Belgium Comes to Cooperstown 2014

Hey guys, hope everyone had a great time at BCTC this weekend. Pics are up on Facebook (I tend to do that with people focused festival pictures so friends can tag people I may not necessarily know) so if you haven’t yet make sure to head over to FB and check out the album, maybe tag a friend.

Big shout outs to Dimitrios for taking them helm with feeding our faces with delicious food the entire weekend. Sorry our laser focused attention was on drinking beer and not giving you the help you deserved. And to the crew at Remarkable, hope y’all had fun with your first year at BCTC. Always awesome hanging out with the Grimm, Stillwater, and Global Beer folks. Big thank you to Mike from Fest Pics for the invite and as always some great pics to remember the event by. One of the few events of the year where I end up in front of the camera for a change.

See everyone next year, yeah?


Such a great experience at SAVOR this weekend. Possibly my favorite favorite beer festival of all time. Top notch beer selection, impeccable food pairings, and tons of the craft beer celebs and elite. No lines (except for the men’s bathroom), no amateurs wearing pretzels necklaces, no bros, no breweries phoning it in. Everyone involved brought their A game. Anyways, took a ton of pics to break in the new camera. Check em out!

Continue reading

Night of the Barrels Game Plan

Pretty solid (tentative) lineup of breweries and beers for this Friday’s Night of the Barrels. Unlike with Night of the Funk, I’ll be attending this one instead of volunteering for it, so I’m looking forward to getting some more time mingling with all of the brewers and enjoying the beers a little more.

I’m starting to think about how I want to approach the festival, which lines are going to be longest and which beers are going to kick most quickly. I like to have a game plan and know exactly what beers I have to try first and then just walk around and BS the rest of the festival and drink whatever ends up in my cup.

Continue reading

Festival of Barrels at Adirondack Pub & Brewery

Adirondack Pub & Brewery Festival of Barrels
Pretty fun, but bitter cold day on Saturday at The Adirondack Pub & Brewery. The Festival of Barrels is a yearly showcasing of ADK’s barrel aging program, with some beers only being available at the festival itself. Check out this incredibly unique lineup:

Continue reading

Parker Pie and the Hill Farmstead Harvest Festival Bottle Share

— So, by the time we started sitting around and cracking open a few beers after the Harvest Festival, it started raining a little bit. I was glad to have both mine and Ruth’s popup gazebos. We had the grill in the car, but nothing to cook on it so it was of little help. A few people had been talking Parker Pie earlier in the day, and unfortunately I didn’t catch Adam before he went to pick up the pizzas he had just ordered. That meant Jon and I had to venture out on our own.

Cell reception is pretty slim up in Greensboro Bend. We were able to make the call to Parker Pie to put in our order, but as for getting GPS to work on either of our phones, there wasn’t much luck. We drove about 20 minutes in the wrong direction until we found a place to ask for directions at a gas station…which also happened to be a pizza shop. Awkward.

We received some vague directions but once we started going the right direction it was still a while before I was able to get something on my GPS. Luckily we only went about a mile or two past where we were supposed to go, turned it around quick and made our way to Parker Pie. At this point, even with the multiple wrong turns we still made it there before our pies were ready. The place was swamped with the regulars plus all of us from the Hill Farmstead event, so it was going to take a little bit.

Parker Pie is interesting. It was dark and raining and I really didn’t get a sense of how large the place was when I first walked into it. The front is a simple country store. Some snacks, DVDs, cat food, few (decent for a country store) beers and other odds and ends. This opens up to a bar where you place your order for beer and food, and the opposite side has a few tables for some seating that mostly families were hanging at. We waited around, ordered yet another Hill Farmstead beer, got scolded for crossing the bar/general store line with our beer and I thought that was all the place had to offer. It wasn’t until I got chatting with a guy at the bar about the fact that his band was playing there later that night that I really had only scratched the surface on Parker Pie.

We walked out the back where they had a little bit of a patio and then a door to another section. It opened to second bar behind the front bar, with the kitchen sandwiched in between, even more tables, a large table for groups and a set of stairs led to the second floor. Walking through the doorway of the second floor opened to a surprisingly large stage surrounded by more tables and a big group of people leaning on the walls listening to the band play.

I was really surprised and impressed by Parker Pie. It seemed like everywhere you turned it unfolded into something new and different. And the pies were great and well received by the hungry festival goers back at Hill Farmstead. We only spent 15-20 minutes at Parker Pie but I definitely need to go back and get the full experience.

Upon our return, we rushed the pies back to our campsite behind Hill Farmstead. (Again, parking is no where near camping, so the pizza boxes got a little soaked by the time we got to our shelter but the pies were safe, fortunately). The crew were snacking on a cheese and charcuterie plate provided by Ruth, the Beer and Cheese Maven and sipping on the first beers.

It was cold, and wet, and we had a little crisis with some water getting in the tent but after that we got down to business and really started to get into the beers, including a nice lineup of Firestone Walker Reserve series beers and a few gems from Cigar City you can see above. Overall it was a great time and you can expect me to show up to a Hill Farmstead event or two next year, hopefully with some better weather.

The total tally for the Hill Farmstead Harvest Festival:

  • Art
  • Arthur
  • Birth of Tragedy
  • Clara
  • Edward
  • Ephraim
  • Fear and Trembling (Cabernet / Bourbon Barrel-Aged)
  • Florence
  • Holger Danske
  • James
  • Life Without Principle #1
  • Sankt Hans Amber Ale
  • Simcoe Single Hop Pale Ale
  • Society & Solitude #5
  • Vera Mae
  • Red Streak by Virtue Cider

And then for the bottle share:

  • Bourbon County Brand Stout (2011) by Goose Island Beer Co.
  • Collaboration Time I by Maine Beer Company
  • Convergence by Backlash Beer Company
  • Cucumber Saison by Cigar City Brewing
  • Double DBA by Firestone Walker Brewing Company
  • Excelsior! Le Bleu by Ithaca Beer Company
  • Firestone 15 (XV) Anniversary Ale by Firestone Walker Brewing Company
  • Flanders Fred by De Proefbrouwerij
  • Fuego del Otono by Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
  • Ginger and Juice by Jack’s Abby Brewing
  • Heady Topper by The Alchemist Pub & Brewery
  • House Beer by Allagash Brewing Company
  • Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout by Cigar City Brewing
  • Lambic by Rivertown Brewing Company
  • Lunch by Maine Beer Company
  • Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout (2011) by Cigar City Brewing
  • Oude Gueuze Tilquin à l’Ancienne by Gueuzerie Tilquin
  • Outer Darkness by Salt Lake Brewing – Squatters
  • Parabola by Firestone Walker Brewing Company
  • Saint Lamvinus by Brasserie Cantillon
  • Saison D’Erpe-Mere by Kleinbrouwerij de Glazen Toren
  • Smoking Wood Bourbon Barrel Aged by The Bruery
  • Seizoen by Logsdon Farmhouse Ales
  • Sucaba (formerly Abacus) by Firestone Walker Brewing Company
  • Tart of Darkness by The Bruery
  • Bear Republic / Fat Head’s / Stone TBA by Stone Brewing Co.
And without further adieu, beer porn!


The Parker Pie Co. (link) | 161 County Road, West Glover, VT (map) | All Parker Pie Posts

Volunteering at Night of the Funk

The Alstrom Brothers

This was my first experience volunteering at a beer festival. At the time I signed up, I figured I’m not a huge sour fan (although I like them much more now) so volunteering for the fest and getting a couple of half hour breaks to try some of the can’t miss sours was going to be perfect.

After hitting up Deep Ellum and Lord Hobo, I headed on over to the Cyclorama. I actually really liked this venue. It’s so much more beautiful than your typical convention center, like where American Craft Beer Festival is held, with tons of character, exposed brick, trussing on the ceiling, and one of the most interesting bathrooms I’ve ever seen.

My first duty was to help coordinate the making of all the signs for beers that were present but were missing signs. While there were a lot of signs already made from the night before, there were still plenty to be made the day of.

I received my assignment and schedule for the night. I’d be pouring Liefmans, Lindemans, Lindemans, and Oud Beersel all night. The Liefmans Goudenband kept my cup full for the evening.

Hey look who was at the table right next time me! Social media beer nerd extraordinaire Emily (Bagel) Ragle! (Yes I’m aware I look like shit in this pic, oh well.)

The folks from the Cellars at Jasper Hill were only a few tables down from me. Needless to say I made more than a trip or two down there for samples.

The guys from Armby Abbey and Deep Ellum all came over to say hi at some point in the night and I got the chance to chat up Shaun Hill from Hill Farmstead and Rob Burns of Night Shift Brewing during my couple of breaks. After cleaning up the volunteers all had the opportunity to hang around for an hour or two and drink what was left of the kegs at the end of the night.

Overall I had a great time, but I wouldn’t be being honest with you if I didn’t think I would have had a better time just going to the festival itself. There were a few beers that I missed out on, some not listed on the website before I left for Boston, and I just couldn’t do the research on my phone in time to know what I was missing. And I could definitely have spent the whole night mingling and meeting new people from the Boston area and getting an idea of how to spend the rest of my weekend (not that I had any complaints about how it turned out). Let’s just say I won’t be volunteering for Night of the Barrels.

Albany, NY: Ommegang Hop Chef Competition

Friday I was lucky enough to attend another one of Ommegang’s Great Food Deserves Great Beer events: the Albany Hop Chef Competition.  This is the second of these of these events (the next is in Philly) where the winner of each of the three events will compete at Belgium Comes to Cooperstown to be crowned this year’s Hop Chef. Each of the chefs paired Ommegang’s beer with two dishes using one of Chef Teddy Folkman’s 5 beer pairing techniques. Here were the Chefs’ pairings for the night:

Brian Bowden – Executive Chef | Creo’ Restaurant

  • ABBEY ALE Paired with Oxrail & Hudson Valley Foie Gras Terrine with pickled locally foraged ramps.
  • HENNEPIN Paired with Columbia River Wild Salmon, Pea Pancake, Egg and Cracklin’s.
Elliot Cuniff – Executive Chef | Colonie Golf & Country Club
  • HENNEPIN Paired wich Foie Gras Sashimi, Crispy Wonton, Pickled Ginger, Wasabi Foam, Coriander.
  • BPA Paired with Lemongrass & Ginger-Braised Kurobuta Pork Belly with Abbey Ale Cider Braising Jus, Parsnip Puree, Pineapple Hoisin Glaze, Pickled Cabbage, Tobacco Onion.
Marcus Gulliano – Executive Chef & Owner | Aroma Thyme Bistro
  • HENNEPIN Paired with Organic Jewel Yam & White Mountain Farms Quinoa Cake, with Hennepin-Sauteed Chanterelles & Hennepin-­Pickled Fennel.
  • THREE PHILOSOPHERS Paired with Fig-Macerated Three Philosophers Ice Cream, Goji Berry & Chocolate Crisp, Three Philosophers & Palm Sugar Syrup.
AJ Jayapal – Corporate Food & Beverage Director | The Mallozzi Family, Miss Sydney’s
  • WITTE Paired with Handcrafted Turkey Shami Kebab, Toasted Coconut and Chick Pea Salad, Indu’s Chutney.
  • RARE VOS Rare Vos­-Infused Miss Sydney’s Marinated Pork Tenderloin, Malted Savory Waffle, Rare Vos-­Braised Fresh Sauerkraut of Apples, Bacon and Cabbage, Earthquake Mayo.
Rachel Mabb – Bitches Kitchen
  • WITTE Paired with Chili Shrimp & Sausage Wonton in Hennepin Broth.
  • RARE VOS Paired with Pork Tostada with Seduction Mole & Cherry Salsa.

Ric Orlando – Chef & Owner | New World Home Cooking, New World Bistro Bar

  • WITTE Paired with Snow Crab and Scallop Sausage, “Dirty Blonde” Mousse, Wheatberry Blondie.
  • THREE  “Three Phils, Three Pigs”: Jerk Pork Rib Salad with Smothered Cabbage; Pork Belly-Cherry-Black Garlic Caramel; Pigs Ears, shaved  Lacinata Kale, Chipotle-­Cherry Vinaigrette.
Jaime Ortiz – Corporate Executive Chef | Mazzone Hospitality
  • RARE VOS “Rare ofthe Dog,” Rare Vos and Faux Egg Shooter with a Honey Thyme Bacon Chaser – sure to cure what “ales” you.
  • HENNEPIN paired with Rustic Braised Veal Cheeks with Hennepin Wheat Berry Risotto.

Paul J. Ozimek – Executive Chef | Taste

  • ABBEY ALE Paired with Venison-Filled Veal Roulade/ Zucchini Creme Fraiche/  Fennel Chip.
  • THREE PHILOSOPHERS Paired with smoked Salmon Pastrami & Asparagus Terrine/ Cherry Sweet and Sour.

My two favorite dishes of the night were Chef Marcus’ Fig-Macerated Three Philosophers Ice Cream and Chef Ric’s Three Phils, Three Pigs. Homemade ice cream is one of my specialties and I’ve been trying to incorporate beer into ice cream for a while now. I’m trying to figure out how to do so without losing the alcohol in the beer, and while Marcus boiled down Three Phils to make this ice cream, it was still my favorite dish of the night. Ric’s Pigs go without saying, pork is the best way to a man’s (my) heart. Especially pork belly. Phenom.

Anyways, enough about me. Here’s how the chefs fared in the competition:

The Results

  • People’s choice winner: A.J. Jayapal
  • Second runner-up: Ric Orlando
  • First runner-up: Paul Ozimek

…And the Albany Hop Chef Competition winner: Jaime Ortiz!

It was an great time and, as usual, Ommegang puts on an amazing event. I can’t wait to see how our local Chef Jaime Ortiz does against the winners from from DC and Philly in August. Good luck!

A few more pics can be found here.

Kinda Disappointed I’m Not Making it to ACBF This Year

…and missing out on sweet photo opportunities like this. Yes, both Elise and the rando are trashed here (Elise within the first 45 minutes of last year’s festival or so). And yes, utilikilts are acceptable fashion for all events that end in “Fest”.