Category: Beer

Tipsy Boar Gastropub, Hollywood, Florida

If you enjoy fine craft beer and bar food, you may want to check out the Tipsy Boar (1906 Harrison St., Hollywood, FL), the latest gastro pub experience that just opened in January 2013, and is located at the former Luce Italian restaurant site on Harrison Street.

However, be aware that even the best eateries go through growing pains. The Tipsy Boar is no exception.

The craft beer menu is stellar, with a whole host of choices from some of the finest craft beer makers in the industry. Mixed drinks and wine are also available, but our attention was focused on the beer and the food, of course. The food menu isn’t your typical “pub grub,” though The Tipsy Boar has burgers, sandwiches and pizza, in case you were wondering.

For appetizers, we ordered an arugula, apple and shaved parmesan cheese salad, which wouldn’t win any awards for presentation, but did have a good flavor, was lightly seasoned, but most importantly, the arugula itself wasn’t soggy from swimming in too much dressing.  We also tried the deviled eggs with jalapeno and bacon.  They were tasty but didn’t have any of the heat you would expect from the jalapeno.

Next we ordered short rib croquets, but received chicken balls instead – not a deal breaker. The chicken balls had a spicy Buffalo wing flavor and came with a small side of hot sauce, crumbled bleu cheese and celery. Again, not what we ordered but they were quite delicious.

For our main dish we ordered a duck confit, caramelized onion and goat cheese pizza which was very good. The crust was crispy on the outside and light in the middle. There was a good duck-to-cheese-to-onion ratio on top, which made for a complex, flavorful pizza. We definitely would order this again.

As good as the food was, we were a bit put off by the service. We were seated at our table promptly when we arrived, but didn’t receive napkins or silverware until we asked, which was nearly 15 minutes into the experience. Everything took a while to come out and the timing was off. As soon as we finished, our plates were literally whisked away to the point we started joking that they needed them for our next item. The manager stopped by and asked us how everything was and we expressed our concern about how long it took for the food to come out. He blamed it on the server not putting the order in the right way(?!) to ensure when we received our food, which one would assume would be the kitchen’s respsonsibility. Not totally deterred by how things went, we ordered one more round of drinks and then paid our check.

Our server, although pleasant, seemed a bit nervous, preoccupied even (maybe she was new to waiting tables). After taking our food and drinks orders, we hardly saw her. Two other servers delivered our food. She did return some time later to check on us and ask how the food was, which is when we told her about the chicken balls/croquets mix-up. She insisted we received the short rib croquettes which we knew was not the case. To make matters worse, as we were leaving we saw several daily specials posted on a menu board that were never presented to us.

We’re still on the fence about this place. We’d like to think we’ll give it one more shot and head back to the Tipsy Boar one of these days, but part of us thinks we may not – at least not until they get through the growing pains.

Fordham/Old Dominion Brewery Tour, Saturday, January 12, 2013

 

Fordham & Old Dominion Brewery

Fordham & Old Dominion Brewery

Next time you pop the cap off a bottle of craft beer, take a moment to reflect on what you’re about to enjoy. I don’t mean chant om or get “Deep Thoughts With Jack Handy” philosophical about it. Just pause for a moment and think of all the time and effort that went into creating that amazing quaff you have sitting majestically in front of you.

What types of grains and hops went into it? How long did it ferment? More importantly, who created this and where did it come from? Craft beer drinkers are curious creatures, by nature, so knowing what you’re drinking is very important. Of course, you can go on-line or read books to research any craft beer that interests you. It’s really amazing how much you can learn about a particular beer from start to finish. Or, if you’re lucky enough to live near a craft beer maker, you can take a brewery tour and see the process in person (and smell that tantalizing cooked cereal aroma that hits you when you walk inside). A long weekend visiting family in Dover, Delaware, provided us with this opportunity.

The Sparge

The Sparge

Having been to Dogfish previously, we decided to stay more local and take a tour of the Fordham and Old Dominion Brewing facility located on the outskirts of town. Fordham, located in Maryland, originated in 1703 (when England’s Queen Anne commissioned Benjamin Fordham to start a brewery in the port of Annapolis, Maryland) and re-born in 1995 in Annapolis. In 2003 the company decided to move their operations to tax-friendly Delaware. In 2007 Fordham bought out Virginia-based Old Dominion Brewing and has carved out a niche in the craft beer world, distributing their beers throughout the Northeast.

The brewery offers tours six days a week and beer tasting events every Saturday.  For just $5 you’re given a four-ounce tasting glass, five wooden tokens to redeem for beer samples in the tasting room, followed by a tour of the facility. At the end of the tour, you simply turn in your sampling glass and you’re rewarded with a free Fordham pint glass. Not bad for five bucks.

After sampling several beers, our tour guide, Lee (who resembles actor Zachary Levi, but shorter and with a beard), took the 25 or so of us through the inner workings of Fordham Brewing, showing us step by step, beginning to end, how beer is made. It’s fascinating to see the process take place. If you’re the ambitious type and have ever taken a stab at home brewing, then you’re familiar with the process: the mashing in of the grains, the primary and secondary boiling, the sparging, the fermentation and the bottling. It’s been said, “If you can make oatmeal you can make beer.” Now, take your kitchen-sized brewing operation (one- to five-gallon production, most commonly) and expand that by thousands of square feet; add in boiling tanks large enough to swim in; booster rocket-sized 50- and 100-barrel fermentation tanks, plus the requisite bottling, capping and packaging equipment – and you can see for yourself that’s a whole lot of oatmeal. The entire tour, from start to finish, took around 45 minutes. 

Touring a craft brewery like Fordham puts the whole beer-drinking thing into perspective. And I can honestly say you’ll never look at a bottle of beer quite the same.

Fordham-Old Dominion beers available on tap in the tasting room:

  • Helles Lager – 5.4% ABV,; Brewed with Pilsner, Carafoam, Vienna & Munich malts; Perle & Hallertau hops
  • Oak Barrel Aged Stout – 6.1% ABV; Willamette & Cascade Hops; Pairs well with oysters, clams, brie cheese & chocolate; Serve in a pint glass at 50-55ºF
  • Dominion Lager – 5.3% ABV; Pilsner, Munich & Caramunich malts; Pairs well with Fish, Pork & Poultry as well as Havarti, Swiss & Gouda cheeses; Serve in a pilsner or pint glass at 40-45ºF
  • Baltic Porter – 6.1% ABV; Willamette & Cascade Hops; Pairs well with oysters, clams, brie cheese & chocolate; Serve in a pint glass at 50-55ºF
  • Hop Mountain Pale Ale – 6.6% ABV; Nelson-Sauvin, Cascade & Columbus Hops; Pairs well with Pan Asian cuisine & Poultry; Serve in a dimple mug or pint glass at 50-55ºF
  • Rams Head IPA – 7.5% ABV; Hops: Bravo, Chinook and Motueka; Malts: Pale, Munich and Rye
  • Copperhead Ale – 5.2% ABV; Brewed with German Magnum, German select & German Tettnang hops combined with Caramunich malt.
  • Rosie Parks Oyster Stout – 6.8%  ABV; German Pilsner, Crystal & Dark Specialty malts; Pairs well with grilled meats, hearty stews & even chocolate; Serve in a mug, tulip glass or pint glass at 45-50ºF
  • Millenium Ale – 10.2% ABV; 2-Row Muntons Pale Malt & Hallertauer Mittelfrühfull hops; Pairs well with sharp cheeses and a variety of desserts; Serve in a snifter or pint glass at 50-55ºF

Our favorites were the Oak Barrel Stout and the Baltic Porter. Each boasts distinct coffee and chicory notes, plus hints of caramel and spice. One of Fordham’s small batch seasonal beers (and one of the most popular amongst local beer aficionados), the Scotch Ale, wasn’t available in the tasting room. Fortunately for us, the night before we enjoyed it on draft at a local eatery called Restaurant 55. Unfortunately, after two drafts the keg of delicious Scotch Ale kicked. Maybe next season.

The Rebel House, Boca Raton, FL 10/27/12

Rebel House Boca

Rebel House Boca Raton

How would you define the term, “New American Restaurant”? The Rebel House, in Boca Raton, bills itself as such, but this fun, funky place isn’t your typical eatery. We decided to check it out this particular Saturday hoping for an alternative to the more staid restaurants in the area.We called ahead and made reservations for 8:45. Our table wasn’t ready, so we decided to get drinks at the bar. The

Sweet Potato Skins

Sweet Potato Skins

Rebel House’s wine, beer and cocktail menu has something for every taste; eclectic beer selections, modestly priced wine by the bottle and glass – plus, their own spin on cocktails. Sitting at the bar we struck up a lively conversation with a gentleman who was obviously a regular at Rebel House. He told us the food was good and took an active interest in getting us sat at our table. After 25 minutes of waiting, one of the sympathetic bartenders ambled over to our area and bought us all a shot of Jameson whiskey, which was much appreciated.

Pork Belly Tater Tots

Pork Belly Tater Tots

The Rebel House’s vibe is casual and unpretentious. Our waiter brought us a bowl of their signature curry popcorn (delicious) to munch on as we decided on our food. After looking over the menu, we decided on the following:

Appetizers
Sweet potato skins – braised duck, ancho blackberry BBQ/Gorgonzola dolce.
Pork belly tater tots – with smoked tomato ketchup and spicy mayo.

Main courses
Pumpkin gnocchetti – with smoked duck sausage, crispy sage, and vanilla beurre noir.
“OG” recipe fried chicken – with cheddar cornmeal waffle, candied bacon syrup, watermelon relish.
Rebel Fried Rice – with bacon, corn, peas, carrots, crispy onions, sunny side up egg, spicy mayo.
Rib eye – with garlic beurre gascogne, fries.

Pumpkin Gnocchetti

Pumpkin Gnocchetti

All were thoroughly enjoyed. The pork belly tater tots, in particular, could make a meal, yet this appetizer only contained four. The steak was cooked to perfection (rare); the gnocchetti was a nice combination of smoky and slight spice; the table favorite fried chicken and waffle combo brought together sweet and salty in perfect tandem; and the fried rice exploded with flavor profiles – plus the fried egg was a fun touch.

All in all, The Rebel House is a great place to eat, drink and people watch. It is definitely Wanderlush worthy and a place we will go back to.

Note: Rebel House is operated by the same group as Charm City Burgers and El Jefe Luchador

Market 17 Farm Fresh Restaurant And Bar Saturday, July 14, 2012

 

Market 17

Market 17 Bread & Avotini

Market 17 Cheese Selection

Market 17 Cheese Selection

Fort Lauderdale’s fine dining scene is a mixed bag. Sure, over-priced eateries abound, and there is a smattering of good to excellent restaurants here and there, but not much that compares to Fort Lauderdale’s chic cousin, Miami.  However, there are gems to be discovered if you look hard enough.

Located at the site of the former Fish seafood restaurant, Market 17 takes a fresh approach to creating unique and delicious cuisine—literally. Dishes are prepared utilizing ingredients purchased both locally and nationally from purveyors who focus on sustainable sources.  Market 17 has been quietly nestled in this plaza near Port Everglades since fall of 2010.  We had heard good things about it but somehow never ended up there until this particular Saturday.

As we walked into the subdued entry it was apparent they knew how to set the tone for a unique dining experience.  We surveyed the crowded  dining room and decided to dine at the bar instead.  Our bartender immediately came over and was pleased to give us recommendations for our first drink order after we asked her about several of the crafted cocktail options.  We all enjoyed our choices immensely.  As we sipped our drinks, we chose a cheese plate to get things started.  Market 17 features daily cheese options and on the evening we were there the offerings were Midnight Moon, a California Firm aged goat cheese with a nutty, sweet caramel-like flavor;  Sunshine Blue, a Florida semi-soft cheese with a clean, subtle taste; and Bijou, a Vermont French-style ripened goat cheese.

After looking over the menu, we were having a hard time picking as most everything sounded amazing.  In the end we ended up each getting something different hoping everyone would share a bite or two.  Once dinner arrived we all became somewhat possesive of our food.  It was that good.  Smacking of hands and forks headed towards other plates would not be out of the question.  We ordered a second round of drinks and continued our gluttony.

What we ordered -

Drinks:

  • Avotini  – Crop cucumber vodka, avocado, pineapple, ginger, fresh lemon juice and agave nectar
  • M-17 – Makers Mark bourbon, Jack Daniel’s honey, muddled port marinated cherries, topped with ginger beer & orange peel
  • Chenin Blanc Chateau Monfort Vouvray France 2009
  • 3 Philosophers Belgian Ale
  • Dogfish 90 Minute IPA
  • Adelsheim Pinot Noir 2010 Williamette Valley, Oregon

Food:

  • Local Oyster Mushroom Tempura served with a Ponzu Sauce and a Sesame Aioli
  • Six-Minute Farm Egg, with venison sausage, brussels leaves, pickled onion and a bacon gastrique.
  • Grilled Boneless Pork Chop, Brown Butter Cornbread, Arugula, Sweet Corn Pudding, Carrot Apple Butter
  • Elk Loin, Charred Eggplant Puree, Pea Tendrils, broccoli, Quail Egg, Mushroom Demi-Glace

From the food, decor and the ecletic mix of music it was obvious to us that Market 17 was striving to reach beyond the norm, which is why we loved it.

Market 17
1850 SE 17th Street Ft. Lauderdale
954.835.5507

Savor: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience June 8-9, 2012

Savor Craft Brew Festival

Savor Craft Brew Festival

There’s a saying in government, that “All politics is local.” To independent brewers, all craft beer is local, or regional. What one part of the country enjoys drinking differs greatly from any other, for the most part, but all are craft beers and are a reflection of their communities. Unfortunately, sometimes beer aficionados never have an opportunity to sample great beers from parts unknown. So much beer, so little time…

So, when a governing body like the Brewers Association (based in Boulder, Colorado) holds a centrally-located beer and food event like the annual “Savor: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience” in Washington D.C., craft beer drinkers everywhere rejoice. And with good reason. Where else do you have an opportunity to sample 100 amazing beers from 50 of the nation’s most dynamic craft beer makers, along with tantalizingly good food – all in the confines of a magnificent structure like Washington D.C.’s National Building Museum? We first learned of the event from the short-lived Discovery Television show, “Brewmasters,” that followed the day-to-day trials of maverick beer maker Sam Caligione, owner of Dogfish Head Brewing in Milton, Delaware. Sam unveiled his Bitches Brew (a tribute to the Miles Davis jazz album) at Savor in 2010. We made a vow that if we ever had a chance to get tickets (this year’s event sold out in about five minutes) we would make it a point to go.

National Building Museum

National Building Museum

Through patience and diligence we scored tickets in that five-minute window of opportunity. We felt like Charlie grabbing the last Golden Ticket after opening the Wonka Bar. Heck, with luck like this I am fully convinced that we need to play the lotto—very soon.

Stone Vertical Epic Salon

Stone Vertical Epic Salon

Savor is a celebration, taste contest and marketing opportunity all wrapped up in one. With around 2000 guests, 50 craft beer makers and scores of media and other beer savvy types all in attendance, the atmosphere can seem a bit daunting. But before we fill our pint glasses, I’d like to talk about a special tasting event that took place prior to the doors opening at 7 p.m. Stone Brewing Company Co-founder Steve Wagner was kind enough to host a Stone Vertical Epic Series tasting event in one of the side rooms of the museum. Wagner talked briefly about Stone Beer and its history while offering generous sample pours of some of Stone’s vintage Vertical Epic beers, including the 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010. To our surprise, each of the beers has stood the test of time. This is due in part to the high alcohol content and bottling, which is something to keep in mind when purchasing limited edition beers that you may want to shelve and enjoy down the road. During the show we chatted with Steve’s wife Laura, who is not only friendly and accommodating, but also enjoys discussing craft beer as much as her husband. After the show she introduced us to Steve. Spending a few moments together talking beer and music, Steve is arguably one of the nicest, most down-to-earth people you could ever meet – and he knows a thing or two about beer.  To listen to any of the salons held during the 2012 Savor event go to CraftBeerRadio.com.

So, then it was on to the main event. Walking down the stairs to the main floor we stopped to get our bearings. Circumnavigating an event of this size takes planning and patience. There’s no way you can ever sample all beers available at each station (plus each food sampling), so the best strategy is to pick and choose among the most interesting beers and seek them out. Also, time is not on your side. The event runs from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., so making the best of those four hours is essential. We enjoyed a good cross section of beer, some good, some very good and some that fell flat in terms of taste and complexity. Every brewer whom we spoke to was very friendly and engaging, and was willing to spend a brief moment or two talking about their product (Sam Caligione, the rock star “mad scientist” of Dogfish Head, was there at the beginning of the event but left some time later in the evening). It should also be noted that each attendee was given a large bottle of Terra Incognita, a special collaboration beer brewed specifically for the event by Boulevard Brewing and Sierra Nevada Brewing. The following is a comprehensive list of the beers we tried. Again, you can’t do them all…so you do what you can:

Rogue Beer & Cheese Pairing Table

Rogue Beer & Cheese Pairing Table

Craft Beer Sampled:

  • B-Craft Black Double IPA    Arcadia Black IPA
  • Sky High Rye   Arcadia Rye Ale
  • Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale    Boulevard Brewing Co. Saison
  • Brooklyn BLAST!    Brooklyn Brewery Pale Ale
  • Bourbon Barrel Fuel    Capitol City Brewing Co. Stout
  • Kalevipoeg    Cigar City Brewing Baltic Porter
  • Barrel Aged Barley Wine Brewery    Coronado Brewing Company Barley Wine
  • Noble Rot Dogfish Head Brewing
  • Head Hunter IPA   Fat Heads Brewery IPA
  • Sorcerer    Fat Heads Brewery Belgian Style Ale
  • Curmudgeon Old Ale  Founders Brewing Company Strong/Old Ale
  • Black Mocha Stout    Highland Brewing Co. Stout
  • Razor Wit     Highland Brewing Co. Witbier
  • Bonnie Lee’s Best Bitter    Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery ESB
  • Kalifornia Kolsch     Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery  Kolsch
  • Double Wit Blackberry    Mother Earth Brewing Witbier
  • Belgo   New Belgium Brewing IPA
  • Tart Lychee   New Belgium Brewing  Wild Ale
  • Believer    Ninkasi Brewing Company Double Red Ale
  • Total Domination IPA    Ninkasi Brewing Company IPA
  • Dirtoir Black Lager    Rogue Ales & Spirits Black Lager
  • Chatoe Rogue Good Chit     Rogue Ales & Spirits Pilsner
  • American IPA     Schlafly IPA
  • 2IPA    Standing Stone Brewing Co.  IPA
  • Noble Stout    Standing Stone Brewing Co. Stout
  • Highway 78 Scotch Ale aged in Scotch Barrels     Stone Brewing Co. Scotch Ale
  • HOP Notch IPA    Uinta Brewing Company IPA
  • Labyrinth     Uinta Brewing Company Style : Black Ale
  • 50 Cat     Vintage 50 Brewery IPA
  • Yazoo Fortuitous      Yazoo Brewing Smoked Sour Ale
  • Yazoo Rye Saison      Yazoo Brewing Saison

It is quite an impressive list. You’d travel a long way and spend a long time trying them all, but we were fortunate to enjoy every last one of them in one evening. By the end of the night our palates could take no more of the onslaught. The beer and food took its toll, in a good way, so we wandered the floor one last time, looked around longingly at all the incredible beer just waiting to be sampled, hoping by some miracle we had room for just one more taste of this or a sample of that. But alas, all good things must come to an end. Savor is all that it’s billed up to be, and more. With any luck we’ll try to make it back here again.

Side note: We also experienced some of the local flavors of D.C. during the Thursday and Friday we were there. The following is a list of some of the beers we enjoyed at several restaurants in the city:

  • Graffiato (Thursday afternoon):  Pork Slap Farmhouse Ale paired with a Burrata and White House pizza
  • District of Pi Pizzeria (Schlafly Brewing Co. tap takeover, late Thursday afternoon): Pumkin Ale, Christmas Ale, Export IPA, Bier de Garde, Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout (our favorite of all the beers we tried that weekend.)
  • Church Key Restaurant (Thursday night):  Allgash Curieux, Backin’ Black IPA, Son Of A Pooch, 16 Mile IPA, Mirror Pond 30, Snack Attack, Jean Ribaut 20, Kujo Nitro, Wookey Jack, Flying Dog Cask Disobedience Abbey Dubbel, Exportation 21

Graffiato BurrataPi Schlafly Tap TakeoverThe Capital
 

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