Tag Archives: drinking

Want to become a master brewer? Start practicing Italian!

21 Oct

Aaah-the coveted master brewer program. When it comes to advanced degrees in brewing sciences, there’s no doubt that UC Davis and Seibel are right at the top of the list. But, if you ‘re not a fan of waiting two and a half years to get into UC Davis’s brewing program or Seibel’s WBA Master Brewer’s Program (not to mention the $16,000 tuition fee which doesn’t include room or board), fear not friends! The University of Gastronomic Sciences- (the university morphing ordinary people into gastronomes* since its inception in 2004 )has unveiled a new 15 month artisan apprenticeship program in either: bread making, cheesemaking, or…drum roll please… brewing.

 

Craft brewing, of course. None of that liquid adjunct crap here. After all, the University is sponsored by Slow Food. Slow Food, for those of you who don’t know, is a more intense version of ‘farm to table.’ It’s an organization of passionate foodies placing a strong emphasis on: sustainable farming practices, natural ingredients, social consciousness and awareness, and minimal processing. Needless to say, corn syrup has no place here.

 

This is the first year for the apprenticeship program and the curriculum encompasses five months of classes (biology, chemistry, agriculture etc.) and then a ten month apprenticeship in the chosen field of study. The best part? The price. At only a fraction of what it costs to attend Seibel or UC Davis, the $9500 you save can go towards room and board. That’s right, you’ll save $9500 on tuition because the cost of the 15 month apprenticeship program is a mere $5500 (or 4000EU). Not bad considering that you’re in Italy’s Piedmonte region and just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Teo Musso’s Baladin. If that name sounds familiar, that’s because he’s one of the founders of Eataly’s Birreria (along with Sam Calagione and Leonardo Di Vincenzo) Baladin is one of Italy’s first craft breweries opening its doors in 1996 and brewing unique beers with ‘strong personalities.’ Now it’s one of 400 craft breweries in the country (a number that’s nearly doubled since 2011 when there were 220).

 

Oh, yeah. Did I mention that the cafeteria (also new this year) was a Michelin starred restaurant up until last year. Currently, it is manned by four culinary students, one staff chef, and guest chefs every two weeks. Since the University is sponsored by Slow Food, the gourmet lunch also employs responsible eating practices. Local products are used and the menu is designed to be wallet friendly. 5 EU will get you a healthy soup, salad, bread, cheese, and a gourmet pasta. Students are also required to order their meal online beforehand in an effort to minimize waste.

 

Okay, here’s the catch. The apprenticeship program is in Italian. Wah-wah-wah. But the rest of the curriculum (the master’s degrees and undergraduate degrees) are in English.

 

Well, I guess it’s time to head to Eataly, grab a Almond ’22 Pink Peppercorn IPA, and get friendly with a Rosetta Stone.

 

Ciao!

 

 

for more information on the University and its programs visit: http://www.unisg.it/en/1

 

 

* the disgusting sounding term “gastronome” is not to be confused with the famous marketing icon of Expedia. Rather, it is a fancy word for food snob. But not just any food snob. Gastronomes are equipped with superbly heightened senses and trained to connect the inextricable link between food and drink.  

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Coming this October: Staten Island Yankees Brewfest and “Two Girls One Pint:” A match made in Beer Heaven

29 Sep

The forgotten Borough is no longer forgotten by beer aficionados.

That’s right, Staten Island will host not one, but two beer festivals this October.  The Richmond County Beer Festival on Sunday October 7th will take place at Killmeyer’s Old Bavarian Inn, located on the Island’s south shore, while the north shore will host the Staten Island Yankees Brewfest two weeks later at the Richmond County Ballpark, home of the SI Yankees.

Eat that, Brooklyn!

Ok, I still love you Brooklyn, but it’s time for another borough to shine.

What’s even better is that “Two Girls, One Pint” will be hanging out at the Yankees Brewfest, offering up some swag and drinking along with the locals at the Saturday October 20th event.

Don’t let the location deter you—Richmond County Ballpark is conveniently located mere steps from the St. George ferry terminal, where a big orange boat will offer you a free ride to and from the Island’s north shore and lower Manhattan. If you needed a reason to come to Staten Island, well now you have several.

This thoughtfully planned fall beer festival will feature a homebrewing competition, tasty bites from local restaurants, music by Island bands, artisanal vendors, raffles, a VIP ticket option, a Sam Adams stein-hoisting competition (it’s harder than it looks, kids) a corn hole tournament (get your mind out of the gutter) and of course, beer.

Tickets are $30 for advance purchase and $40 for the day of.   The General Admission session will run from 1:00-5:00 p.m.

There is also a $60 VIP ticket option which will include an extra hour of imbibing (from noon-1:00), access to a special section where wine and spirits can be sampled, a Staten Island Yankees cinch bag, souvenir pint glass, an event T-shirt, and a selection of unique and specialty beers that will not be available to the general admission ticket holders.

Around 20 breweries will be represented, offering pours for all ticket holders, including Empire, Ithaca, Stone, Harpoon, and Founders, giving beer-drinkers a chance to revisit favorites as well as maybe try a few unfamiliar ones.

“We want this to be a festival for everyone.  We want everyone to enjoy the homebrews, enjoy the craft beer, and get a great view of the New York City skyline,” says Kerry Haley, manager of sponsor services for the team.

I was able to sit down at the scenic stadium with both Haley and Jillian Wright and discuss the upcoming Brewfest.  Both are managers of sponsor services for the SI Yankees who have been working hard to organize this event.

“We want to involve the community,” Haley added.

And they’re doing so by reaching out to local restaurants and inviting them to set up a table with tastings for the Brewfest guests.  Forget footlongs and Cracker Jacks–Island restaurants such as Pier 76, Jimmy Max, Daddy O’s BBQ and about a dozen others will provide samples of their food to hungry beer-drinkers and represent the best the borough has to offer.

“The food is an additive and I hope that people take advantage of it,” Wright told me.  The samples offered to festival-goers are included in the price of the ticket.

In addition to local eats, homebrewers will be offering their unique brews for both festival attendees and a judging panel to sample, all while competing for a first and second place cash prize.  This component makes the festival different from other fall beer fests, in that it is both a craft beer festival and homebrewing competition.  I can’t wait to taste what my neighbors have brewed up for us!

The soundtrack to your afternoon beer drinking will be provided by The Bandulos and Man Down, two local bands I am genuinely fond of and who always provide some sweet tunes.

The ladies also emphasized that a portion of all the revenue generated from the Brewfest will be donated to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, so you will be drinking for a cause.

If you like music, food, fun, and of course, beer, come hang out with us on October 20th at the Staten Island Yankees Brewfest.  And if you don’t like any of these things, than I am not sure we can be friends.  Would “Two Girls, One Pint” ever steer you wrong?

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The Brooklyn Brewery-everything you need to know

28 Jun

So what does one do after a beautiful day in Williamsburg, sampling tasty craft beers on the waterfront?  Go drink more beer, of course.  The festival’s location a couple of blocks from the Brooklyn Brewery made this the perfect post-event hangout.  After waiting outside for about 15 minutes, we were inside, ready to try some of the seasonal Brewmaster’s Reserves on tap.

            Now for those of you who have never been to the brewery, or haven’t been in recent years, let me explain how this works.  The brewery has recently expanded, doubling their brewing capacity, and increasing their operating hours, so that “small batch” tours are now available during the week.  The small batch tours are limited to a couple of dozen beer drinkers, and will cost you $8 a pop.  While you have to pay, the tour is intimate and informative, so depending on what kind of experience an individual is looking for, the small batch may be for you.  Reservations are available via the Brewery’s web site.

            For years now, the brewery has also been open Friday evenings for happy hour, and all day Saturday and Sunday, for mess hall type drinking and less intimate, hourly tours.  Entrance is free but granted on a first-come, first-serve basis, so it’s wise to get there early, especially if you’d like to have a place to sit.  The place fills up quickly!  It seems as thought the Brewery is always busy, no matter what season it is.   

This recent expansion has allowed the brewery to experiment more as well, and now even more beers are being offered on tap, including a cask of real ale (on our visit, it was their EIPA).             

The draft selections change almost weekly, depending on availability, but seems to always include their flagship Lager, East India Pale Ale, and the Pennant Ale ’55.  Also, since the former Brewmaster’s Reserve Brooklyn BLAST! became a year-round selection, this will most likely be available on tap, and if you’ve never tasted it, I highly recommend it.  BLAST! will cost you 2 tokens (more on tokens later) although be prepared, because this beer goes down way too easily.  It’s extremely hoppy, with a 50/50 split of hops from England and the U.S.   Be forewarned: It has a 9% ABV, and after a few of these you will become what I deem “BLASTED!.”

 

            In addition, on this particular Saturday afternoon, their Summer Ale, Radius, Dry Irish Stout, and Brooklyner Weisse were available on tap as well as two limited release beers.  There is also a limited selection of big bottle beers, including the Brooklyn 1 and 2.  A pour of these will guarantee you a beautiful signature snifter glass—definitely worth the extra tokens.    We were most excited to try the current Brewmaster’s Reserve, Gold Standard, and The Centerfold, which is a brew created by Brooklyn Brewery employee, Rob Lemery.

            The Gold Standard is a kellerbier, an unfiltered golden lager that is a popular beer for consuming in German beer gardens.  Drinking this beer, it’s easy to see why.  It was light and crisp, yet more bitter (44 IBUs) than I expected.  The yeast strain used to brew this beer is actually from New Glarus Brewing Co. in Wisconsin.  I enjoyed this beer immensely and like many other Brewmaster’s Reserves of seasons past, will remember it fondly.  If you plan on visiting Brooklyn Brewery in the next few weeks, I highly recommend trying it.

            Another limited release beer on tap during our visit was the Centerfold.  While I love the idea behind the beer (brewed with rose hips), I found it almost undrinkable.  The name alone brought to mind that annoying song by the J. Geils Band (you know the na na na na na na…) but this didn’t deter me from trying it.  Maybe at this point in the day my palate was shot, but this Centerfold just wasn’t my type.    

            My particular favorite thing about visiting the Brooklyn Brewery is the “ATM” (which stands for Automatic Token Machine).  If you have a Jackson on you, entering it in this machine will entitle you to 5 wooden tokens, which are the currency you exchange for a beer.  Most beers are 1 token, a few are 2 or 3, depending on alcohol percentage or rarity.  The tokens come in one of those little plastic bubbles you used to get toys or candy out of when you were a kid.  Ahhhh, nostalgia!    

            We decided to join the last tour of the day, which brought us into their newly expanded area, and involved a short discussion about the brewery’s origin and current beer production.  Being summer, there were tourists from everywhere, and it was great to see how this local brewery’s popularity has continued to rise, both in the continental United States and internationally as well.  That iconic “B,” designed by Milton Glaser (aka the guy who came up with I “Heart” NY) adorns taps, bottles, and t-shirts alike and has become a bold symbol for the local craft beer movement.

             

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