SoursOfSummer2016

Beer Meister’s August Thoughts – Tommy Brennan

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WOW! That was one sweltering July! Hopefully everyone got a little time away for the hustle and bustle, tried some new beers or breweries on their adventures. We’ve got a lot going on here at The Old Bay this Month. Our Shellfish Festival kicks off on August 5th and that’s always one of my favorite festivals. Lobster…crabs…great beer. It really doesn’t get much better.

Speaking of great beer, we also have our Sours of Summer event on August 17th. I still can’t quite wrap my taste buds around sour beers. I’m getting there, but it’s taking a little while. It really is a niche market of beer lovers that can dig in on some mouth puckering flavors. So while I’ll still have some of the OG sours on tap, I’ve also delved into some local breweries who do fun and exciting things with sours.

From one of my favorite breweries in Jersey, we’re serving up another helping of Carton’s Monkey Chased the Weasel. It’s actually made from the real mulberries that grow around the brewery, which I think is pretty cool. It’s got a nice flavor and eases you into the sour realm. Now, some of you, including them may chastise me for this, but I think MCTW is a much better sour than some of their other sour offerings. Intermezzo…if you’ve had it, it smells like a foot to me. Now yes, some of you will say, that’s how it’s supposed to taste, and maybe you love it. Not this guy!

Another fun beer we’re bringing in is Bolero Snorts Bomb Pop Berliner. Which just sounds fun; Reminiscent of those old school popsicles that scream America while your riding your BMX down your street before helmets were invented. Bolero has been having a lot of fun with their beer lately. I think they’re having fun, either that, or they’ve all gone completely mad. They’ve had a Creamsicle Pale Ale, and they recently released an Ecto Cooler Session IPA which has a really good flavor to it…but…it’s not green. Bummer, I know!

I’ve also got a couple of reserve barrels from Goose Island out of Chicago. Which were very had to come by and I had to sell my soul to the devil to get them. The sour event is starting to take shape with a couple of other goodies coming in the next week or so. So if you love sours, or if you want to try to get into them, I hope to see you here.

Until next month, cheers to great…sour beer!

BKLphoto-TheOldBay-334

Beer Meister’s July Thoughts – Tommy Brennan

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Hello fellow beer aficionados, imbibers and nerds. Welcome back to another one of my beer blogs. As the summer starts to heat up I got to thinking about cold beer. Well, to be honest, I think about it a lot in my position here. I also got to thinking about the correct temperature for beer to be enjoyed at. Why? Just because; Actually I got to thinking about 6 years back when I was slinging suds on the Jersey Shore. A couple of sales guys were coming in to check out my beer lines at the time as we were looking into a new draft system. They were bragging that their beer lines could keep the beer at thirty degrees from keg to glass. That’s just a smidge below freezing, and then my buddy and I got to talking about the proper temperature. Now, we had a few craft beer lines at that place, but mostly your easy drinking light beers mostly on special for two bucks a night. Which I’m sure if you wanted to let’s say “tap the rockies”, wouldn’t be an issue.

For craft beer though, that’s just too cold. You lose all of the subtle nuances that the brewers put in there for your enjoyment. So I’ve stolen a little list of temperatures that you can go by to enjoy your wonderfully crafted beer to the fullest.

  • 35–40°F (2–4°C): Mass market light lagers
  • 40–45°F (4–7°C): Czech and German Pilsners, Munich Helles, wheat beers, and Kölsch
  • 45–50°F (7–10°C): IPAs, American pale ales, porters, and most stouts
  • 50–55°F (10–13°C): Belgian ales, sour ales, Bocks, English bitters and milds, Scottish ales
  • 55–60°F (13–16°C): Barleywines, imperial stouts, Belgian strong ales, and Doppelbocks

Now, most craft beer joints, such as us, make sure that all the beers pour at around 34 to 35 degrees. Reason being is the amount of foam that pours out. If a beer is coming from a keg “too hot” then you’re going to have a lot of foamy issues. A lot of the connoisseurs that come through these doors let their beer rest for a little bit; especially the dark ones. There really is nothing better than a warmed up imperial stout.

So, next time you grab an ice cold brew, think about the temps. Let it sit a little bit and then try a sip. You’ll be glad you did.

Now that we’re passed the technicalities of temperature for taste, let’s talk about a special tasting coming up. This month we’ll be taking our Kegs & Eggs Tour to Neshaminy Creek in Croydon, PA. Leading up to the event we’ll have some of their really good beer on tap here to get a taste of things to come.

Located in lower Bucks County, PA they actually use the Neshaminy Creek as the water source for all of their beer. They brew great beer that’s got a little edge to it. I’ve heard great things about their brewery and can’t wait to take the trip and grab some brews and some shwag.  So stay tuned for that trip towards the end of the month and until then…

Cheers to great (well temp) beer!

tommy

Beer Meister’s June Thoughts – Tommy Brennan

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Hey everyone, and welcome back to another installment of my blog. Hopefully you made it out to IPA Alley last month. I don’t mean to pat myself on the back, but it was one helluva line-up. From Single IPAs to Triple IPAs there was something for every hop head out there. So, what’s on tap for this month?

In last months blog I mentioned a little plan to do a brew tour once a month. I’m super stoked to say it’s happening. The Old Bay’s Kegs and Eggs Brew Tour kicks off this month with a trip to Cherry Hill, NJ to visit our friends at Forgotten Boardwalk; but before I get into all about them and what they do, let’s finalize what the The Kegs and Eggs Brew Tour is all about.

One Sunday a month we’ll all meet here at The Old Bay for a breakfast buffet and then take a party bus to that month’s location. While en route, we’ll be sipping on one of the breweries beers to keep the pre-game going. Then once we’re at the brewery, we’ll all get a behind the scenes tour. Not just your normal bing bang boom tour now here’s the tasting room. We’ll talk about styles, the why, and how its all made. THEN, onto the tasting room floor. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, we’re gonna feed ya, we’re gonna drive ya, and we’ll have some excellent beers along the way. If you want to jump on the bus feel free to call us here to reserve a spot or stop in. Seats are very limited and only available on a first come first serve basis.

Now! Onto the Brewery…Why Forgotten Boardwalk? Well, about two years ago I got to meet owner Jamie as I was preparing for our awesome NJ Tap Takeover. They weren’t in full distribution yet with Shorepoint and they were still able to deliver beer on their own. So with a little charm and can do attitude, we were one of the very first bars to showcase their beer at an awesome event.

Here’s a little bit about Jamie and how Forgotten Boardwalk came to be:

“Jamie Queli started out as a beer enthusiast and then moved on to becoming a homebrew hobbyist. Now, she is able to add brewery owner to her resume.

The 30-year-old New Brunswick resident is the founder of Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing, which took over the former Flying Fish Brewery building left completely vacant in Cherry Hill.  Originally from Wall Township, Jamie said taking the leap to opening up a full-fledged brewery, complete with a boardwalk-themed tasting room seemed like the next logical step for her.  “I started out as a beer enthusiast, then finding information about beer and reading about beer which turned into creating my own beer,” she said, adding that she recently left a career as a product manager in investment banking. “The professional arena seemed like a natural progression.”

Having grown up at the Jersey Shore, Queli installed two skeeball machines, a spin wheel and funhouse mirrors, all while instilling both the memories of her time there, as well as part of the brand.

“My favorite thing about Forgotten Boardwalk is the facility itself.  My aim when I was building it was to make it into an experience.  I wanted people to not only come and visit for the beer but come and visit and enjoy its whimsical setting.  I put in skeeball machines, fun house mirrors, spinning wheels, and antiques.  It’s an adult playground. I grew up at the shore and I am a huge history buff.  My grandmother used to call me an “old soul” as a little girl.  As I visited different shorelines and coasts through my adult years, I found myself seeking out the odd history, most the stories people told me were lost stories but not completely forgotten.  That is the vision for the company and each brand of beer.  Each beer will tell an old forgotten story that took place around the boardwalk.  I think it is especially fun to, not only have a great beverage, but to have a consumer learn of an old tale.  People should stop by to tour a brewery, learn about the brewing process and its environmental impact, drink a great beer, play some skeeball and to meet new friends.”

So, after seeing picture of the brewery on Instagram and Facebook, I thought this would absolutely be a great place to go for our first tour. We’ll be joined by Shorepoint’s own Craft Beer Loud Mouth Gary Rosen who I’m sure will have great things to talk about beer-wise, and crack some inappropriate jokes once he gets to know you.

We also have a few other breweries set up for the upcoming months. Pennsylvania’s Neshaminy Creek and Brooklyn Brewery; we’ll probably do this up until November and continue again once spring comes around. Have you seen buses in the snow? No way!

So come on in and sign-up. Or give us a call. Tickets are only $40 for food, the trip, and the keg on the way there and back. As always, we want to make sure everyone has a good time drinking some awesome beer.

So until the trip on June 26th…

Cheers to great beer!

joe

From the Chef’s Head June Edition – Joe Donlan

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“The mouth of a perfectly contented man is filled with beer, according to an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic inscription. Many of us would agree that after a hard set of tennis or an afternoon cutting firewood, there is little more satisfying than a cold, bubbly pint. Doubly agreeable is lifting a mug while eating food cooked with beer.”
(http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113747902)

It seems like every month I have a hard time deciding what exactly I am going to write about and then it hits me. Why not combine the two of the things that I love; Beer and Food! It makes the most sense because these two wonderful things are the basis of my tenure at The Old Bay. Cooking with beer can be really easy, but can just as easily be really difficult. How does that work? With the explosion of great craft breweries making all sorts of one off beers that take a traditional style of beer and turn it on its ear, it gives us so many options to play. With those options comes the temptation to simply just add that beer to one of your favorite recipes and expect it to all of sudden be transformed to this magical beer food. It doesn’t really work like that though.

First let’s define cooking with beer. If you add some beer to your favorite BBQ sauce or dump some beer into your chili recipe, to me this is not cooking with beer. That is simply just adding a bit of beer. What I mean by cooking with beer is actually breaking down the components of the beer and enhancing the notes that you want to enhance and toning down the notes that need toning down. For example, let’s go back to Stout City 2016, Bolero Snort Brewing gave us Vanilla and Cinnamon Porter. I took this beer and infused more cinnamon into it as I reduced it to make a sauce that was served on top of roasted pork loin. That’s what I mean by enhancing flavors and toning down at the same time. The components of the porter work well with subtle flavor of pork loin but by reducing the beer and bumping up the cinnamon it added a bit sweetness. It was not an overpowering sweetness but just enough to balance the sauce. Another example of having some fun with beer and food was during a Founders Brewing tap takeover. You may have heard of or even tried Mango Magnifico from Founders Brewing Company. This is a mango habanero beer. You know I was going to try to do something with this gem. Sometimes being a chef is also being a little bit of a mad scientist. Molecular Gastronomy is a type of cooking that uses the principles of biology and physics as a cooking technique. So why wouldn’t I try it! It’s science…SCIENCE! One technique is to make pearls out of a somewhat gelatinous liquid that pop when you bite into it and release the inner sauce or vinaigrette. So for my first attempt at this I figured I would try to do it about 20 minutes before the event and I had already put it on the menu. (No pressure at all). First attempt not total failure but definitely not an overwhelming success. Attempt #2…Home Run! I made Mango Magnifico “Caviar” that was served on top pan seared scallops with Mango Magnifico reduction sauce. So for this dish I used the same beer twice but in two different preparations. My latest attempt at using beer in food was not some much the beer as the hops that beer is made from. I topped mini turkey burgers with bread stuffing that hade fresh hops mixed into it along with some fresh made cranberry sauce. Since I am such a dork I had to name this dish “Hoppy Thanksgiving” I will be honest I had no idea how this dish was going to turn out but it all seemed to work in my head and I could taste how all of the components of the stuffing were going to work together. I got lucky yet again, and hit this one out the park if I do say so myself, and I DO SAY SO.

You don’t have to be a trained chef to cook with beer. The worst thing that happens is you waste a little beer. Wait, forget what I just said. Wasting beer is a crime and should be dealt with very seriously. Don’t waste good beer. You can waste bad beer though. Actually forget that also, is there really any bad beer? NO, the answer to this question is always NO! But seriously, you should never be afraid to try new ingredients, new techniques and new flavors. You may like your dishes and you may hate them. At least you tried. That is more than many people can say.

KegsAndEggsTour2016

Beer Meister’s May Thoughts – Tommy Brennan

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There’s so much I want to talk to you guys about this upcoming month. There’s so much going on here at The Old Bay as we prepare to go into the summer months. So, if you’ve been reading my little spiel here monthly then you know, I always try to talk about a brewery or a style of beer. This blog is going to  cover a lot of information about the upcoming special events I have planned for The Old bay and its fans.  So let’s get to it!

Now, this first little piece of information won’t actually take place until June but I figured we might as well let the cat out of the bag early. We’re looking into doing some NJ Brewery Tours right here at The Old Bay. We’re calling it The Kegs & Eggs Tour and what we’re gonna do is load up a party bus, bring a keg, go to a brewery, take a more “behind the scenes” tour, drink their beer, and come back! Where do the eggs come in? Well true believers, included in your ticket price will be breakfast buffet right here during our Jazz Brunch for the month. So, we’re gonna feed you, bring you on a delicious beer trip, and then bring it all back home. We’re still in the planning process, but it’s going to be an AWESOME time, and I can’t wait to check out some breweries I haven’t been to yet. So stay tuned for that because space is limited.

Now as far as May goes, one of our bigger style tap takeovers is right around the corner. It’s time again to open up the tap lines and pour some fresh and hopped up IPAs! YAY! IPA Alley is slated for the middle of May and I’ve got some gems coming in for it. Everyone thought the trend of the IPA wouldn’t last, but you have more and more breweries hop bombing the bajezus out of their beers. Sure, some people don’t like ‘em, and that’s fine, but don’t you rain on my IPArade!  For those of you who don’t know what IPA stands for, (Some people actually don’t), it stands for India Pale Ale. It gets it’s name from British descent as a means to ship beer to India. They would take their traditional Pale Ales and Hop them um for the trip to India so the beer wouldn’t go bad. Smart thinking those Brits; between that and Elizabeth Hurly, these guys were onto something.

Some of the goodies I’ve got on hold for the event are Heavy Seas/Maine Beer Co. “Partner Ships”, (That’s a co-lab I’m really looking forward to tasting), some fun stuff from Ballast Point, (because honestly, if beer was a woman, it’d be a Ballast Point), and a few other gems, as well as the stuff that’ll be coming in for the event.

May just also so happens to be our Anniversary, and there’s no better way to celebrate it with Old Bay Food & Music Fest. I’ve actually been hanging onto a few goodies for this as well….How’s about a couple of Imperial Stouts that didn’t make it on tap for our Stout City event (So you know they have to be awesome), and a big ol’ keg of Nugget Nectar from Troegs. So I hope to see you guys here for that one as well. There’s so much going on!

Until I see you again. Cheers to good Beer!
(I used way too many parentheses in this one…)

Turmeric in spoon on wooden table.

From the Chef’s Head May Edition – Joe Donlan

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So, here I am again. Sitting down to write and I am racking my brain. Then it comes to me. TURMERIC. I could explain the entire thought process but we don’t have that kind of time and it is doubtful that anyone would be able to follow. I know it sounds a bit crazy that someone would actually take any time just for turmeric. It makes sense if you know me though. I am one of those people that need Advil to get through almost every day due to some injuries that I suffered when I was younger. After doing some research I found that using turmeric has the same the benefits without the side effects.

What is turmeric? Turmeric has a peppery, warm and bitter flavor and a mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger, and while it is best known as one of the ingredients used to make curry, it also gives ballpark mustard its bright yellow color. Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh. Turmeric has long been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory in both the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine. Turmeric was traditionally called “Indian saffron” because of its deep yellow-orange color and has been used throughout history as a condiment, healing remedy and textile dye.

The volatile oil fraction of turmeric has demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory activity in a variety of experimental models. Even more potent than its volatile oil is the yellow or orange pigment of turmeric, which is called curcumin. Curcumin is thought to be the primary pharmacological agent in turmeric. In numerous studies, curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects have been shown to be comparable to the potent drugs hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents such as Motrin. Unlike the drugs, which are associated with significant toxic effects (ulcer formation, decreased white blood cell count, intestinal bleeding), curcumin produces no toxicity. (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=78#descrxicity)

Clinical studies have substantiated that curcumin also exerts very powerful antioxidant effects. As an antioxidant, curcumin is able to neutralize free radicals, chemicals that can travel through the body and cause great amounts of damage to healthy cells and cell membranes. This is important in many diseases, such as arthritis, where free radicals are responsible for the painful joint inflammation and eventual damage to the joints. Turmeric’s combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects explains why many people with joint disease find relief when they use the spice regularly. In a recent study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin was compared to phenylbutazone and produced comparable improvements in shortened duration of morning stiffness, lengthened walking time, and reduced joint swelling.

Like I said earlier I know it is a bit off from what you are used to reading from me but I feel that this bit of information can be useful to everyone who may be trying to change the way that they live.

Turmeric is used in all sorts of curries and is predominant in Indian food, but that is not all it is used for. For instance over the winter I started to drink a warm beverage that is simply turmeric, fresh grated Ginger Root and warmed Almond Milk. It doesn’t sound like it would be good but the turmeric balances some of the spice from the ginger as well as the almond milk. I prefer this drink in the winter over a cup of hot cocoa. You can also add a bit of turmeric to chicken salad along with a bit of curry powder to make a delicious chicken salad that will rival the best that you have ever had. Then you have one of my favorite things to eat, Bread and Butter Pickles can easily be made with a combination of cucumber, peppers a cider vinegar based pickling liquid and some essential spices which include turmeric.

I can tell you from my experience that I have significantly decreased the amount of Advil that I take since I started to add more turmeric into my diet. The best source is the raw turmeric root but you still get all of the benefits from powdered turmeric that you can find in your local spice aisle.

So, here I am again. Sitting down to write and I am racking my brain. Then it comes to me. TURMERIC. I could explain the entire thought process but we don’t have that kind of time and it is doubtful that anyone would be able to follow. I know it sounds a bit crazy that someone would actually take any time just for turmeric. It makes sense if you know me though. I am one of those people that need Advil to get through almost every day due to some injuries that I suffered when I was younger. After doing some research I found that using turmeric has the same the benefits without the side effects.

What is turmeric? Turmeric has a peppery, warm and bitter flavor and a mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger, and while it is best known as one of the ingredients used to make curry, it also gives ballpark mustard its bright yellow color. Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh. Turmeric has long been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory in both the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine. Turmeric was traditionally called “Indian saffron” because of its deep yellow-orange color and has been used throughout history as a condiment, healing remedy and textile dye.
The volatile oil fraction of turmeric has demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory activity in a variety of experimental models. Even more potent than its volatile oil is the yellow or orange pigment of turmeric, which is called curcumin. Curcumin is thought to be the primary pharmacological agent in turmeric. In numerous studies, curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects have been shown to be comparable to the potent drugs hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents such as Motrin. Unlike the drugs, which are associated with significant toxic effects (ulcer formation, decreased white blood cell count, intestinal bleeding), curcumin produces no toxicity.

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=78#descrxicity

Clinical studies have substantiated that curcumin also exerts very powerful antioxidant effects. As an antioxidant, curcumin is able to neutralize free radicals, chemicals that can travel through the body and cause great amounts of damage to healthy cells and cell membranes. This is important in many diseases, such as arthritis, where free radicals are responsible for the painful joint inflammation and eventual damage to the joints. Turmeric’s combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects explains why many people with joint disease find relief when they use the spice regularly. In a recent study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin was compared to phenylbutazone and produced comparable improvements in shortened duration of morning stiffness, lengthened walking time, and reduced joint swelling.

Like I said earlier I know it is a bit off from what you are used to reading from me but I feel that this bit of information can be useful to everyone who may be trying to change the way that they live.
Turmeric is used in all sorts of curries and is predominant in Indian food, but that is not all it is used for. For instance over the winter I started to drink a warm beverage that is simply turmeric, fresh grated Ginger Root and warmed Almond Milk. It doesn’t sound like it would be good but the turmeric balances some of the spice from the ginger as well as the almond milk. I prefer this drink in the winter over a cup of hot cocoa. You can also add a bit of turmeric to chicken salad along with a bit of curry powder to make a delicious chicken salad that will rival the best that you have ever had. Then you have one of my favorite things to eat, Bread and Butter Pickles can easily be made with a combination of cucumber, peppers a cider vinegar based pickling liquid and some essential spices which include turmeric.

I can tell you from my experience that I have significantly decreased the amount of Advil that I take since I started to add more turmeric into my diet. The best source is the raw turmeric root but you still get all of the benefits from powdered turmeric that you can find in your local spice aisle.

spring-beer

Beer Meister’s April Thoughts – Tommy Brennan

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April showers are said to bring May flowers, but also with the breaking of the weather we start to see the changing of the beer styles. Some Saisons are already starting to hit the tap lines. Saisons are generally brewed in the Winter months for Summer’s arrival. Living in New Jersey, we all know that it could be Summer next week and snow the following in these touchy months leading into humid heat waves.

Saisons once thought to be endangered are being brewed more and more often by all of the breweries around. Usually coming in around 7% ABV this sister of the pale ale can pack a punch depending on the brew. This is a very complex style; many are very fruity in the aroma and flavor. Look for earthy yeast tones, mild to moderate tartness. Lots of spice and with a medium bitterness. They tend to be semi-dry with many only having touch of sweetness.

These beer styles are also great sippers while enjoying some time in our beer garden; a great place to bring some friends, or even just sit by yourself in the shade to do a little people watching. Some brands that have graced our taps and right from the Beer List are…

Boulevard Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale
Most breweries have at least one piece of equipment that’s just a bit persnickity. Here at Boulevard we have fermenter number seven, the black sheep of our cellar family. Ironically, when our brewers were experimenting with variations on a traditional Belgian-style farmhouse ale, the perfect combination of elements came together in that very vessel. You could call it fate, but they called it Tank 7, and so it is. Beginning with a big surge of fruity aromatics and grapefruit-hoppy notes, the flavor of this complex, straw-colored ale tapers off to a peppery, dry finish.

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace 
The return of one of Brooklyns most popular Brewmasters Reserve. Brooklyn Sorachi Ace is a classic saison, a cracklingly dry, hoppy unfiltered golden farmhouse ale, but made entirely with now-rare Sorachi Ace hops grown by a single farm in Washington. They ferment it with aspecial Belgian ale strain, and then add more Sorachi Ace hops post-fermentation. After the dry-hopping, the beer emerges with a bright spicy lemongrass / lemon zest aroma backed by a wonderfully clean malt flavor.  7.6% A.B.V.

Dogfish Head / Victory / Stone:  Saison Du BUFF  
This one coming from the Dogfish Head brew house, the annual monumental alliance of the brewers of Dogfish Head, Victory, and Stone. Saison du BUFF is a 6.8% alc/vol Saison brewed with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. The beer is brewed three times, once at each brewery using the same recipe. The three guys (Sam from Dogfish, Greg from Stone and Bill from Victory) formed the BUFF alliance (Brewers United for Freedom of Flavor) – a noble endeavor with the goal to highlight the passion and camaraderie of the American craft brew movement.

Those are just a few, and if you’ve had your finger on the pulse of the beer world lately you now know that New Belgium is finally being distributed in NJ. That’s right, the people who brought you the ever elusive Fat Tire, Citradelic, and Ranger IPA are now available here for all to enjoy.

So with all the Saison talk we will surely try to get our hands on a Long Table Saison from New Belgium.

“The longer the table, the more room for friends. This season, our new Long Table Farmhouse Ale is the best excuse to pull up a chair with your closest companions for a few rounds. An ode to the bucolic, table-friendly Belgian saison, we’ve added a delightfully new hoppy spin to the style, creating a sip that whisks a taste of the tropics into the Old World. Traditional grains of Munich, pale malt and rye lend a wash of toasty, spicy bread, while exotic Nelson Sauvin and citrusy Chinook hops buoy the juicy fruit flavors of our Belgian yeast. So gather around and get ready to hoist this spritz complex farmhouse ale amongst the company of friends.”

With some digging and some asking around, we’ll see if we can get this beer up on tap in the near future.

But until then… cheers to great beer…and greater weather!

PigRoast

From the Chef’s Head April Edition – Joe Donlan

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It’s that time of year kids! Temperatures are rising and the flowers are blooming. Its time to get outside and enjoy some outdoor cooking. Everyone does the traditional Hamburgers, Hot Dogs and Sausages for there backyard BBQ’s. I say, if you are going to do it, you should just swing for the fences and roast a pig roast. You are probably thinking that roasting a pig is way to much work. It actually is less work then standing in front of a grill all day cooking your “traditional” food. Not to mention there is some history around the pig roast. I am by no means an expert on pig roasts so I went to the interwebs to get you some history on the pig roast.

The tradition of the pig roast goes back millennia and is found in many cultures. There are numerous ways to roast pork, including open fire rotisserie style roasting, and “caja china” style box grilling. Many families traditionally have a pig roast for Thanksgiving or Christmas. In Miami and other areas with large Cuban, Puerto Rican, Honduran or other Caribbean populations pig roasts are often held on Christmas Eve by families and friends whereas families from Hawaii often hold a roast on memorial day.

Pig roast (lechon asado) is a part of Puerto Rico’s national dish and is usually served with arroz con gandules. In Puerto Rico, pig roasts occur year round, but happen in greater frequency as part of New Year’s Eve celebrations and especially Christmas; occasionally if a family has relocated to the cities of the United States they will take the recipe with them and use it during the summer. In the Dominican Republic, “puerco a la puya” is a traditional part of the Christmas Eve meal.

In the Philippines, the roasted pig is referred to as lechon baboy. It is traditionally prepared for Christmas celebrations, but is also commonplace at birthday parties, weddings, Debuts, and family reunions.

In Indonesia pig roast is called babi guling, babi panggang or babi bakar however it is rarely in Indonesia except in non-Muslim majority provinces, such as Hindu Bali and Christian Bataklands in North Sumatra, Minahasa people of North Sulawesi, Toraja in South Sulawesi, Papua, and also among Chinese Indonesians. In Bali babi guling usually served with lawar and steamed rice, it is popular dish in Balinese restaurant and warungs. In Batak people tradition, babi guling is a prerequisite in wedding offering for the bride family. In Papua, pigs and yams are roasted in heated stones filled in the hole dug on the ground and covered with leaves, this cooking method is called bakar batu (burning the stone), and it is an important cultural and social event among Papuan people.

In various Chinese communities (especially in Southern China), a pig roast known as siu yuk is purchased for the sake of special family affairs, business openings, or as a ritualistic spiritual offering. For example, a tradition is to offer one or several whole roast pigs to the Jade Emperor to celebrate a Chinese film’s opening with a roast pig; the pig is sacrificed to ward off evils in return to pray for the film’s success. One garnish used to make the dish look more appealing is a circular slice of pineapple and cherry and is often placed in a red box for luck.

In the UK, the tradition of pig roasting, which is more commonly known in the UK as a Hog Roast, is popular on many occasions, particularly parties and celebrations. It is usually an outdoor event, and a staple meal on many show events. The tradition is either to roast on a spit, turning the pig under a flame, or in a large oven in a roasting pan, roasting pigs around 130 lbs in weight is common in the UK. The pig is normally roasted in a gas propane machine. The pig’s skin is scored with a sharp blade and covered in water & salt to make the ‘crackling’. In ancient times going all the way back to the Saxons, roasting a wild boar was often the centerpiece of a meal at Yuletide, with Yule being Freya’s fest. The head was often the greatest delicacy, as evidenced by the survival of The Boar’s Head Carol.

In Spain the locals call this a suckling pig or a “lechon asado”. Hog Roast are becoming more popular across Spain and more so in Southern Spain due to the ex-pat community.

In the United States, roasting a whole pig or a feral hog has been a tradition for over two hundred years, especially in the Southern United States where it is closely linked to barbecue. From Virginia south to Florida Panhandle. and west to the Mississippi River south to Louisiana, the favored meat in Southern, Cajun, Appalachian, and Creole cooking is pork and has been since colonial times: pigs did not require any special handling or maintenance and could be sent off into the woods and rounded up again when supplies ran low, and thus were the prime choice for meat for small farmers and plantation owners, and for men living up in the mountains the tradition was to drive their pigs to market every fall, fattening them up on the many nuts and acorns that proliferated in the area. George Washington even mentions attending a barbecue in his journal on August 4, 1769 and records at Mount Vernon show the man had his own smokehouse on the premises. Like many plantation owners, he raised several pigs for slaughter in November and once his slaves had finished curing the meat into ham and bacon they would pit roast some whole pigs over hot coals as a treat. Outside of the English speaking states of the South, francophone Cajuns, then as now, had cochon de lait as a traditional dish for the gathering of their large families.
(Party with Pig:, a Glorious Feast,2016)

So in keeping with some of these traditions, I am roasting a pig in our Beer Garden. Some of you might remember me doing this last year, but we are going bigger this year. That means more cook time but well worth it. The date is Sunday April 24, 2016 and I will be shooting to have the pig ready to serve around 2:30pm. Come on in, say Hi to me take some pictures and eat some pig. Afterwards maybe buy me some drinks when I’m done. I’ll let you decide.

Irish-style stout beer

Beer Meister’s March Thoughts – Tommy Brennan

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Irish-style stout beerWell beer drinkers, it’s that time of the year again. It seems as though every weekend a different town has a parade with legions and hordes of green and plaid costumed beer drinkers. St. Patrick’s Day is upon us and how can we not talk about the rich Irish style beers that grace our taps. Guinness; the go-to for any parade or St. Patty’s party is still a solid beer. On December 31st 1759 Arthur Guinness signed a 9000 year lease on a small distillery in St. James Gate. NINE THOUSAND YEARS!!! So it’s safe to say Guinness will be around…well…FOREVER!

What about some other offerings, maybe a little more locally? Our friends to the north at Bolero Snort have a fantastic Dry Irish Stout called “Lucky Buck”. We’ve actually had this one on tap a couple of times over the past year and it really is a crowd pleaser. So keep checking our online beer list for when we tap that bad boy.

A little further down the parkway our pals in Toms River at the Rinn Duin Brewery have this awesome coffee stout aptly named “Pota Caifé” and wouldn’t you know it tastes just like a black iced coffee. These crushable stouts are just a few of my favorite “seasonal” offerings from our New Jersey brewers.

I’ve worked in a few places in my career as a bar manager. Some beer houses, cocktail bars, and the ever trendy corporate places, but becoming a beer snob here at The Old Bay has been far more worthwhile and rewarding. Why am I bringing this up? Because I want to make you a promise that we will NOT be pouring green beer on St. Patrick’s Day! It was fun at let’s say one of the more unsavory places I’ve worked where nobody cared what was on tap just as long as it was cheap and the special of the day.

So for this St. Patrick’s Day, skip the green stuff and get a little dark. No one wants to kiss your blarney stone if you have a green tongue.

So raise your Guinness, your Lucky Buck, or your Pota Caifé to good ol’ St. Pat, for giving us another reason to drink great beer…and dress up like an idiot while doing so.
Until next time, cheers to great beer!

potatoes

From the Chef’s Head March Edition – Joe Donlan

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potatoesIt’s that time of year again! That time of year when everyone is Irish! You will know it because everyone will be wearing green, drinking green beer, and eating corned beef and cabbage. I hate to tell you all this, but if your beer is green, DON’T DRINK IT! Green beer does not occur in nature. Just as Corned Beef and Cabbage is not a traditional St. Patrick’s Day dish. I know that you’re thinking that I’m a crazy person, and some of you know that I am, in fact, a crazy person, but it’s true!

A traditional Irish St. Patrick’s Day meal is made up of Irish Bacon and Potatoes. Irish bacon is lean smoked pork loin, similar to Canadian bacon. The big question now is: how did Irish Americans go from Irish Bacon and Potatoes to Corned Beef and Cabbage? Once explained, it really isn’t that far of a stretch to the imagination.

First of all, Corned Beef is part of the Irish holiday celebration, although it is traditionally served at Easter. It was also one of the biggest exports. At the time, in Ireland, pork was easy to get and very affordable. As for potatoes in Ireland…do I really have to explain that one?

“From the earliest historical times, for routine eating, pork was always the favorite, because pigs bred much faster and were a lot less labor-intensive to rear. Cattle were only slaughtered when they were no longer any good for milking, or for breeding purposes; otherwise, they were prized as a common medium for barter. The size of one’s herd of cattle was an indication of status, wealth and power — hence all the stories of tribal chieftains and petty kings of the ancient days, endlessly rustling one another’s cattle (the greatest of the ancient wars of legend was started by one of these thefts, the Cattle Raid of Cooley). Eating beef, except for that of a cow past its milking days or accidentally killed, was the cultural equivalent of lighting your cigars with hundred-dollar bills…unless you were a chieftain, or a king, in which case you could afford it.” (Ireland: Why We Have No Corned Beef & Cabbage Recipes. (n.d.). Retrieved March 01, 2016, from http://www.europeancuisines.com/Why-We-Have-No-Corned-Beef-Recipes)

Fast forward to when people from Ireland came to America and settled in areas that were also inhabited by other Europeans that immigrated to America. New York City is the real birthplace of Corned Beef and Cabbage as a traditional Irish meal. In New York City, at the time, beef was more affordable to the average immigrant.

“Irish immigrants to America lived alongside other ‘undesirable’ European ethnic groups that often faced discrimination in their new home, including Jews and Italians. Members of the Irish working class in New York City frequented Jewish delis and lunch carts, and it was there that they first tasted corned beef. Cured and cooked much like Irish bacon, it was seen as a tasty and cheaper alternative to pork. And while potatoes were certainly available in the United States, cabbage offered a more cost-effective alternative to cash-strapped Irish families. Cooked in the same pot, the spiced, salty beef flavored the plain cabbage, creating a simple, hearty dish that couldn’t be easier to prepare.” (S. B. (2013, March 13). Corned Beef and Cabbage: As Irish as Spaghetti and Meatballs. Retrieved March 01, 2016, from http://www.history.com/news/hungry-history/corned-beef-and-cabbage-as-irish-as-spaghetti-and-meatballs)

So basically, what I am getting at here is that Corned beef and Cabbage is a traditional Irish dish but is not necessarily a traditional St. Patrick’s Day dish. Do Irish people love to eat corned beef and cabbage? YES WE DO! Do we know that it is not traditional for the “High Holy Days?” YES WE DO! Do we really care? NO WE DON’T! I will eat my Corned Beef and Cabbage, Shepherd’s Pie, and Irish Soda Bread for St. Patrick’s Day, and happily celebrate my Irish heritage.

You may be wondering, “ Where is Joe going to be enjoying all of these tasty foods?” You guessed it! I will be right here at The Old Bay putting out a FREE “Traditional” Irish Buffet from 5pm to 8pm. We just may have a few extra goodies to add to the buffet, so I would recommend stopping by to check us out. We have our Bag Piper, Cliff Delaney, joining us from 5:30pm-6:30pm, then music by our friends Jersey Minx from 7pm-10pm, and then our Thursday night Dance Party with DJ JeffRo from 10:30pm to close.

 

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