Thursday, February 27, 2014

Gordon Biersch Baltimore Releases Brewer’s Select and Limited-Time Menu

Gordon Biersch Baltimore will be releasing it's Brewer's Select Belgian Strong Ale on March 5th and hosting a tapping party on the 6th. Be sure and give it a try as I'm sure brewer Chris Cashell has the Belgian thing on lock considering his background with Brewers Art. If Belgian Beer isn't your thing their Pils is as good as they come. A pint of Pils and the Redwood Porter Chicken they'll be offering for a limited time sounds like a dinner I can get behind.

More information can be found in the press release below:

Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant welcomes spring with the tapping of Brewer’s Select and a limited-time menu featuring three new entrées. Varying by location, this popular beer release is brewed in-house and selected by each local brewer. Brewer’s Select showcases a wide range of styles from an Imperial Pilsner to an Alt Bier, while still adhering to Gordon Biersch’s exacting standards.
 In Baltimore the Brewer’s Select will be a Belgian Strong Ale and will be available from March 5 through March 30 or until the beer is depleted. Guests can be one of the first to try the new beer and menu offerings at a tapping party held on 3/6 at 6 pm.
Gordon Biersch will pair Brewer’s Select with a limited-time menu which includes a new starter, Porter Meatballs (meatballs topped with cremini mushrooms in a porter cream sauce and garnished with crispy onion strings), and three new entrées:
  • Redwood Porter Chicken (Seasoned chicken breast, sautéed with mushrooms and grilled red onions in a porter cream sauce, accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus) 
  • Rancher’s Bison Burger (Half-pound lean bison burger topped with goat cheese spread, pepperoncini’s and smokehouse bacon)
  • Herb Mahi (Grilled mahi brushed with a citrus herb sauce and topped with grilled red onions. Served with confetti brown rice and grilled asparagus)
The menu will also feature a customer favorite Lobster & Shrimp Mac ‘N Cheese (Sautéed lobster and shrimp tossed in a parmesan-havarti cheese sauce with bowtie pasta).
To round out the meal, Gordon Biersch will offer a Turtle Cheesecake (Traditional cheesecake drizzled with caramel and chocolate sauces and topped with pecans) on its limited-time menu which runs through March 30.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cooking with Beer: Beer Smothered Pork Chops

 Welcome to Cooking With Beer, where food and beer come together to make culinary coitus. If you think cooking with gas is cool, wait to you try cooking with beer.

This dish was prepared with Union Craft Brewing's Balt Alt, an absolutely delicious altbier made locally in Baltimore. I decided on Balt Alt because I was looking for a malty beer that would add a little sweetness to the gravy and I wanted a beer with caramel looking appearance to help add good color to the gravy. If you've never cooked with beer before, give this a try. It'll make a great plate to warm up with during these last few cold days of winter. 


  •  4 Bone-in Pork Chops (as thick as you can find up to an inch)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 TBS Oil
  • 2 TBS Butter
  • 1 Medium sized onion (white or yellow)
  • 1/2 of a Green Pepper
  • 2 Stalks of Celery
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 3 TBS Flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of Chicken broth
  • 8 ounces of Beer
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 cup of sliced button mushrooms
  • Hot Sauce (as much or as little as you'd like)
  • You may or may not need a corn starch slurry
  • Salt & Pepper Pork Chops. Add oil to cast iron pot or dutch oven. Brown on each side roughly 3 minutes. Place chops on a plate
  • Melt butter and add onion, green pepper, celery and garlic. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft
  • Throw flour over the vegetables and stir around to cook the rawness out of the flour.
  • Add Chicken broth and beer, bring to a simmer. When simmering add pork chops back in, simmer 20 minutes with lid on. When chops are done, remove them from the pot.
  • Add cream, mushrooms and hot sauce. Simmer until it desired gravy consistency is achieved. Sometimes a little corn starch slurry is necessary to thicken it up enough but it's up to you.
  • Plate your pork chops and smother them in the gravy. Serve with noodles, rice, or roasted potatoes. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Announcement - The Session #85 - Why Do You Drink?

The Session, a.k.a. Beer Blogging Friday, is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic. Each month, a different beer blogger hosts the Session, chooses a topic and creates a round-up listing all of the participants, along with a short pithy critique of each entry. Oliver, of Literature and Libation was our host last month. Check out the fun

There are plenty of people out there who wish that alcohol consumption ceased to take place and would be happy for prohibition to rear it's ugly head once again. Others, while not looking to ban alcohol altogether, are quick to judge those of us who drink more than what they would consider a proper amount. As I get older, I've lost the urge to defend my life decisions, but there was a time when judgment about the liquids I chose to put in my mouth made me feel self-conscious.

And that's where my idea for this month's Session topic came from. It's easy to find article after article on the internet telling us that alcohol is bad. As beer bloggers it's safe to say we all disagree. Let's take the opportunity as a group to tell people why we do drink and how it improves our life for the better. I know the default answer a lot of us fall back on is "it's nice to sit back with a good beer after a stressful day of work", and while that's true, I'm looking for answers that aren't so obvious to people who aren't fans of our hobby. Beer is bigger than a liquid "chill pill" or we wouldn't have gone about setting up a blog and dedicating so much of our time discussing it. So, what is it that compels you to drink and what would your life be missing if beer was no longer an option for you?

Leave a link to your posts in the comment section of this announcement on March 7 or tweet me @BmoreBistroBeer. The summary round-up will be posted one week later on March 14. I look forward to all of your contributions. Thanks in advance for playing along.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Noodle Charm

This review was written by Deana

Spice and Dice is one of our favorite places to visit for a lunch date.  They’re quick, friendly, and have consistently good Thai food.  So when the owners of Spice and Dice opened up Noodle charm right next door a few months ago, we had to try their Thai noodle dishes.

We visited Noodle charm right after it opened, and then again a few weeks ago when we were looking for something good and fast to eat on our way out of town for the weekend. Noodle Charm was every bit as good as we remembered it being the first time.

On this visit, we chose to start with crispy wontons.  These were deep fried wontons filled with yellow curry potatoes and served with an awesome sweet and sour sauce.  The wontons were perfectly crispy with a soft, creamy potato mixture in the middle. The filling had a good flavor that pairs very well with the sauce.  The sweet sauce was complemented with spicy red pepper flakes, cilantro and green onions.  These might end up being one of those things we order regularly when visiting Noodle Charm.

For dinner we both ordered the tofu veggie noodle soup.  They also offer many choices with chicken broth and beef broth and several choices of meat, but this time we chose to try tofu for the first time. Douglas was a much bigger fan of the Tofu than I was, but it was nothing to be scared of trying.  It had slightly chewy bread like consistency, and took on the flavor of the mushroom broth which was fantastic. The broth  was full of crisp veggies and the noodles of our choice along with the tofu. I chose a flat rice noodle while Douglas chose egg noodles. Oddly enough, we both had noodle envy and preferred the others to our own.

The soup was the perfect option for a cold snowy night’s dinner and I’m sure we will be visiting again for more noodle soup as soon as possible.With the friendly staff, great food food, and super affordable prices you just can't go wrong.

Price: Very affordable
Recommendation: Must visit
What to Order: Crispy Wonton and whichever noodle bowl speaks to you. You can't go wrong.

Noodle Charm on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Weekend Beerventures from Baltimore: Burley Oak and Evolution Craft Brewing Co.

Welcome to what I'm hoping will be come a pretty regular blog feature called Weekend Beerventures from Baltimore. The idea is simple. It's the weekend and you're looking for good beer within 2 hours (3 max) of Baltimore. It could be a bar, brewery, brewpub, or distributor. If I make it to one of these destinations, I'll take some pictures and let you know if I had good time or not. Sometimes, I might try to set something up so it's more of an "official" blog visit. And sometimes,  as was the case on this visit, I might just visit with no agenda other than to taste some good beer.

This particular Beerventure was a winter weekend trip to Ocean City. I wasn't sure how many breweries I would be able to drag Deana to but I was pretty determined to make it to Burley Oak. I've heard nothing but good things about them and being that I've only sampled 2 or 3 of their beers prior to our visit I was pretty excited to get a better idea about what they had to offer. And I found out, they have a lot to offer. 

When we first arrived it was looking pretty dead. I was a little worried the snow was going to keep people in their house, but within an hour the place was full of thirsty visitors looking to get Burley. I wish I would have taken a photo of their tasting room, because it was a really cool place to hangout. It was the perfect kind of size where it's big enough that people aren't breathing down your neck, but small enough that you can feel the energy of the crowd. The bartenders were friendly, taking their time going over the different options and were right there to get you something else as soon as they noticed you were nearing the end of your pint or sampler. 

I didn't take very good tasting notes as I attempted to be a good fiance and actually talk with Deana as opposed to diligently going over each beer making sure I missed nothing. However, thanks to Untappd I can confirm that I tried their Just The Tip Kolsch, a Brown Ale called 'Merica, a Berliner known as Sour Trip, their take on a homemade Root Beer, and my favorite of the day a Flanders (not sure, but they labeled it a Sour) called Tart Attack. Oh yeah, and Deana had a SuperFun Stout on Nitro, Assawoman Amber, and a Red Ale called Rude Boy that I got to try as well. The standouts for me were Sour Trip and Tart Attack. Sour trip was the perfect amount of sour, but it still had a very earthy wheat backbone that I thought provided some balance. And Tart Attack was just delicious if you're a fan of sour cherries. There might have been snow on the ground that day, but Tart Attack had me ready for Spring. Deana was also a big fan of Tart Attack, but the SuperFun Stout on Nitro seemed to be a hit with her as well. Fans of beer with silky mouthfeel need to find this oatmeal stout when it's getting the Nitro treatment. Unreal.

At some point during all the beer tasting Brewer Bryan stopped by and casually asked if anyone was interested in a brew tour. Of course we were game and  headed into the back of the building to see what was going on. He went through the basics you hear in just about every tour, but I found it particular interesting that he started malting his own barley. A farmer in Snow Hill provides the barley, Bryan malts it, and you might have been drinking it recently if you had the chance to try Loakal Pale Ale in the past week or two. Unfortunately, I was a week early and missed out but I look forward to trying out their house malted beers as they expand their efforts into the future. If drinking local is your thing, you really can't ask for much more than that. 

Especially noticeable on our visit to Burley Oak was how involved Brewer Bryan was with everything. He was running the tours, filling pints, running the cash register, and thanking everyone for their business with a smile on his face that let you know he really loved what he was doing. It was a really good time and I'm looking forward to my next trip to Berlin. 

But that wasn't the end of good beer on this trip. I thought Burley Oak was going to be the extent of the Beerventure, but on the way out of town Deana gave the thumbs up for a quick visit to Evolution. Evo is about 30 minutes outside of OC in Salisbury and they boast one of the cooler brewery setups I've visited with a restaurant and tap room sandwiching a pretty decent sized brewery area. Unfortunately, we ate lunch before deciding we'd make our visit, but the restaurant was smelling fantastic. The next time I'm in the area I definitely want to make sure I save time and room for some food in the Public House.

However, we did have time for a few beers before we headed back to Baltimore. Since I've had Lot 3 and 6 plenty of times, I decided to pass on them and sample Rise Up Stout, their spring seasonal Sprung, and Incubator 3 and 4 (Saison and Oyster Stout). Deana choose Winter Migration (Strong Ale), Exile ESB, and Lucky 7 (Porter). There wasn't a bad beer among them, but the favorites were Incubator 3 for me and Rise Up Stout for Deana. 

Our little tasting session at Evolution was also a reminder of how drinking a fresh beer can bit vital to understanding what a beer is really intended to be about. I specifically ordered Sprung because in the past when I've had it in bottles I thought it literally tasted of nothing. Given that Evo puts out consistently flavorful beer I always wondered what was up with Sprung, but having it fresh on tap at the brewery made all the difference. Sprung was still light on aroma, but there were subtle fruit components I never experienced before with hints of apple and white grape popping in and out. 

The tour there was okay (no fault of evo's). It was the same old stuff  but we did have the privilege of being momentarily locked in their malt room. Normally, I wouldn't worry but on Sunday when NOBODY was in the brewing area it had me wondering how long we'd be in there before someone noticed we were missing. Luckily, our tour guide got us out after a few minutes of playing around with the door, but if it took a little longer I think we'd have been okay considering we had a pitcher of Rise Up Stout with us to pass the time.

We didn't get to spend a ton of time at Evo, but the time we did spend was enjoyable. The beer was good and the people working there were super friendly which is just about all you can ask for on a visit to a brewery. If you end up taking my advice and visiting, be sure to leave enough time for food.

Overall, I'd say a trip to OC (especially during off season) is a great way to spend a Saturday or Sunday. It's a few hour drive, but you have two breweries within 30 minutes of each other putting out some really good beer. Start your day early at Burley Oak and then head back to Baltimore while taking a beer detour at Evo. Taste the beer, eat some food, enjoy the company of friendly strangers, and you've had one hell of a Weekend Beerventure from Baltimore. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Conversations with Beer Bloggers

A few weeks ago I sat down and talked food/beer blogging with Josh Short of Short On Beer. This was my first time being interviewed for anything other than a job and it was a lot of fun to participate. Check it out. And thanks Josh, once again, for having me on.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Session #84 - "Alternative" Beer Reviews

I have fun blogging for The Session every month, but I've been looking forward to this month's session a little bit more than usual. And why? Because it's being hosted by one of my favorite bloggers Oliver Gray of Literature and Libation. His blog is excellent and always has me striving to up my creativity level just a little bit more. Not surprisingly, his rules for The Session have forced me to think outside of the box once again. The rules this month are in Oliver's words below. 
We, as beer bloggers, tend to get caught up in this beer appreciation thing, forever chasing an invisible dragon of taste, doing our best to catalog our experiences on the page or in a database. We get obsessed with the idea of quantifying our experience – either so we can remember specifics ad infinitum or use the data as a point of comparison for other beers – and often forget that beer is just as much art and entertainment as it is critic-worthy foodstuff. 
So for my turn hosting The Session, I ask all of you to review a beer. Any beer. Of your choosing even! There’s a catch though, just one eentsy, tiny rule that you have to adhere to: you cannot review the beer.  
I know it sounds like the yeast finally got to my brain, but hear me out: I mean that you can’t write about SRM color, or mouthfeel, or head retention. Absolutely no discussion of malt backbones or hop profiles allowed. Lacing and aroma descriptions are right out. Don’t even think about rating the beer out of ten possible points.
As a beer blogger, it's pretty easy to dismiss beers like I.C. Light and its big brother Iron City. From a beer ingredient point of view, even if Oliver weren't forbidding me from actually reviewing the beer there wouldn't be a whole lot I could say about it. But this review isn't about the grain bill, hops, or the fact that they aged a beer in wine barrels from Atlantis and then inoculated the wort with essence of elf fart to give just a hint of cinnamon like flavor you couldn't achieve any other way. No, this is a review about a beer that makes me think of home.

It's not easy to find Iron City beer in Baltimore. In fact, I'm pretty sure you can't. But as soon as I read this month's Session rules I knew exactly which beer I wanted to review. Without a planned trip home I asked my friends on Facebook if they could get a picture of an I.C. Light atop Mount Washington. And just like an Iron City beer, the people of Pittsburgh are straight forward people who just want to put a smile on your face. To my surprise, Jay, a friend that I had minimal interaction with in college was quick to respond that he could help me out. Those are the kinds of things I miss about home. The people are there to help you when you need it no matter if you're a close family member or a stranger on the street. Jay helping me like this was a perfect reminder of that. Thanks, Jay. 

Before I knew someone would help out with a picture, I convinced my sister to send a few beers in the mail. It's nice to know I can depend on her to support me for silly things like this. And no, Lauren, I haven't forgotten my end of the deal. Season 1 and 2 of Downton Abbey are coming your way. I just need to come to terms with the separation anxiety that's sure to ensue when I finally get to the post office. By the way, has there ever been a better beer trade than two Iron City Beer's for two Seasons of Downton Abbey? Take your Pliny the Elder for Westy 12 trades and shove it!

Maybe you  noticed the mug I poured the beer in up above. My Pap gave that to me. I miss him and don't get to see my family as much as I'd like, but every time I drink out of that mug and pour an Iron City inside its glass walls I think of him and my Grandma telling me that it would only collect dust if I didn't take it. 

Iron City are the beers that have been in the background of so much of my life. It was the beer my buddy Homer was drinking when he was teaching me the merits of drinking from a Mason Jar. It was the beer I had in my hand when more than one year ended and the next began. And it was the beer I drank a few months ago when I got to be the best man at my brother's wedding. 

So, thank you Oliver. Thank you for coming up with the idea of an "alternative" beer review. Because even if Iron City was the most complex in the beer world I wouldn't want to talk about ABV and IBU's. Thinking about the people in my life and the places these beers have worked their magic was so much more satisfying than talking about the finer points of some random A+ rated beer. Cheers to you, Oliver. And Cheers to simple beers like Iron City and the comforts of home.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Left Hand Brewing Enters Maryland March 3rd

Ladies and Gentleman, Left Hand Brewing of Colorado will be entering into the Maryland and DC markets starting March 3rd. Left Hand is known for their Nitro Series of beers and are currently the only craft brewery with bottled Nitrogen Beer. Sounds like something I'd love to get my hands on.

Kickoff events will be held at the following locations in the DC/MD area:

  • Wednesday 3/5 @ 7PM - Churchkey in DC
  • Thursday 3/6 @ 7PM - Frisco Tap House in Columbia, MD
  • Friday 3/7 @ 5PM - Max's in Baltimore, MD

Left Hand Brewing took home 3 Gold Medals at the Great American Brew Festival so be on the lookout for some top of the line craft beer out of these guys in the very near future.


Everyone likes to start off a new year by making resolutions to become healthier, workout more, and do more underwater basket weaving than they did the year before. Deana and I are no different so we decided that for January of the new year we were going to abstain from eating all animals no matter how hungry we got while weaving baskets. We did a great job and made it the entire month without cheating once, so it was with great excitement that we took a well deserved trip to Tersiguel's in Ellicott City to indulge in some meaty goodness once again.

While perusing the menu, Deana and I both noticed Escargot was offered as an appetizer. Being that neither of us had ever had this delicacy and we were in a French restaurant, it only made sense to end our animal eating sabbatical with some delicious snails. And so we did. I've always heard that snails are chewy, but in my head I imagined a more rubbery type of chewiness. These snails weren't like that at all. They were chewy, but I'd say it was more chewy like a chewy piece of bread. If you like butter and garlic than you will love the Escargot. And just as delicious as eating the snails themselves was dipping bread in the leftover butter and garlic. 

Next up was a simple but fantastic bowl of potato leak soup called Potage Parmentier. The flavors were very clean with a simple cream broth making a rich home for the potato to shine. I really appreciated that the potato was the star of the show. Most potato soups I've had are usually dominated by a lot of cheese or bacon flavors. That wasn't the case at all here. And despite the soup being cream based it was very light making for an excellent starter on a cold winter night. One word of advice if you happen to order the Potage Parmentier is to be sure to allow the wait staff to add some freshly cracked pepper as it adds the perfect bite to an otherwise mildly flavored soup. 

For dinner, I decided to go with a French classic in Beef Bourguignonne. Beef Bourguignonne is a slow cooked French style beef stew. Tersiguel's was every bit as good as I hoped. There were huge hunks of incredibly tender beef alongside potatoes, pearl onions, and mushrooms covered in a savory beef broth that was to do die for. I hate when people say that something only gets better the next day, but the leftovers I had a few days later were even better. With Punxsutawney Phil calling for 6 more weeks of winter, this would be a great dish to try before the cold weather leaves us. 

Deana selected Poulet which was chicken cooked two ways. The first preparation was pan roasted chicken breast. Of the two preparations, this was both of our favorite. The breast was tender and juicy showcasing an herb forward flavor profile. I'm not sure exactly which herbs the breast was seasoned with, but I believe sage was the main player. The second preparation was a chicken leg confit. I don't remember if I've ever had chicken prepared this way in the past, but it was also very enjoyable. It sounds goofy to say that the chicken had a very heavy chicken flavor, but that's all I can think of. It was like the flavors were concentrated or something and it was fantastic. We both enjoyed the extra crispy skin juxtaposed with the melt in your mouth interior. Both preparations were served with a roasted portabella mushroom and served over a garlic cream puree. I was afraid the garlic puree was going to be domineering, but it was very subtle in flavor and served to help make an already juicy dish that much more moist and delicious. 

We haven't visited too many restaurants thus far in 2014, but Tersiguel's was a great way to get things started. It's a very quiet restaurant with great service and superb food. Guys, trust me when I say this would make an excellent V-Day dinner date. If you're smart, you'll make reservations and ask for the table sitting right next to the window on the third floor that allows you to look down over all of Main Street. And when the night is over you and your lady will be as happy as Deana and I were the night of our visit. 

Price: Expensive
Recommendation: Great place for an anniversary or birthday dinner
What to Order: If you've never tried, give the Escargot a shot. I'm sure everything on the menu is fantastic. 

Tersiguel's on Urbanspoon