this trophy. Repeat winners Eryn Eubanks and the Family Fold, and Ryan Abel round out the category.
Local Performing Arts Group
Winners in this category, by a strange coincidence, all share the same first name. The curtain goes up to first reveal Augusta Players . Augusta Choral Society and Augusta Mini Theatre also fill ballot boxes — and seats.
Have you noticed it’s not easy to meet people during a global pandemic? Lockdowns do make things a little more challenging. Enter Garden City Social . Notice anything unusual about their name? It’s not Garden City Social Distancing, thank goodness. Along with their downtown neighbors Solé Augusta and The Scene Nightclub, you’ve got three options for singles endorsed by our expert panel.
Earlier this summer The Indian Queen marked its 8th birthday. So they aren’t even legal yet, but even so they are the reader favorite. People love Southbound Smokehouse (in second) for a multiplicity of reasons: live music, good food, and refreshing libations. Metro Coffeehouse just keeps being a place people like to go.
Live Music Bar
Metro Coffeehouse (see previous sentence). They’re tops in this category. Southbound Smokehouse and Wild Wing Cafe offer alternate stages because variety is a good thing.
Wild Wing Cafe offers the complete package: good food and drinks of course, but they’re your #1 sports bar and #3 bar for live music. So while you’re eating, drinking and boot scootin’, you can also keep an eye on the scoreboard. How efficient of you. Broad Street’s classic Sports Center and Buffalo Wild Wings are your primo alternates.
Local TV Station
Sure, we miss the old Barnes & Noble, the former tenant at WJBF’s Television Park studio. But on the plus side we do have the new Barnes & Noble and WJBF . Readers say that’s a win-win. Next year’s probable winner, with their shiny new home and everything, is WRDW, and readers say Channel 3 belongs to WFXG.
Local TV News Anchor (Female)
Normally it would be highly inappropriate to call a woman an anchor, let alone tell her she’s the best. But we hope incumbent Jennie Montgomery cherishes this victory. If for any reason she is unable to complete her reign, first runner-up and colleague Dee Griffin is ready to step in. Barclay Bishop makes it a clean sweep for WJBF’s distaff staff.
Local TV News Anchor (Male)
The award for best news male anchor goes to Jennie’s on-air other half Brad Means of WJBF. Good job. Which reminds us, Richard Rogers of WRDW walks away with second place. Back at WJBF, John Hart scoops up third.
Local TV Weather Anchor
Veteran weatherman Jay Jefferies of WFXG, he of more than 30 years’ experience, gets the trophy this year, while WRDW’s Riley Hale takes home the silver. Readers gave George Myers a standing ovation in third as he headed off into retirement.
Local TV Morning Anchor
Her job description is only three words: rise and shine. Readers say Barclay Bishop of WJBF is performing quite well. First place, in fact. Her co-anchor Mary Morrison shares the early morning light, and the matutinal Monique Williams of WRDW wins third.
Local Media Sports Reporter
No one wants a Best of Augusta victory quite as much as a sports reporter, so this win is especially sweet for WJBF’s Colin Cody . Colleague John Hart takes second place, and if you’re thinking, “Hey, I thought he was a news anchor,” you don’t know John. His middle name is actually Sports. Really. Kevin Faigle of WRDW, recently retired from the broadcast world but still in the area, got third.
Local Media Reporter
George Eskola (WJBF) can be Mr Hard-Nosed Investigative Reporter, or he can be Out There Somewhere. Either way, he’s your favorite. The golden one, Meredith Anderson of WRDW, is silver this time, and her colleague Liz Owens wins the bronze.
Sylvia Cooper was your favorite Augusta Chronicle writer when you voted. These days, after a 30-year run, she is your favorite former Augusta Chronicle writer.
If there is any more senior writer at the Chronicle than Bill Kirby, we’d be surprised. He’s your #2 man. Damon Cline, who can make a bond referendum for an industrial park into a fascinating paragraph, places third.
Local Radio Station
WKXC, better known as Kicks 99 , takes top honors, possibly on the basis of the Guitar Pull alone. What a great annual tradition. Thanks, Kicks! WAFJ and WGAC place second and third.
Local Talk Radio Personality
WGAC’s Austin Rhodes , aka, “The Guy With the Lock on #1,” is, you guessed it, Number One. Word on the street is he has trademarked the term “Twenty-Eight-Peat.” Mary Liz Nolan, also of the WGAC family, is poised to overtake him from her perch in second. In third is the one radio personality with the word Best in her name! Cher Best sends her voice out into the universe from WKSP, better known as 96.3 Kiss-FM.
Local Radio Morning Show
No one can even speak to you until you’ve had that first cup of coffee — except the Kicks 99 Wake Up Crew . Not a bad choice. Fatz and Cher at Kiss-FM are your first alternates (who you turn to during commercials on Kicks), and John and April at WAFJ place 3rd.
Local News Story
Readers in Augusta said Covid-19 is this year’s top news story. Funny thing is, people in roughly 28 million other cities and towns said it was their top local story too. Weird. Augusta’s Cyber Center is next up, and in third is Truck hits Olive Road underpass, Truck hits Olive Road underpass, Truck hits Olive Road underpass, Truck hits Olive Road underpass, Truck hits Olive Road underpass, Truck hits Olive Road underpass…Uh oh! That story is stuck on repeat!
Best Part of Augusta Magazine
Your favorite feature in this publication is Best of Augusta , so save this copy for future reading when you need a nice pick-me-up. Those delicious photographs and recipes in Taste places next, and we close Best like we do every issue: with Around Town.
Men’s Clothing Store
Low Country Clothier is riding high, enjoying your votes as the #1 men’s shop in our fair city. Boardroom Clothing Company is still up there (2nd) even though boardroom attire in 2020 is sometimes pajamas (well, pajama bottoms, anyway). Jos A. Bank Clothiers takes third.
The Swank Co . earns the first of its numerous imaginary gold, silver and bronze medallions in this category. We hope they have plenty of empty space in their imaginary trophy case. SOHO and Brittany Boutique are the other two reader-recommended finalists.
Women’s Shoe Store
Ladies, if you’re looking for the perfect pair of shoes, Shoes at Surrey is the winner! Their knowledgeable staff is ready to help.The Swank Co. is never far behind, it seems, and here they are in 2nd. For the fleet of foot, Fleet Feet is there for you.
Place to Buy Handbags
Take your old handbag to your friends and ours at The Swank Co . Presumably it contains your cash or plastic. Use same to purchase a stylish new handbag. Find the old purse to a new home on Let It Go. Another silver for SOHO, and Shoes at Surrey is the third of three at the top.
Readers, we like the way you think: surely you love Cabela’s, perhaps the logical first choice here, but your heart is with local businesses first. Well played. Escape Outdoors , therefore, takes the win. The outdoors is like the world’s biggest escape room, you know? Fleet Feet and Half Moon Outfitters complete your top faves.
Consignment store (Furniture)
From the antique silk Persian rugs on the floor to that original Van Gogh (that someone thought was a print worth only $49.95), Consign Design is your top choice for furnishings of the pre-owned variety. Romantic Farmhouse and Second Time Around are also winners.
Consignment store (Clothing)
Assuming the duds are in primo shape, who cares if they aren’t new as long as they’re new to you? That’s all that really matters, right? Hence the success of Encore Consignment , your top choice. Uptown Cheapskate is second in this second-hand category. Well that certainly makes sense.
We must say, Publix has really had their act together during this pandemic, and readers noticed too, rewarding them with the Super-Duper Supermarket designation. The Fresh Market and Sprouts Farmers Market are apparently merely duper among readers who eat.
Because chemicals are generally considered to be less than tasty, there is a demand for organic food. Sprouts Farmers Market fills that need best, say voters. Naturally, The Fresh Market and Good Earth Produce & Garden Center are also great.
According to our readers, Good Earth Produce & Garden Center needs a new name. They modestly named the place Good Earth readers say Best Earth is more accurate. Sprouts Farmers Market and The Fresh Market are best-adjacent.
Houseplants? Trees and shrubs for the yard? Bedford Greenhouses probably has what you’re looking for. Call ahead and ask for Isabelle if you aren’t sure, but an in-person visit never disappoints. Good Earth Produce & Garden Center wins second Greenbrier Nursery & Gifts takes third.
When they say Cudos2U (as readers did), they’re saying “Congratulations to U for being so generous!” Good job, u! The Swank Co. is sittin’ swanky in second. Sacred Heart Cultural Center is a great idea in third.
Place to Shop for Husband/Boyfriend
Are you thinking maybe some 2x4s and a DIY oil change kit? Please lie down until that thought goes away. Ready to try again? This time, proceed to Rivers & Glen Trading Company . Ask for Glen. He’ll take care of you. Low Country Clothier is another good reader nomination. Escape Outdoors is third. Their slogan: Get your adventure on. Well, his adventure.
Place to Shop for Wife/Girlfriend
Golfers covet the green jacket. Augusta ladies covet the green box from Windsor Fine Jewelers . They’re your hands down favorite every single time. For other gifts for the women in your life, The Swank Co. and Sacred Heart Gift Shop are also endorsed by readers.
Judging by the vote totals, Weinberger’s Furniture is kind of a big deal, which means it’s probably also a good deal. Merry’s Home Furnishings places second, and Savvy Shopper, that place across from Applebee’s on Washington Road, scores third.
Even if Mema didn’t have one, sometimes you want one anyway. The place to go is obviously Mema Had One . Buy two so Mema has one too. This time Savvy Shopper wins the silver medal. Days Gone By is third.
Windsor Fine Jewelers are the finest jewelers, according to the ballots. We actually weighed them and Windsor’s votes tallied up a couple hundred thousand carats. Wow! Crown Jewelers wears the silver crown signifying secondary excellence, which is still pretty excellent. Friedman’s Jewelers comes next.
The Swank Co . is the epitome of swankiness in the costume jewelry department, say readers. If Swanksville isn’t calling your name for some reason, try the Sacred Heart Gift Shop, say readers. Or stop by SOHO, the other jewelry box filler suggested by readers.
It’s not just people who need to sanitize these days. It’s important for cars too, and Sparkle Express is the recommended spot, say voters. LuLu’s and Tidal Wave are 2nd and 3rd.
Long before quarantine hair was a thing, Durden’s Barbershop was doing its thing. When you go there, you step back in time a little bit and come out with today’s latest style. Cool how they can do that. Yankee Clippers and Old Tyme Tattoo & Barbershop are your second and third choices.
There is only one bank in town that allows almost anyone to make withrawals: Golden Harvest Food Bank . No wonder they’re best among voters. WLJ Angel Gowns come next, helping families cope with the loss of newborns. Let’s hope we have very little need for their services. Salvation Army is third.
Special Event Facility
If you could book a palace for a special event, that would be sweet. But you’ve got to admit, Sacred Heart Cultural Center is the next best thing. Look at the place! Remember Columbia County’s Lady Antebellum Pavillion? When the band changed its name to Lady A, the county removed more than ntebellum they too off Lady A too, and replaced it with Columbia County Amphitheater. Of course, that has to go too (along with the name of the county) because it honors Christopher Columbus. My, how things change. Legends Club placed third.
Ok, so maybe no tourists will come to town for this year’s Masters Tournament . But it’s still Augusta’s #1 tourist attraction. And maybe they’ll allow life-size cardboard cutouts of badge-holders on the course like the Braves do. The river takes second and third in the person of 2.) the Augusta Canal and 3.) Riverwalk.
The James Brown statue is hot, especially since they cut down the trees shading it last year. Sacred Heart Cultural Center is next, followed by the hidden gem known as the Lucy C. Laney Museum.
Place You Wish Was Still Here
The Fat Man’s dynasty still exists, but Fat Man’s Forest is just a fond memory the fondest, in fact. Fort Discovery also holds a special place in reader’s hearts. The Haunted Pillar had a great run, but now it can only haunt our memories.
Things are coming up roses (and various other flowers) for Martina’s Flowers . Flowers on Broad and Ladybugs Flowers complete the bouquet.
As the vote totals developed, Rick Milton Photography appeared in first place. Yolanda Rouse Photography and Rachel Tesch Photography are two other great options if your goal is to avoid awkward family photos.
First Date Spot
A leisurely stroll along the Savannah on Riverwalk could be life-changing, you never know. We like how readers are thinking. It isn’t, “for a first date, better keep the investment low.” No, they suggest Solé Augusta and Oliviana Ristorante as additional great venues for that tone-setting first date.
If things work well (see above) put Elegant Bridals on your must-see list. House of the Bride also works, say readers, because grooms need to learn as early as possible that it’s all about her. There is no House of the Groom, guys. Tiffinie Bleu Bridal Boutique wins 3rd.
Coming in first as the reader favorite (after Golden Harvest Food Bank, of course) is Queensborough National Bank & Trust . SRP Federal Credit Union and Wells Fargo are also good for the money.
You can type nothing more than “Venus Augusta” into your Googler, and the world wide web will deliver Meybohm Real Estate’s
Venus Morris Griffin to your screen. Shannon Rollings and Ross Trulock are second and third. You can’t work from home if you don’t have a home, right? Call a realtor today!
Call your top choice, Planet Fitness, to ask about their proposals for things like global warming, population control and acid rain. They may have nothing, but they can probably still help you personally. Gold’s Gym and Oxygen Fitness also compete.
The owner of Tuscany Italian Spa might well say, “I’m Leigh Ann Keels and I improve this massage.” She probably wouldn’t say that, but she might. Second place goes to Retreat Spa & Salon, and Serenity Massage & Wellness Spa wins third.
Back in the day the Bliss Salon building was the home of Hill Drug. In other words, this location has always been about helping people feel good, inside and out. Halo Salon & Spa and His & Her Hair Salon complete the top three.
Place to Swim
Swimming is the perfect exercise, which is why we all do it regularly. We do, don’t we? Well if not, get in the swim at the Family Y , recommend voters. The Augusta Aquatic Center is in lane 2, and the Kroc Center is in lane 3.
You say you want to follow in Bobby Jones’ footsteps but your invitation to become a member of Augusta National got lost in the mail? Then Forest Hills Golf Club is for you. The River Club is one shot back, and The Patch, also known (by no one) as the Augusta Municipal Golf Course, takes third.
In our litigious society, if you must take someone to court, take them to Newman Tennis Center. The votes say Westlake and Petersburg Racquet Club complete the local list of our highest courts.
Relax. Take a deep breath. Space Yoga Studio will take you where you need to go. Oxygen Fitness Studio is your next choice. Third place goes to Deepwater Yoga, where no water is involved. The name comes from the perpetual calm in the deep waters of the ocean no matter what’s happening on the surface.
Place to Walk Your Dog
Fun Fact: the Augusta Canal is a great place to walk your dog even if you don’t have a dog. Just pretend. North Augusta’s Greeneway is another excellent option, and readers also endorse Pendleton King Park.
Best Local Arts Festival
Speaking of pretending, lets pretend that Arts in the Heart was great again this year. The art! The performances! The food! The best yet! The same goes for the Augusta Greek Festival, except we don’t have to pretend: at press time it’s still on schedule for October 9-11. Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que Music Festival, another perrenial favorite, also hopes to be back next year.
The nationwide Zoom country music concert that locally raised $100,000 for the Golden Harvest Food Bank in April might have been a worthy candidate, but voters like hometown events best. Like the Sacred Heart Garden Festival, for instance. And the Miracle Mile Walk. And It’s Spooky to Be Hungry.
Appears in the October 2020 issue of Augusta Magazine.
Street Food Favorites Go Head-to-Head at Vendy's Masters Cup - Recipes
Today was as good a day in Montreal as it gets in this ridiculous weather. It was a little less frigid than it's been (-10C) and the skies were clear so it was great for walking around, so long as you had your gloves, scarf, hat, boots and wool coat with you. After a lunch of roast chicken and fish and chips at a local supermarket, Loblaws, we took the Metro to Montreal's Museum of Contemporary Art. Smack in the heart of town, the museum is situated within a larger building known as the Place-des-Arts which is essentially the city's premier arts venue. There are a couple of theatres (the Nutcracker was playing at the matinee today), a performing studio, the museum and a wonderful music and books store, Archambault that Jude & I have always liked. As students, we only had to pay $3 for entry into the museum today and it was a nice way to spend the afternoon. They were having an Isaac Julien exhibition which included three of his film installations. They weren't presented in your usual single screen format but split into three adjacent screens, which lent itself to the narrative in a rather provocative way actually. It was interesting I guess, but not really my cup of tea. I guess when it comes to art, I'm still a bit of a purist- if it's not hanging on a wall or displayed on a stand, it takes me a little while to warm to it. I went to a modern German art exhibition once where one of the displays was an open briefcase with a bottle of Maggi seasoning sauce inside. Go figure- I didn't get it then, and I still don't get it now. Give me a Chagall or a Giacometti anyday.
We hung around Archambault for a while after that hoping to find something interesting, which you know we did of course. But we had to keep grabbing stuff off each other, reminding ourselves that on a graduate student budget, over-shopping would be a sin even we couldn't forgive ourselves for (I guess over-shopping is a sin even if we weren't in school. ) So as sensible students, we decided to blow the money on something more constructive we went to watch a movie.
Two blocks east of the Place-des-Arts is Boulevard St. Laurent, a 6 km-long street which starts with Chinatown down south and ends with the Latin Quarter in the north. In between, you can find just about everything- from electronic shops to hip boutiques, the Just For Laughs headquarters to an oxygen bar (yes, they do "serve" pure oxygen- it gives you a real high apparently. ). We ended up at the Ex-Centris, a small but very chic movie theatre (read: black marble decor, metallic ornaments, no staff below the age of 25, and a wine bar). We've been dying to watch A Very Long Engagement and where better to watch a French film than in Francophone Canada? The movie was great. Audrey Tatou was luminous as usual (although Jude thinks she only has one expression- that cross between bewilderment and profound adoration) but it was the direction and plot that took my breath away. Jean-Pierre Jeunet is best known for Amelie (which I love) and The City of Lost Children (which I don't Jude on the other hand loves Delicatessen) but A Very Long Engagement reminds everyone why Jeunet continues to be one of France's beloved directors- he is a great story-teller. He so lovingly weaves the characters and plots together and then uses the cinematography (as well as Angelo Badalamenti's stirring score) to such sumptuous effect that you forget the movie goes on for a good two-half hours. It's like reading a really gripping mystery novel that makes you fall in love with everyone in it. Many say the heart of the film is a love story, but I think it's more accurate to think of it as a tapestry of love stories. In war, love becomes something even more rare, more precious, and so much more in need to be clung on to, whether through vengeance, sacrifice or just sheer hope. Jude and I both think this was very, very well-done and definitely worth a second viewing. Trust us, it's that kind of a movie. Good stuff.
Then what better way to top off a great day than with a good dinner? When one thinks of good food in Montreal, one invariably thinks of smoked meat and when you think of smoked meat, eveyone knows you go straight to Schwartz's. A Montreal institution for over 70 years, celebrities and dignitaries share seats with the common grocer and policeman in this small Jewish deli. The smoked meat is out-of-this-world delicious and. actually, there isn't an "and"- that's just it, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful smoked meat. People have been known to not just travel all the way to Montreal to eat here, they bring back with them pounds of the conveniently frozen version so they can slowly savor the there's-so-much-fat-in-the-meat-but-who-cares-if-it-clogs-my-arteries goodness of Schwartz's without standing in line in the cold or cramming in with 50 other people in a place made for 30. We once even overheard a guy sitting next to us gloating on his phone to his friend in the States that he was having Schwartz's smoked meat at that moment. Literally gloating. Anyway, Jude and I gratefully wolfed down two portions of smoked meat, a steak, a plate of fries, a bowl of coleslaw and a pickle. And we were happy.
Without a doubt, I thoroughly enjoyed myself today, and I have a satisfied stomach, tired feet and a full heart to show for it. Did all my favorite things, in my favorite city and with my favorite person- what more can a girl ask for? Coffee maybe, and that. well, I'm having it now.
West Maui Restaurants
Hunting for food on Maui? Read our recommendations below to find the best Maui restaurant for your tastes and budget. Or read in-depth editorial about Maui restaurants.
★ = ʻAipono Readers Choice Award Winner 2019
B = Breakfast L = Lunch D = Dinner
BR = Brunch N = Dinner past 9 p.m.
RR = Reservations Recommended
Average Entrée Price: $ = < $15 $ = < $25 $$ = < $40 $$ = $40+
★ Sale Pepe
878 Front St., Lahaina, 667-7667. Brick-oven-fired pizza and flatbreads are highlights on a menu that changes daily, with items like pancetta and ceci purée on grilled crostini, and house-made strozzapreti pasta tossed with fresh kale and Italian sausage—like Michele’s mama makes in Italy. Good selection of Italian wines and beer. Italian. D. $ $
★ Tiki Terrace Restaurant
2525 Ka‘anapali Pkwy. Ka‘anapali, 667-0124. Tiki Terrace, located inside Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel, takes pride in presenting the diverse flavors of Hawaiʻi, using fresh and locally-sourced ingredients. Kid-friendly. American/Pacific Rim. BR., D. $ $ $
5095 Napilihau St #103, Lahaina, HI 96761, 298-2499.
Vegan cuisine made with the freshest Maui produce. Try the açai bowl, soba bowl with peanut sauce, or bagel sandwich with hummus, avo and veggies. International. B, L. $
‘Aina Gourmet Market
Honua Kai Resort, 130 Kai Malina Pkwy., Ka‘anapali, 662-2800. Chef James McDonald oversees this deli’s menu, right down to the sun-ripened tomatoes and Maui onions grown upcountry at O’o Farm. Deli. B, L. $
157 Kupuohi St., Lahaina, 793-2115. Nutty veggie and white–cheddar burgers, bahn mi bowls with lemongrass chicken, and mojo pork for Cubanos on freshly baked sourdough—all served in this quasi-industrial setting. Don’t forget the Valley Isle Kombucha. International. L. $-$
Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, 1 Ritz-Carlton Dr., Kapalua, 669-6200. This stylish bar attracts a cocktail generation as lovely as the views. Sushi. D, N. $
★ Aloha Mixed Plate
1285 Front St., Lahaina, 661-3322. Plate lunches served up with plenty of aloha. Shoyu chicken, chow fun, and banana lumpia are local favorites. Kid-friendly. Local Mixed Plate. L, D, N. $
658 Front St., Lahaina, 661-0210. Authentic Mexican fajitas, tostadas, chile verde, flautas, and Amigo’s famous wet burritos. Huge portions. Kid-friendly. Mexican. B, L, D. $
Westin Ka‘anapali Ocean Resort Villas, 6 Kai Ala Dr., Ka‘anapali, 667-3200. Saimin, burgers and fresh fi sh plate lunches mingle with other local fare. Local Mixed Plate. B, L, D. $-$
The Banyan Tree
Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, 1 Ritz-Carlton Dr., Kapalua, 665-7096. Savor a top shelf mai tai, an appetizer of seared scallops on cauliflower purée, and braised short ribs with kabocha squash and aliʻi mushrooms. Pacific Rim. D. $-$$
Sheraton Maui Resort, 2605 Ka‘anapali Pkwy., Ka‘anapali, 808-921-4600. Classic steakhouse fare with an island twist. Try the 16-ounce Black Angus rib eye or fresh catch with chef’s signature farm-to-table preparations. Kid-friendly. American/Hawai‘i Regional. B, D. $$
★ Breakwall Shave Ice
The Wharf Cinema Center, 658 Front St., Lahaina, 661-4900. Cool off with one of the best snow cones on Maui, and discover your favorite island flavor. Treats. $
★ Cane & Canoe
Montage Kapalua Bay, 1 Kapalua Bay Dr., Kapalua, 662-6681. The bright and lively breakfast menu includes poke fruit salad, European-style pastries and top-notch barista service. Later, toast the sunset with Chateau d’Esclans Whispering Angel rosé and succulent grilled octopus with duck chorizo and saffron-coconut veloute. Food service at bar 3–10 p.m. Pacific Rim. B, D. $$
Aston Maui Ka‘anapali Villas, 45 Kai Ala Dr., Ka‘anapali, 661-9091. A casual beachfront spot for local coffee and eggs Benedict with a view. At dinner, the chockablock wine cellar dresses up the simple, satisfying fare. American. B, L, D. $
Cheeseburger in Paradise
811 Front St., Lahaina, 661-4855. This family-friendly restaurant serves up Angus beef burgers, refreshing salads and fun mixology, all with great ocean views, live entertainment and aloha. Kid-friendly. American. B, L, D, N. $
★ Choice Health Bar
1) 1087 Limahana Pl., Lahaina, 661-7711.
2) Whalers Village, 2435 Kā‘anapali Parkway, Kā‘anapali
Juices, smoothies, salads, soups and açai bowls are all made with fresh local ingredients. Daily specials, and an epic entrée with forbidden rice and marinated broccoli in red-pepper sesame sauce. American. B, L. $
CJ’s Deli & Diner
Fairway Shops, 2580 Keka‘a Drive, Kā‘anapali, 667-0968. Comfort food that’s easy on the wallet: homemade meatloaf, deli sandwiches, burgers, and local favorites like mahimahi with lemon-caper sauce, mochiko-chicken plate lunch, and loco moco. Kid-friendly. American. B, L, D. $
Cliff Dive Grill
Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, 2605 Ka‘anapali Pkwy., Ka‘anapali, 661-0031. How to soak up paradise? Order Hawaiian-style spicy edamame, a juicy burger, or island fish taco to go with your poolside mai tai or Black Rock Lager. American, Hawai‘i Regional. L, D. $-$
★ Cool Cat Café
658 Front St., Lahaina, 667-0908. Burgers, chicken, fish and more, in a ’50s diner atmosphere. Kid-friendly. American. L, D. $
Dollies Pub & Café
4310 Honoapi‘ilani Rd., Kahana, 669-0266. Hand-pressed crusts and stone ovens are two reasons this casual restaurant and sports bar won the Silver ‘Aipono for Best Pizza. Menu items range from Dollies cheese steak and meatball subs to Mark’s Costa Rican salad. L, D, N. $-$
★Down the Hatch
The Wharf Cinema Center, 658 Front St., Lahaina, 661-4900. Mermaid fries with cheese, bacon, ranch dressing and lava sauce towering shrimp cocktails fresh island fish and lots of southern aloha . . . so many reasons to dine here! Hawai‘i Regional. B, L, D, N, RR. $
★ Drums of the Pacific Lu‘au
Hyatt Regency Maui, 200 Nohea Kai Dr., Ka‘anapali, 661-1234 Enjoy a traditional imu ceremony and Hawaiian cuisine, plus the dances and music of Polynesia. Kid-friendly. Hawaiian. D, RR. $$
Honua Kai Resort & Spa, 130 Kai Malina Pkwy., Ka‘anapali, 662-2900. Imagine Old Hawai‘i at this open-air beach house while dining on crab- and macadamia-nut wontons or prime rib. Kid-friendly. American/Pacific Rim. B, L, D, RR. $
★ The Feast at Lele
505 Front St., Lahaina, 667-5353. This classy beachfront lu‘au explores the cultural and culinary world of the Pacific Islands. Open bar. Hawaiian/Pacific Rim. D, RR. $$
Fleetwood’s on Front Street
744 Front St., Lahaina, 669-6425. (Yes, that Fleetwood.) British pub meets American restaurant. Kid-friendly. British/ American. D, RR. $-$$
878 Front St., Lahaina, 661-0975. Don’t let the fact that it’s a supermarket fool you. From spicy ‘ahi and sesame shoyu octopus, to Korean shredded dried ika (squid), these poke choices will boggle your mind. But order up! Folks are waiting in line behind you! Second West Maui location: 345 Keawe St., Lahaina, 662-7088. Poke. $
★ Frida’s Mexican Beach House
1287 Front St., Lahaina, 661-1287. Chalupas, fresh chili agua ʻahi, and short-rib tacos served with ocean views and fresh mixology. Latin-inspired. L, D. $-$
Outrigger Napili Shores, 5315 L. Honoapi‘ilani Rd., Napili, 669-5621. Mac-nut pancakes, French toast and legendary fried rice served with an ocean view. Kid-friendly. American. B, L. $
174 Lahainaluna Rd., Lahaina, 661-8939. Chef Gerard Reversade delights guests with ‘ahi stew made “just like in the Basque country.” Terrific ‘ahi tartare, perfect pastries. French. D. $ $ $ $
3600-D L. Honoapi‘ilani Hwy., Honokōwai, 665-0512. Plate lunches piled high with two-scoops rice and mac salad fly out the door of this tiny takeout shop. Local Mixed Plate. No credit cards. Closed Sun. L. $
★ Honolulu Coffee Company
Hyatt Regency Maui, 200 Nohea Kai Dr., Ka‘anapali, 868-4806. ‘Aipono’s 2019 Silver Award for Best Coffee Shop, this full-service coffee bar also offers light fare such as granola parfait with fresh fruit, bagels, and ham-and-cheese croissants. Coffee Shop B, L. $
Honu Seafood & Pizza
1295 Front St., Lahaina, 667-9390. Mark Ellman serves bicoastal seafood and killer Neapolitan pizza. Seafood/Pizza. L, D. $ $
2435 Ka‘anapali Pkwy., Ka‘anapali, 667-6636. Dip your toes in sand at the Barefoot Bar and enjoy kiawe-grilled ono on fresh spinach, homemade ice-cream sandwiches, and live music. Kid-friendly. Hawai‘i Regional. L, D. $ $
Hyatt Regency Maui, 200 Nohea Kai Dr., Ka‘anapali, 667-4796. Savor delicacies like abalone sashimi, and shave your own wasabi root with a sharkskin grater. Japanese/Sushi. D, N. $ $ $
1) Whalers Village, 2435 Ka‘anapali Pkwy., Ka‘anapali, 868-4474.
2) Napili Plaza Shopping Center, 5095 Napilihau St, Lahaina, HI 96761 214-5590
Morcon pork (Filipino-Spanish influences) and raisin-studded meatloaf feature in Chef Joey’s loco moco. Try the braised short-rib pho atop house-made rice noodles, corn and sweet Filipino peppers in a rich ginger beef broth. B, L, D. $ $
Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel
2525 Ka‘anapali Pkwy. Ka‘anapali, 661-0011. Sunday’s brunch buffet features a huge selection of traditional and Hawaiian dishes, champagne, and Hawaiian entertainment. Kid-friendly. American/Pacific Rim. BR. $ $ $
Ka‘anapali Grille & Tap Room
Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club, 667-7733. From the people who brought Cheeseburger in Paradise to Lahaina comes this venue serving burgers, sandwiches, pizzas and salads. Dinner adds steak, fresh fi sh and pasta. Thirty wines under $30 a bottle. American. D. $- $ $
845 Front St., Lahaina, 661-4811. Savor one of the island’s best mai tais on an oceanfront lānai. Opt for sweet basil fish or the 32-oz. prime rib. Save room for Hula Pie. Kid-friendly. Steak/Seafood. L, D. $ $
Kobe Japanese Steak House & Oku’s Sushi Bar
136 Dickenson St., Lahaina, 667-5555. Flying shrimp, whirling spatulas and late-night karaoke make this longtime Lahaina icon fun. Kid-friendly. Japanese/Sushi. D, N, RR. $ $ $
Lahaina Fish Co.
831 Front St., Lahaina, 661-3472. Grab an oceanfront seat and dig into fresh mahi and sautéed sea scallops in cream sauce. A wide selection of surf and turf, memorable tropical drinks, and a happy hour that lasts from noon to 6 p.m. L, D. $ $-$$
★ Lahaina Grill
127 Lahainaluna, Rd., Lahaina, 667-5117. This glamorous restaurant is always on point. Sommelier Richard Olson III suggests lively wine pairings for the famed ‘ahi and foie gras. Hawai‘i Regional. D, RR. $ $ $ $
Lahaina Pizza Company
730 Front St., Lahaina, 661-0700. Deep-dish pizza, hearty salads and sandwiches draw crowds to this relaxed Lahaina hangout. Live music nightly. American/Italian. L, D. $ $
Leilani’s on the Beach
Whalers Village, 2435 Ka‘anapali Pkwy., Ka‘anapali, 661-4495. Snack on burgers or appetizers while you view Ka‘anapali’s sparkling sands at the Beachside Grill. In the dining room, try the panko-herb-crusted daily catch. Kid-friendly. Steak/Seafood. L, D, N. $ $
★ Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop
820 Olowalu Village Rd., Olowalu, 662-3600. The pies may win hearts, but the fried salad and home-baked breads also warrant repeat visits to this homey Olowalu outpost. American. B, L, D. $
Local Boys Shave Ice
624 Front Street, Lahaina, 868-3476. How to chill out in teh Islands? Slurp up a mountain of fruity shave ice served with Plantation Era-inspired add-ons like haupia (coconut) and macadamia-nut ice cream. This location also serves açai bowls, coffee and bagels. Shave Ice. $
888 Front St., Lahaina, 667-2288. For breakfast at this open-air landmark, try the eggs Benedict on thick toasted French bread. For dinner, use the jalapeño cheese bread to sop up sauce served with the shrimp Longhi. Italian. B, L, D. $ $ $-$$
★ Māla Ocean Tavern
1307 Front St., Lahaina, 667-9394. Snap peas slathered in ginger and sambal, and ‘ahi atop flaxseed bruschetta satisfy the health-conscious and the hedonistic at this surfside tavern. Turtle sightings nearly guaranteed. Mediterranean. BR (Sat & Sun), L, D. $ $
Maui Island Coffee
Wharf Cinema Center, 658 Front St., Lahaina, 661-4158. Follow the seductive aroma of fresh-brewed coffee and you’ll find a cafe jewel serving some of the best since 1992. There’s a nice selection of pastries, bagels and light sandwiches for dining in or takeaway. Bistro. B, L, D. $
Maui Sugar Shop
878 Front St., Lahaina, 662-0033. Delectable gluten-free, paleo and vegan delights such as quiches, Belgian waffles, muffins, cakes and more at this bakery café. Bakery. B, L. $
MauiGrown Coffee Company Store
277 Lahainaluna Rd., Lahaina, 661-2728. If youre running low on energy, head to MauiGrown’s plantation-style hale for a boost. Pumpkin bread and other baked goods round out a great cuppa joe. Caf.. B, L. $
★ Mauka Makai
Westin Nanea Ocean Villas, 45 Kai Malina Pkwy., Kā‘anapali, 662-6400. Expect the freshest fish, beef and lamb, vegetable sautes, and island-inspired desserts at this restaurant that celebrates the fishing and farming cultures of ancient Hawai‘i. Pacific Rim. B, L, D. $-$$
★ Merriman’s Kapalua
1 Bay Dr., Kapalua, 669-6400. Dramatic views of the golden crescent beach and islands on the horizon accent the largely organic and local menu. Hawai‘i Regional. D, RR. $ $ $
★ Miso Phat Sushi
4310 Honoapi‘ilani Hwy., Kahana, 669-9010. Sushi served on-site, takeout or delivered. Sashimi platters, sushi rolls, nigiri and house specialty rolls. Japanese. L, D. $ $
★ Moku Roots
335 Keawe St., #211, Lahaina, 214-5106. Where can you find a vegan/vegetarian venue worthy of the 2019 Silver ‘Aipono Award for Best New Restaurant? The same place you’ll find God for tastiest Healthy Fare—right here! Vegetarian/Vegan B, L, D, RR. $
★ Monkeypod Kitchen
Whalers Village, 2435 Kā‘anapali Pkwy., Kā‘anapali, 878-6763. Lunch at this Peter Merriman restaurant includes pizza, burgers, tacos and ramen. For dinner: Big Island beef rib eye with chimichurri sauce, gnocchi with pork sausage, and banana-cream pie. Hawai‘i Regional. L, D, N. $
Myths of Maui
2780 Kekaʻa Dr., Kaʻanapali, 661-9119. Enjoy live music, Polynesian dance and an island-inspired buffet, complete with unearthing of the kalua pig from the imu. Luʻau. D, RR. $ $
Ocean Pool Bar & Grill
Westin Kaʻanapali Ocean Resort Villas, 6 Kai Ala Dr., Ka‘anapali, 667-3200. Kick back with a tropical cocktail and pupu (appetizer) beside the pool the paparazzi should be there shortly. American/Pacific Rim. B, L, D. $ $-$$
★ Old Lahaina Lu‘au
1251 Front St., Lahaina, 667-1998. Lounge on tatami mats and eat lomi lomi salmon and haupia (coconut pudding) like a Hawaiian. Reserve this popular, authentic lu‘au far in advance. Open bar. Kid-friendly. Hawaiian. D, RR. $ $ $ $
505 Front St., Lahaina, 667-4341. Try the tender lobster in homemade pasta, blanketed in an uni emulsion . . . or the coconut-mac-crusted mahi filet with peanut sauce, served with black Thai mochi rice. Hawai‘i Regional. L, D. $ $
★ Pā‘ia Fish Market
632 Front St., Lahaina, 662-3456. The huge slabs of fresh fish served with coleslaw on burger buns explain the long line out the door. Order your ‘ahi burger rare and squeeze in beside surfers and families. Kid-friendly. Seafood. L, D. $
★ Pailolo Bar & Grill
Westin Kaʻanapali Ocean Resort Villas, Kaʻanapali, 667-3200. Spicy, homemade Bloody Mary will rev your engines in the morning. Excellent burgers, tacos, and appetizers, plus ice-cold beer on tap. American. B, L, D. $
180 Dickenson St., Lahaina, 661-6633. Dig into flavorful, affordable pasta dishes while people-watching from this cozy spot tucked down a Lahaina side street. Kid-friendly. Italian. L, D, N. $
Pioneer Inn Grill & Bar
658 Wharf St., Lahaina, 661-3636. Upfront-and-center views of the bustling harbor, sailor-worthy breakfasts, extended happy hours, and well-priced dinners reel ‘em. American. B, L, D. $-$
★ Pizza Paradiso Mediterranean Grill
3350 L. Honoapi‘ilani Hwy., Kaʻanapali, 667-2929. Juicy gyros, flavorful falafel in warm pita bread with a perfect side of tabbouleh, kabob platters . . . and pizza. Dine in or take out. Pizza/Mediterranean. L, D. $-$
Plantation House Restaurant
2000 Plantation Club Dr., Kapalua, 669-6299. Panoramic views are the backdrop for Chef Jojo Vasquez’s gourmet fare on the famed Plantation Course. Outstanding brunch. Hawai‘i Regional/Mediterranean. B, BR, L, D. $ $ $
★ Prison Street Pizza
133 Prison St., Lahaina, 662-3332. Traditional East Coast-style pizza, Caesar salad, calzones and more. Captivating! Italian/Pizza. L, D. $
★ Pūlehu, an Italian Grill
Westin Ka‘anapali Ocean Resort Villas, 6 Kai Ala Dr., Ka‘anapali, 667-3200. Crabmeat-stuffed Kaua‘i prawns, squid-ink pasta with imported Calabrese sausage, and tender braised short ribs on polenta satisfy your Italian food cravings. Excellent wine list. Italian. D. $ $ $
Relish Burger Bistro
Westin Maui Resort & Spa, 2365 Ka‘anapali Pkwy., Ka‘anapali, 667-2525. All-natural Kobe beef burgers, fish sandwiches, salads with island greens, and huli huli grilled chicken breast, served poolside in an open-air setting. Kid-friendly. American/Hawai‘i Regional. B, L, D. $ $-$$
Westin Maui Resort, 2365 Kaʻanapali Pkwy., Ka‘anapali, 667-2525. Fried rice with Asian-style braised beef, fresh mahi atop luscious and cheesy risotto, and a great kale salad with chunky macadamia nuts. Reservations at OpenTable.com. Pacific Rim. B, L, D. $ $-$$
Sheraton Maui, 2605 Kā‘anapali Pkwy., Kā‘anapali, 808-921-4600. Eclectic, globally inspired share plates combine exotic spices, ingredients and flavor profiles with fresh produce from Hawai‘i farms. An equally fresh cocktail program features Hawai‘i-produced spirits and house-made infusions. Kid-friendly. International. B, D. RR. $–$$
2290 Ka‘anapali Pkwy., Ka‘anapali 669-6999. Celebrity Chef Roy Yamaguchi rocks vibrant local fish and produce, prepared with Asian attention to detail. Hawai‘i Regional. L, D. $ $ $ $
★ Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Lahaina Center, 900 Front St., Lahaina, 661-8815. Steaks worthy of devotion, top-flight service and a superb wine list earn the chain loyal fans. This venue doesn’t stray from the flock. Several tables overlook the harbor. American. D, N. $ $ $ $
★ Sale Pepe
See listing at top of page.
★ Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar
600 S. Office Rd., Kapalua, 669-6286. D.K. Kodama’s wildly popular restaurant draws lines late into the night. Small and action-packed, this classy sushi bar is the place to try a Kenny G roll (snapper with shiso and ponzu sauce) with a swig of saké. Pacific Rim/Sushi. D, N, RR. $ $ $
★ The Sea House Restaurant
Napili Kai Beach Resort, 5900 Lower Honoapi‘ilani, Napili, 669-1500. Start your day with oven-baked pancakes laden with fresh fruit. Enjoy coconut-crusted shrimp while the sun sinks into Napili Bay. On Wednesday, stay for Grammy-winner George Kahumoku Jr.’s Masters of Hawaiian Slack-key Guitar. Pacific Rim. B, L, D. $$
658 Front St., Lahaina, 661-9911. Bet you can’t say “Shaka Sushi” five times fast—not when you’re chowing down on their tasty omelettes in the a.m., bentos at lunchtime, or some of the nine specialty sushi rolls served at dinner. Asian. B, L, D. $-$
Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, 200 Nohea Kai Dr., Ka‘anapali, 667-4506. Swans glide up tableside here, and the wine cellar ranks among the largest in the state. Chef Geno Sarmiento’s tiger-eye sushi tempura and ‘ahi prime rib with wasabi mashed potatoes are instant favorites. Pacific Rim. D, N. $$
★ Star Noodle
286 Kupuohi St., Lahaina, 667-5400. Big-city style and local flavors unite. At the communal table, order a Golden Star sparkling jasmine tea. The ramen broth is extra smoky the Singapore noodles bright and flavorful. Asian. L, D. $ $
Tamura’s Fine Wine & Liquors
226 Kupuohi St., Lahaina, 667-9000. Head to the refrigerated section to find a huge selection of fresh ‘ahi poke prepared in Maui’s ethnic flavors of the rainbow: Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Hawaiian, plus poke bowls made to order. Poke. $
2000 Village Road, Kapalua, 667-2426. House-made pastas, agrodolce-style fish of the day, and Italian desserts that stand up to the grand finale: espresso with grappa. Beginning to end, Taverna is a dining heaven. Great wine, cocktails, and exotic craft beer. Italian. B, L, D. $- $ $
★ Teddy’s Bigger Burgers
335 Keawe St., Lahaina, 661-9111. The staff hand-pat the burgers, charbroil them to order, and serve them in a fun diner ambiance. Kid-friendly. American. L, D. $
Sheraton Maui Resort, 2605 Ka‘anapali Pkwy., Ka‘anapali, 808-921-4600. For starters, try the “Oyster Dan”—seared oysters with wasabi and tobiko atop a bed of spinach. Then watch your skillful chef transform chunks of lobster and sirloin into a masterpiece on your plate. Japanese/Steak. D, RR. $ $ $
★ Thai Chef
878 Front St., Lahaina, 667-2814. This small, well-loved restaurant keeps West Side fans coming back for more with its commendable curries, fresh prawn spring rolls, and beef salads drenched in tangy sauce. Thai. L, D. $
★ Tiki Terrace Restaurant
Kaanapali Beach Hotel, 2525 Ka‘anapali Parkway, Ka‘anapali, 661-0011. Dine in casual comfort with the full-service menu, or challenge yourself to try all the offerings at the award-winning Sunday brunch. Kid-friendly. American/Pacific Rim. B, BR, L, D. $-$ $ $
★ Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice
790 Front St., Lahaina. Homemade tropical-flavored syrups like liliko‘i and coconut set this shave-ice business apart. Additional West Maui locations: 819 Front St., Lahaina and in the Hyatt Regency Maui, 200 Nohea Kai Dr., Ka‘anapali. Kid-friendly. $
Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, 200 Nohea Kai Dr., Ka‘anapali, 667-4506. Head poolside for Kobe beef sliders or ‘ahi poke nachos. Knock back a “Mutiny on the Carthaginian” cocktail inspired by Lahaina’s rowdy whaling past. Live music nightly. American/Pacific Rim. L, D. $$
Wailele Polynesian Lū‘au
Westin Maui Resort, 2365 Kā‘anapali Parkway, Kā‘anapali, 667-2525. Fire dancers ignite the excitement, and hula dancers sway as you enjoy a Polynesian feast. Kid-friendly. Lū‘au. D. RR. $$
Choosing Fitness with Sue Reynolds — Little Tips for Weight Loss
Over the past four years, Sue has lost 200 pounds, began exercising, started competing in triathlons, and in 2016, qualified for the World Triathlon Championship where she finished 11th in the World. Sue is eager to user her experiences to help others begin their transformation journeys.
This month marks the one-year anniversary of my 200-pound weight loss! Unlike every other weight-loss plan I’ve tried, my weight seems to be staying off this time. What a relief! While eating a healthy nutrition plan is part of my daily routine now, it still isn’t easy. I’d still love to sit down with a dozen cookies from Bake House and eat them all at once!
Past blogs have talked about How I Lost 200 Pounds – Nutrition , and the Power of Grit. These blogs talked about the “big picture” of how I lost weight. In this blog, I will talk about the little things I did (and still do) to avoid eating in an unhealthy manner.
Hanging with Healthy People
In the beginning, I moved into an office where people made healthy choices and discussed the nutrition decisions they were making. There were no donuts in the break area. My colleagues took walks at lunch and talked about “eating healthy.” I learned how much easier it is to be healthy when everyone around you is focused on being healthy. Many of my friends now are people that I met at the YMCA, Next Generation Personal Training, or triathlon training. We all have a common goal of being fit. This week, one of my work colleagues told me that I inspired her to start cycling on a recumbent bike. How cool is that? Made my day!
Hide the “Fun” Food
I have an uber-supportive husband who helps tremendously. He agreed to hide the “fun” food from me! Fun foods are the items for which I have trouble with boundaries. Currently, crackers and dry cereal are hidden in my house! When my husband wants to eat those things, he gets them from their hiding places. I know that’s a hassle for him, and I am SO appreciative.
I found that the foods I enjoy most are all “munchables” – small items that I put in my mouth one at a time, like popcorn, chips, or cookies. So, I now make healthy foods into munchables. For example, I slice my apples paper thin, and eat them like potato chips at lunch! Sometimes, I cut my bread at dinner into little cubes and eat them one at a time.
Single Serving Packages
Another little trick I’ve learned is to package food into single servings. If almonds, for example, are in a large container, I will eat them all at once. But, if I put 15 almonds into snack bags, I don’t eat them. Same thing with peanut butter and jam. There’s something about having to open multiple packages that makes me not binge. Go figure!
Four Foods on the Plate
I discovered that when there are four or five different foods on the plate, I feel like I’m eating a lot. So for lunch, it’s apple, almonds, bread, yogurt, and V8. For dinner, it’s Egg Beaters, bread, salad, and oatmeal. Just makes me feel like I’m eating a ton!
Healthy Taste-Alike Foods
Healthy foods can sometimes appear and taste like “fun” Here are some of my favorites: I purchase plain, unsweetened yogurt, and then add sweetener, and nine drops of extracts. If I add five drops of orange and four drops of vanilla, I have a Creamsicle! If I add five drops of lemon and four drops of vanilla, I have a lemon pie. Truly yummy! I can also make a mini Reese Peanut Butter cup (sans chocolate), by putting one tablespoon of peanut butter plus sweetener in the microwave for 15 seconds, and then stirring. I eat it with a baby spoon to make it last longer! I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m looking forward to mixing my favorite vanilla protein shake (Premier Protein) with peppermint extract. Kind of excited about that!
Like everyone else, my life is sometimes crazy busy, or I’m just dog tired. In those situations, I sometimes ask my husband to bring home fast food. I’ve found foods at various fast food restaurants that aren’t too unhealthy. My favorite is three “fresco-style” hard-shell tacos from Taco Bell. Each taco only has 150 calories. I also eat salads from Wendy’s and Chick-fil-a. Caution! While these low-cal foods may be low in calories, they tend to be high in sodium. I usually experience weight-gain after eating low-cal fast food, but now understand that it is associated with water weight and will be gone in a few days.
I’m surprised by how understanding the waitresses and waiters are when I go to a sit-down restaurant, even upscale establishments. I usually bring my own food with me, and explain to the person taking my order that I am on a special nutrition plan and have brought my food. Then, I’ll order a drink and a side salad. Without exception, the waiter or waitress has been most gracious. I also ask them not to bring bread or tortilla chips to the table. If my husband wants those “fun” foods, we move them to his side of the table, so they will be out of my reach.
If I’m ordering from the menu, I always ask for any dressing or sauce to be served on the side, including things like spaghetti sauce. That way, I can add the least amount possible to flavor the food. When ordering a steak, I’ll ask for no seasonings so I don’t have all the extra sodium. I also try to use cottage cheese as salad dressing.
Tracking Food – Made Easy!
I just can’t say enough about the positive aspects of tracking food. I have logged my food every day since December 27, 2009 – with a few exceptions. I started out with Weight Watchers Online, but now I use My Fitness Pal, a FREE online tracking app that I really like.
A lot of experts advise people to only weigh yourself once a week, but I find that I like the daily feedback. Sometimes, my weight goes up even though I have eaten the targeted calories. Over the years, I’ve learned what causes those unexpected gains, so I don’t falsely belief that I am plateauing or get discouraged. Usually, I’ve eaten something that is especially high in sodium which triggers water gain. When that happens, I know to be patient, because in four days, that water will be gone and I will experience an unexpected weight loss. I FORCE myself to log every food, even when I mess up and eat five pieces of birthday cake with ice cream all at once!
Here’s my weight graph since 2009.
Here’s yesterday’s food log using My Fitness Pal
I also invested in a good scale (Nokia Body Plus). This scale allows me to see tenths of a pound with some degree of accuracy. When I was losing weight, I would see an average of 0.3 pounds dropped each day, a healthy 2 pounds per week.
I’ve also established little rules for myself. I rarely break these rules, because I know that when I do, it is so hard to get back on track.
- Cheat Day Limits: I’m allowed one cheat meal per week. I can still get back on track if I’ve had two cheat days in a row. But . . . three consecutive cheat days establishes a new pattern, and makes it SO hard to get back to a healthy nutrition plan. Three consecutive cheat days can easily turn into a cheat month. So, when I’m on vacation or have friends visiting for a weekend, I only do two days of “fun” eating. If there is a third day, I know I must really buckle down ASAP to get back on plan.
- Candy Bars: I allow myself a candy bar once a week when I do my grocery shopping, but . . . ONLY if there is someone present to split it with me!
- Samples at the Grocery Store: I’m allowed! Yum! I can’t go overboard since the sample sizes are limited. Love the cheese samples at Kroger! I always log these foods, however, because small samples of high-calorie foods end up being high in calories!
- Candy at Reception Desks: I’m allowed! Again, I’m not going to take the entire bowl, so I can’t go overboard. My physical therapist has life savers and small tootsie rolls! Our attorney has lemon drops! Yum! I make sure I log these little treats!
ROAD TO WORLDS – ROTTERDAM (1 month)
Oh my gosh! My next race is Worlds! I am getting SO excited! Three more weeks of training, and then we’re on the plane to Rotterdam! Crazy! Still can’t believe all of this is happening! I’ve already packed my food (so I can stay on plan before the race), and have made at least 100 to-do lists!
Also, big thanks to Laurie Barris at Rotor Bike for guiding me in the purchase of a new crank set for my road bike, and then expediting the shipping. I purchase Rotor because of the quality of their products, but also greatly appreciate their tech support.
USAT Nationals – Woohoo!
Last week, I raced at the USAT National Championship in Omaha, Nebraska. The “Y” women were well represented. Liz Upsall and Lisa Fulkerson raced in the Olympic distance, and Margie Kobow and I raced in the sprint distance race. Impressive to have so many women from the Monroe County YMCA represented.
This race meant so much to me. I set 2017 Nationals as my target race three years ago when I decided that I wanted to race competitively. At that time, my secret, pie-in-the-sky dream was to be in the top 18 so I could qualify for 2018 Worlds in Australia. In my mind, ALL of my training for the past three years was focused on this race.
USAT threw me a curve ball when they changed the Worlds qualification rules. Instead of qualifying 18 at Nationals for Worlds, they announced that only SIX would qualify. Being in the top six seemed like a big stretch. After working so hard toward this race for three years, the self-imposed pressure before the race was immense! I put my qualification goal out of my head, and told myself that the real goal was to execute my race plan perfectly. That’s really all we can ever ask of ourselves. The rest is out of our control.
I raced well, setting a life-time personal best in the run. I also PR-ed watts on the bike. At the finish line, USAT asked if they could interview me about my weight-loss and triathlon journey on Facebook Live. What a hoot! I tried to use the interview to encourage others to think about starting their own journeys. The interview has had almost 11,000 views! Here’s a link.
When I saw the list of qualifiers that USAT posted at the Awards Ceremony, I just started shrieking and jumping! I was FOURTH! I qualified! What an amazing feeling! While I had qualified for the World Championship twice before, my previous qualifications came at USAT’s second qualifying race. My three-year goal was to qualify at Nationals. I did it. All the hard work paid off. Dream come true!
Five years ago, I couldn’t tie my own shoes. Who would have thought? I still shake my head in disbelief. So blessed!
For detail on Craig's beers click the brew name in white text below. For style info click on the gold style names. Click Top10 for great commercial examples of the style. See Beer Variety Map for fun.
- American Pale [Top 10] (Zeitgeist Pale Ale, Road to Bombay IPA, Perfection's Pursuit D-Boys Pale Ale, Donaldson & Guenther Pale Ale, Denali Double IPA, Whitmore Lake Preserve Pale Ale)
- American Porter (<none yet>)
- American Rye [Top10] (Ragtime Rye)
- American Wheat [Top 10] (Crimson Flush Raspberry Wheat Ale, Titania's Revenge Wheat Ale)
- Baltic Porter (<none yet>)
- Belgian Golden/Blonde, Tripel [Top10] (Majestic Thunder Belgian Blonde, Westvlyteren Pilgrimage Tripel)
- Belgian Dubbel, Strong Dark (Mischievous Monk Belgian Strong Dark Ale)
- Belgian Lambic: Gueuze, Faro, Kriek (<none yet>)
- Belgian Flanders Red [Top10] (<none yet>)
- Belgian Flanders Oud Bruin (<none yet>)
- Belgian Saison/Farmhouse (<none yet>)
- Belgian Witbier (Night Kitchen White Ale)
- French Biere de Garde (<none yet>)
- French Biere de Champagne (<none yet>)
- Finnish Sahti (<none yet>)
- German Berliner Weisse (<none yet>)
- German Dunkelweizen, Weizenbock, Weizendoppelbock (<none yet>)
- German Kölsch, Altbier (Cörby's Kölsch, LVB 32 Kölsch, Whitmore Lake Kölsch, Älteren Bruder Altbier)
- German Roggenbier (<none yet>)
- German Weissbier/Hefeweizen, Kristallweizen, Russ, Dinkelbier (Cold & Mostly Cloudy Weissbier)
- Gnome/Elf (Slitzweitz Spiced Winter Gnome Ale)
- International Fruit Ales (Pumpkinfest Ale, Montreal Midnight Cherry Chocolate Stout, Crimson Flush Rasperry Wheat Ale)
- International Herb & Spice Ale (Slitzweitz Spiced Winter Gnome Ale, Debayan's Chai Milk Stout, White House Honey Ale)
- Irish Dry Stout (10W40 Dry Irish Stout)
- Irish Pale Stout (Shaggy Mane White Stout)
- Irish Red [Top10] (<none yet>)
- Russian Imperial Stout [Top 10] (<none yet>)
- Scotland Gruit (<none yet>)
- Scotland Scottish [Top10] (<none yet>)
- Scotland Wee Heavy/Scotch [Top10] (Sheriff John Waddell's Goderich Wee Heavy Ale)
- UK Brown Ale (Colin's Baritone Deep Brown, Burly Bastard Brown, Buffalo Breath Brown Ale)
- UK Bitters: Ordinary [Top 10], Extra Special [Top 10] (Cotswold Cottage ESB, Lumbago Joy Juice ESB)
- UK Brown/Robust Porter (Orange Chocolate Cardamom Porter)
- UK Mild/Old/Barleywine (<none yet>)
- UK Milk/Sweet/Cream Stout [Top 10] (Montreal Midnight Cherry Chocolate Stout, Debayan's Chai Milk Stout)
- UK Oatmeal Stout [Top 10] (Detroit Sunrise Breakfast Stout)
- American Pilsner (<none yet>) (Tandemonium Beer Bust Steam Lager)
- German-Bavarian Dunkel(Let There Be Dark Bavarian Dunkel)
- German-Bavarian Kellerbier, Zwickelbier, Zoiglbier (<none yet>)
- German Bock, Doppelbock, Maibock (RFA Rejuvenator Doppelbock)
- German Marzen, Oktoberfest, Vienna (Kevy's Oktoberfest, 3-and-Out Oktoberfest, Jungfernreise Oktoberfest, Milagro de Mexico Vienna lager, 3 Wise Men Boston Lager)
- German Helles, Helles Bock, Dortmunder (<none yet>)
- German Pilsner [Top 10] (Whatta Pilsner!, Wagner Warsteiner)
- German Radlermass (<none yet>)
- German Schwarzbier (Blackwood)
10W40 Dry Irish Stout. 4.7% ABV, last brewed September 14, 2011, batch #12. Kristin loves Guinness, and always orders a pint when we go to Conor O'Neil's pub in Ann Arbor to hear the Sunday evening traditional Irish music session. I'm trying to mature my beer palate to include an appreciation for these dark wonders that many friends enjoy. I first attempted stout-acclimation in Doolin, Ireland where I met a guy in the local pub and we started buying each other pints of Guinness. But, I slowed rapidly. Alas, my first effort at stout-loving met with failure.
Here is my second attempt, a dry Irish Stout with the rich black color of 10W40 fresh from a Chevy engine. My brother pointed out that this has a very straightforward taste, not a lot of complexity going on. He's right and that's good. Just a straight-ahead stout, no fuss, no muss.
On our first brew of this, Corbin and I split the batch so we each had 2.5 gallons, a measure of restraint to give me room to enjoy this brew. Further, I've started drinking half pint glasses with stout, really concentrating on the beer taste. So far so good, but I've still not graduated to pints yet. Maturing is always such a hard thing, but I'll buck up and have another stout.
Dark toast and coffee flavor. Dark tan head. Substantial, but not knock-you-over ABV. Stout drinkers who have tasted this like it. I couldn't resist the brew name, fully realizing that it does a poor job of honoring the stout tradition. As my appreciation for this style of beer increases, I suspect the reverence I express in my stout naming will likewise increase. [All-grain recipe, style description].
3-and-Out Oktoberfest. 6.7% APV target, last brewed November 13, 2011, batch #15. This is the beer of choice for watching the Michigan Wolverines on the gridiron on crisp fall Saturdays. Named after a book of a similar name which chronicalled the difficult 3 years of Michigan football under RichRod, this brew is celebratory. It celebrates the ringing-in of the Brady Hoke era and a return to the great tradition of MEEEEECHIGAN football, especially a tradition of outstanding defense.
To maximize enjoyment of this beer, prior to drinking, please don your maize and blue, turn up your speakers and listen to the Michigan Marching Band play either the all instrumental or band and male glee club version of Louis Elbel's "Victors" - the stirring composition that John Philip Sousa called "the greatest college fight song ever written". For a special treat, listen to the Michigan football team sing the Victors, recorded on 11/26/2011, the day Michigan played the school from Ohio in Brady Hoke's first year as head coach. Or only for the most dedicated Wolverine fans, check out the Michigan Marching Band playing in Hill Auditorium. Wolverine fans will undoubtedly sing along exuberantly, perhaps preferring the original sheet music in the key of D (803k PDF View Download). Die-hard Wolverine fans will forgo the sheet music - the song is already indelibly imprinted on their consciousness and more deeply in their DNA.
Like all Oktoberfest brews, this interpretation is malty and substantial, all the better to sustain the true fan through Michigan autumn afternoons. It has a deep coppery amber hue with creamy texture. When you pour this beer from a bottle, pour it right down the middle (not touching the sides) from about 2-3 inches above the lip of your glass. You want to experience the head on this puppy. Many thanks to Ronnie for initiating me into this beer pouring technique.
This was inspired by a brew Kristin and I had with good friends Jim and Dana in downtown Ann Arbor. Good friends deserve good beers, and vice versa. This beer is a good reason to rename every month, "Oktober". [All-grain recipe, BJCP description].
3 Wise Men Boston Lager.
5.5% ABV, last brewed October 30, 2011, batch #17. I have three great friends who live in the Boston area: Gary Allen, Pat Deyo and Ed Manning - all people that I came to know and respect through my tenure at HP. Maybe it is something in the Boston water. Or perhaps it is the humility you gain from all those years of seeing the Red Sox fold. Whatever the case, Boston has helped mold these men who are considerably wise beyond their years (though their years be considerable). This is therefore a tribute beer for my friends and the fair city they call home. Their likeness is at left. I thought the name appropriate to capture my friends' essence and to give a nod to the holiday timing of this beer's first brewing.
This brew is patterned after Sam Adams Boston Lager, probably my favorite commercial light lager. Like it's relative, this beer is a paradox of simplicity and complexity. It's ingredients are simple: almost completely two-row barley and nothing but "noble" German hops that carry a unique smooth bitterness. The brewing process, however, is complex: a traditional double decoction mash - a crafty German invention before the age of thermometers. This process gives the brewermeister a feeling of being a mad scientist with a grand chemistry set, but also a sense of connectedness to the rich legacy of fine German brewing. Like every great legacy, this brew process includes equal parts mystery, out-dated ritual, wonder and profound truth.
My first attempt at this clone resulted in a very tasty brew a shade lighter and sporting a decidedly more hoppy finish than true Sammy. And such is the beauty of brewing: take a whack at the plate and see what you can do. As I continue to brew this into the future it will be fun and informative to morph the recipe and brew process to approach the precise Sammy taste. In the grand gestalt of things, Sammy matches my friends more than I had imagined - both are really good and tough to duplicate.
Here's to you, gentlemen. Thanks for your friendship. I hope this brew always finds a welcomed place at your table. [All-grain receipe: Download]
Älteren Bruder Altbier (Dusseldorf Style).
5.5% ABV, brewed June 24, 2012 with my 3 bros, batch #34. I have to admit that I've been on a German beer kick lately. As you might guess from the name of the beer, this is a decidedly German brew.
"Alt" in German means "old". So this "old beer" is brewed in the old German tradition before people came to love those new fangdangled lagers. Altbier comes in two varieties: Düsseldorf and Northern German, with the former a tad hoppier.
Stylistically altbier is akin to a German Kölsch. Both are fermented with ale yeast but are then cold-conditioned like a lager. Both rely predominantly on German Pilsner grain, and both use a high-attenuating yeast that leaves few esters and sports a clean taste. Both avoid an overpowering hoppiness. The major difference lies is their color (altbier is darker - a coppery amber) and maltiness (altbier is maltier and is therefore beefed up with about 15-20% Munich grain).
At the same time I became interested in altbier, I was wondering what sort of beer I should brew in honor of my favorite elder brother Chris to acknowledge his success in reaching 60 years of age this year. As fate would have it, Tess and cousins entered Düsseldorf on the very day of my wondering. How auspicious! Clearly the universe was crying out for a tasty new Düsseldorf altbier so I thought it my duty to accommodate. The result: "Älteren Bruder Altbier" (elder brother Altbier).
This brew is from a traditional German recipe with German Pilsner, German Munich (so tasty to eat a small handful of this grain right out of the bag) and a little black malt for coloring (though I underestimated the darkening power of black malt so my beer ended up darker than the style constraints, but still tasty). Although American brewers often get creative with German alt recipes by adding interesting alternative grains, I wanted none of that. German brewers like myself are well served not messing with German beer traditions (at least not initially).
Chris' picture on the label shows him in the cowboy outfit he used to always wear. I think he doesn't do that any longer. Chris has had a strong positive impact on me as I grew up. I drafted behind him as he was the first to negotiate the difficult teenager-parent boundaries, I became interested in theater and vocal music in high school after seeing his efforts, and he was a major influence on my decision to craft a career in computers. Here's to you, bro! [All-grain receipe: PDF View, Download, BJCP description, German Beer Institute Overview].
Blackwood Schwarzbier. 4.6% ABV, not yet brewed. Newfoundland-born David Blackwood is my favorite visual artist. His prints portray the hard, precarious, and beautiful fishing life of the the people of Newfoundland in the days before fishing was carved up for outside interests. He strips things to their essence, portraying the harsh lines of beauty in humanity and nature with almost mythical overtones. This beer is dedicated to Blackwood.
I first became aware of Blackwood from our 2004 family trip to Newfoundland with the four of us and Agnes. We stayed in Port Rexton on the Bonavista peninsula and still stay in contact with a girl, now young woman and mother, Stephanie Ploughman and her friend Heidi Ballett, who we met there. We rented a trim house near the sea where I found the book, "David Blackwood: Master Print Maker" and I was hooked.
His creations have the double beauty of performance art: the original creative composition (the fabrication of the printing plates) followed by the unique performance (the printing from the plates). Kristin and I saw a display of his artwork south of Windsor some years back.
Blackwood was brought to mind most recently after seeing a remake of the film "The Grand Seduction" filmed in Trinity and other locales on the Bonavista peninsula. It is a story of a proud people wanting to return to the hard work that brings great satisfaction. We also thoroughly enjoyed the mini-series, "Random Passage", filmed in New Bonaventure, Trinity Bay, NL and went on a trip to see the filming site.
This beer that I dedicate to Mr. Blackwood is a schwarzbier, a dark lager that is considered the oldest European beer style. There is evidence suggesting that schwartzbier has been continuously brewed (though originally as an ale) in the Kulmbach region of Germany since about 800 BCE, potentially avoiding the sobriety demands of the Koran that held sway for a considerable time.
Schwarzbier is to lagers what stouts are to ales - the darkest version - rich, earthy, stripped down (subdued hopping), nothing extraneous in many ways like a Blackwood print. I was struggling for a name and label graphic for the beer and kept on coming back to the word "ebony" to give a sense of the beauty of the dark. I eventually understood that my creative source was being quite literal - asking me to think one step beyond ebony to what ebony really is: black wood. So Blackwood schwarzbier was born.
Once brewed I will send some off to Mr. Blackwood. I have taken liberty by using a detail from one of his prints, "Fire Down on the Labrador", for the beer label. When I send him the beer, I'll ask for permission to use his wonderful whale - yes, asking for permission after the fact, but I'm thinking that might be OK since he can see exactly how I would like to use it. Of course, I will defer to his wishes. [All-grain recipe, BJCP Description, German Beer Institute Overview].
Buffalo Breath Brown Ale. ABV TBD, to be brewed in spring 2015. This beer will be brewed for the second annual Brewers Without Borders program supplying beer to friends in need. In conversation with Kristin Guenther, we agreed that I would brew up a mixed case for their yearly July office party - combining a good Kolsch with something akin to Moose Drool brown ale.
The good news is that I have solid recipes for both. Buffalo Breath is a Moose Drool clone, but I made a slight adjustment by adding carafoam to the grain bill for better head retention.
I've always liked the stately looking buffalo nickle which was slightly modified for a later short-run dollar. I pilfered the buffalo (actually an American bison) from the dollar for this label design. The Buffalo nickel was a copper-nickel five-cent piece struck by the United States Mint from 1913 to 1938. It was designed by sculptor James Earle Fraser.
I chose the name of the brew to reflect a certain dental theme.
Burly Bastard Brown Ale. 6.2% ABV, last brewed 12/21/2012, batch #42. This beer has an interesting history. Back in my early days of brewing I managed to get distracted from watching the temperature on my mash kettle (the disadvantages of being a social animal!) and the temperature spiked, nuking all the needed enzymes that convert starch into sugar. It appeared as though my brew day might be over quickly and my pale ale destined to be dumped on the grass.
But my buddy Tom had a better idea - he offered to give me a gallon of his stout with plenty of good enzymes that I could mix in with my questionable pale ale. We both knew that a pale ale and a stout are worlds apart, but I decided to give it a go - not knowing what a 5/6 pale ale and 1/6 stout brew would taste like.
After fermentation and carbonation my daughter Tess and friends weighed in: it tasted great! So, over a year later when I asked her what she wanted to brew with her friends over the winter holiday, she requested another batch of what we call "Burly Bastard" since it was indeed a bastardized brew.
The grain bill is as you would expect: a full pale ale recipe plus 1/5 of a a stout recipe. I decided to replace the typical Newport hops with a new variety I had not tried before (Belma) for bittering and stayed with the tried and true Cascade for taste/aroma hops. The result is a brew that I like to call "painfully good".
In remembrance of my inadvertent nuking of my brew kettle I chose a fiery witch's cauldron as the graphic for the label. Try the brew and see what you think! [All-grain receipe: PDF View, Download].
Cold & Mostly Cloudy Weissbier. 5.2% ABV, last brewed 6/15/2012, batch #33. After the smashing success Corbin and I had with Corby's Kolsch - a wonderful German beer - I just had to try and brew another new (to me) German ale. I think there must be a few strains of German beer yeast bonded to my DNA.
I chose a German weissbier (often called hefeweizen in North America) and brewed it with Corbin on a hot June day when we both felt it had been too long since we had brewed. In German, "hefe" means "yeast", "weizen" means "wheat", and "weiss" means "white in color". So this is a yeasty tasting wheat beer that is light in color.
The first thing you notice about this beer is its cloudy appearance - cloudy by design. When you taste it, you get a surprisingly interesting collection of tastes. The first to hit you is the very bready taste from the wheat - this reminds me why monks used to call their ales "liquid bread".
Then comes the duo of wonderfully subtle tastes: banana and cloves. These later flavors are esters produced by the specific strain of yeast used, in this case White Labs 300. In talking with a hefeweizen maven at Adventures in Home Brewing, I found out that the fermentation temperature is very important to sculpting the taste of hefeweizens. The higher the temperature, the more banana flavor comes forward, the lower the temperature the more the cloves are pronounced. In my first attempt, I chose a relatively low temperature since banana-tasting beer can be a bit much. You can get the hint of banana if you fix the idea of banana in your mind, then take a drink and have your mind search your palate for the corresponding flavor.
I dedicate this beer to Alex Kapteyn at Central Michigan Piano, the craftsman that turned the ugly duckling Steinway D in my care into an incredibly beautiful instrument. He filled all the dings and scratches, refinished the case in the most exquisite hand-rubbed black matte finish, re-guilded the harp, installed a new pinblock, polished all the hardware and added two elements of his family's own design: an elegant 3-post lid support and a more flexible music stand. He and family are crazy talented and I thank my lucky stars for that craziness. On top of all that, Alex has some great jazz chops that I heard when he and his wife Julie stopped by our house where we hit it off famously. I've named the beer "Cold and Mostly Cloudy" to give a sense of the sensory experience when you savor one of these.
When Alex and I started talking beer (it seems to be a habit of mine) he shared with me a phrase that included the word Reinheitsbegot (the German beer purity law enacted in 1516) - a clear signal that I had found a man who deserved a beer brewed in his honor. The fact that he has incredible piano craftsmanship talents just add fuel to the brewing fire! I'll get the beer truck gassed up for a trip north of Lansing. [All-grain recipe: PDF View, Download].
Colin's Baritone Deep Brown Ale. ABV % TDB, first brewed circa April 2011. This brew is made in the tradition of olde English brown ales that have the substantive character to stand up to lengthy pub sessions with music and friends. This brew is my interpretation of a Northern Brewer ale called "Caribou Slobber" which itself is a clone of "Moose Drool Brown Ale" (you have to love the creative naming of brew-folk), crafted in Missoula, Montana.
My interpretation is named after Colin Dipper, concertina maker extraordinaire (arguably the best in the world), who lives and plies his craft in Heytesbury, Warminster, UK. We met Colin a number of years ago in his jumbled concertina workshop and patiently awaited the building of the Baritone pictured at left. The tenor version of the concertina is often played in traditional Irish music sessions at pubs, so the instrument has a close affinity with good beer.
The baritone is an octave lower than the tenor and shares the same deep undertones as this rich brown ale of it's namesake. The brew has dense layers of malt, caramel, a hint of baking chocolate and light-roast coffee all punctuated with a balanced hop bitterness. [All-grain recipe: View Download]
Cörby's Kölsch. 5.3% ABV, last brewed 6/16/13, batch #48. I designed this beer for my little brother, Corbin, pictured at left from his kindergarten days (doesn't he look like a little brother?). Corbin is the first of my brothers to have succumbed to home brewing so I dedicate this beer to him. He first brewed it in November, 2011, with his son, Keith, and me on an unseasonably warm day. As it turns out, Corbin's daughter Jacquelyn lives in Berlin and her favorite beer is German Kölsch. Wendy, Corbin's wife, also loves it.
This brew is a classic German Kölsch, one of those unusual beers that can't really decide whether it is an ale or a lager. On the one hand, it is positively an ale: it uses an ale yeast that ferments like any other top-fermenting ale yeast. However, once fermented, Kolschs are cold conditioned for three or more weeks, the process typically reserved only for lagers. When you taste it you might swear it is a lager. Kölschs are great for those homebrewers that want to take the first step toward lagers but don't want to worry about the paraphernalia needed to closely manage the primary fermentation temperature.
When I make a Kölsch, I require good German grain and good German Kölsch yeast -after all, I'm a brewmeister with strong German roots. Kölsch magic is in the yeast which imparts a wonderfully complex taste with a hint of sweetness. This beer features primarily German Pilsner barley, but has Munich malt for a good grainy German taste, some Torrified Wheat for body and German Carafoam for a nice thick head. The result is a very pleasant beer: light and crisp. Very drinkable.
This beer has been a hit every time it is brewed and I plan to always have a keg of this on tap. I really like this unique very drinkable beer since it has a subtly curious taste that invites you back for more. Anyone who likes beer should like this beer.
The first time I brewed with Lance, we brewed this beer. When I am tired, I sometimes call Lance, Corbin and Corbin Lance. They are both the young man I hold dear. All grain recipe: View Download, style description, brewing notes]..
Cotswold Cottage Extra Special Bitter.
5.5% ABV, last brewed October 8, 2012, batch #39 . This is my second effort at the classic British staple that can be enjoyed at pubs across the UK. I was initially disappointed with my first brewing of an ESB. It just didn't seem to have the needed mellowness after I let it ferment and carbonate. So, I simply let it age and to my delight a couple of months later it was a delight! In talking with beer buddies, it isn't unusual to let ESBs sit a little longer than typical.
The name of this beer came from a conversation I had with Kristin. We were thinking about European vacations and she really had a hankering to take a hiking trip through the pastoral Cotswold area of England - staying at hostels and bed & breakfasts as we explore the country side. That sounded grand! So, "Cottswold Cottage ESB" was born.
Thinking of the Cotswolds also had me thinking of "Rose Cottage", the Costwold cottage pictured in the label, originally built in the 17th century in England and later transported to Greenfield Village, the famed historic outdoor museum created by Henry Ford in Michigan. Kristin's grandfather was the personal secretary of Henry Ford, and her mother, Agnes, as well as her uncle Henry Stuart Waddell, attended school in the historic Village. Kristin's masters degree in historic preservation also led her to the Village. These ties have led us to see and enjoy this wonderful Cotswold cottage often.
The recipe for this brew includes UK Marris Otter barley for substance and a little British caramel malt for color, Carapills for head retention, and of course British hops. As something special, we've added a small bottle of Lyle's Golden Syrup, the exact liquid that Lance put on his pancakes on our first trip to the UK as he attempted to approximate Kristin's home cooking. Many thanks to Tyler at Adventures in Home Brewing for the idea for the Lyle's and also the Essex yeast. [All-grain recipe: PDF View Download].
Crimson Flush. ABV anybody's guess, last brewed July 17, 2011, batch #8. This was a great idea by Tess and was one of the first batches I brewed with her. We took your basic wheat beer all-grain recipe and added 4 pounds of homegrown raspberries picked fresh from our recently reclaimed raspberry bushes. The berries give the beer a deep crimson color - and it is easy to understand why. When I pulled the raspberries out of the fermenter after about 4 days, all of them had turned white, having transferred all of their color to the brew! Even the head on this beer has a nice crimson hue to it. Like all good wheat beers, it has a healthy somewhat cloudy appearance.
This beer has a tart and refreshing raspberry aftertaste - none of the cough-syrup like taste that is often found in commercial berry/cherry beer. This is a beer I plan on brewing every July until I drop having it reflect the bounty of our garden. Now with some blueberry bushes planted, I'm hoping to have a blueberry companion to this in the future.
This is a good brew to have after a meal. The mild raspberry taste gives one a sense of dessert. Made entirely with K-Hill filtered hard water which adds to a slight bitterness in the after taste. [All-grain recipe: PDF View Download].
Debayan's Cardamom Milk Stout.
5.9%, ABV, first brewed 6/29/14, batch #54. For context, see Debayan's Chai Milk Stout below. This brew is based on the exact same milk stout recipe, in fact the base milk stout for this beer is a split batch with its Chai Milk Stout brother.
These two beers are all about experimenting with adjuncts. The original recipe called for adding spices via a tincture. This is basically stewing the spices in a small amount of vodka and then pouring/pressing it through a strainer so that the vodka and the spice flavorings come through but none of the solid spice.
I like this approach since it makes it easy to incrementally add spice into the beer, mix it up, then see what you think. Progressing slowly, you can ensure that you don't overshoot the amount of spice you add. Also important is to work with small amounts of vodka so that you avoid an alcohol/medicine taste in your beer.
I used green cardamom seeds, crushing them, separating the shells and then crushing the seed centers with a rolling pin. I used about 10 seeds for about 2 gallons - quite a bit more than I've seen elsewhere in working with cardamom (which I believe was 2 seeds/gallon). I ended up with a two-step tincture add since my first addition was barely noticeable. I have a device that I attach to my drill that I put into the keg to mix up the beer nicely.
Debayan's Chai Milk Stout.
5.9%, ABV, first brewed 6/29/14, batch #54. One of Tess' good friends, Debayan Mazumder, has been aregular brew buddy. He is the guy I go to whenever I have questions about Indian cuisine since I understand that his mother is one of the world's best cooks of this style. We've talked about various spiced beer and he mentioned an interest in a cardamom flavored brew.
I started the dangerous process of thinking and found a recipe for a Chai milk stout - a homebrew version of Yak and Yeti’s award winning Chai Milk Stout as suggested in the May/June 2013 issue of the definitive Zymurgy magazine. The brew won silver mdedal for Herb and Spice Beer at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival.
The Zymurgy recipe looked sound in its grain bill - a solid milk stout with lactose sugar. I made a couple of changes however: I added a bit of carafoam for head retention and a pound of flaked barley for a bit more of a crisp taste and a tad higher alcohol content.
The only iss ue is that the recipe is silent about the specific ingredients of the masala chai tincture that it uses. Who better to fill in the blanks than Debayan? I asked him about it and he suggested a mixture of green cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, ground ginger, black peppercorns and perhaps onion seeds. His parents suggested even a simpler version with cardamom and ginger only. Since he provided the essence of the special ingredients, this needed to be a Debayan honorary brew.
As a further starting point, I asked the proprietor of a good local Indian restaurant named "Cardamom" what spices went into a masala chai mixture. He said that there were five ingredients: cardamom (he said the green pods are much preferred to the black), ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves - very similar to what Debayan had suggested. Check out brewing with spices and especially cardamom.
Since the masala chai tincture is added after fermentation, it can be a straight-forward effort to test out a variety of spice combinations by splitting the 5 gallon batch into a set of smaller (perhaps much smaller) batches to test flavors. We can then arrive at a mixture that we like best. [All-grain recipe: PDF View Download style description].
Denali Double IPA.
8.2%, ABV. Russian River Brewing Company has created Pliny the Elder, a brew that is probably the most celebrated Double IPA on the market. A double IPA doubles down on both alcohol and hop bitterness with Pliny delivering 8.0% ABV and a whopping 100 IBUs of hop bitterness. As a way to understand the hoppiness of a double IPA, consider that a Double IPA is twice as hoppy as an IPA, which is twice as hoppy as a pale ale, which is a fair bit more hoppy than a Pilsner, and you can notice the hops in a Pilsner.
Denali Double IPA is an improvisation on the Pliny clone recipe as published in Zymurgy magazine, the definitive homebrewing periodical. In this recipe I've dropped the corn sugar and upped the pale barley content for a slightly maltier taste while keeping with ingredients you can recognize as natural. I've kept the eye-popping 12.5 oz of leaf hops including a double dry hopping. But, I'm using somewhat different hops - retaining Centennial, but substituting Newport for Simcoe and Nugget for Columbus. I also use first wort hopping.
The brew is named after Denali (meaning "the big one" in the native Athabaskan language), Alaska's majestic mountain - the tallest peak in North America and the largest in mass in the world. Kristin and I spent time around Denali during our 3 month extended honeymoon through the far north. We were graced with a rare mist-free day at our first sighting of Denali, something I'll always remember. Just as Denali stops you in awe when you first view it, this brew is designed to stop the true "hop head" in awe at the first taste.
In December 2012, my brother, Corbin, and his son, Keith, flew solo for their first time on all-grain brewing and wanted a good double IPA as a launch pad. I just HAD to accommodate. Brewing a double IPA for your first solo brew is a little like running the Boston Marathon on your first jog - no matter how it turns out you have to love the attitude. I offered this as a recipe and I will cautiously add this to my own brewing priority list. [All-grain recipe: View Download].
Detroit Sunrise Breakfast Stout.
8.0% ABV, last brewed 11/21/2012, batch #41. I've always been a morning person, some would say an ultra-morning person. I often wake early and get excited about what I might do in the new day - every day has such a freshness of possibility. So it probably isn't surprising that breakfast has always been important to me.
Some of the most wonderful breakfasts I remember were at Cappy's restaurant in Detroit on Woodward just north of the Detroit Institute of the Arts. Kristin, Tom and I would walk the 2 1/2 short blocks passing the Smiley Brothers Music mansion to arrive at Cappy's to have their great eggs, hashbrowns and orange juice and use the time to plan the creativity we would muster for the day. This brew is named in honor of those great Detroit breakfasts.
The brew itself was first made by my brother Corbin after a recipe he found to approximate Founders Brewing Company's breakfast stout. It starts with a sound base recipe for a stout but tacks on some wonderful additions of chocolate and Sumatran coffee in the boil with further coffee in the secondary fermenter. With all that coffee, it certainly tastes inspired by breakfast.
My good buddy Ronnie just loves this brew and has been bugging me to brew it for a while. So on "stout day" in November 2012 Corbin and I brewed this along with Shaggy Mane White Stout. At Corbin's recommendation, we doubled the amount of coffee from the original recipe. [All-grain recipe: View Download].
Donaldson & Guenther Pale Ale. 5.5% ABV, last brewed 5/22/2014, batch #52. We've never had an issue with dental care in our household. A simple reason: we go to a fantastic dental practice: Donaldson and Guenther Dentistry of Ann Arbor. It is a pretty amazing group of people.
No matter whether it is Kristin Guenther (Craig's dentist) painstakingly navigating the twists and turns of the roots of Craig's tooth during a root canal, or Kirk Donaldson (my wife Kristin's dentist) meticulously replacing a crown, or both dentists coming in for after-hours emergency work on Eugene's tooth (and refusing to take payment for it), or the talented and ever-friendly dental hygienists and staff, or the calm ambiance of their office, or Kirk's stunning photography hanging on the walls, or Kristin G's interesting dialog about her equestrian activities, or their kindness in not making an issue when I have a brain fart and forgets the occasional appointment . well you get the idea, they are REALLY good and friendly.
Recently, out of the blue we received a discount from them - a long-term-customer discount that was neither expected nor necessary, but certainly appreciated. Kristin and I both had crown work recently on new insurance so nearly all of the expense was out of pocket. The discount was a sizable gift from them that hit us at the right time.
Although I won't claim that I'm making a gift back to them in similar dollar value, I can say without doubt that this gift of an honorary brew to Kristin Guenther, Kirk Donaldson and staff reflects our family's sincere appreciation for their many years of friendship and quality dental care. Lance and I dropped off a case of the brew and a card on July 1 and Kristin Guenther was excited about sharing it at their upcoming office party. From the pics Kirk sent (including his nice close-up at right), the party seemed to be a smashing success and we now have official new brew buddies.
In the spirit of continuous improvement, I'll suggest to them that they raise the bar on their already-high dental care standards by keeping a stash of this pale ale on ice in their office to use as a novocaine alternative (back to old-school dental pain relief - sign me up!). [All-grain recipe: PDF view, Download].
I became interested in Helles after watching a number of videos by a down-to-earth brewer from Minnesota, Don Osborne. Although he has wide-ranging beer tastes, helles is one of his go-to beers, and he seems to always have one on tap.
After brewing my first helles, I can understand his enthusiasm. It is a very approachable beer, clean, and simple, with a wonderful grainy character in both taste and aroma. The grain bill isn't complex - predominantly pilsner with a bit of munich, so not too far different from a pale ale. However, it is less hoppy, and more drinkable. I think I'll keep a helles on tap as well!
Jungfernreise Oktoberfest. 5.5% ABV, last brewed 1/14/2012, batch #24. Our beer brewing posse has roped in another innocent bystander: Ronnie Hammond (this is getting WAY too easy). In the fall of 2011 he bought 4 cases of Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest. He became simply fanatical about this beer and was turning desperate over the winter holiday when he realized that he was running low on his new favorite beer and would be unable to purchase more until next Oktober.
He turned to his brewing buddies with a plea for assistance. We rushed to his rescue and brewed a Hacker-Pschorr clone in mid-January. Ronnie found a person who swore he had the perfect clone recipe, so we ran with that including a small addition of Carapils for head retention. Since this is Ronnie's first foray into all-grain brewing we named this beer "Jungfernreise", German for "first voyage".
Ronnie pegged Hacker-Pshorr as very close in taste to my 3-and-out Oktoberfest when we did a side-by-side taste test while watching Meechigan thump Virginia Tech in the 2012 Sugar Bowl. 3-and-Out was a tad maltier (I designed it to be very malty) so we are brewing Jungfernreise with a modified sulphate/chloride water chemistry ratio to lean more toward the bitterness side.
Ronnie has waffled on whether or not he wants to get into all-grain brewing and lagering. He is a minimalist at heart, and truth be told, brewing does accumulate gear. But, he is showing all the signs of succumbing (tee-hee!). We bottled this for Ronnie on the day before Easter 2012 when we had the extended brew clan together at the K-Hill brewery. Even as we were bottling, Ronnie spoke of the latest beers that sent into a state of euphoria. That is one of the great things about brewing: it is very accommodating to wild swings in brewing preferences! [All-grain recipe: View Download, style description].
Kevy's Oktoberfest. 5.5% ABV, last brewed June 14, 2014, batch #53. Kevin is my brother, two years younger than me. When we were kids we did a lot together, most of it was sports: baseball, football, basketball and kickball. We would also improvise a lot: we would "bat 'em out", play a multi-level baseball catching came (I recall one level was "doah fig"), play a home run derby of sorts with a wiffle ball/bat, and for a while we played a lot of "between the wires" - where we kicked a ball at overhead wires near our home. And, oh yes, we found great pleasure throwing snowballs at cars, not really appreciating that could be dangerous.
We also enjoyed cross-crountry skiing, whitewater canoeing and exploring Alaska together a couple of times - one that found us 100 miles from civilization, drunk (having split a fifth of Yukon Jack), in socks without shoes, in grizzly bear territory, and not knowing exactly where our camp site was. It is amazing how we can survive our own ignorance!
We both enjoy music so we were also in a wedding band together, "The Blue Menagerie" - a great way to make money and have fun in the process. Although we came close, we never came to blows over who drew the short straw and had to lead the Hokie Pokie.
So, this brew is dedicated to my bro Kevin and the many great times we've had together and the many more that I'm sure will come. I wanted to come up with a good German beer for our shared German heritage and chose an Oktoberfest. It seemed appropriate since late spring is a good time to brew an Oktoberfest - allowing enough time for a good 3-4 months of lagering to make it nice and mellow when we crack it open in the fall. This recipe for this Oktoberfest is dominated by Dark Munich grain - a more fully roasted version of Munich barley, my favorite grain. I've never used Dark Munich before, so I'm excited to see what it will taste like both in the brew and in the small handful I'll chew on to get a sense of this new-to-me product of Nature's bounty.
This is my third brotherly honorary brew, each a classic German beer style, so now I have all of my bros covered. Another bucket-list item complete. [All-grain recipe: View, Download, style description].
Let There Be Dark Bavarian Dunkel. %5.0 ABV, last brewed January 22, 2012, batch #25. I must admit that I have always had a preference for dark ("dunkel" in German) beers. There is something fundamentally pleasing about the malty smooth character that typically accompanies these brews. I find their richer character much more arresting - causing me to pause, experience and dive into their sensory pleasures much more deeply than I'm apt to do drinking a blend-into-the-background so-what light lager. Dark beers are more assertive and demanding of attention. They are a bit like odd and opinionated dinner guests - as long as they have something interesting to convey, I'll gladly invite them to my table and indulge in their character.
This dunkel, DOES have something interesting to convey. It is dark coppery amber in color with an earthy and bready taste. Full-bodied and malty. And yes, arresting. The Bavarian yeast does its work well, creating a complex and rewarding sensory experience.
This brew was made with Corbin, my youngest brother, on a cold January 2012 day, brewing in my basement brewery. We were able to accommodate two brew setups simultaneously and avoided the need to run hoses from outside spigots thanks to my recent (and frightening) plumbing escapades.
I hope that no offense is taken by my paraphrasing words attributed to the Big Guy for the name of this beer. Just as darkness was present before light in Genesis, we should perhaps extend this universal truism to seek the experience of dark beers prior to their light brethren. [All-grain recipe, BJCP style description, German Beer Institute Overview].
Lumbago Joy Juice Extra Special Bitter.
5.1%. ABV. Last brewed December 22, 2012, batch #42. My good buddy Ronnie has recently developed a hankering for ESBs. He has a habit of getting really focused on a particular beer for a while and diving headlong into it - last time it was Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest. Now, he sampled Red Hook ESB and a few other ESBs and he has tacked to catch the latest breeze.
Ronnie asked me if we could brew an ESB and I was anxious to accommodate. As inspiration he gave me a couple of great books - one a very thorough book on hops, and the 2nd a novel "City of Thieves".
This brew is made with primarily Golden Promise grain a UK 2-row barley that I chose since my typical choice, Marris Otter, has been of questionable quality lately due to the UK droughts. The grain bill also includes C-60 caramel grain for color and a little carafoam for head retention. I also added 12 oz of UK Lyles syrup in the boil to up the alcohol content and give a smigeon of extra flavor.
This brew was made at Tommy's brew garage after we convinced him he had time to brew despite working on his nursing degree. Dub, Tom and I all brewed and had a delightful time. Ronnie was there as well. Realizing that Ronnie has the wisdom to be an "anti-clutter" guy, I may have found a way to get him into brewing: letting him borrow my gear whenever he wants. I saw a light bulb go off when I suggested this, but we'll see.
This brew is dedicated to a great Ann Arbor Physical Therapist, David Oliver. My primary care physician recommended David when I mentioned I had recurring mild lower back pain. David does great common sense work grounded in the McKenzie Method. He had me doing all sorts of exercises, weight lifting and bending my back backwards. David is the physical therapist at Ann Arbor's Physical Therapy in Motion, an apt name for his clinic since his approach focuses on movement and full range of motion. Under his care my back improved, feeling stronger and pain free. I'm not sure if it was part of the therapy or not, but David had me in one prolonged belly laugh one session when he was able to instantly replay any line from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". Wonderfully, those Monty Python lines were delivered with a grand Stoke-on-Trent UK accent, his original home.
Although David confesses to lean toward stouts, I trust he is a man who appreciates a good ESB. Dedicating this British beer to a Brit seemed natural. Inspired by Ronnie, dedicated to David, ah, a truism asserts itself once again: brewing done well makes and keeps good friends. [All-grain recipe: PDF View Download].
LVB 32, Joel Schoenhals' Kolsch.
5.2%. ABV. Last brewed summer, 2013. This brew is dedicated to good friend and talented musician Joel Schoenhals. Joel is a professor of piano at Eastern Michigan University and he committed himself to a wonderful Beethoven Odyssey. He decided to perform all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas over a 4-year, 8-concert series (hence LVB 32).
To prepare for his 8 public performances, Joel plays a series of warm-up recitals at homes in the SE Michigan area. We have been very fortunate to have Joel choose our home as one of his venues.
With such a creative and inspiring effort, I couldn't resist making an honorary brew for Joel. With LVB's German heritage (and Schoenhals strikes me as German), a German brew was mandatory. The brew had to be very drinkable and mix well with Joel's music. A Kolsch sounded just right.
It has been a great delight knowing Joel, his wife Bing (also a talented pianist), son Aaron and Bing's parents. We had them all over to the K-Hill farm one delightful summer day. I was doubled over in laughter as Aaron drove our tractor sitting on Kristin's lap - the steering wheel seemed bigger than he was, but he maneuvered with great skill! Coordinated hands, just like his mom and dad! [All-grain recipe: PDF view, Download].
Majestic Thunder Belgian Blonde.
6.2%. ABV. Last brewed January 22, 2012, brewed by Corbin, split batch. Belgium has a very rich history of brewing, most notably through the prized Belgian Trappist brews created in the monasteries that dot the country side. I've been itching to brew these Belgian delights ever since being introduced to them at the home of our friends Dana and Jim. This urge then collided with a desire by Corbin to create a blonde ale for his wife Wendy. From this confluence of interests Majestic Thunder was born.
Most Belgian brews tend toward high alcohol content and achieve some of that by adding sugar to the grain bill. Majestic Thunder is no different. The grain bill for this brew is fairly simple, dominated by German Pilsner barley with the slightest hint of color from the lightest caramel malt. A Belgian Abbey yeast is used to sculpt a unique Belgian taste profile.
I've named this brew in honor of Kristin's life-long love for horses. She has owned and ridden horses since she was a kid and has gravitated to the even tempered breeds with a special interest in draft horses and especially Belgian draft horses. Belgians are truly beautiful animals - big, well proportioned, with a presence of strength and a light blonde mane contrasting beautifully with a darker blonde coat. Simply majestic. Both the horse and the brew are blonde, striking, and can pack a whollop. "Majestic Thunder" seemed to fit them both.
This beer was brewed by Corbin in one of our "split batch" efforts (while experimenting, we brew 2 different 5 gallon batches each taking half of each) in my brewery basement. It is a great beer in it's own right but is also a stepping stone to more complex Belgian dark Dubels and light Tripels. Brewing Onward! [All-grain recipe: PDF View, Download].
Milagro de Mexico, Vienna Lager. 5.5% ABV, last brewed March 30, 2013 batch #45. Prior batches are September 2, 2011, batch #11 and December 31, 2011, batch #22 Innkeeper and brewer Anton Dreher is credited with inventing cold-fermented Vienna lager in 1841. Traditionally made in March when ice was still available, this copper-brown colored beer was a hit, winning the gold medal at the 1858 Beer Exhibit in Vienna. Other Vienna brewmeisters started making this beer, and later in the 19th century some of these stout-hearted (lager-hearted?) men emigrated to Mexico and brought their brewing tradition with them. The Mexican people knew a good beer when they tasted it, and Mexico's first large-scale brewery - Cuauhtemoc in Montery - was established in 1890 by a German brewmeister, who introduced Vienna-style beers and won the Grand prize at the Chicago International Beer Exposition in 1893.
Negra Modelo is one of these Mexican Vienna lagers, and is perhaps my favorite commercial beer, first tasted in a restaurant in Cupertino, California when I had a hankering for Mexican food. I had asked for a Dos Equis from the bar keep and was somewhat disappointed when they didn't have it. But, as is oft possible in life, the disappointment of not experiencing the familiar was quickly replaced with the delight of experiencing the new. Brewed since 1926, Negra Modelo was for many years one of the few existing Vienna-style lagers in the world. European breweries abandoned the style.
Milagro de Mexico ("Miracle of Mexico") Vienna Lager is my interpretation of my Mexican favorite, as I suspect Anton would have made it. It is a dark amber, but somewhat lighter in color than Negra Modelo, minimicking Anton's original coloration. Although we can't claim this brew to be a "milagro", it is pointed in that direction. It is smooth and malty with a hint of sweetness that makes it slither down the throat. It has a rich off-white head and is a great companion to food with friends, especially hot and spicy Mexican food!
Of all the beers I've brewed this is the one that people like the most and is the one that gets drained quickly at poker gatherings. In fact, at the last poker game my buddy Ronnie (a die-hard Pilsner and light lager fan) held a tight grip on the Milagro de Mexico growler all night - a great sight indeed. [All-grain recipe: PDF View Download, style description].
Mischievous Monk Belgian Strong Dark Ale.
July 4, 2012. A number of Trappist abbey's dot the Belgium countryside. Trappists, a.k.a the Order of Cistercians of Strict Observance, are cloistered contemplative Catholic monks whose order was named after La Trappe abbey in Normandy where a reform movement began in 1664 in reaction to what was perceived as overly lax practices in other abbeys.
These devout monks developed into some of the best brewers in the world. I'm humbled by their creativity (using the art of beer brewing to fund philanthropic efforts), their clarity of thought (seeing no conflict between strict observance of religious practices and the joys of making and consuming outstanding beer) and pragmatism (adopting just enough modern brewing techniques to create a world-class product). These are people I'd like to know personally.
My first introduction to Belgian beer was to Chimay Blue, arguably the gold standard of Belgian Strong Dark Ales. Like all dark Belgian brews, Chimay Blue is big in alcohol, but carries it incredibly well in the midst of a lacy-smooth, malty, dark caramel highly effervescent complexity.
This beer is my attempt to duplicate Chimay Blue, first brewed on a hot Independence day with Corbin and my new Belgian "cousin" Manu. I started with a Belgian Dubbel recipe for a Chimay Red clone from Tomme Arthur and grew it up from there. Being true to style, it is dominated by Belgian Pilsner but includes a rich mix of other barleys including Belgian Aromatic, CaraMunich, CaraVienna, Special "B", and Belgian Biscuit. Dark candi sugar is added to up the alcohol content and help sculpt the amber color. We've added a bit of torrified wheat for extra body. A slight whiff of hoppiness is added ensuring that it takes a respectful backseat to the strong malty presence.
While we were brewing, Manu treated us to a sampling of Belgian/French cheeses and Belgian beers, paired for their compatibility. He had us put a thin later of French butter (a little fat always helps flavor!) on a cracker then topped with the appropriate cheese. Exquisite! He also played vacation planner and recommended "must see" sites in Brussels and beyond for our upcoming trip to Europe.
The monk on the label is by Eduard von Grützner, a 19th century German painter who liked a bit of irreverence in his work and often painted monks drinking. He worked for a time in Munich (less than 500 miles from Brussels) so I suspect he enjoyed a good Belgian strong dark ale now and again.
Kristin and I will spend a week in Belgium this summer where I hope to dive into the wonderful world of Belgian brews. Although the Trappist monasteries are predominantly off limits to the public, we can visit a number of breweries and sample these delights - including some outstanding lambic beers (but more on that later)! [All-grain recipe: view, download, style description].
Montreal Midnight Cherry Chocolate Stout.
6.5% ABV, last brewed January 5, 2012, batch #23. Before Tess came home from school at McGill in Montreal for the winter holiday 2011, she asked me if we could brew a beer with cherry and chocolate in it. That sounded incredibly good!
We started with a clone recipe for Rogue Ale's Chocolate Stout. In brewing circles, this chocolate stout has insanely good reviews and a clone recipe was published in Zymergy, the Homebrewing magazine. From this basis we shifted the recipe to more of a sweet stout by adding one pound of unfermentable sugar (lactose) in the boil. We also swapped out the chocolate extract for more natural cocoa nibs (gently roasted in our oven) and cut back on the hoppiness (from 69 to 38 IBUs) to let more of the cherry sweetness come through. The final addition was a combo of great flavors in the secondary fermenter (2 vanilla beans soaked in Jack Daniels and a pound of dried Michigan Montmorency cherries)!
I've slightly overcarbonated this brew which adds to it's already unbelievably thick and creamy head. It is a sweet-but-not-overly-so sipping brew, almost akin to an aperitif. For the adventurous, especially on cold Montreal nights (are there any other kind in Montreal?), put some rich french vanilla ice cream in a mug, fill it to the brim with Montreal Midnight and start your delicious slide into decadence.
Brewing this beer for the first time was a delight since Tess invited Lorne and Colin, buddies from her Steiner school days, to brew with us. Her friend Jordan dropped by at the end as well. In a late-march brewing session with Colin and Lorne we tasted the result and we all agreed it was delicious!
I decided to name this brew after Tess' home away from home. Kristin and I have made numerous trips by train to Montreal to see Tess, typically every 6-8 weeks. We really feel as though we have a sense of the city and whenever we go there I have a distinct feeling of "coming home" partly because of the many personal Montreal traditions we've created. Before we check into the hotel I go into the nearby Dep and buy the same Sauvignon Blanc that helps me unwind after the long train trip. We always stay at the Auberge Bonaparte in the old part of Montreal and Kristin gets a room on the street side where we open the French windows regardless of the weather so we can hear the horses clip-clopping by at night. Before Kristin awakes I take my crisp early morning walk through the empty streets past the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral heading off to Tim Horton's to get my cup of Joe and take in the city. Kristin makes the sojourn off to get incomparable Montreal bagels. Typically on our last night in town, Tess, Kristin and I go out to a great Indian restaurant, the Taj, and relax, talk and laugh before we both jump back to our other lives.
Tradition is a grand thing and I hope to add Montreal Midnight to our other great Montreal traditions. [All-grain recipe: View Download, style description]
Night Kitchen Belgian White Ale. 5.5% ABV, first brewed June 13, 2013, batch #47. My friend Tyler from Adventures in Homebrewing is a great brewer. When I was recently in the store Aaron was helping me and offered me a sampling of Tyler's great white ale. It was fantastic - a wonderful citrusy taste and smell! Ever since tasting a very citrusy IPA with my friend Jim Gramprie, I knew I had to attempt a duplication of this great taste. This was the nudge I needed to make it real. I contacted Tyler and he sent me the recipe.
I was struggling to come up with a good name for this brew and an associated label. Thankfully, Tess offered the inspiration. On Maurice Sendak's birthday she suggested I check out the Google search engine home page and there I saw a tribute to this beloved author. Memories of my absolute favorite kids book - Night Kitchen - came flooding back and Night Kitchen Belgian White Ale was born.
I recall reading Night Kitchen to Lance and Tess when they were young. I loved the whimsy and fantasy of the whole thing. As I read it I felt a real kinship between Mickie and Lance. I brewed this for the first time with my good friend Dan Harteau and his son Matt on their very first brew day as Dan tested out his recently purchased equipment. Lance stopped by briefly and I look forward to brewing with him in the future!
I've put this brew into the Belgian Witbier category but it admittedly is a bit far-a-field of style with an American edge. Using fully American Cascade hops (to about double the bitterness of a traditional witbier), replacing the Belgian white wheat with American white wheat (Belgian unavailable), forgoing adjuncts (which some will say are a requirement for Witbier) and going with an American yeast tilts the brew decidedly in that direction. I usually stay close to style but I wanted to give Tyler's recipe a try. But as always, I have to change it. As a nod to Belgian tradition I've added flaked oats not found in Tyler's recipe. [All-grain recipe: View Download, style description]
Orange Chocolate Cardamom Porter. 6.0% ABV, first brewed 6/29/14 batch #55. The first half of 2014 has not seen a great deal of brewing from me. That's not good. I decided it was time to get out of that funk so I started looking for something a bit exotic. I talked with Brew Buddy Debayan and he likes the idea of cardamom in a beer so that was a good starting point.
After a bit of searching I found a recipe for an Orange Chocolate Cardamom Porter. The only changes I made were to put chocolate nibs in the secondary instead of chocolate powder in the boil kettle (a number of reports of the latter spoiling head retention can be found). I also added a bit of carafoam to help protect the head. This recipe seems decidedly on the fringe of beer brewing - a great place to be!
I've always enjoyed tromping around on the fringe of things since that is where you can see the arbitrariness of the boundaries we often set for ourselves. Informed of these artificial limits, we can gently cast them aside, freeing ourselves to explore and create in new territories. In brewing, these new territories are a place with a near unlimited palette of tastes and aromas. An adventurous, experimentive and - at times - solitary spirit is required to trod this road less traveled, but it is often handsomely rewarded. Onward!
But enough of philosophy - back to the serious business of beer! We brewed this in a double batch with Debayan's Chai milk stout. Lance, Tess, Kristin and Debayan were on hand for brew day. Debayan brought over two different varieties of cardamom in pods that we added to the brew. Both smelled incredible. Debayan loves dark brews and this one is designed to be a monster "robust porter" having a 19 pound grain bill for 5 gallons.
We had a trifecta of interesting occurances on this brewday. First, we had a fox kill one of our chickens. Debayan saw it from our deck and Tess "ran like wonder woman" (per Debayan) to see if she could intervene. Unfortunately, she was unable to. Second, we had a downpour that caused me to delicately move the stove under the canopy while it had two full brew kettles on it (I did so very carefully!). Then finally, I think this massive grain bill contributed to a rare stuck sparge.
I had never really had a stuck sparge before so was not experienced in recovering from one. As a result I lost a significant amount of sugar in the process, going from an expected 1.080 OG to 1.060. I later thought through how to avoid and recover from stuck sparges and will use a grain bag going forward for big grain bills. The beer should be still be very good, just with less alcohol. Once this brew has fermented, we'll get back together and fine tune the adjuncts in this (and Debayan's milk stout). I suspect we'll be adding more cardamom.
Since this brew has very interesting added tastes, It harkens back to Montreal Midnight Cherry Chocolate Stout that Tess suggested I brew while she was going to school at McGill in Montreal. That brew tastes fantastic over vanilla ice cream and I'm guessing this porter will do the same.
My other two ventures with fruit in beer (cherry and raspberry) have both turned out quite well so I'm hoping this will as well.
An update. The chocolate nibs worked well. The orange, however turns up as aroma, but no real taste. I'm considering adding blackberries into the mix (5 lb) in the secondary. To avoid fermenting away the blackberry sweetness, I will likely either add campden tablets or add the blackberries in the cold-conditioning phase (probably the latter). [All-grain recipe: View Download, style description]
Perfection's Pursuit D-Boys Pale Ale. 5.5% ABV, batch #30, brewed 4/4/2012. Although I haven't developed professional piano chops, playing piano has always been a passion of mine. For me, it is the easiest vehicle to approach that wonderful creative essence we all have within ourselves. With Kristin's encouragement, I bought a 9-foot Steinway Concert Grand (Model D) before I retired so I could really pursue it.
I bought it from a church in Los Angeles sight unseen at a bargain basement price since it needed work: the case was really banged up from having being moved about, the hammer felt was on its last legs and the strings didn't have a lot of life left to them. But, the sound board seemed to be very good and it carried a "CD" serial number indicating it's history as part of Steinway's "Concert Piano bank" - pianos available to touring artists. This typically means someone at Steinway thought the piano special.
After getting the piano to Michigan I found Dan Harteau, a "piano whisperer" (my term, he would never be so self-possessed) who tunes, repairs and understands the heart and soul of these Model D's. He has the uncanny ability to coax every last bit of clarity and richness out of the pianos he maintains. He characterizes his craft as a "journey" toward that perfect sound - never quite arriving, but getting very close and having great fun and meeting great people along the way.
I've been fortunate to get to know Dan and have him restore the "D" in my home (not "the D that I own" since we're more temporary stewards of these pianos than owners). I'm not alone - most every "D" steward in Michigan gravitates to Dan. Knowing that these stewards share a deep appreciation for the piano, Dan introduced us to one another at the home of David Milling, a talented Ann Arbor architect with a breathtaking 1920s Steinway.
At David's we were treated to an intimate concert by Joel Schoenhals, professor of piano at Eastern Michigan University. It was a magical experience, not only due to Joel's piano mastery, but because we all seemed to find it exciting to speak with others who share such a deep and common singular interest. I'm not sure how it started, but the name "D-Boys" popped up to identify this clan.
I thought it a good idea to create a brew for the D-Boys and dedicate it to Dan Harteau - the person who gave us the common bond of breathtaking Steinway "D"s. I call it "Perfection's Pursuit" since that is what playing and maintaining "Ds" is all about. You never quite get there but have a blast taking the journey. In that spirit, this pale ale is brewed from a straight-ahead American pale ale recipe that I will evolve over time. Currently it features Cascade and Newport hops, but I will likely be adjusting that on future batches (perhaps Simco and Citra?) to reach toward perfect hoppiness. Ah, the pleasure of the journey! [All-grain recipe: view, download]
Pumpkin Fest Ale. 6.2% ABV, last brewed September 14, 2011, batch #13. Kristin and I live in South Lyon, Michigan. Each year, the major civic event is our Pumpkin fest that includes a parade, floats, pie-eating contests, a pancake breakfast, babies in strollers, fire trucks - the whole nine yards.
This ale is made in honor of that event and was made with my brother Corbin, from a good ale grain bill, real pumpkin and a dose of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves. ).
One must be vigilant in brewing with pumpkin since its dense consistency tends to clog the false bottom of one's mash tun (kettle). Constant stirring is a must. I've heard brew friends say that they don't want to bother with the real pumpkin because of this difficulty, rather, choosing to simply throw in spices. Humbug! To me, that is a little like choosing turkey cold-cuts instead of a fat and sassy baked turkey that fills the house and hearts with Thanksgiving cheer. There is well-grounded wisdom in tradition, so be mindful of the subtle, yet deep loss in disregarding it. [All-grain recipe: PDF View Download].
4.5% ABV, last brewed 3/7/13, batch #44. My good buddy Gerry likes to keep beer brewing simple. He has found three great beers that he likes and he keeps a supply of all three on hand to enjoy. No need to get exotic and brew things that you may not like and may not like as much as the core three.
Gerry's three beers are Stan's Pale Ale, Alaskan Amber and a mighty fine tasting Rye. Gerry's Rye came from a recipe suggested by our brew buddy Stan who had a rye on tap at his pub/brew supply store. This rye has a nice crisp clean taste and is a beer you can simply sit back and relax to.
If Gerry tells me a beer is good then I simply need to brew it. So Ragtime Rye has now shown up as one of my brews. My recipe is very similar to Gerry's but I've added a little carafoam for a nice head.
My first brewing of this beer turned out very different from Gerry's because of a fulfillment error in my specialty grain bill. I some how ended up with an extra pound of grain (probably Special B) which gave the beer a much stronger taste. Not bad, but not what I intended.
The name of this beer was inspired by the people I met at the Michigan Ragtime Retreat held in Lapeer, Michigan. This is a group of people who get together yearly to learn ragtime piano technique, tidbits from the far reaches of music (including Mozart and Beethoven) and whatever else our music mentor, Bob Milne, has to tell us.
For those of you who don't know Bob, I must tell you: fix that right away. You are missing out on meeting one of the most incredible people I've ever met. In addition to being an author, his ability to process music in his brain is so remarkable that neuro-scientists have studied his jaw-dropping ability and are left fairly dumbfounded, details of which can be downloaded as a RadioLab podcast. All of this from a man who is humble, approachable and just a fun guy to be around. Oh, by the way, he is considered one of the best ragtime and boogie-woogie piano players in the world. I therefore dedicate this beer to Bob. I won't send Bob any of the brew since he has chosen to stay away from alcohol, but I thought it appropriate to dedicate a bit of my creativity to a man who has shown a mountain of creativity himself. [All-grain recipe: PDF View Download].
RFA Rejuvenator. ABV TBD, not yet brewed but high on my brewing priority list. I tasted a doppelbock at Michigan's first microbrewery, the Traffic Jam and Snug (TJ's) south of Wayne State University in Detroit. I really enjoyed the dark caramel malt flavor and also enjoyed the company of Kristin as we relaxed in the restaurant that we had frequented together so often before we were married. It was a delightful experience to be back in Detroit - we had many wonderful times in this urban grittiness. It was great to see the area around TJ's sprouting with life and thriving businesses in contrast to the blight that is currently much of Detroit. And, what delightful beer!
One thing that our tight-knit group of friends developed back in those Detroit days while working at Burroughs was the RFA. The RFA is the Right Attitude, a certain way of being and thinking. The RFA includes a healthy dose of confidence, a dash of open irreverence, a dollop of friendliness and a large helping of uncontrollable belly laugh. It's a little hard to explain, but you certainly recognize it when you've got it. Being with Kristin at TJ's brought back a full flush of the RFA. So what better way to honor those special times than to brew a beer designed to rejuvenate the attitude that made those times special.
Doppel ("double") bocks are wonderfully dark and malty brews designed to be double the intensity of the bock beers on which they are based. Doppelbocks were first created as "liquid bread", drunk by pious monks during Advent and Lent. The monks were required to fast during these periods so they put their grain in brew pots instead of in loaves - creating an amazing, rich, malty, dark beer that packs a pious punch. Creative guys!
The first doppelbock was named "Salvator" (Savior) in honor of the spiritual purpose of their fasting. To this day, when naming doppelbocks many brewers follow the lead of these original monks by creating a brew with a name ending with the letters "ator". I respect that wonderful tradition along with the monks that started it and name this "RFA Rejuvinator". [All-grain recipe: German Beer Institute Overview].
Road to Bombay IPA.
6.3% ABV, last brewed 3/30/2012 with Colin and Lorne, batch #29. While the British Empire was still in full flower, English brewers would load their pale ales with extra portions of hops so that their precious brews would be well-preserved during the long journey across the oceans to their colony, India. Later named India Pale Ales (IPAs), these super-hopped brews defined the taste of beer for generations of English expatriates who later demanded this same taste when they came back to haunt the pubs of London and beyond.
I was first enthusiastically introduced to IPAs through my friend Jim Gramprie, perhaps the first person I recognized as suffering from the affliction of being a "hop head". In the spirit of true IPAs, this brew includes generous doses of freshly harvested leaf hops and uses a technique known as "First Wort Hopping" - a light pre-stewing of the hops in the warmth of a 170 degree pre-boil bath to refine the hop aroma and offer a more harmonious bitterness profile. For extra punch, the brew is also "dry hopped" with leaf hops added directly into the secondary fermenter.
This recipe has gone through many revisions, primarily by my brother Corbin and his son Keith as they explored their way toward greater and greater hoppiness. In the end, we've settled into this recipe which gives a refreshingly pleasant hop presence - assertive, but not overpowering. I just love approaching this brew: the nose has a citrusy punch of Cascade hops that jumps right to your brain! Mmmmmm!. Interestingly, there seems to be something more to hops than just a nice smell. Over the years hops have been sewn into cloth pouches to create "dream pillows". If you sleep with one near your head, many people find that their dreams become more vivid. I'll have to try that!
In the latest brewing, Colin and Lorne manned the kettles and shepherded the brew through to completion. For their efforts, each will get a case of this IPA. At the same time we sampled some Chimay Red (great Belgian ale) and the Montreal Midnight cherry chocolate stout they helped make in their first brewing adventure. All agree: these were divine! [All-grain recipe: View Download style description].
Shaggy Mane White Stout.
6.0% ABV target, last brewed 11/21/12. For me beer brewing is all about experimentation: the journey rather than the destination. So, when Corbin found this recipe for a White Stout it was just impossible to resist. After all, stouts are by nature very dark, so the whole notion of a white (light colored) stout was intriguing due to its oddity. I've always liked paradoxical things so this fit the bill nicely.
The grain bill looks like a lot like an English Stout (with a whopping 14 pounds of Marris Otter British 2-row barley and flaked oats), except it is missing the dark malts that give the characteristic blackness that we expect in stouts. Sumatran coffee is added for substance along with cocoa nibs. All in all, an interesting experiment.
Corbin and I brewed this on a gorgeous fall day at the K-Hill farm on November 21, 2012. As always, Corbin brought with him gorrrgeeeous weather! The brewing started at 7:00am with a film of ice on the back deck, but by mid morning the sun was shining brightly and I had removed both my Carhart overcoat and hooded sweatshirt to bask in the warmth with only a T-shirt. We talked about Corbin's upcoming interview at Michigan State to become a horn professor - a change of job after 35 years in the Detroit Symphony. This brew day was a "stout day", he brewed this Shaggy Mane White Stout and I tried my hand for the first time at the Detroit Sunrise Breakfast Stout.
In thinking of the oddity of having a white stout, the thought of another oddly white thing - an albino lion - came to mind. I liked the picture on the label and "Shaggy Mane" was born! [All-grain recipe: View Download style description].
Sheriff John Waddell's Goderich Wee Heavy Ale.
8.0% ABV target, last brewed 11/20/11, batch #18. Kristin and I have always spent the majority of our vacation time in Canada, even more now that Tess goes to school at McGill in Montreal. I therefore chose to make a beer with a Canadian tie and dedicate it to one of Kristin's famous ancestors, Sheriff John Waddell. Sheriff John's likeness is at left from an oil painting that hangs majestically over the hearth of Sheriff John's great grandson, Henry Stuart Waddell, and his wife Carol. Sheriff John lived and kept the peace in the area of Goderich, Ontario, a Lake Huron port town. Sheriff John died by drowning in a valiant attempt to save a boater in distress.
I suggest you go to Goderich, and when you do, try to catch the Celtic Blue Highlanders, the Scottish highland piping band based there. A special delight is the Friday evening "piping down the sun" in the summer where the pipers accompany a beautiful sunset until it is extinguished in depths of Lake Huron. One of my fondest memories is of sitting with Kristin on the square in Goderich at a small outdoor cafe on a late balmy summer's day, sipping a beer as shadows started to creep across this peaceful town, and thinking, "how can it get any better than this?". As if on cue, the full Celtic Blue Highlander band rounded the corner in full regalia marching ramrod-straight heading right toward us, sending their gorgeous piping to the heavens. It POSITIVELY doesn't get any better than that! Although Goderich was hit by a devastating tornado in August, 2011, the city is recovering and I suspect will soon regain the full charm that caused it to be recognized as "Canada's Prettiest Town". I will always have an affection for Goderich, so this beer is also a tribute to this great town.
Sheriff John is of Scottish ancestry, so this tribute brew is a Scotch "wee heavy ale", loosely patterned after Founder's Brewing Co's "Dirty Bastard" ale (no slight to Sheriff John intended). Thanks for the recipe to Tyler, of Adventures in Homebrewing, a place I much too often frequent. Like all Scotch ales, this brew is very light on hop bitterness, and provides a strong malty presence. The maltiness comes as no surprise since we went big - VERY big - on malted barley. A whopping 19.4 pounds of Scottish grain strained the limits of my mash kettle and was composed of a wonderful combination of 8 different imported malt varieties. This brew provides a mildly smoked and earthy flavor, helped along with a wee bit of Scottish Peated Malt and a dollop of Roasted Barley. The end result has a complex finish and dark ruby color.
Scottish Ales have a wonderfully antiquated classification system based on the brew's 19th century barrel tax in shillings: 60 (light ale), 70 (heavy ale), 80 (export) and 90 ("wee heavy" - the grandest of them all). Sheriff John's is a robust 90 shilling wee heavy ale - a good match for a man and clan so robust of will and heart. When Waddells do things, they tend to do it full throttle, so a full-throttle brew seemed appropriate. Here's to you Sheriff John! [All-grain recipe: View Download, style description].
Slitzweitz Spiced Winter Gnome Ale. ABV TBD. First brewed 7/15/12, batch #36 last brewed 7/1/13 batch #50. Slitzweitz falls into the category of Gnome/Elf Ales. Unfortunately this category of brews has not yet been officially recognized as part of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BCJP) guidelines, but we are working to change that.
Lest you think this is whimsy, understand that there is a well-documented study of Gnomes (see below) and gnome-inspired brews from
La Chouffe, a Belgian brewery that imports to Montreal. Tess saw the brew at a Montreal Dep and she bought me a six-pack! Kristin and I saw evidence first hand (L) during our trip to Europe.
This brew is dedicated to the long and rich history of Gnomes, first brought to my attention through a book given to me by Kristin's mother, Agnes. The book, "Gnomes", written by Wil Huygen and illustrated by Rien Poortvliet gives a fascinating and insightful summary of Gnomes, their geographic range, their types (e.g. Siberian, Garden, Woodland. ), their communication with animals, their unique customs and their holistic ethic of working in balance with nature. This is an indispensable book for those interested in Gnomes. For a more visceral understanding of gnomes, see the full length basement wall painting of gnomes made by Tess and her friends. Magnificent!
For those of you unfamiliar with Gnomes, it is well known that they make a tremendous Spice Cake from all natural ingredients, varied by the terrain and available spices in their environment. Gnomes take great joy in sharing their Spice Cake (to refuse Spice Cake from a Gnome is very bad manners and invites Gnome mischief). This cake is a rich brown staple especially enjoyed as Gnomes relax in conversation as they take their tea (most typically mint, linden-blossom, or Jasmine). This brew is an attempt to mimic the sweet rich character of Gnome Spice Cake. It is made in the spring/summer and left to age until St. Nicholas' day (Tess' birthday!). It is then opened and enjoyed until the auspicious day of triple ones (January 11, Lance's birthday!) at which time all ale must be consumed or ceremoniously returned to the Earth at the base of an old oak tree.
Fresh spruce tips, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, local honey and - featured prominently in this batch - orange zest added to the secondary fermenter. For best results, fermentation should be set up below ground level, allowing Gnomes to manage the fermentation process in an environment in which they are most comfortable. Since fermentation is the arguably the most important part of ale brewing, we are comfortable using the term "Gnome brewed" on the label.
I brewed this first on a hot July day in 2012 with my buddy Gerry at his place. Thankfully Gerry volunteered to babysit the fermentation of my Slitzweitz as Kristin and I prepared to take off for Europe three days after brewday. I couldn't think of a better person to entrust my beer to. Gerry meticulously skims kreusen off the fermenter daily and closely manages the temperature. My second batch was a year later brewing this as one half of a double batch with my many brew friends.
Regrettably, we know very little of the Gnome language. Only two words have been verified with certainty: "Slitzweitz" (meaning 'Good Night' or "Good bye") and "te diews" (meaning 'thank you'). Part of the difficulty is that their written language is in the ancient runic script whose full interpretation has long been lost to Humankind. In any event, I thought Slitzweitz an appropriate name for this brew since it would be the last word spoken after an evening of conversing, laughing and sipping spiced Gnome ale near the hearth on a frigid winter's night as lonely winds howl past a gorgeous full moon. [All grain recipe: PDF view, download].
Watch the video: Άγρια κόντρα Μαξίμου ΣΥΡΙΖΑ για τη συνέντευξη Τσίπρα (December 2021).