Monday, December 16, 2013

What Happened to Food Network?

I know I'm not the first one to question the direction Food Network has been moving in, but something I saw recently on a replay of Chopped bugged me enough that I decided to put my thoughts out there on the topic.

Now, before I go and say my piece, let me give you a little bit of perspective as to what my history is with Food Network. I feel like I was an early adopter of the whole food TV thing. I can remember watching Bobby Flay cook before he was even part of the Food Network. Ready, Set, Cook (est. 1995) was an early favorite of mine during my teenage years. So, while I'm not an expert on food by any stretch of the imagination, I've been watching Food Network for close to two decades now and feel like I have spent enough time with the network to comment on where it was and where it's going.

Even though I never had any designs of cooking professionally, I always had an interest in food. However, were it not for my early obsession with Bobby Flay (and slight crush on Jacqui Malouf) I might never have started cooking on my own as early as I did and with the confidence I did. And while I was gaining the confidence to give cooking a shot for myself, I was also learning about a whole slew of new and exotic ingredients I would have never otherwise have heard of. A tomatillo --- in 1996 --- what the hell was that? Well, now I knew. And even if I didn't know what specific ingredients tasted like, I knew what kind of dishes I saw them being added into and that helped me come up with ideas for my own recipes later on in life. That's why I loved Food Network. That's what made it fun. I was gaining real knowledge that I could apply in my own kitchen.

Come to present day and Chopped is one of the few shows I still enjoy watching on Food Network. You get to see culinary creativity at it's finest while learning a little bit about all kinds of crazy ingredients. Do I care how someone makes a dish with leftover nachos? Not really, but the show as a whole is usually entertaining and semi-educational. For those of you not familiar, Chopped is a cooking contest in which 4 contestants are matched up against each other and they all must create a dish using the mystery ingredients found in a basket before each round. There are 3 rounds with one cook being "chopped" after each.

The other day one of the mystery ingredients they had was referred to as "sour beer". As a beer geek and a long time fan of Food Network this really bothered me. Sour beer is more of an umbrella term for a type of beers and not a specific beer style itself. The beer geek in me immediately thought "Cool. I wonder what type of sour beer?," but I never got an answer. Was the sour beer a  Lambic, Gueuze, Flanders Red Ale, Berliner Weiss, Gose? What was it?! I wanted to know, but more than that I would have liked the Food Network to tell us. I would have liked them to take the opportunity to educate their viewers about one of my favorite topics. Why would they even use such a broad term like that to describe an ingredient. When they have something like Blue Foot Chicken as an ingredient they don't refer to it as blue poultry and then fail to give any type of description. So, why do that with beer? Why not do what they used to do so well and educate us, even if it's just a brief sentence or two about "sour beer"? I used to be hopeful that Food Network would someday have a show that taught us about beer, but if this was any indication of what might be offered then forget it.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night by any means, but as far as food/beer and Food Network is concerned the complete lack of teaching that goes on these days is frustrating. Even Alton Brown, producer behind maybe the most educational show (Good Eats) in Food TV history is guilty of the continued bastardization of the channel. His newest show Cutthroat Kitchen is downright pitiful. In what is one of 50 billion cooking competitions now airing on the channel, the contestants on Cutthroat Kitchen have $25,000 that they can use to buy weird ingredients or implement weird rules for a fellow contestant to work with. One episode had someone cooking with oven mitts on. Another had someone forced to make tools out of aluminum foil. How is any of that applicable to the home cook? How does that help today's 15 year old version of me get an understanding of what cooking is and how it can be approached. It doesn't and it's a shame.

Food Network, once upon a time you were awesome. You brought me and plenty others into your world with simple shows about Food and free of gimmicks. Please, get back to that simple MO before you're so long gone there's no hope. And if nothing else, when beer is an ingredient on one of your shows it'd be nice if you could give it its' due. Sour beer is much more than simply sour.

Monday, December 9, 2013

An Poitin Still

I don't know why we were on that side of town, but on a cold rainy day a little while back Deana and I ventured into An Poitin Still. It was just at that point in the day between lunch and dinner where you're not full but you wouldn't turn down a tasty bite either and since we were passing the Still I decided I couldn't live with myself if I drove past once again without finally sampling some of what they had to offer. 

Right off the bat I knew I wanted to try the Irish Nachos. Thick slices of potato, liquid cheese, bacon, and scallions? How do you pass that up? The answer is "you don't". I'm not the biggest fan of liquid cheese, but every once in awhile I give myself permission to make an exception. In this case, I can see the exception occurring on a semi-regular basis. When the plate first arrived I was a little worried that the potatoes were either going be over or under done based on the thickness of the cut, but An Poitin Still came through with a perfectly cooked potato -- Crunchy and Creamy just like every good potato should be. They actually reminded me of the roasties I'm so fond of cooking at home -- just with all the additional toppings. 

To warm up from the rain we decided to go with the Irish Cobbler. I'm not sure why it's called Cobbler but this thick and creamy cheese soup was fantastic. I wish the Beer Cheese Soup I attempted to make a couple of weeks ago tasted half as good. There's not much in the way of texture but the Irish Cobbler packs a punch in the flavor department. I'm not sure what kind of cheese they used but there was definite smoke presence but was fairly mild otherwise (perhaps a smoked gouda). The fresh scallions were just the right amount of freshness and crunch to break up monotony of the cheese soup. I don't think the Irish Cobbler is part of the everyday menu, but if you see it on offer don't pass it up. It really hits home, especially on a cold day. It's the cheese soup I aim to mimic in my own culinary exploits at home. 

Lastly, I wanted to make special mention of the bar. I don't always make mention of the interior of restaurants in my reviews, but I think the bar area of An Poitin Still deserves special notice. It's one of the nicest looking bars in the area. In fact, it doesn't feel like a bar at all, but rather a friend's house that just so happens to have beer on tap and bartenders at the ready. Don't be a fool like me and drive past An Poitin Still. It's a great bar with tasty food. Make it happen!

Price: Cheap
Recommendation: Visit. One of the best looking Irish themed bars I've seen. 
What to Order: Irish Nachos

An Poitin Stil on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Session #82 - Beery Yarns

This months Session is hosted by Steve Lamond at Beers I've Known

I want to hear your beery tall tales, yarns, recollections(in a Grandpa Simpson stylee) or otherwise, delivered in the manner that you befits sitting around a log fire, favourite beer in hand. 

When Deana and I first booked a trip to Germany the first thing I did after securing the plane tickets was look for a brewery to visit. It took awhile, but eventually I found a brewery that was offering English speaking tours while we would be in the area. The brewery we choose to visit was that of Erdinger, makers of some of the best wheat beers in the world.

I knew I would have fun on the brewery tour, but of all the things I was going to get to see, I figured this part of our travels would be the least memorable. I saw castles, WWII concentration camps, hiked through Schwarzwald, and witnessed scenery that was so beautiful it literally brought tears to my eyes. How could a building that produces beer live up to that?

As this was my first time traveling outside of the country there was plenty of adjusting I had to go through. I'd never navigated a train or bus system, and I couldn't read or speak the language at all. I was pretty much getting by on danke, hallo, and sprechen sie english. So when it came time to figure out how to make it to the brewery there was a lot of trepidation on both of our parts. The last thing I wanted to do was get lost in a country where I could barely communicate. Deana was nice enough to look up directions to the brewery before we ever made it to Germany, but the directions weren't very descriptive. Without official directions on their website, we were left to depend on the words of some guy on a message board.

When the time came, we took a deep breath and boarded the S2 train that was headed for the town of Erding. It was roughly an hour outside of Munich and when we arrived it was cold and raining. The next step of our adventure required us to board a bus that would get us a little closer to the brewery but which bus? There was the one we had listed from the message board directions, but there was another listing that sounded almost the same. I hopped on a bus and tried to confirm we were getting on the correct vehicle, but the lady driving the bus only spoke German. Well, damn. Here I am, an hour away from my hotel and luggage and in a town I know nothing about. If I get on the wrong bus, where the hell am I going to end up? I didn't want to make a mistake, so I got off of the bus to give Deana and I an opportunity to collect our thoughts and figure out our next move.

Luckily, just as we were at most confused a new bus driver came by to take the place of the lady I was just speaking with. Either she mentioned that we were trying to ask her something or he noticed our deer in the headlights look and decided to see if he could help us. As luck would have it, he couldn't speak English either, but when I pointed to a map that I was trying to get to Erdinger's Brewery his face immediately lit up with a mix of happiness and pride. We might not have understood each others native tongue, but we both spoke the language of good beer. Not only did he confirm that I was on the right bus, but he drove us right to the brewery's front door. A special stop just for us! What a relief! And what a guy. He didn't have to do that for us. There aren't enough danke's in the world I could ever give that guy.

The tour we took was as good as any tour I've been on in America. They went through the brewing process, tell you a little about their beers, and show you all of the different rooms where mashing, brewing, fermentation, and bottling take place. It's cool, but nothing you can't get back home. What they gave us at Erdinger was a chance to make connections with people from all over the world. After the tour comes to an end you have the opportunity to reconvene in the tasting room where you sit down at a small table and they serve you weisswurst, pretzels, and all of the beer you can drink. None of that 2 ounce sample business. We got to drink beer -- delicious German beer. At our table we had the chance to talk with a couple from Newcastle, England and another couple from Berlin. We shared food, laughs, and talked about the beer we liked to drink. As interested as I was to learn about their favorite beers they were just as keen to hear about the Dogfish Head beer they noticed from the hat I was wearing. 

When I think back on my trip to Germany I have plenty of great memories to fall back on. But it was the bus driver, the small handful of people at our table in the tasting room, and our shared love for beer that made the adventure to Erdinger the best day we had all trip. Prost!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Kali's Mezze

A little while back my Aunt was in Baltimore for a work seminar. As far as family is concerned, I pretty much live on an island out here in Baltimore so it's always nice to see a familiar face. I wasn't aware she was in town until she was actually in town, but when I found out I knew I wanted to meet up with her for dinner. But, because I didn't know she was in town until the last minute I didn't have a chance to think about where I wanted to take her, but I knew it had to be somewhere in Fells Point. The view, restaurants, and cobblestone streets can't be matched as far as I'm concerned. While we were walking the streets trying to decide on a good place to eat I remembered a restaurant from the pre-blog era that I always really liked. The restaurant was Kali's Mezze and it turned out to be a great place to visit.

Kali's is a Mediterranean Tapas restaurant. The small dishes served one after the other were a perfect choice to satisfy the three of us and provided a great topic for conversation. It also allowed me to be slightly more adventurous about what I was ordering because I knew if I wasn't a huge fan that something else delicious was going to be on the table shortly thereafter. And really, it's just plain fun to share food and be able to compare and contrast with a few other people. 

The one dish we are all excited for was the chilled beet salad. I love the earthiness and texture of beets. They were paired with mandarin oranges, a little feta cheese, and a simple vinaigrette. This dish burst with big bright flavors from all of the citrus and vinegar components, but it was cut very nicely by the creamy feta.

We followed up the beet salad with Shark Fritters. This is where the small plates allowed me to get a little adventurous. I would almost never order seafood for an entire dinner simply because it's so hit or miss with me. In this case, the shark was a hit that I probably wouldn't have gotten to know had it not been served tapas style. For those like me who are a bit leery of the seafood unknown, shark isn't "fishy" at all. You can tell it's fish, but the flavor is very mild and the texture is that of a thicker fish. 

Braised beef was next in line. Some time during the past two years I've become a huge fan of meat cooked over long periods of time. I love how tender and deep the flavors become and Kali's were exactly what I expected. The meat was tender and the sauce added that extra level of savory I've come to love so much. The only issue I had was the fact that only 3 pieces were served. It worked out well for us, but if you visit with a bigger party it may not have been enough for everybody so keep that in mind when ordering. 

Last in line, but certainly first in my heart is the dish I always associate with Kali's -- Goat Cheese Stuffed Roasted Peppers. Man, I love those things. The peppers are stuffed with the aforementioned goat cheese and a mix of mushrooms and herbs. So tender. So good. Such a great bite. Not everyone is a fan of roasted peppers, but if you are this is probably my favorite dish in which they play the starring role.

Of course, we didn't stop there. These are just a few of the highlights from our meal that night. The consensus was that the beer salad was the runaway winner of the evening, but the Roasted Peppers score high points with me due to their consistency at getting the job done year in and year out. Kali's Mezze is a great place to visit with a few friends. The food is excellent and the tapas thing is a great way to get conversation flowing. Give them a visit on your next group night out. 

Price: It can be cheap or expensive depending on how many plates your order.
Recommendation: A great place for group outings.
What to Order: Beet Salad and Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppers

Kali's Mezze on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Craft Beer: We don't drink definitions. We drink good beer.

I've debated writing a post about craft beer and it's need for a definition for quite some time now. It's a topic that has been discussed so often I didn't feel like there was anything left to say that hadn't already been said a thousand times over. However, more recently the guys at Brew Dog, in their effort to get Europe and the UK to agree to an all encompassing definition, seem to have garnered up new interest as to what craft beer is and isn't. And after sitting with everything for a year or so and reading various view points on the topic lately I think I finally have something I want to say.

Does Craft Beer need a definition (both here and abroad)? Yes. But you know what James and Martin and everyone behind the Brewers Association in America? I don't need any of you guys to define it for me. It's not up to you. I could not care less what the producer of beer thinks about their own product. It goes without saying that every producer of beer has an agenda. The bottom line is that they want to sell beer and therefore any definition they put together is going to be done so with the idea that you should drink the beer that falls under the category they've defined versus the beer over there that doesn't meet the requirements set out by the definition that, oh yeah, they were nice enough to define for us. They're drawing the lines for the customer and that's wrong. The customer, each individual, should draw the line for themselves free from the restraints of any self serving and arbitrary definition.

People that want to find good beer are going to find it regardless of these ham-fisted definitions. When the wort is all boiled down beer should taste good and it should be made with care. The end. Yes, it can go a bit beyond that. Personally, I'm a big fan of taking in the history of beer when I'm drinking, but at the end of the day people just want their taste buds to be happy and enjoy the dopamine kick that goes along with that. The taste of beer should be its distinguishing character and yet look at the very first part of the Brewers Association's definition.
Annual Production of 6 million barrels of beer or less. Beer production is attributed to a brewer according to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Flavored malt beverages are not considered beer for purpose of this definition. 
Oh. Okay. So, tell me the last time you reached for a new beer, took a sip, and then thought to yourself, "Geez, this beer is truly amazing. You can really tell the brewery makes less than 6 million barrels per year. It's so small batchy!" How does that definition help the consumer find good beer? It doesn't. All it does is help draw a line between us and them and allows the former to use that line as a marketing tool. Well, I don't want to be marketed to. I just want to drink good beer.

Greg Koch of Stone Brewing and a fairly staunch supporter of drinking beer that falls on the correct side of a definition, said "Craft beer is more than just awesomely delicious beer. It's also a revolution against the insult of the industrialized notion of beer that has been preying on the populace for decades." True, as I mentioned above craft beer can be about more than just good tasting beer, but it doesn't have to be. Not everyone is looking to taste the sweet nectar of revolution when they're making a decision about which 6-pack to bring home. Some of us, most of us I'd venture, are simply looking for something that tastes great. I'm not trying to change the world when I order an Arrogant Bastard. I just want some lupulin love in my life.

Koch goes on to say that "We need to allow the consumers the ability to decide for themselves who they want to support, but in order to do that, they must be able to understand clear definitions." No, we just need a curiosity and desire to taste something different. And personally, I'd appreciate it if you didn't look at us like a bunch of idiots who can't make up our own minds without your help. You say you want us to be able to decide for ourselves who we want to support, but every time I read these quotes I feel like you're more interested in setting up a verbal fishing weir and less interested in freedom of choice. I've been doing a pretty good job of figuring out which pizza tastes better without defining certain pizza as "craft pizza". I don't need your help with beer either.  Mr. Koch, you found "craft beer" without involving the people at Oxford and their love for definitions. Others did as well. And for those that haven't yet, give them their own time and leave them to their own devices. They'll find you if they really want to.

It's true that I found my way to good beer (craft beer if you must) in a very roundabout way, but in the end I found it without ever using someone else's definition as my guide. And I found good beer because I was interested and willing to do my own research. For those of you that don't know my story, please sit back and relax as I tell you the tale of the day good beer and I became Best Friends Forever.

I didn't like beer at all when I first came of age. I was a Rum & Coke guy until one day I decided I was tired of people bumping into me at the bar and making me spill my drink. So, the next time I needed a drink, I ordered a beer. What kind of beer did I order? Miller Lite? But Lite? Maybe a Michelob Light because that's what my Pap drank. The details are foggy, but I drank the cheap stuff everyone drinks at that age. And I drank those beers for the next year or two without much care or thought as to why I was choosing the beers I did. One day, though, the dumbed down taste of these beers wasn't holding my interest anymore. So, what was a young boy to do? I looked up the definition of craft beer and finally --- Just kidding. I knew from experience that all of the beers typically seen during commercials of NFL games tended to taste the same so it only made sense that I go in the complete opposite direction. I walked into a beer distributor and picked out a beer I had never heard of. That beer --- see, that beer unlike the first beer I ever had I remember because it changed my beer drinking life forever. It was Heavy Seas Great'er Pumpkin. Holy crap, the flavor. There was pumpkin pie spice, malt, BIG bourbon notes and the happiest beer drinking Doug that there has ever been. It was a truly transformative experience, and one I'm glad I came to without anyone else leading the way. I felt like it was my discovery and I wanted to let everyone know about it. I had no idea what craft beer was when I tasted that beer. Even funnier, I had no idea that the beer I was drinking was produced within 30 minutes of my house. But I didn't need to. All I needed was an interest to find something new --- something better. And I did.

That was the start of my days as a guy who only wanted to drink good beer. From then on I started drinking everything I could get my hands on and only over time did I become familiar with the phrase "craft beer". It might surprise some of you who are staunch supporters of drinking definitions, but the beers I was drinking didn't taste any better once I had a category to file them in.

Brewers, if you believe in your beer, if you believe in your company, if you believe in the way you as a company go about your business then let it be. Stop trying to file stuff into categories for us. Stop with the arbitrary definitions that can be changed when it suits you (anyone remember when 2 million barrels was the limit). Believe in good beer and trust that people out there want to drink good beer. Because people do want tasty beer. They want to purchase a product that tastes great and is created with a conscience. And when they're ready, just as I did (but hopefully in a bit more straight forward manner), they'll find your beer and they'll never leave. Put together a recipe that is going to blow people's minds and leave the definitions to Websters. We don't drink definitions. We drink good beer.

Monday, November 25, 2013

What it's like to date a food/beer blogger

Welcome to what will hopefully be a semi-recurring featured blog post by none other than my lovely fiance, Deana. I mention her often, but I thought it might be nice to let her speak for herself and let you know exactly what it's like to date a food/beer blogger. 

A few days ago Douglas asked me to write down what it was like to date a beer blogger.  My first thought was “gosh, what’s it like to date Douglas… where do I start?” But the truth is there are quite a few advantages to dating someone who’s so dedicated to writing about places we’ve been in hopes that others can enjoy all the fun things Baltimore has to offer.

Do you know that conversation - the one that goes something like this: “what do you want to do tonight?” “I don’t know what do you want to do tonight?” “I don’t know what do you want to do tonight?”  Yeah, that annoying conversation only lasts about 10 seconds in our house before Douglas suggests a new place or event for the evening. Best of all, we very rarely go more than a week without having a new and awesome date night.  Douglas loves to try new places, especially when he can try new things like shark or rabbit.  I also appreciate that he really likes to plan dates where we have to get dressed up and act a little fancy.

I love hearing from people who read his blog and are interested in his opinions before going to trying a new restaurant.  It’s always nice to know that others are actually reading what he writes.  But inevitably, our conversation always ends with something like “you guys really drink a lot of beer”. We do go out often, but it is very rare that we ever order more than a beer or 2, and it’s always a little awkward when people seem to assume you are a bit of a lush.  Variety is the spice of life!

Another drawback to dating a food blogger is that it's sometimes awkward when we’re sitting at the bar or a table in a nice restaurant and Douglas is diligently taking notes and pictures for his next blog post.  He always gets a little upset when I start eating before he has a chance to take a picture. Geez, the sacrifices I make for the loyal readers of this blog.

Douglas is always searching for new events in the area for us to go to.  Things like a beer and bacon tasting, or a German festival, or a local brewery event. These are always fun things to do on the weekends and fun places to go with friends. Nobody likes to do the same thing all the time, but with Douglas leading the way that's never a problem. Then again, because we're always looking for something new, we don't always get to visit our favorite spots as much as I'd like.

Overall, I really enjoy the wide variety of places Douglas finds for us to go. It’s basically every girls dream to date a guy who is so enthusiastic about planning date night on a regular basis and always has a fun new idea of where to go! So, ladies out there. Find yourself a food blogger because they are as fun as they come.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I like beer, but not that much

I like good beer. In fact, I'd say I love good beer. I read it, drink it, brew it and write it. I cook with it, think about it, talk about it, and probably even dream about it. If there is something that can be done with beer, chances are I want to do it and do it often.

But you know what brewers of the world? I don't like beer so much that I'm willing to spend $40-$70 to attend one of your events. I can't. At least not on any kind of regular basis. There are so many appealing events that happen on almost a bi-weekly basis that I  pass on simply because I can't justify spending that much money. I want to go drink the beer. I want to go eat the food you're pairing it with. I want to inject myself into the beer geek culture and talk shop with fellow lovers of the libation. But damn, I'm not doing it at the prices you're asking. And as an old school fellow who likes to pay for his date (especially dates that are 51+% for my enjoyment) I really can't afford to attend these events. And that my friends, SUCKS.

$40 for 6 drink tokens in which the pours are 2 ounces? Yeah, that's a ripoff. I want to enjoy your beer, not pretend that the beer is mouthwash. I know we don't want beer events to turn into shit shows, but give me what I paid for. If I paid to drink beer, let me drink it and be responsible enough to know when to quit. And for those of us who aren't smart enough to figure it out, step in and stop serving us. Don't use the excuse of potential excess as a way to overcharge us and give us communion sized sips.

A 5-course meal with 5 paired beers for $70? Sure, I get the price in this case, especially when you're serving quality pieces of meat and seafood, but why must every single pairing be one of these uber-fancy events with Kobe beef illegally shipped in from Japan? I'm not knocking the idea of an elevated beer pairing dinner. I'd just like to see more dinners offered that are much more affordable. If you're looking to show the consumers of beer how your product can be elevated when paired, why not do so with products that are more likely to show up in the everyday household kitchen. I want to be wowed by food and love the idea of the occasional night out where you go a little overboard, but I also want to be taught approachable ways to use beer in cooking as well as with pairing. Cook me an elevated grilled cheese and tomato soup, pair it with a beer, and then don't charge me $18,000 for it. That's all I want. Because when all is said and done, I want to have enough money to try and recreate what you taught me at home. And at the very least I'd like to be able to afford the 6-pack of an excellent new beer I just tasted.

Who are these events aimed at? Only the most well off, enthusiastic of us? You're not going to find very many people who like beer more than someone like me but every time you put these outrageous price tags on your special events I'm almost excluded by default. If I feel that way, someone who loves beer so much that they take time out of their life to write about it, then how many other people who are just waiting to discover all that good beer has to offer are being left behind? I'd love to be able to talk to a friend who doesn't know good beer just yet and say "Hey, there is an event going on next week. There's going to be craft beer and food. It should be a good time. You down?" And when they ask what the price is, I'd like to be able to look them in the eye and know they are taking me seriously when I relay the price. Nobody who is new to craft beer is going to pay $70 to taste things they aren't sure about. It's great to reward your core consumer with these kind of events, but gatherings that help bring along some new blood into beer culture would be nice as well.

In the end, I'm not saying that any of these upper echelon events need to stop. They don't. They have their place and I'm glad they exist. I just hate seeing them as the standard for what every beer event should be. Mix in something a little more affordable so that newbies and the non-millionaire drinker can work in a night out celebrating good beer a little more often. It's not too much to ask.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mission BBQ

Given that today is Veterans Day, I feel like it's most appropriate to finally review the trip I made to Mission BBQ. They are a simple outfit who produce great food for a fantastic cause. I don't think I could explain the Mission BBQ objective better than they already have themselves so I'm not even going to try. Taken directly from their website:

Who are we? Two friends passionate about superior BBQ, patriotic for our country, and who believe in running a business with meaning and purpose. 
We believe there is nothing more American than BBQ. And nobody more American than the brave men and women who have sworn to protect and serve our communities and our country. We do what we do for the love of our soldiers, firefighters, police officers, first responders—all our loved ones in service. 
We set across this great land from Texas to Kansas City, the Carolinas to St. discover the secrets of great BBQ. 
Every day we strive to serve you authentic BBQ made from the freshest, most delectable ingredients, and serve it to you in a patriotic dining room filled with tributes to those who’ve made our country great, given to us by the people who earned them. Stop by at lunchtime, and you might catch us during our daily salute to the Stars and Stripes. 
We don't do any of this because we have to. It's because we want to.

And you out there reading this don't have to eat there because you have to. But I promise that once you try them out you'll be eating at Mission BBQ because you want to. The food is every bit as good as their message.

On my first visit I decided to try out the Pulled Pork, Ribs, and Mac & Cheese. Deana went with Brisket and Cornbread and Mac. Served up simply on a tray and paper they leave you with no doubt that flavor is meant to be the star of the show.

The pulled pork was simple but tender and topped with a healthy amount of coleslaw. It wasn't BOOMING with flavor, but it had a ton of bark mixed in and the fact that they keep the pork so simple made it all the more fun to mix and match all of their housemade BBQ sauces. My favorite sauce was their Baja Bold which I believe is made with habaneros and provides a nice amount of heat. The ribs were unique in that the rub had old bay seasoning mixed in. I'm not the biggest fan of Old Bay, but they don't go overboard with it and once again you can go to town adding one of their many sauces to the rib. You can stick with your favorite, or make every bite a completely new experience. And the Mac & Cheese was as good as you'd expect. The Mac was creamy with just a touch of bread crumb added to the top.

Deana's Brisket was probably my favorite bite of the night. And if not the Brisket, the Cornbread was right there as well. The brisket was beyond tender and juicy. The juicy meat and the crunchy bits where the rub resided made for a great bite. I could have ate that stuff all night, no sauce needed. The sweet Cornbread was a perfect counter point to the peppery brisket.

Mission BBQ? Mission accomplished. These guys do a great job of putting together outstanding BBQ that is simple but done right. So this winter when you get that hankering for good BBQ and realize it's only 28 degrees outside, be sure to seek out Mission BBQ and let them serve you right. You won't be disappointed and they'll provide the rare occasion of going out for a meal and feeling good about the food and a good cause all at once. 

Price: Very affordable
Recommendation: You HAVE to visit this place
What to Order: Brisket, Cornbread, and anything else you're in the mood for. 

Mission BBQ on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Slices Pizzeria on the Avenue

One thing I'll never understand are people at the workplace who eat lunch at their desk. I get that people are busy and hard working, but for me I relish that one hour in the middle of the day when I get to stop looking at a monitor and go out by myself to just eat and think. And one of my favorite ways to spend that hour is to take a short walk over to The Avenue for lunch followed by a quick perusal of books at Barnes & Noble. So, when Slice opened up at The Avenue this summer, I was very happy to have a new place to grab a bite to eat. 

I've visited Slice a few times and I'm still not sure how I feel about the place. If I had to sum the place up in one sentence I'd say it's a tiny building with BIG slices and BIG prices. The inside of the building has very little seating. It's changed over time, but it's gone from having nowhere to sit at all to maybe 4-6 seats. There is a little standing bar area where you can put your plate and the outside has 3 tall tables that you can stand at, but I think the lack of seating is going to a very big issue as the weather becomes colder. Nobody is going to want to stand outside in December. 

The pizza itself is usually pretty tasty. It's not among the best pizza I've had, but it's as good or better than most and for a simple lunch it suits me just fine. The slices are massive --- I'd consider one slice to be the equivalent to two at most places. Their basic slice of cheese is good. The sauce is thick and robust, the cheese isn't too greasy, and the crust is really good. I've also tried their buffalo chicken pizza, and while it's not bad their buffalo sauce to blue cheese ratio is way off. I've had it two on different occasions and both times the blue cheese was heavy handed while the buffalo sauce was almost at a barely noticeable level. When I order anything "buffalo" I want the buffalo to be the star of the show.

And the price is just a bit too much. I've gone to lunch before with Deana and we split two slices and a drink with our total coming in around $15. That's just too much. I can get an entire pizza for that price or close to it. I like the idea of a huge slice of pizza, but I don't think they are worth quite what they are charging. If they modify the size of their slices and come down on the prices I think this is a great addition to The Avenue. But as it stands, it's not somewhere I find myself going regularly simply because it falls out of my lunchtime price range most of the time. 

Price: Expensive
Recommendation: If you're looking for something quick on a trip to The Avenue give them a shot. 
What to Order: I'm always a sucker for a good slice of cheese

Slice Pizzeria on the Avenue on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Glory Days Grill

Despite the fact that my aging body doesn't agree with spicy foods anymore there is something about a good buffalo wing that makes me ignore all the future hurt I'm sure to endure. Sure, I'll be waking up around 3AM in the fetal position and popping Tums like there is no tomorrow. But whatever, a heat head has to do what a heat head has to do. And when I'm in the mood for wings one of the first places that pops into my mind is Glory Days Grill. 

Their wings, specifically their hot wings, are spicy pieces of perfection. The wings themselves aren't breaded, but are simple meaty wings fried in a way that leaves the skin crunchy and the meat inside juicy and tender. I hate when I order wings and I get those little wimpy wings with no meat. Glory Days hooks you up with wings from the buffest birds around. 

The sauce on their wings is perfect. They are covered in hot sauce, but you aren't served chicken hot sauce soup. There is a nice burn to the sauce, but it's not the type of burn that has you in tears. Something unique to Glory Days is the jalapenos they serve with their hot wings. The jalapenos seemed like a waste the first time I saw them come out like that, but I learned to love how the juice leaches out on to the wings. The mix between the jalapeno flavor and the wing sauce makes for a unique taste.

And most importantly, they are served with some of the best blue cheese dressing I've ever come across. One of my favorite bites on this planet is dipping a perfectly sauced wing into the dressing only to find a huge chunk of blue cheese mixed in with the creamy dressing. The coming together of the flaming wing sauce and blue cheese is something I would like to live over and over again. 

This weekend when you're friends are wondering where to go for some good wings be sure to check out Glory Days. They never disappoint. 

Price: Average
Recommendation: A great weekend spot to watch a game, grab a beer, and snack on some wings. 
What to Order: I think you know by now. 

Glory Days Grill on Urbanspoon
Glory Days Grill on Foodio54

Monday, November 4, 2013

Recipes That Don't Suck: Beer Braised Chicken Thighs

Last week Deana and I were coming back from a run when she asked me what I wanted to do with the chicken thighs we had thawing. I knew I didn't want to stand outside over a grill for 20 or 30 minutes so I decided to cook something I've never attempted before. I pulled out the cast iron pot and made Beer Braised Chicken Thighs. 

Even though I had never previously braised anything, I had a general idea of how it should all came together. However, to make sure I was going to be able to pull everything off, I took a quick look at a recipe online and then made up my own based on the things I had in my house. The main ingredient in my braising liquid was a Dunkelweizen I brewed myself so I was extremely happy when the meal turned out well. One of my new culinary goals is to do a lot more cooking with beer. And when I can do it with a beer I made myself...well, all the better. If you're a locavore, you can't get any more local than something you made with your own hands. 

Anyway, on to the recipe. If you end up trying it out, let me know how you like it.

  • 4 Chicken Thighs
  • 2 TBS Olive oil
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Celery Stock
  • 2 Carrots
  • Garlic Clove
  • 2 TBS Flour
  • 1 Bottle of Beer (I recommened something light on the hops)
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • Chicken Bouillon Cube
  • Brown the Thighs in a pot. When browned, remove and set aside
  • Cut up a small dice of Onion, Celery, Carrots, Garlic, and Rosemary
  • Sweat the Veggies, Rosemary, and Thyme. Add Flour at the end of the sweat.
  • Take a bottle of beer from the wall and add it to the pot. Add water and Bouillon cube. (You can always add a cup of stock or broth if you have that on hand)
  • Add the chicken back to the liquid. Put the lid on the pot and simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and simmer for 45-60 minutes.
  • Serve over rice or egg noodles. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Session #81 - Scary Beer Feminists or a Healthy Growing Demographic?!

It's the First Friday of  a new month and that means it's time for The Session. This month's session is hosted by Tasting Nitch. The topic is women in beer and we can cover pretty much anything we want as long as it ties women and beer together in some way. 

Personally, I don't know much about women in beer. Whether it be female brewers, beer bloggers, journalists, etc. I can only think of a handful women that find beer interesting. Why that is, I don't know and I'm too lazy to try and come up with a reason. I'll leave that up to the more determined of you out there. However, I do know one woman who enjoys craft beer quite a bit and I call her Beelzebub, Fiance, and Deana.

When I met Deana 3 years ago she didn't have much interest in craft beer. If she ordered a beer, she asked for Miller Lite and never thought twice about it. About the same time we met I figured out that if I followed along with the events going on at Beer Advocate I could hop around the city going from bar to bar collecting free pint glasses at all the different promotions. While I was building my massive pint glass collection, I started trying to convince Deana to order craft beer. At first I would recommend IPA's because that's what I liked and I figured she would  as well. Wrong! I remember her face the first time she tried Dale's Pale Ale and it was pretty hilarious. Luckily, she didn't give up on the idea of craft beer right then and there and allowed me to help her find beers that made her happy. Next I thought I'd try a hefe out on her and while she found it more appealing than an IPA Handel's Messiah didn't exactly start playing in the background. But she kept playing the role of craft beer guinea pig until finally she found her nitch with chocolate roasty stouts, pumpkin beers, and things like Wells Banana Bread.

And that's all I needed. I knew once she got started her palate would evolve and soon enough she was open to trying almost anything. She still hasn't grown fond of American IPA's but the fact that she genuinely likes Yards English IPA is a huge thing for me. I feel like we have common ground when we're looking at a beer menu now and she isn't focusing on only beers in her safe zone. She has the craft beer drinkers curiosity and that's awesome.

Deana's also a big help when it comes to home brewing. I've been brewing beer at home for a little over a year now and she has probably picked out 80% of the recipes. They've run the gamut from Cream Ale to Winter Warmer to Cider to Dunkelweizen.  I love that she has an opinion about what would be good and can give me feedback on the finished product. And I really couldn't brew without her help. She helps me keep an eye out for boil overs, stirs while I'm pouring, and helps me get through the god awful process that is bottling beer.

One of my favorite parts of our shared hobby is borrowing her exceptional palate. Any time I'm tasting a beer for the first time and can't put my thumb on a specific flavor I'm experiencing I hand her my beer and say "what do I taste". And usually she nails it right away. My beer reviews would consist of a lot less detail if I didn't have her around to help me nail down the specifics from time to time.

Really, if it weren't for the woman in my life my relationship with craft beer would be totally different. I wouldn't have my brew buddy on brew days, someone to help me discern flavors, a friend at beer events, or someone to listen to me ramble on about nothing at a bar when the 8.5% ABV has caught up with me. So, what do I feel about the role of women in beer? Beats me, but I know if I didn't have my woman around beer would be a lot less fun for me.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ashland Cafe

When I first moved to Baltimore I lived in the Towson area and made York Road my domain. Compared to where I grew up York Road had everything a young bumpkin could dream of and I rarely felt the need to venture out of my comfort zone. On one of those early adventures up the road I found Ashland Cafe and it became a staple of mine on weekends for a two or three year stretch. I knew it had to be good the first time I ever pulled up and people were waiting outside for a seat while flurries were falling from the sky. 

Ashland Cafe isn't fancy by any stretch of the imagination. You know what it is? It is a tiny little restaurant that puts out good food every single day. And that's all it has to be. Sometimes I just want good food for a good price and I want to be able to go in my sweat pants. Jessica Simpson felt good when Nick loved her with nothing but a t-shirt on. Well, I feel good when I can get a good breakfast without "getting ready" to go out.

After moving away from Towson my trips to Ashland Cafe have been few and far between so it was nice to visit an oldie but goodie with Deana a few weeks ago.  We went for breakfast and we left filled to the brim. My French Toast breakfast was so big it came on two plates! Moist French Toast, proper eggs cooked over easy, and a delicious ham I'd take that all day every day if my body could handle it. 

You might feel like my description of the food is lacking, but that's by design. This is food everyone knows but it's done right. I've never had a bad breakfast there, but if you're driving from far and get there a little late you can't go wrong with their French Dip and French Onion Soup. I made a habit out of that lunch combo to the point that the wait staff didn't even have to ask my order. If you want good food and you want it without all the pomp and circumstance of "going out to eat" make sure you take a trip down York Road and find out what this place is all about for yourself. 

Price: Cheap
Recommendation: It's one of my favorites. 
What to Order: Whatever you want. It's all good.

Ashland Cafe on Urbanspoon
Ashland Cafe on Foodio54

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pabu & Sake 101 with Tiffany Soto

A few weeks ago I was invited to attend a Sake 101 Class taught by Tiffany Soto at Pabu. As much as I love to read and learn about beer,  it's always fun to learn about something new. So when the chance to learn from a Master Sake Sommelier came up I was excited to accept the opportunity. 

The cost of the Sake 101 Class is $25 and that gets you a tasting of 5 different Sake's, a few different snacks (we had fire roasted edamame and Pabu wings) and a roughly hourto hour and a half long class taught by Tiffany on all things Sake. Going in I had next to no knowledge of Sake and found the class extremely informative and fun. Of all the fermented beverages out there Sake has to be the most intensive in regards to what goes into putting out a finished product. The care involved is amazing. 

The Sake 101 class is essentially a way of learning to navigate the vast world of Sake. You learn common misconceptions about Sake. For example, sake is not meant to be served hot or taken as a shot. Students are taught the basic components (Rice, Water, Yeast, and Koji-Kin) of Sake and what they mean to the finished product. And maybe most helpful we were taught a variety of common vocabulary that can help you learn to navigate a Sake menu. One of my favorite Sake's of the tasting was an offering called Aoki Honjozo Diaginjo Niigata. Prior to this class I would have just saw four words and had no clue what to expect. Now I know that the Sake in front of me is a 5 ingredient Sake because of the word Honjozo, the rice was milled by at least 50% because of the word Diaginjo, and that it was produced in the Niigata prefecture.

If you'd like to learn more about Sake follow Tiffany on Twitter @HeySakeLady for more Sake related information. And be sure to sign up for one of her Sake 101 classes. They really are a blast and even if you don't come away loving Sake (you will!) you'll learn a whole bunch of cool facts that might help you answer a Jeopardy question or two in the future. 

After class, Deana and I decided to stick around for dinner. When you're inside one of  the best Japanese restaurants in Baltimore you don't walkout without eating....especially if you're a food blogger. And so we ate and we ate well. 

We ordered the Robata Platter which consists of 5 different meats on skewers served over a bed of rice. There were a variety of chicken, pork, and steak skewers but the highlight for us was the Berkshire Pork Belly. It's the one I took a bite out of before I remembered to take a picture. Whoops! Pork Belly makes me forget to think. The flavor of the pork belly was so huge. It was simply marinated in Japanese pepper and sake which allowed the pork flavor to shine through. And the texture was very unique. It's not often you bite into a piece of meat as thick as this and still manage to get a super crunchy exterior while at the same time maintaining a tender and juicy interior. That's a bite of food I won't soon forget. 

We also decided to try the Tsukue Chicken Meatball with Jidori Egg Yolk for some chicken on chicken action. They were another solid appetizer and I really enjoyed using the egg yolk as dipping sauce. The smooth and creamy texture coating the meatballs made for a unique bite. If you like what adding an egg does to a burger, you'll be a big fan of using an egg in this way.

And now we get to what was the best part of the night and also the most intimidating. See, I was a sushi naysayer from way back. I've tried it here and there but there was always an odd taste I couldn't get over. It wasn't that I thought it was bad, I just never liked it. However, I try to keep an open mind so I told myself that I wouldn't taste sushi again until I was sure I was getting it from a restaurant I knew was putting out a great product. Pabu was that place and the Ken's Roll you see before you was some of the best food I've ever had. It made me love life to be eating something so tasty. The roll consisted of shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, avocado, pine nuts, and chili garlic furikake. It was the perfect bite and this is coming from a guy who avoids nearly all fish. There was tender rice, crunchy tempura shrimp, the creamiest avocado that has ever crossed my lips, and tuna that literally melted in my mouth. It was superb and I now consider myself a sushi yaysayer. 

After riding the wave of savory perfection that was the Ken's roll we decided to end the night with Pabu's Desert Omakase. The Omakase includes Green Tea Panna Cotta, Crimson Honey Gelee, Japanese Style Cheesecake, Blueberry Sorbet, Sesame Peanut Butter Ice Cream Mochi, and Tograshi candy bar. I really enjoyed the Green Tea Panna Cotta. I've never had anything so light and delicate before and I found it very interesting to have a tea flavored desert. The Blueberry Sorbet was fantastic as well. It tasted as if I were eating the freshest berries around. What I found most enjoyable about the Sorbet and Gelee was how they worked as a great palate cleanser. Both had soft flavors that played an excellent contrast to the bigger flavors we had at the beginning of our meal. 

Between the Sake 101 class, pork belly, and sushi our trip to Pabu was one of the most fun food related dates Deana and I have had in ages. Everything about the restaurant from the people to the food to the decor were top notch and I can't recommend a visit strongly enough.

Price: It can be as cheap or as expensive as you want to make it.
Recommendation: A must visit as far as I'm concerned
What to Order: Ken's Roll and be sure to sign up for a Sake 101 class.

Pabu on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

How to Make Beer Cap Magnets

Over the past few years I've noticed that drinking beer at home leads to a lot of potential waste. There are a lot of bottles and bottle caps that end up needing to be tossed out. Of course, I recycle bottles that are twist top and I reuse pop top bottles for homebrewing. But what to do with all of the crazy technicolor caps we find on craft beer bottles? 

For the longest time I just threw them away but a few months ago I decided I wanted to do a little more with the leftover caps. Long term I'd like to put together some kind of table with caps as the centerpiece, but a much easier project is to simply turn the caps into magnets. Sounds easy enough, but one thing I always had trouble with was getting the caps off the bottle without damaging them (or myself) somehow. I've had many friends try to teach me how to pop them off with leverage from a lighter, but I was never successful. I could sort of get them off with a spoon, but that led to a bloody knuckles when I slipped a few too many times. I reached out to twitter to find out if there are bottle openers people are using that won't bend or damage a cap upon removal. That's when I learned about The Grab Opener. I decided to reach out to the makers of Grab Opener about their product to find out if it was true. Was there really something out there that would allow me to get caps off of my bottles cleanly without the risk of spilled blood? 

The answer is a resounding YES. The hiss of a freshly opened bottle of beer is one of the most satisfying sounds I come across daily. I didn't think it was possible to improve upon this until I used the Grab Opener and the power of leverage to seamlessly remove the cap. Best of all, Grab Opener has a magnet that prevents the caps from bouncing all through my kitchen. At $16, it's a bit more money than I've previously spent on bottle openers, but it does exactly what I want so why not pay a little extra for something that I use nearly every day? Whether or not you're looking to save beer caps for nerdy art projects is irrelevant. The Grab Opener is a great product that fans of craft beer should consider. 

For those of you interested in nerdy art projects, below you'll find a little tutorial of how to put together Beer Cap Magnets. 

You will need:
  • Beer
  • Bottle Opener that won't damage caps....and then the cap removed.
  • Sandpaper
  • Adhesive
  • Bolts
  • Magnets

Step 1: Grab a good a beer and The Grab Opener. 

Step 2: Remove the Cap. 

Step 3: Use Sandpaper to remove some of the plastic on the inside of the cap. This step is done to help the glue adhere in a future step. Be careful not to scrape the cap on whatever service you might be holding it against. 

Step 4: Find the manliest hot glue gun around (or Gorilla glue) and add some glue to the cap. Place a bolt on the glue and hold. Once it's stuck, add more glue to the top of the bold and place a magnet on the bolt. The bolt is to add some distance between the magnet and the cap to prevent scratching of surfaces later. 

Step 5: Put the magnet on your beer fridge and take a bad picture of your handy work.

And that's all. It's really simple and I think a cool way to spice up a beer fridge or kegerator. I'd like to thank the people behind The Grab Opener for sending me one of their products to test. It worked as good as advertised and help me get the caps I needed for future projects.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Burger Brothers

Wow. A restaurant review. I bet you thought I quit doing these. Nope, I just took one of those unintended sabbaticals I'm apparently so fond of. But worry not, for I have what seems like an endless backlog of reviews to get through for you guys.

Today, we're going to visit Burger Brothers in Towson. Deana and I found them one day before she headed back to work for one of her late Fridays. On those days, we usually walk around the Towson Town Center and then meander out to the circle until we end up in a restaurant. On this particular day, we found Burger Brothers. Before then, I'm not sure I'd heard much about the place, but I'm glad we went in because we were served a very good burger for an even better price. As far as burgers that are sold for less than $10 this has got to be one of the best options out there. 

Apparently, I was in a healthy/spicy mood on that day because I ordered a cheese turkey burger with caramelized onions, lettuce, mustard, ketchup, mayo, and a heaping mound of jalapenos. Something about pickled jalapenos and a burger really gets my Pavlov's Dog going. I was a little hesitant about ordering a turkey burger because most restaurants usually just serve you a round piece of cardboard or communion wafer. In other words, a burger with no flavor. That's why I asked for 7, 803 different condiments. I figured if the burger was dry I could always drowned it in stuff, but it turns out I didn't need all the extras after all. The burger was fantastic.

As much as I like burgers, I don't always want to spend $14 to get something good. That's where this place comes in. Burger Brothers provides a burger that is right up there with the best of the best, but at a price that will keep you coming back often. Give them a try and see if you don't agree. 

Price: Cheap
Recommendation: Definitely visit
What to Order: Any burger that peaks your interest

Burger Brothers on Urbanspoon
Burger Bros. on Foodio54

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Session #80 - Is Craft Beer a Bubble?

 photo session_logo_all_text_300_zpsf06f0c94.jpg

Is Craft Beer A Bubble? This is perhaps the most popular question within the beer world currently and one in which Derrick from It's Not Just the Alcohol Talking would like us bloggers to answer for this month's Session. His words below:
It’s a good time to be in the craft beer industry. The big brewers are watching their market share get chipped away by the purveyors of well-made lagers and ales. Craft breweries are popping up like weeds. 
This growth begs the question: is craft beer a bubble? Many in the industry are starting to wonder when, and more importantly how, the growth is going to stop. Is craft beer going to reach equilibrium and stabilize, or is the bubble just going to keep growing until it bursts?
No, Craft Beer is not a bubble. If it were a bubble, I'm sure the genius economists at the macro brewers wouldn't have their companies in a tizzy trying to come up with "crafty" ways to fight back. The presence of Craft Beer is real and it's ability to grow has been incredible. People want these beers and they love the culture that accompanies it. Why do we like Smart Phones? Because they change constantly and always give us something new to fiddle with. New things are fun and I think our culture's ever present need for the next thing works in Craft Beer's favor. There's always a new beer, a new twist, a new hybrid beer that keeps people coming back in for more. How many of you buy the same three six-packs over a two month time span? I'd say if I do that at all, I do it at most twice a year (and that's being generous).

I think a better question would be Is there a bubble within Craft Beer? And if that's the question, my answer is Yes. Craft Beer as a whole is going to be fine, but that doesn't mean every single decision made by companies in the business is going to mean good things for them. I don't know very much about economics, but I do know a thing or two about space on shelves. Eventually, they fill up and you run out of space to put new things on. If you're an overeager brewery trying to expand too big too fast and you're product is too mediocre you're going to run into problems because the well established brewers are going to take up the space on the shelves. The bigger Craft Beer gets the more well educated consumers are becoming about what they put in their mouth. As that education continues the demand for superior products is going to become the determining factor of who stays and who goes. The question "what's new" might get you an initial place on the shelf, but if you aren't bringing anything new and innovative to the table, it won't be long before you're company is gone.

With that said, if new brewers focus on the local aspect of Craft Beer I think they stand a much better chance of surviving the increasingly congested highways. If they have a mindset of serving their community first and world domination second then the bubble that does exist can be reduced greatly. I don't have numbers in front of me, but a large part of the brewery growth comes from brewpubs. Are any of us going to not visit a brewpub if they make good beer and serve good food? I don't think so. I'll take ten quality local brewpubs over TGI Fridays and Chilis' every day of the week.

Is Craft Beer a Bubble? Yes and No. As I stated in the comment section of a different blog earlier this week, it depends on exactly how you ask the question and what angle you want to take when you're answering it. But am I worried about the whole thing falling apart? Not at all. Craft Beer is just too damn good.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My Trip to Germany

Once upon a year ago, I took a trip to Germany (with a little Austria thrown in for good measure). Needless to say, it was excellent. I saw a lot, learned a lot, and I drank a lot of world class beers. You may be asking why I'm just now getting around to sharing these pictures with you. Well, because when I took the pictures I had no intentions of sharing them on my blog. A year ago, I wanted to keep to the Baltimore in Baltimore Bistros and Beer. Today, I just don't care that much about keeping to a strict theme and since the direction of the blog has expanded to be more beercentric lately I thought it made sense. So, here we go. A bunch of pictures of beer or me and Deana drinking beer with descriptions where necessary. As a disclaimer, I wasn't focusing on quality for the majority of these pictures. I wanted to make sure my actual eyes were taking in as much as they could, while they could.

My favorite picture of the whole trip. Lake Titisee in the background. Furstenberg Pils in the starring role

Romantic, right? His and Hers liters.

What a head! I ordered this beer simply because I purchased that glass earlier in the day and wanted to be able to say I had a beer in that glass.

This is the best hefe I've ever had. I dream about that beer. 

First beer of the trip. After a 9 hour overnight flight with zero sleep that little dandy did a number on me. I believe it was a Hacker Pschorr Oktoberfest

Enjoying a few beers at the Hofbrahaus Munchen.

All glassware should be that beautiful.

You can't imagine how good that beer tasted after a day of climbing a mountain and checking out Neuschwanstein Castle.

We took a brewery tour at Erdinger. The tasting room was awesome and the hospitality was great. Drink as much beer as you can and when you're not drinking stuff a few weisswurst and pretzels in your mouth.

There you have it. Hope you enjoyed looking at a couple of these and the revealing of our face for the first time in blog history! Prost!