Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Beer + Food = Epic Awesomeness!

My wonderful wife, Fran Shayotovich of the food blog "For the Love of Fran's Food," is one helluva cook. I have a helluva love for eating her food and drinking beer.  Fortunately for me she has also cultivated a love for the liquid gold (so my master plan of converting her from a Wino to a Beero has worked maaaaaaaahvelously) and often combines the best of these two worlds to create dishes that could be included on the menu of any fine gastropub establishment.

As the craft beer revolution continues to pick up speed this food and beer pairing phenom does as well. For instance, two new gastropub's recently opened in Denver - Freshcraft and Euclid Hall. Both need to be visited the next time you come to the Napa Valley of the Beer World.  Suggestions: order the Pretzel Bites or the Potatoes Two Ways appetizers at Freshcraft, and any of the Poutines at Euclid Hall.  Trust me on this.

But this article isn't about Denver... it's about a new culinary travel planning website that Travel Oregon just launched. Oregon is a Beer Mecca as well, so they know a thing or two when it comes to the brew, and they want to help visitors who come to their neck of the woods create their own Oregon Bounty Wanderfeast. Each week the site features a different Oregon culinary product at its peak... and this week it's Beer Week! Visit the website for recipes, secret spots to taste beery goodness, and while you're there enter a contest to win a four-night, three-day culinary getaway of your own.

Oh, and be sure to check out the recipe from Alan Sprints of Hair of the Dog Brewery in Portland for his Beer Braised Short Ribs. You can bet I'm going to have Fran make these sometime very soon!

Until next time... Zivjeli!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Like rolling thunder... the Great American Beer Festival is back in town!

Re-posted from my Examiner column today, but with pictures. Since the "new" and "improved" Examiner.com site is about as borked as the US health care system...

The 29th annual Great American Beer Festival is back and bigger then ever!  This year's GABF is expected to serve more than 2,200 different beers from an estimated 462 (of the over 1,600 total) U.S. breweries to the event’s 49,000-plus attendees.

In an economy that has seen macro industrial beer sales slide two years in a row, craft beer sales have hit double digit figures in that same period.  It would seem that the taste of the masses has indeed changed for the better - and quickly. Here's an interesting factoid:  Did you know that "four out of 10 people in their mid-20s have never even tried Budweiser." True.

Starting tomorrow and running through Saturday evening, the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver plays host to the worlds biggest beer festival.  Four sessions, three of them open to the public (each night from 5:30 - 10:00 P.M.) Technically, Germany's Oktoberfest (which starts on Saturday ironically enough) is the biggest... but that's not nearly the same type of "beer festival."

Sadly, if you want to go and haven't purchased a ticket yet... you're out of luck. Tickets for every session sold out over a month ago, making it the fastest sell-out in the GABF's 29 years.  If you are one of the lucky ones - and especially if this is your first time, you'll want to check out some of the facts and need-to-know tidbits that Beer Tap TV put together in their "GABF Survival Guide." Full disclosure: I'm a co-owner of that particular venture, and actually wrote the survival guide... so you know it will help you get through your first beer festival relatively unscathed.

If you can't make it - have no fear!  Beer Tap TV, in conjunction with Rackspace and Ustream, will, for the first time ever, be streaming hours of LIVE coverage to your PCs, laptops, iPads and mobile devices such as iPhones, Android phones, etc.  How?  With a special mobile rig made by Ustream equipped with 6 data modems load-balanced over 3 networks (AT&T, Verizon and Sprint) capable of transmitting live video.
We're going where the action is!  We'll not only be on the GABF festival floor, but from many of the events outside the festival proper. In fact, some of the best parts of the GABF experience are these off-site parties, special tappings and get togethers hosted by breweries from around the country.

Beer Tap TV will be in Denver starting tonight, so be sure to check out the "Live Coverage" schedule on our special Ustream channel, or on the Beer Tap TV website.  Follow Beer Tap TV on Twitter as the entire crew will be using it to let folks know where we'll be at any given moment.  We'll also be updating our Facebook page with still photos and other quick snippets of video. I'll also update this column as much as possible.  You can also follow me on Twitter during GABF.

Cheers to Craft Beer!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Brewvie Review: Kick-Ass

I had a few "free" minutes so I thought it was time I got my ass in gear and kicked out another Brewvie Review; one I've been promising now for a few weeks. So without further delay...


From Netflix: 
Inspired by his love of comic books, high school student Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) decides to transform himself into a masked crime fighter -- a decision that eventually thrusts the teenager into Internet stardom. Soon, Dave's antics inspire a wave of would-be heroes to don costumes and live out their superhero fantasies. Nicolas Cage, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Chloe Moretz also star in this comic book adaptation from director Matthew Vaughn.

Based on the comic book of the same name by Mark Millar (well known comic writer who won the Stan Lee award at Wizardworld in 2007) and John Romita, Jr. (legendary writer/artist with Marvel since the 1970s). It was directed by Matthew Vaughn (producer for Guy Ritchie films "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," "Snatch," and directed "Layer Cake," and will direct "X-Men: First Class").  Vaughn co-produced Kick-Ass with THE Brad Pitt.

If you like action or comic book movies, you'll absolutely love Kick-Ass. If you don't like 'em, give this sometimes brutal, funny, offbeat, and highly entertaining take on the comic book hero a try because it's a superhero movie that keeps it real!

As a prelude... this movie is rated "R" for a reason, so it's not for kids of any age. It's a mature, adult themed movie with a great story, witty dialouge and stars Chris Mintz-Plasse ("McLovin" from Superbad) and Nick Cage (Big Daddy).  However, the movie stealer is the innocent looking Chloe Moretz who plays Hit Girl.  HScene stealer and ultimate ass kicker!

This was my rant on Facebook/Netflix immediately after seeing it: 
Holy blood and realism, Comic Book Lovers! Kick-Ass is a GREAT movie. If I could rate it higher then 5, I would. Being the total comic nerd, when I saw the trailers I figured it was going to rock, but this sucker was better then I expected, and I was expecting a lot. Even my wife loved it!  Ya, it's gory in some spots, and some of the scenes are over the top, but man... what a ride! Absolute Must See!

Netflix average score based on 226,216 ratings is 4 stars.  I give it an ass kicking FIVE STARS!

Brew Suggestion for Kick-Ass

I could have gone a few different ways here with the beer choice. For instance, Coney Island's blood red Freaktoberfest would have been a perfect compliment to this sometime bloody flick.  I could have gone the easy route with beers names similarly, such as Kick-Ass Brown from C.H. Evans Brewing Co. in Albany, New York, or Kick Ass Pilsner from Pittsfield Brew Works in Pittsfield, MA (but they're no longer in business).

Instead, I decided to go with a beer that's not only a high alcohol content kick in the ass, but one of my favorite beers on the planet (in wintertime only mind you). That honor goes to the can crushing, bitch slap to the face brew from Oskar Blues (Lyons, Colorado) known as Ten Fidy.  This heroic Imperial Stout weighs in at a whopping 10.5% ABV and is so "hot" it can cauterize an open wound and is so thick and chewy it coagulates blood!  Ten Fidy's utility belt is loaded with 98 IBUs and enormous amounts of two-row malt, chocolate malt, roasted barley, flaked oats and hops.

You want it... Ten Fidy knows you want it.  So get it.  Then hunker down with a copy of Kick-Ass.  The rest as they say... is history!