Queen of Hops competition brewing for women who make beer

Today the Star-Ledger ran an article about NJ’s first all-female homebrewing competition, sponsored by New Jersey Craft Beer, Wyerbacher Natalie, Copper Mine Pub, etc… I’m a judge. No experience needed; Becky Pedersen from Turtle Stone Brewing has offered to coach a team or individual. It’s time to get started!

Local Wine Nerds Rejoice: Barrels On The Brandywine

Local Wine Nerds Rejoice: Barrels On The Brandywine

My latest Foobooz.com post: Say what you will about the quality of PA wine (we certainly do), but you can’t argue that the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail doesn’t know how to throw a good party for those of an oenophilic bent. Especially those of you hardcore grape geeks who thrill to things like cellar tours and tasting new local wines.

Every weekend in March, the seven wineries of the trail open their cellars (and tasting rooms) for the public to sip the latest vintage straight from the barrels, buckets and bottles. $30 buys you a passport to visit (and drink at) each of the wineries once between March 3 and April 1.

A few wineries do something a little special. Twin Brook Winery, for example, is serving its famous gumbo. And Paradocx is pouring wine from cans–because that’s just classy.

The Pairings were Magnifique — Iron Hill Dinner to Celebrate First Unibroue Collab

On Tuesday, Unibroue regional rep extraordinaire invited Gary and me to be his guests at a five-course dinner to celebrate the release of Unibroue’s first collaboration. A few months ago, Master Brewer Jerry Vietz came to Jersey to brew Jerry Chris Mas (sounds like a Dead reference, doesn’t it?) with Iron Hill Maple Shade Head Brewer Chris LaPierre, who returned from Belgium like five minutes before the dinner started. It was sort of an unofficial collab, as Unibroue won’t be selling it but if you’re close enough to Maple Shade, you sure as shit want to get some at Iron Hill while you can. Also, they’re aging some in bourbon and wine barrels so expect more goodness throughout the year. Some noted personages in attendance were Mark Haynie, Andy Calimano and Tom Peters, and Jeff Linkous stopped by to take pictures. Gary took some amazing pics, and I’ve included the menu as one of the shots.

Kudos to Chris and the chef, the pairings were some of the best I’ve experienced, especially the Blonde de Chambly with the seared monk fish and micro greens with ginger vinaigrette, and the Jerry Chris Mas with the roasted elk loin. The only bad thing I have to say is that the dessert — brown sugar pie — was so unimaginably good that pairing it with La Terrible, another one of my favorites, was an overkill of goodness. Each one stands on its own so much that neither could possibly enhance the other. I think the only thing you could have paired with that brown sugar pie was more brown sugar pie.

On another note Jerry has extended his stay to attend the Starfish Junction beer fest at the Navy Yard on Saturday so look for him if you’re there. 

Reading Terminal Gala Chef Challenge Judging — Preview and Pics

Judging the chef cookoff was a blast Saturday. The mystery ingredients were Reese’s peanut butter cups, Mexican squash, fortune cookies and chicken. All four teams put together either outstanding looking or tasting dishes in just 20 minutes. Here’s my Foobooz preview from the other day and check out the pictures. Winners were Peter McAndrews of Modo Mio and Monsu and his sous chef Lori Wilson from NBC 10. Thanks to my trusty photography assistant, Gary, for the great food photos.

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My Last Courier-Post Nightlife Column

I’ve written my last Scene at Night column. With the day job I have now, I have to cut out all but the most lucrative and career-boosting gigs and after two years, I was very ready to leave this one behind. I’ve gotta say though I did enjoy the perks and the ability to call myself a nightlife columnist, let’s be real, ya know? And I was appreciative of the fact that I could promote local bars and bands, and I loved meeting people and having them tell me they read the column. Always nice. Tammy Paolino, if you’re reading this, thanks for being one of my favorite editors of all time. And Lisa Howard-Fusco, I’m thrilled to leave the column to you. Have fun with it and thank your lucky stars you don’t have to take the accompanying bar photos I had to take three times a weekend!

I Know Beer and Cheese are Supposed to be Aged but this is Ridiculous



The people at the Swarthmore co-op (third oldest in the country) invited me to this beer and cheese paring thing tonight and I’m really bummed I can’t go. So I wrote about it for Foobooz instead.