Archive for "Beer"

Nov 19

Butternut Squash and Winter Lager Soup

I’ve been messing around with this recipe for years, to the point where it doesn’t feel like Autumn without it. A few years ago was the first time I made it with beer, simply because I ran out of vegetable broth. After serving it at a Swiss Thanksgiving dinner (which I made for 12 people), I was approached by one of the guests who offered me an absurd amount of money to make enough of the soup to last her through the winter. So I guess it’s pretty good, and healthy too.

Now for the beer part. I make almost all my soups and stews with beer because running out of broth is a typical occurrence and because it taste good. Chilli gets made with a chocolatey stout, cheddar broccoli soup gets made with a nut brown ale, and obviously Guinness with Irish stew. For this butternut squash soup there are many options, just remember it doesn’t have to be any special beer, just something you’d want to drink normally. Some beers that would work include: hefeweizen with orange notes, a plain lager, oktoberfest/marzen beer, or lightly spiced winter ales. Try and avoid anything heavily spiced as it will blend weirdly with the spices called for in the recipe.

Which brings me to Sam’s Winter Lager. The beer is a slightly maltier version of their regular lager with a light touch of cinnomon, ginger, and orange. But it’s easy to drink and the spices don’t overpower, making it a perfect compliment to this soup.

It’s loosely based off of this recipe from a 2003 Gourmet. Yields a very large pot of soup.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium-large onion chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 butternut squash (about 3-3.5 lbs total), sliced lengthwise and prepared for roasting.
  • 5 1/2 cups (or more) vegetable broth (chicken broth works too)
  • 1 bottle Winter Lager or other amber ale or lager
  • 3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1-2 teaspoon grated orange peel (or zest 1/2 of a medium sized orange)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Prepare Squash for roasting. Put oven on 400 degrees. Slice squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Coat with olive oil and salt and pepper. Lay on lined roasting pan with the flesh side down. Roast for 40 minutes or until tender. Let cool and remove skin, it should peel right off. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in heavy large pot (I use an 8 quart stockpot) over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté until tender, about 12 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute.

3. Add squash, try and mash it up a bit with a spoon, 5 1/2 cups broth (or more if needed), and bottle of Winter Lager ; bring to boil (the boil can be messy, be careful). Reduce heat; cover and simmer about 20 minutes. Cool slightly.

4. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Or use an immersion blender which is far easier. Return puree to pot if using a blender. Add thyme, orange zest, cumin, salt, and pepper. Thin soup with more broth if desired to get the right consistency  Simmer 15 minutes. Season to desired taste. (Can be made up to 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Cover and chill. Rewarm before serving, thinning with more broth if desired.)

5. Highly suggest serving it with this Red Pepper Puree. (I usually cut down the amount of garlic).

Disclaimer: While this recipe was written as accurately as possible, you might want to pay attention to how much liquid you add. Roasting the squash gets rid of a lot of water weight so depending on how long you let it roast you’ll need more or less broth to compensate. Just make it so it resembles the consistency you’d like and you should be fine. Enjoy.

Jul 17

Link Roundup

Each week we’ll be posting interesting articles, bits of news, releases we’re excited about, and other tid bits that are worth sharing all in one post. Here’s what we’ve found this week:

Men’s Journal made a list of 25 Best Beers in the World. Like any list, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll completely agree with them. Ten of the beers listed are from Europe, five of the beers come from the east coast, five from the west coast, three from the mid-west, one from Japan, and one from Canada. It’s an interesting list and worth a look.

A nice article was written about Meg Gill, who at age 27, is reportedly the youngest female brewery owner in the world, having co-founded Golden Road with Mohawk Bend owner Tony Yanow nine months ago.

Pete Brown wrote about how most people grossly overestimate the calories in beer, pointing out that beer is not as fattening as most people think. It also ties into issues with taxes on session beers. It’s an easy, quick read that brings up some good points.
If you have seven minutes to hear about bootstrapping a brewery from Dan Paquette of Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project, then watch this video.
Apparently beer can collecting can be a profitable hobby. Here’s an article about the largest beer can collection in the US.
The second annula IPA day is around the corner, no matter how you feel about creating a day for a style of beer, their website has some nice tidbits, including this recipe from the Stone Bistro for Garlic, Cheddar, and Stone Ruination IPA soup. 
Jun 28

Beer Link Roundup

We aren’t by any means a beer news site, which is nice because that means we can simply pick our favorite parts of beer related news to share with you, rather than throwing every new beer label and release date at you. Each week we’ll be posting interesting articles, bits of news, releases we’re excited about, and other tid bits that are worth sharing all in one post. Here’s what we’ve found this week:

So You Want To Open The Next Great Craft Beer Bar? An article by Chris Black of Denver’s Falling Rock Tap House. Most of it is obvious advice, but worth the quick read, especially if you’re familiar with this bar.

You can now add Green Flash of San Diego to the constantly growing list of west coast brewers that are looking to open East coast breweries in the near future. Green Flash is still shopping around for locations and hopes to be up and running by January of 2015. Read the full article on Craft Business Daily.

Pretty Things first ever collaboration beer with Boulevard (MO) will be released August 1st. It’ll be called Collaboration No. 3 Stingo.

Dogfishhead’s latest music collaboration beer is out, Postive Contact, with Deltron 3030. The box sets come with vinyl. It’s pretty rad. Here’s a video with Sam talking about the beer and collaboration, and below is the promo video.

The weirdest thing I’ve read all week: Rogue is making beer with a yeast strain found in their brewmaster, John Maier’s beard. This is for real. Here’s a clip from an article:

As a joke, the brewery sent in the sample for testing. Then after hitting a wall while looking for a new yeast strain, they found out that the strain they had sent in was perfect for making beer.

“I think people are going to be excited about it,” said self-described Rogue Mad Scientist John Couchot. “I mean this really is the needle in the haystack, and to find it on our brewmaster is phenomenal.”

The best thing I’ve read all week: This popped up on facebook with the title “The Most EPIC beer commercial” and it really is, made by Australia’s Hahn Brewery. I don’t know how Hahn beer tastes, but I do know that American breweries with significant advertising budgets should really try harder to make ads that are this cool. Just see for yourself:

Boston Beer Events This Week:

6/26 Troegs Perpetual IPA release at The Salty Pig (but it’s been on tap since Saturday)

6/28 Pretty Things Meadowlark Release Party at Atwood’s Tavern. 8pm – Close. Full details.

boston beer week
May 29

Boston Beer Week: What to do

“The brewers are coming! The brewers are coming!” was the first thing I thought of when I woke up on this fine Tuesday morning. Some might call this beer geekery, but I prefer to call it pure excitement with a relevant Paul Revere reference, but whatever.

It’s officially Boston Beer Week and the brewers, reps, and all those other people that like beer are headed towards Boston for the main event, American Craft Beer Fest , which is 3 sessions over Friday and Saturday hosting 120 brewers and includes over 550 beers. It’s the largest fest of it’s kind on the East Coast. At this moment, they are 86% sold out with limited tickets left for Friday and Saturday night sessions, so get on it if you haven’t already. I’ll be volunteering the Friday and Saturday night sessions, so come say hi.

Leading up to ACBF are more beer tastings, dinners, tap take overs, and parties (including a Brewery Session on Thursday) than you’ll know what to do with. Below I ‘ll break them up for you and give you some recommendations. Hope to see you out there.

The Traveling Trio

Notch, Backlash, and Slumbrew have teamed up for tap takeovers across the city. These are some of the most sociable and charismatic brewers you could hang out with in this city. I love that they’re all in this together, and the beer is damn good too. I highly recommend Notch’s Pils, Backlash’s Groundswell 2.0, and Slumbrew’s Porter (or My Better Half if you’re lucky), in that order. If you actually take my advice, drink water and eat while doing so. The latter two are above 6.0% ABV and will sneak up on you. Here’s where you can find them:

Tuesday 5/29 – Kinsale (gov’t center) at 6:00pm

Wednesday 5/30 – Brendan Behan Pub (JP) at 6:00pm

Free Glassware

I’m probably the biggest sucker out there for free (with purchase of beer) glassware, almost embarassingly so. I don’t know about you, but I can always use more beer glasses. Here’s where you can find the free variety.

Tuesday 5/29 – Sam Adams at Flash’s Cocktail (Theater District)

Wednesday 5/30 – Oskar Blues at Flash’s Cocktail at 6:00pm and  Wormtown Pint Night at 7:00pm Bukowski’s Cambridge (Inman Sq.) plus schwag giveaways.

Friday 6/1 – Sierra Nevada Pint Night at 7:00pm Bukowski’s Cambridge (Inman Square) plus bottle specials and SN beers you don’t see very often. Definitely worth the trip.

All week – Redstone Liquors (my craft beer store of choice located in Stoneham) will be giving away glasses from a variety of breweries when you purchase their beer. They always have an impressive selection, are eager to help and make suggestions, and I love how they have it organized with an entire section dedicated to local breweries.

Less tasting more party

One of the more unique events of the week is on Wednesday. The High & Mighty Pas de Dieux launch party (an old school saison) will be held at a Brewery Session’s favorite, JM Curley in Downtown Crossing. It’s being dubbed an “All Diddy night” playing all the Puff Daddy/P. Diddy hits. It’s bound to get interesting, just read the event details.

Brewery Session #4 – If you’ve been to one of our events before you might already know that we like to party on Thursday nights at Atwood’s Tavern in Cambridge. This Thursday we’ll be featuring 4 beers from White Birch and the brewers will be there to chat. Atwood’s also has a terrific outdoor patio and a tasty draught and food selection for you to take advantage of. The bands Cask Mouse and Red Heroine will be playing starting at 9:30. We’ll be there from 8pm – 2am. The rest of the details can be found here.

Other stuff

Rumor has it that Five Horses Tavern in Somerville may have Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout on tap. Follow on facebook in case the rumor turns out to be true.

We Love It In The Can – A Cisco event held at Tavern on the Water on Wednesday celebrating their new beers in a can. There’s a tattoo placement contest, it’s on the water with a gorgeous view of the city, and for the $20 entrance fee you get 4 beers and unlimited apps. What could go wrong? Seriously, read the event details  it sounds ridiculous.

Cambridge Brewing Company, recently voted best brewpub in America by voters, has a special 3 course dinner and beer pairing menu all week. They’ll also be releasing a collaborative beer called Mass Appeal which was brewed with other Mass. brewers: Night Shift, Mystic, Idle hands, and Enlightenment Ales.

The Beer Advocate hosted parties like Wednesday’s Todd’s Taco Night at Green Street, The Meadhall throw down on Thursday, and the ACBF after party brunch on Sunday are always a good time. Find out the details here.

There’s lots more out there for you to check out this week. The events are all over from Brighton, Kenmore, Downtown, to Cambridge and Somerville. Read all the listings at the official Boston Beer Week site and check out your favorite beer bars as most of them will have some special kegs on tap all week long. Liquor stores specializing in craft beer like Boston Wine Exchange, Craft Beer Cellar, Social Wines are also hosting free tastings all week.

It’s true what they say, “Beer people are good people”, and nothing reaffirms this like chatting up your neighbors at the bar during a city beer week. So get out there, meet new people, pace yourselves, and enjoy some craft beer. Cheers.

Mar 20

Beer Review – Surly Coffee Bender

I meet all kinds of characters at the brewery where I volunteer on Saturdays.  There’s the townie regulars who come in to refill their growlers, the small groups of twenty somethings looking to take a tour, and of course the obligatory couples.  But, my favorite visitors are the out of towners.  A few weekends ago, a nice couple from Minnesota came in.  They were a little mismatched, as he looked about 20 years older than her, but hey the Midwest is a backward, twisted place, right?  Who am I to judge?

After about 30 minutes of tasting beers and chit chat, Sarah took them and the other patrons on a tour of the brewery.  I then proceeded to make about 10 awful ‘dontcha know’ jokes to an empty room, which felt great after holding them all in.  When they came back, the guy went over to his knapsack/rape satchel and gave his daughter/girlfriend a weird look.  As she nodded back with a smirk on her face, I thought to myself ‘Oh shit, this is where it gets weird’.  But, instead of pulling out a bondage mask and feather duster, he emerged with two 16oz. cans of Surly Brewing’s finest.  One was the Cynic Ale, and the other was a crazy beverage called Coffee Bender.  Coffee.  Bender.  Minnesota, fuck yeah.

The interwebs says that this beer is a brown ale, but it drinks like a porter. No joke.  Full bodied with huge roasted coffee flavor, a bit of toffee sweetness and even some sharp hoppiness in the front?  Color me impressed.  Coffee/caffeine/booze all at the same time???  Dude, as anyone that knows me can attest, more than one cup of coffee’s worth of caffeine has me vibrating worse than an old Dodge with a misfiring cylinder.  I’d shake myself right out of the bar if I had more than one of these.  Actually, after some Google research, the jury is out on the caffeine content, but even a little is more than your average bear-uh, I mean, beer.  A 5.1% ABV breakfast brew.  Into it.  Alas, dear reader, they don’t distribute outside of Minnesota, so you are just going to have to live vicariously through me on this one.



Feb 14

Valentine’s Day Gifts for the beer lover

We can start with the obvious and the most important thing: Beer. If you give a beer lover a six pack of bud light it’d be a good way to say you don’t care about the same things and should break up. But, if you plan on keeping that someone special around here are some beers to show you care.

Nothing says…I would have brought you a maple glazed bacon donut that you look at in the bakery, but was worried you might think I was insinuating that you’re a fatty, so I got you this instead…Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Beer. The bottle itself is pretty awesome and just wait until you taste the contents.

via Brewpublic

Nothing says I love you like a trip to Vermont just to buy an $18 4 pack of the best double IPA on earth: Alchemist’s Heady Topper Double IPA. I’ve had Heady Topper 4 times this week. I’m addicted to the stuff and therefore possibly biased. However, if you gifted me this for valentines day, we could skip the fancy dinner, save some money, and get down to the fun stuff…drinking Heady Topper. What else would I have been talking about?

Nothing says I would trade valuable bottles in my stash to get just one 12 ounce bottle of the good stuff like a bottle of Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout. Not to mention your significant other probably had to deal with some beer snob on the internet for you. That’s sweet, and shows a serious comitment to getting you what you want.


The most color appropriate beer for Valentine’s Day would be Founder’s Blushing Monk. It pours a deep red with a beautiful pinkish-red head. It’s coy, it’s cute, and made with raspberries in a way that’s unusual and out of this world delicious. A real treat and a highly sought after beer, so good luck acquiring it.

It just so happens that Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday. It seemed mighty appropriate to save my bottle of The Bruery’s Black Tuesday 2010 for this lovely day where I just happen to also be single. I’ve been refering to this Valentine’s Day as Black Tuesday day for the past few weeks. Not because I’m bitter, it’s just because I’m excited to get knocked on my ass by this bourbon barrel aged stout, packing a punch at 20%. If you choose to share it, it’ll prove you have a heart of gold. And if you don’t share it, you just look like a greedy idiot too. Be careful with this one.

Other Gifts:

Brewery kit if they don’t already have some set up. If they are limited for space there are lots of 1 gallon kits. We like Brooklyn Brew Shop’s $40 option for the beginner. Or you can go here to check out the heavy duty gear.

You’re own label/bottle caps. This site will print these labels in bulk and you can make them something sweet like your initials, your anniversary date, or if you’re dating the right kind of folk, feel free to name your next batch the “I want to bang you brewski” and make sure it’s high alcohol.

A quicker DIY way to do this would be to paint your bottles with chalkboard paint and write whatever your heart desires.

I was just thinking to myself the other day that I really needed a chalice and/or tulip beer glasses. Then I wanted to punch myself in the face because it was the dorkiest/beer snootiest thing I had thought about in a long time. But in case you feel your significant other is lacking in the glassware department you can buy this set of four beer connoisseur glases for just $38.75. It even comes with a chalice. You know you want to drink from a chalice, don’t lie.

If you’re tired of talking about beer and would rather they stick their nose in a book you can get Garret Oliver’s Oxford Companion to Beer.


Happy Valentines Day from The Brewery Sessions.

Feb 10

Beer Review – Mayflower Oatmeal Stout

I volunteer at Mayflower on Saturday afternoons.  It’s a pretty sweet arrangement; I get to talk beers and help out, and they send me home with their delicious beverages.   If I had a sign around my neck that said ‘Will work for beer’ you’d know that I’m telling the truth.  It’s a classy operation run by good people, and I’m happy to be a part of it, even in this small capacity.

The owner Drew can trace his lineage all the way back to the boat.  By boat I mean The Mayflower, and not the replica that sits in Plymouth harbor right now.  The actual one that carried a bunch of gross English people here almost 400 years ago.  With that kind of pedigree the beers have to be good, and their winter seasonal-like the rest of their lineup-is delightful.  Delightful, now there’s a word that doesn’t get used enough.  Well, unless you are an old spinster exclaiming over something at a bridge game.  ‘My my Beatrice, that enema we received this morning was just delightful, don’t you agree!?’  Let’s bring it back.

It’s opaque and pours out with only a little head, smelling like earth and newly discovered land.  6% and hits your lips like a dry stout but then morphs into some roasted, chocolatey sweetness.  The mouthfeel is husky like the kids size, and I get some woody notes too.  Possibly birch.  Or maybe maple. Yep, there’s a tiny bit of maple in there too.  Bah, whatever.  You don’t really give a shit about these ‘break it down’ reviews, do you?  I didn’t think so.  What do you want to know? I’ll tell you what you want to know, you want to know whether it’s good or not, right?  Well it’s good.  Really good, go get some.

Pair this up with one of Montreal’s Plants and Animals new tracks, Song For Love.  Yep, I’m totally ruining the ‘Early American’ feel of this post with a band from Canuckistan.  So what, It’s my blog, I’ll do what I want.  Besides, the chorus is killer, have a listen.

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