Curling Up with Ithaca’s Cold Front 

Ithaca Cold Front
When people ask me where I’m from, I tend to be a smartass and say “the entire East Coast.” It’s not completely hyperbolic, seeing that I’ve lived in 5 different states up and down the coast. But while I might proudly call the Philly metro area my home, there will always be a special place in my heart for Upstate NY.

And in Upstate there’s a fantastic city called Ithaca, bordering the beautiful Finger Lakes Wine Region. Ithaca has a green reputation, Cornell University (Go Big Red!), and a steadily growing brewery: Ithaca Beer Co., nicknamed “The Spirit of the Finger Lakes.” And it’s “gorges” … yes, that’s an inside joke. Look it up.

I know my Uncle Larry—Cornell alum and Ithaca native for at least 30+ years (probably more)—favors Ithaca’s Nut Brown Ale; a lot of folks in NY do. For me though, I have to hand it to Ithaca’s seasonal offerings and its Excelsior! series. The other day, while perusing the cold case at my local Wegmans (yet another jewel of Upstate NY), I heard a six-pack of Ithaca’s Cold Front, a Belgian Amber Ale, calling my name.

According to Ithaca’s website:

Cold Front is our Belgian-style Amber Ale brewed in autumn to keep us inspired as the days grow shorter and the nights colder. It’s brewed with European Malts and hops and fermented with a legendary Belgian ‘Farmhouse’ yeast.

Cold Front stands at 7.2% ABV, technically outside the prescribed limits of a “session beer,” but it’s extremely drinkable as a pint or two. The beer pours a deep amber brown with a fluffy white head. A spicy, Belgian yeast aroma erupted from the glass as I poured—I knew this would be good.

Taking a whiff, the nose is chock-full of spice. Taking my first sip, I’m greeted with a deep caramely sweetness with just the hint of dark stone fruit. Cold Front finishes slightly dry, demanding the drinker to take sip after sip.

What I find particularly clever is that Ithaca’s spring seasonal is called Ground Break. It’s a hoppy American Saison that celebrates spring and the waning of winter. As someone who spent five winters in NY, I can appreciate the care Ithaca’s brewers take to remind us that there are good (and warmer!) things around the bend.




Raise a Pint to National Lager Day 

LagerDec. 10 marks National Lager Day, a day when every good beer-drinking citizen should lift a pint of their favorite lager in celebration.

In the Philadelphia area, most people belly up to the bar and order “the lager” as in “Barkeep, good sir, I’ll have ‘the lager.’” What they mean is “I’ll have a Yeungling Traditional Lager.”

Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, but there is so much more out there in the world of lagers! Explore! But first, a little background: Lagering is a process of cold fermenting (usually between 35-40 degrees, give or take) the beer with lager yeast, which are bottom fermenters. The cold aging process produces a beer clear of haze and crisp in flavor. Lagers range from light in color (Standard American Lager, Munich Helles) to amber (Vienna Lager, Oktoberfest) to dark (Dunkel, Schwarzbier).

Some lagers to try:
Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel
Bell’s Consecrator
Dixie Blackened Voodoo
Dock Street’s Royal Bohemian Pilsner
Heavy Seas Marzen
Iron Hill’s Vienna Lager—which Iron Hill Maple Shade took Gold medal at GABF this year for their Vienna Lager!
Riverhorse Lager
Sly Fox Oktoberfest
Stoudt’s Gold
Stoudt’s Pils
Victory’s Festbier
Victory’s Prima Pils

What’s your favorite lager?

Fun fact: Lager yeast emerged in the Holy Roman Empire due to a spontaneous mutation or hybridization effect. As a new variety of beer, it often had to be produced outside city walls because it faced opposition from the Catholic Church. — MyPunchbowl.com




Review: Unibroue’s Quelque Chose 

Unibroue Quelque ChoseI amused Ray by translating the French on the Unibroue bottle, “It means ‘something.’”

“That’s it?” he said.


“Huh. The French.”

You don’t need four years of studying la belle langue français to understand that Quebec’s Unibroue has a little somethin’ somethin’ up its sleeves with Quelque Chose. Described as a 50% dark ale, 50% brown ale brewed with cherries, this sweet-and-sour beer stands at 8% ABV. But you don’t notice it (trust me).

Quelque Chose pours a beautiful ruby red with no head, and according to the bottle, the beer has “very little carbonation.” The cherry notes are strong and lovely, but there are also some hints of caramel and plum, which add to the depth of its flavor.

Sharing a goblet of the cherry-drenched libation with Ray, he proclaimed, “This is a ‘start your girlfriend’ beer!” I agreed—for someone who might not know where to start with craft beer, Quelque Chose would be a good choice, but only if the drinker understood that this is a slightly sour beer. I think once that’s out in the open, a new-to-craft-beer gal could really get behind Quelque Chose.

For food pairings, Quelque Chose would be smashing with duck (you could even make a reduction of it to serve over top) or any other red meat, as well as a mild bleu, maybe even a creamy cheddar—the slightly sharp sourness could cut through the fat well.

While this isn’t the kind of beer you’d pair with dessert, it certainly can be used to make dessert. Check out the recipe for the Quelque Chose Raspberry Tart or Quelque Chose Crepes.

On Beer Advocate, Unibroue’s Quelque Chose has a rating of B+, but I argue it’s a solid A. This is most definitely a bottle I would pick up again.




Victory to Debut Otto in October 

Victory Brewing Co., based in Downingtown PA is a power house of a brewery. I seriously wish we lived closer so we could mull about in the mammoth brewery and restaurant and sip pints on Friday nights. But for now we have to admire from across the water.

And here’s a new reason to envy all the other PA folks who live close enough to the brewery: On Oct. 15, Victory will debut a new beer called Otto, a Belgian-style, bottle conditioned dubbel ale available in 750 ml corked bottles.

This won’t be just any dubbel—which are pretty fantastic in their own right. Otto is brewed with smoked Munich and Belgian caramel malt, German hops and Trappist yeast. The ABV will ring in at 8.1%. Yum.

According to the press release I received, co-founders Bill and Ron developed the recipe for the smoked malt dubbel based on their experience with the style during a 1987 trip to Bamberg, Germany (Note: I was 5 in 1987). The combination of the traditional smokey flavor of a rauch beer married to the Belgian caramel malt will give the beer “a perfectly harmonized final flavor,” according to Victory’s founders.

“The complimentary flavors of smoked malt and Belgian yeast seemed like an obvious combination,” said Bill. “As far as we know, no one has bothered to put them together until now.”




Appalachian Brewing Co.’s Excellent Beers and Service 

Appalachian Brewing Co.To kick off the recent Memorial Day weekend, and our roadtrip out to Ohio for two of my cousins’ graduation parties, I planned for Ray and me to have dinner and beers at Appalachian Brewing Co.’s Harrisburg location. Ray picked me up from my office that Thursday evening and we headed west … right into a horrific storm.

Luckily for us, the storm didn’t kick in until we reached the Harrisburg area, but it was awful. Visibility was nil, winds buffeted the car, and the finishing touch was the hail. We made it to the motel, only to find out they were without power, so we trekked into Harrisburg. The brewery would have power, right?

Technically ABC did have power, but the storm had knocked out the POS system, so servers had to go back to each table, retake orders and get them into the kitchen. The manager explained that they weren’t serving anymore and our faces fell. It was 8:00 pm, we didn’t know the area, and we had salivated over the menu on the way there.

I mentioned that we had driven all the way from Philly, just to visit the brewery and restaurant on our way out west. The manager paused for a moment and said, “Let me see what I can do.” After waiting a bit, he came back, got us seated and ran back into the fray of the busy dining room. Twenty minutes later he swung by our table, dismayed that no one had waited on us. “Let me get your drink order … first round is on me!” he told us. Our new friend’s name was Jeremy and he would spend the next hour giving us some of the best customer service I’ve ever received.

We both ordered the IPA on cask and were rewarded for our wait. Crisp, yet creamy, it was exactly what we needed. Jeremy came back around, took our food orders and in seemingly no time at all I had a cup of cheddar ale soup in front of me. It was rich and flavorful and I should have ordered a bowl or two. Definitely a dish I want to replicate at home.

Ray ordered a beast of a meatloaf, seated on Texas toast, topped with mashed potatoes and gravy and sprinkled with fried onions. My grilled cheese with tomatoes looked positively puny next to it, but it’s exactly what I wanted to eat.

We finished out the night with a second round, Susquehanna Stout for me — so rich and chocolatey — while Ray enjoyed the Anniversary Maibock, which had a lovely honey finish.

We chatted with Jeremy some more, thanked him for getting us a table and taking care of us, and selected a 4-pack of ginger beer and a 6-pack of white birch beer for the road (both of which are delicious). We’ll definitely have to go back to visit and sample more of Appalachian Brewing’s beers, but even though the brewery opened a new location, I feel like we’d need to go back out to the Harrisburg location to show our loyalty to excellent service.




The Trinity of Saison du Buff 

Saison du Buff writeupBefore you even read this post, do yourself a favor and watch this video put together by Stone Brewing Co. about the collaboration between Greg (Stone), Sam (Dogfish Head) and Bill (Victory) to create Saison du BUFF.

I LOVE these guys and what they (and many other brewers) are doing for craft beer. They’re showing the Big 3, as well as many other corporations in the U.S., that collaboration is a good thing. Are they still each others competition? Of course. But they’re also each others allies, and together, through collaboration, they make the beer scene a better place for all of us craft beer drinkers.

Saison du BUFF (Brewers United for Freedom of Flavor) was brewed with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme 3 times: once at Stone (released in May 2010), at Victory (released in August 2010) and Dogfish Head (also released in August 2010). Each brewery’s take on the beer has its own unique bottle label, done in the style of that brewery.

I sampled the brews from Dogfish Head and Stone back in September of 2010 and wrote about them for the Ladies of Craft Beer website. I had a tough time getting the third bottle—from Stone—until a wonderful benefactor came through and sent me a bottle (and no, it wasn’t Stone).

So, here’s my take on all three of the SDBs:

Dogfish Head Brewery
Dogfish Head Saison du BuffPoured into a snifter, the beer pours a bright golden hue with a light, fluffy head. The aroma is very typical of the Saison style—spicy with hints of citrus. But giving it a few more sniffs, I could pick up some really wonderful herbal notes. There wasn’t one herb that stuck out more than another, but the fragrance was lovely and balanced.

Upon first sip, I got a lot of carbonation bite, most likely because the beer was too cold. I let it come up in temperature before trying it again, which is what you want to do with any overly-chilled beer (your tongue won’t pick up on the myriad flavors a beer has if its too cold). After 10-15 minutes, I was rewarded with a flavor that matched its aroma to a T—nice and dry, spice and herbal notes, with hints of citrus.

Victory Brewing Co.
Victory Sasison du BUFFLike DFH’s version, Victory’s SDB pours a pale gold with a thin, white head that dissipates fairly quick. The spice is very evident in the nose and a lot of the herbal notes of rosemary, sage and thyme come out—with rosemary taking the forefront. When giving the glass a few swirls to kick up aroma, a bit of barnyard funk comes out, which is a nice touch amidst the herbs and spice.

Ray noticed a light, fruity sweetness to the beer, something he associates with farmhouse ales. He also found the rosemary complimented the citrus in the beer. I had a difficult time recognizing the traditional saison attributes, unlike my first sampling of Dogfish’s SDB. When I looked up Victory’s version, I came across a review that claimed it was “more Prima Pils than saison.” While I agree that this beer is more of another style than a saison, I don’t agree with likening it to a base of Prima Pils. It’s just something … else. And that’s not a bad thing.

If I were to pair this beer with food, I would go for a nice whitefish, like haddock, topped with a not-too-spicy salsa with plenty of cilantro. Ray pointed out that the cilantro would go well with the bright bitterness of the herbs and hops. He also suggested pairing SDB with grilled veggies tossed in a light lemon vinaigrette. Even some bread and the right cheese would go well.

Stone Brewing Co.
Stone Brewing Co. Saison du BuffLike DFH and Victory’s, Stone’s take on Saison du BUFF poured golden and clear into my geektastic pint glass. A little different from the other two beers was the massive, fluffy, aromatic head. The nose is full of rosemary, and even after letting this bottle get jostled about in my cabinets for nearly six months, it tastes of sweet freshness—almost as if we just picked it up from the Escondido-based brewery. It’s citrusy and herbal, and just the right beer to welcome in the warm weather and spring.

Stone’s version of Saison du BUFF actually reminds me a little of our Ginpel, due to the aromatic rosemary nose. I’m imagining Stone’s offering—as well as the other two—would be excellent to cook with. Perhaps a braised pork roast with roasted veggies?




When Tröegs Java Head Crawls into Your Chocolate 

Two Sundays ago I decided to go all out in the kitchen, and one result was my Chocolate Java Head Stout Truffles. I love their richness and how they melt in your mouth. My fellow BeerCampPhilly folks also enjoyed them, along with some others from IndyHall. That’s how chocolate should be.

Chocolate Java Head Stout Truffles

Truffles Ingredients
8 oz chocolate (I used a blend of semi-sweet, bittersweet and unsweetened, only because that’s what I had available)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup stout syrup

Stout Syrup Ingredients
1/2 cup Tröegs Java Head stout
1/4 cup sugar (I used my homemade vanilla bean sugar*)

Put the chocolate in a heat-save bowl and set aside.

Over medium high-heat, stir together sugar and beer for the syrup. Stir regularly to keep mixture from burning and reduce until the syrup slowly drips off the spoon. This will yield about 1/4 cup.

Once the syrup is made, heat the cream in a pot over medium-high heat until it comes to a simmer. Stir occasionally. Add the stout syrup a few tablespoons at a time, stirring to incorporate.

Once all the syrup is mixed into the cream (you can use less if you’d like), pour the hot mixture over the chocolate. If you have a lid for the bowl, put it on and let the chocolate and cream sit for 3-5 minutes, undisturbed. Then mix together.

If you have some unmelted chocolate lumps, microwave the mixture in 15-20 second bursts, stirring well after each time.

Refrigerate mixture for 2 hours. Once fully chilled, scoop out truffles with a melonballer, firming up the shape in your hands. However, I was having no luck with this method and spent more time with chocolate on my hands. I googled “truffle shaping tips” and came across this gem from Chowhound, in which you line a container with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. For me, this was less messy and headache inducing. However, when I went to cut the truffles into squares, the chocolate began fracturing where it wanted. Thus, my truffles look like thick, dark chocolate bark, but let’s see who complains.
(Inspired by Sweet Fiend at Endless Simmer, with the basic truffle-making directions adapted from Simply Recipes.)

*The vanilla bean sugar is super easy to make. I followed the directions from A Year from Scratch, but than took it a step further. I used the leftover vanilla bean pod from when I made a vanilla bean finishing salt. I followed AYFS’ directions (so easy) and basically forgot about the sugar for 5 days. Once I remembered, I pulled the slightly mummified vanilla bean pods out of the sugar and finely ground them in my spice grinder. Then I added my sugar (it was about 1/3 cup or a little more) into the grinder to incorporate. The mixture is fragrant and can be used in a variety of applications.




Wood’ja at Nodding Head 

Ray drinking 2-Year Cask Aged Wee Heavier at Nodding Head for the Wood'ja event

Ray drinking 2-Year Cask Aged Wee Heavier at Nodding Head for the Wood'ja event.

On Saturday, Feb. 12 Ray and I decided to combine our annual Anti V-Day dinner (which is always at Nodding Head) and the brewpub’s Barrel-Aged Beers event, Wood’ja.

This was not your typical bourbon barrel event; instead, these were beers that rocked out in some funky barrels, providing attendees with something sour to think about. Nodding Head featured 3 sours and had 2 special guest beers on tap:

• Cask Two-Year-Old Wee Heavier (9.5% ABV): Strong, Scottish-style ale that has been aged in a wooden cask that once held Calvados brandy, and more recently JW Lees Harvest Ale. This ale is very dark in color, and full-bodied with a roasty character and sweet malt flavors. The menu also read “Crazy sour … not for the faint at heart.”

• Pho-Tay (7% ABV): NH’s O-Tay aged in the Phunk Barrel. This beer started  as a golden ale brewed with 84 pounds of organic buckwheat and Belgian yeast, giving it a unique spicy character. After barrel-aging, it picked up oak and brett characteristics.

• Saison De La Tete (6% ABV):A blend of a young saison, and a sour barrel aged, low alcohol, hoppy pale ale. The flavors from the brettanomyceys and oak add some punch to the slightly funky saison character.

Special Guests
• Russian River Consecration (10% ABV): A Belgian-style Dark Strong Ale aged in American oak Cabernet Sauvignon barrels. Kicking up the funk Russian River uses Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus, and adds currants to the beer while it barrel-ages. This beer was served still (though the menu did not point this out, and it should have).

• Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Grand Cru (9.2% ABV): A blend of barrel-aged Bigfoot, Celebration and Pale Ale.

Ray had the Wee Heavier and Pho-Tay, while I ordered the Consecration and Saison de la Tete. I wish Nodding Head had let attendees know that the beer  would be served still, because it was a major shock to my senses. I didn’t quite care for it (I picked up notes of nail polish remover mid-way through), but Ray liked it. Ray also has a better tolerance for high alcohol beverages, whereas my senses get shocked severely.

I found the Wee Heavier to be very interesting, and the Saison de la Tete was very balanced and refreshing. Pho-Tay surprised both of us; I had ordered O-Tay a week ago and hadn’t really cared for the finish, but Pho-Tay hit everything right on the nail.

For the Anti V-Day portion of our night, Ray ordered the Duck BLT with boursin and cranberry ail, while I had the mussels specical, which was served in a coconut curry broth. It was delicious. Ray tried his first mussel (didn’t like it), but agreed that the broth was top-notch. He ordered a cask conditioned Goldihops (very hoppy light bodied golden ale (4.75% ABV) with tons of hop flavor and aroma without high alcohol or bitterness), while I had the Belgian Chocolate Stout. The stout was excellent, but I think Flying Fish’s Exit 13 Belgian Chocolate Stout still takes the cake for me. Mmmmm chocolate!




Belgium Comes to West Chester 

Ryan, Mel and Bob at Belgium Comes to West Chester

Amy told us to look like serious Beer Geeks. This is what we managed.

7:00 AM on Saturday found me curled up in my guest room bed, watching a streaming movie on Netflix. Then my phone began to buzz. Less than 6 hours later, I found myself at Iron Hill West Chester with Ryan, LeeAnne and her dad for lunch and Belgium Comes to West Chester.

There were 22 Belgian beers available to sample or order full glasses; for samples, you could pay $2 per 4 oz pour, or you could order a flight. We made the decision to order flights 1 & 2 (listed below).

1. Iron Hill Maple Shade, NJ: Flemish Red Ale
2. Iron Hill North Wales, PA: Sour Dubbel
3. Iron Hill Media, PA: Wee Funky
4. Iron Hill West Chester, PA: Saison
5. Iron Hill Wilmington, DE: Quadrupel
6. Sly Fox Brewing, Royersford, PA: Ichor
7. New Holland Brewing, New Holland, MI: Black Tulip Tripel
8. Stewart’s Brewing Co., Bear, DE: Stumblin’ Monk
9. Troeg’s Brewing Co., Harrisburg, PA: Scratch 34
10. Devil’s Backbone Brewing Co., Roseland, VA: Dark Abby
11. Yards Brewing Co., Philadelphia, PA: Trubbel de Yards
12. Stoudt’s Brewing Co., Adamstown, PA: Tripel
13. Nodding Head, Philadelphia, PA: Rudy’s Kung Fu Grip
14. Flying Fish Brewing Co., Cherry Hill, NJ: Exit 4 Hoppy Tripel

I’ve had the beers from Flying Fish, Nodding Head and Stoudts and was pleased to see them again. I was absolutely blown away by Iron Hill Wilmington’s Quad. Typically, I find quads to be too strong for me, but this beer somehow hid its 11.8% ABV. I enjoyed the chocolate meets caramel maltiness as well as the dark stone fruit notes. I could have ordered a full glass, it was so delicious.

The table favorite was New Holland’s Black Tulip Tripel. BTT was smooth with hints of clove and esters. The program listed Michigan beet sugar as an ingredient, which I found interesting.

Prior to BC•WC, I hadn’t heard of Devil’s Backbone Brewing; I found their Dark Abby to be a party of plums and bananas, and quite good. They list Appalachian sorghum syrup as an ingredient for “extra sexiness.” The beer is also fermented with 2 Belgian yeast strains and finished with red wine yeast for dryness. Very interesting.

As for the beers we missed, they were:

Victory Brewing Co., Downington, PA: Golden Monkey
Cambridge Brewing Co., Cambridge MA: Tripel Threat
Dogfish Head, Rehoboth, DE: Red & White
Ithaca Beer Co., Ithaca, NY: Brute
Harpoon Brewing Co., Boston, MA: Frites & Geeks
Brooklyn Brewing Co., Brooklyn, NY: Sorachi Ace Saison
Brooklyn Brewing Co., Brooklyn, NY: Local One
Manayunk Brewing Co., Philadelphia, PA: Yunker’s Nocturnum

I’ve had the offerings from Victory, DFH and Ithaca (Gold Medal Baby!), but would have liked to have sampled Tripel Threat from Cambridge (they blew me away at GABF) and Frites & Geeks from Harpoon.

Iron Hill West Chester's Gerardus Maximus

Iron Hill West Chester's Gerardus Maximus

To draw the afternoon to a close, I ordered one of West Chester’s specials, Gerardus Maximus, a bold hoppy red ale that danced along the lines of imperial in regard to ABV. I found it refreshing and a nice way to cut through the sweetness of the Belgian samplers.

The lovely Amy Strauss also ran around and snagged so many excellent photos for West Chester Dish. Check them out!

P.S. Do you know how many times I typed “Wester Chester” while writing this post? A lot.




Homebrewing 2010 — A Year in Retrospect 

Ray and Mel at GABF

Ray and Mel at GABF 2010

Another year winds down, but instead of wondering where the year went, I’m glad to see 2010 scoot its butt out the door. I’m ready to welcome 2011 and all it has to offer.

2010 was a quieter year for our homebrewing. Our wedding was in November 2009, so we took time off from brewing for that. Surprisingly, we only brewed twice in 2010: the Extra Fancy Brown Ale (which we have yet to review) and the  Bee Sting Ale, one of our favorite recipes from 2009. We also had friends over for a brew day, so they could experience what goes into making our favorite fermented beverage. We had an awesome time, and once we got the Bee Sting into the bottle and carbonated (yes, it took us 3.5 months to get the damn thing bottled), we knew we had a winner on our hands.

So why did we homebrew less? There were a number of factors.

I’m also a firm believer in not forcing myself to do something when I’m not feeling up to it. And in the earlier part of the year, I just wasn’t feeling like homebrewing and writing about it. But the spring arrived, we brewed the brown ale, then summer came, we brewed the Bee Sting, and as Ray got more and more involved with his first game, he had less time. So, it was up to me to take the reins of Bathtub Brewery, and I think it’s worked well.

Ray’s still here. He does all the tastings with me and sometimes even pops in with a video. And that works. We’re still a homebrewing team — I just do the writing now.

On top of that, I joined the Ladies of Craft Beer as a contributor, offering reviews of craft beer, homebrewing advice, cooking/baking with beer recipes and an occasional opinion piece now and then. It feels good to be part of a community of women teaching other women about craft beer.

Though 2010 may have been a quiet year for our homebrewing, it was anything but quiet in regard to the beer festivals we attended. We kicked the year off with the High Street Grill Winterfest, which was unfortunately crowded, cold and too short. But our friends Ryan and LeeAnne came with us and we had fun nonetheless.

In May, we made it back to one of our favorite fests, the The Brandywine Valley’s Craft Brewers Festival at Iron Hill in Media. The fest was great as always, and Ray even managed to get video of me snagging a sample of one of the two rare beers Iron Hill Media poured into the frenzied crowd (for the record, I managed to snag samples of both).

In June, we attended SAVOR with Ryan in tow. The beers were excellent, the food was meh, and now we have to decide if the festival is worth its $95 ticket price for 2011.

July saw us stumbling into the Royal Stumble with Ryan, LeeAnne and a whole horde of revelers. As always, the Stumble was excellent, and topped off by a few roller derby bouts.

In August, we sent a bottle of our Barleywine with the Dish Trip crew to have it delivered to Charlie at Harpoon Brewery in Boston. Apparently he liked it, a lot.

September was our busy month. Before leaving for Denver, I represented Sly Fox at Geraghty’s Fall Beer and Food Fest, seeing first hand what it was like to be behind the table at a fest. Then we hopped on a plane and did a crapload of amazing things in Denver, including attending our first GABF. Wow wow wow!

Earlier this month, Ray and I attended a Philly Food Bloggers Potluck, where we chatted with Amanda Hesser about homebewing, served her, Dave from Victory Beer and some of the guests our beer. To say our homebrews were well-received is an understatement.

Huh. Looking at this mammoth post, I guess you could say that we didn’t have that quiet of a year. We may have scaled back on our brewing, but we were out in full force participating in the craft beer community.

As for 2011, we already have a Dubbel on the docket — now we just need to write the recipe. We may never get back to brewing monthly, but I think we will get back to brewing when the creativity strikes. That’s not a bad thing.

Happy New Year!