October 31, 2019
Beer and Company
Fall is the perfect season for enjoying beer. We love both drinking it and making amazing recipes with beer as an ingredient. And, it seems all of this is meant to be shared with family, with good friends, with company. 

So, pull up a chair, and perhaps a cold one…and sit down and enjoy our latest newsletter that's all about beer. For starters, we have put together a list of our favorite things to munch on while drinking beer.
Virginia Diner Gourmet Salted Peanuts come in a keepsake tin from your favorite college. Or if you'r reaching for something both sweet and salty, try Beer Nuts brand peanuts. 

Snyder's of Hanover Olde Tyme Pretzels offer the original, hearth-baked taste and texture that have been loved since 1909. And, their Sourdough Hard Pretzels are individually rolled and twisted, then slow-baked to seal in the flavor of real sourdough. Both are perfect for snacking and entertaining. 

And if you looking for slightly less conventional snacking, try John Wm. Macy's Original Cheddar Cheesesticks and Melting Parmesan Cheesesticks. These hand-twisted and twice baked twists deliver the perfect crunch.
Dibrova Bratwurst Oktoberfest is true, German-style bratwurst that's made from coarsely ground beef and lean pork with garlic and black pepper. It's mild and flavorful and excellent on the grill or roasted in the oven.

To make our sausage presentation truly special, try Pretzilla Soft Pretzel Sausage Buns. Light and airy with a touch of sweetness, Pretzilla has a unique flavor profile. They are both fun and delicious.

And, we love serving Dibrova sausages with a choice of Löwensenf Mustards imported from Germany— Traditional Bavarian Style is both sweet and spicy or reach for the Extra Hot.

And, how about a serving of Sonoma Brinery Raw Sauerkraut? Their fresh sauerkraut is crisp & crunchy in texture, packed with fresh cabbage flavor & a mellow tartness. We carry the Traditional, Dill & Garlic, and Mild Smokey Chipotle varieties.
Bubbie's Kosher Dill Pickles balance an artistic blend of spices with the science of fermentation that gives these salt brine pickles their signature taste and crunch. And, sweet pickle lovers love the crunchy taste of  Bubbie's Bread & Butter Chip on just about everything. These snacking pickles are great with food and on their own, too. You can find Bubbie's in our fridge section. 

The malty, bubbly qualities of beer pair nicely with the rich, salty tang of cheese.  Hop on Top Cheese from Switzerland does something special, combining the creaminess of Alpen cheese with the robust, earthy flavors of the region's lager. And the cheese wheels are coated with dried and grown hop flowers--the unfiltered remains of the beer barrel. Delicious!
A Staff Favorite

Guinness Stout is rich, creamy, and distinctively dark. This is one beautiful beer. The contrast of the beer and head is striking. Sweet and bitter harmonize with a velvety finish. And, just as the unmistakable white head sits flush atop the dark beer, so do the flavors counter and combine perfectly.

Guinness is a traditional Irish stout beer made from roasted barley, hops, yeast, and water. The deep color and caramelized flavor that are characteristic of Guinness come from barley that has been roasted but not malted. The thick, creamy head that Guinness is well known for is achieved by mixing the beer with nitrogen, which creates smaller bubbles and thus a thicker head.

Arthur Guinness started brewing ales in 1759 at the St. James's Gate Brewery, Dublin. On 31 December 1759, he signed a 9,000-year lease at £45 per year for the brewery. Guinness is now one of the most successful beer brands worldwide, and the most often poured in Ireland.

From our blog, The Kitchen Table

Halloween is here and I am just not feeling the Halloween spirit. I’m thinking that it’s because our priorities are focused elsewhere this week. Maybe it’s because most of the Bay Area is worried about having power or, worse if their house is still standing. It’s probably more important to have candles to see at night versus candles to put in your pumpkin. I’m just sayin’.

It is kind of a bummer, though. I actually had plans to make fun treats and dress up like I usually do. But, I no longer have the will nor the energy. This past weekend wore me down mentally. At one point there was fire 4 miles to the south of me and fire 3 miles to the west of me with air tankers overhead. With those ridiculous winds, you just didn’t know where it was going to pop up next. It’s the unpredictability that drives you nuts. Thankfully, my home was not threatened but I got a tiny taste of what they are going through in Healdsburg and the surrounding areas. My heart goes out to everyone. I can’t even imagine the stress and heartbreak…

I may still try to make the Whoopie Pies that I had planned on because, you know, stress eating. Whoopie Pies, I have been told, are an East Coast thing. I love them—though I couldn’t tell you where I was the first time I tried one. The traditional version features a chocolatey cakey cookie that is filled with vanilla-flavored cream. Kinda like a giant, soft Oreo. The recipe I was planning to make for Halloween have pumpkin cakes with a cream cheese filling. Anything with cream cheese filling is a winner in my book. And, I have made these before and I know how good they taste.

Here’s hoping conditions improve and the fires can be put out quickly. In the meantime, if you have the will and you have the power, give these treats a go. I am fairly confident they will improve anyone’s mood.

News & Events

As All Hallow's Eve nears and the veil between the worlds grows thin, perhaps you might want to explore some nearby sites that are reputed to be haunted? Here is a short list of local ghostly places. So, get out your Ouija Board and get ready to talk with the beyond…boo! 

Claremont Hotel and Spa
In the late 1800s, this site contained a castle-like home, but in 1901 it burned to the ground. The Claremont Hotel opened in 1915, and to this day, folks say they can smell smoke in their smoke-free rooms. On the fourth floor, said to be the most haunted, witnesses report flickering lights and TVs that come on by themselves. The culprit is said to be the ghost of a little girl who died there at age 6, either in the hotel or in the fire. Her apparition has been glimpsed—her favorite room is Room 422.

A Cookbook Recommendation

by Lori Rice
Discover new ways to savor your favorite beer with 60 traditional and inventive recipes.

In the age of craft beer, the varieties seem endless. From floral IPAs to rich porters and stouts, and tart lambic ales to gluten-free options, there is a beer for every taste. Food on Tap is an accessible guide to using these delicious brews to add complex flavor and exciting twists to classic and new recipes such as:

  •   Sausage Crusted Helles and Kale Quiche
  •   Summer Saison Tomato Bisque
  •   Barleywine Beef Short Rib Stew
  •   Chocolate Pecan Coconut Porter Cake

Beautiful original photography will have your mouth watering, so pour a draft and get ready to cook with beer with 75 color photographs.

Lori Rice, author of Food on Tap, is a writer, photographer, and nutritional scientist. Winner of a 2019 IACP award for food writing, she has written for publications including Sift, Hobby Farms Magazine, Cidercraft, and Plate, and blogs at Fake Food Free. She lives in central California. 
From our blog, The Kitchen Table

A friend of mine is holding a beer pong tournament this weekend. In fact, this will be the 6th Annual tournament and my husband and I will be there. Our attendance is remarkable for two reasons: 1. At the age of 46, I don’t really feel the need to relive the days of my ill-spent youth (it hurts too much). And, 2. As a general rule, I don’t like to drink beer.

The first reason is easily overcome because it is a fun night hanging out with friends and raising money for charity. The people-watching entertainment alone is pure gold. The second reason my attendance is strange is much more problematic.

There have been only a few occasions where I have purposefully ordered a beer and was satisfied with my choice. The bucket of ice-cold beer with lime I enjoyed while lounging on the beaches of Mazatlán 20 years ago was beyond perfect, both in setting and in thirst-quenching achievement. The winner for best beer I ever tasted in my life was the pint of Guinness I drank after taking the tour of the brewery in Dublin, Ireland with a pint of that same brew that I had in Boston being a very close second. Both pints were smooth like liquid chocolate and both were the best remedy for a very blustery cold day.

I doubt very seriously that the beer being poured into keg cups this weekend will be of the same quality. I’m pretty sure it will be a mix of the cheaper fraternity party favorites in the beginning with the better stuff only coming out as the competition gets tighter. My husband, a beer lover, has vowed to take one for the team and drink the beer for me ‘cause he’s a giver like that.

In a preemptive strike, I am planning on making this chocolate stout cake to bring to the party to help take the bitter cheap beer taste from everyone’s mouth while still sticking to the theme…

From our blog, The Cocktail Post

There are a plethora of different types of beer on the market, and distinguishing between them can be confusing—especially considering all the hybrids being brewed today. As a generic term, beer includes all styles of fermented malt beverages. And this definition includes a vast array of different ways we brew and present beer.

But, there are a few basic distinctions that you can learn to sort through this vast array of flavors and styles. We will start by describing the difference between ales and lagers.

Ales are ancient brews that date back to antiquity. While, lagers are comparative newcomers, having only been around for several hundred years. The primary difference between the two happens during fermentation. Ales are fermented at a relatively warm temperature for shorter periods of time with top-fermenting yeasts. And, lagers ferment more slowly at lower temperatures with a yeast that sinks to the bottom of the beer. The yeast in ales has a higher tolerance for alcohol than the yeast used in lagers.

Every type of beer starts out as an ale or a lager, and their specific styles and flavors continue to expand from there.

Ale was a major source of nutrition in Europe during the Middle Ages when it was consumed in large quantities. As with most beers, ale typically has a bittering agent to balance the sweetness of the malt and act as a preservative. Contemporary ale is bittered with hops. Ale comes in a range of varieties from pale, to India Pale Ale (IPA), to brown.

Lagers are a good entry into beer for new drinkers. Lagers have less alcohol content and can taste light and a little malty. Lagers can be pale, amber, or dark. Pale lager is the most widely consumed and readily available style of beer.

News & Events

The Fruitvale Día de Los Muertos Annual Festival is a free, outdoor festival that brings over 80,000 people to this vibrant, culturally-rich neighborhood to enjoy world-class live music, family-friendly games, rides and activities, traditional Latin American artisans, and the stunning altar artistic installations created by community members paying homage to los Muertos.

The Día de los Muertos Festival was inducted into the U.S. Library of Congress by Congresswoman Barbara Lee as a “Local Legacy.”

The theme for this year is  Los Ausentes  (The Absent) paying respect to those who are no longer with us, whether they are loved ones who have passed away, or members of this very community who have been displaced due to deportation, gentrification, or incarceration. For every loved one who has passed into the afterlife… For every family member who is hopelessly waiting across an ocean or border fence… For every person missing someone behind bars… Join the community to pay tribute and celebrate  Los Ausentes .

A Staff Favorite

Our All-Time Favorite.
Stonewall Kitchen Farmhouse Pancake and Waffle Mix consistently makes exceptionally fluffy and fresh-tasting pancakes and waffles. We have loved it for years. Their secret ingredient of malted flour makes your pancakes light and creates a rich vanilla aroma.

We like them best made with buttermilk for the liquid ingredient, and we love them topped with fresh berries and maple syrup…or bananas and pecans.

Try some for a weekend breakfast!

From our blog, The Kitchen Table

Oktoberfest is wrapping up over in Munich, but for those of us here on the other side of the pond the party is just beginning. Given the number of 19th-century German immigrants who came to our country, you would think that we would have a better idea as to the proper time to partake in Oktoberfest but Americans, it seems, have decided that October is the time.

For the next month, you will easily be able to find any number of Oktoberfest celebrations and Beer Gardens that will quench any thirst for a good quality ale—as well as tasty fare to go along with it. For the beer aficionados out there, October can be a little like Christmas. For others who drink a beer once every two years or so, like myself, Oktoberfest isn’t that big of a deal. If we’re talking about cooking with beer, that’s a different story. If that’s the case, I’m all in…

Here’s the thing. I don’t like the way beer tastes when you drink it by the pint or from a bottle BUT I do like the way it smells. (I know. It’s weird.) This is why I like to use beer when I cook. It adds the flavor of the beer without making the recipe taste like beer. The best example of this is a recipe for  Beef Short Ribs Braised in Dark Beer with Bacon and Red Onion  that is a fall staple in my family. Of course, in my opinion, you can’t make decent fish and chips without using beer in your batter. Same goes for chili and let’s not forget that the only proper way to eat a Bratwurst is to boil it in beer first.

So for my Oktoberfest, I am going to search out all of the beer recipes I can find to test them out starting with this recipe for Oktoberfest Sausage Stew…it sounds like the perfect meal for a cool-weather dinner.

Beer Recipes From Our Archives
From our blog, The Kitchen Table

We don't often thing of beer as an ingredient in cooking. But, it adds a wonderful earthiness and depth of flavor that worth experimenting with. Try some of our recipes and see what you think.

This recipe couldn’t be more simple, and the resulting bread is tasty. It is also good the next morning as toast. And, if there happens to be anymore, it will make a great sandwich, too.

We used a Pale Ale, which definitely results in a stronger beer flavor. If you are looking for a milder taste, try using a lighter beer like a Corona or Budweiser—especially if you plan to add in some shredded cheddar or jalapeños. Crumbled bacon would be good, too…you could really get creative with this!
This is a classic bistro-style braised recipe that is great serve with mashed potatoes. It combines Guinness, red onions, and bacon. How can you go wrong with that? Don’t you just feel warm and comforted by the mere thought of that combo? We could die happy in a vat of this stuff.

This marinade is perfect for mid-week cooking. Mix the ingredients together the night before or in the morning before you go to work. Pour it in a Ziplock bag with the flank steak. Pull it out when you get home, throw it on the grill for a few minutes, and dinner is done! Pair that with your favorite tossed salad and some roasted baby potatoes and you have an awesome mid-week meal.

We have cooked many versions of this traditional Irish dish, and here is one of our favorites adapted from Irish Traditional Cooking by Darina Allen. Try it sometime and you’ll be glad you did!
It is not a surprise that most of the beer recipes in our archives are for adult beverages! Here are a few of our top picks.

The Mexican Michelada kicks up the flavor of a cold beer—it’s like a Bloody Mary, savory, spicy, and tart (and it is considered a hangover remedy).

What could be more refreshing than a beer cooler mixed with vodka and sparkling Italian lemonade? We are using Ballast Point Sculpin IPA because of the grapefruit overtones and muddling it with cucumber and basil for a refreshing, herbal flavor. This one just might become a favorite.
The Chabela Cortez is a fantastic drink featuring fresh tomatoes. And, it’s delicious for sipping early in the day, like for brunches and…tailgating. Chabela allows for virtually limitless garnish options, including lime, jalapeño pepper, celery and cherry tomatoes.

We were first introduced to “the dog” on vacation in Mexico week. Maybe it was the warm weather, or perhaps Mexico was just too much fun, but we took a chance and fell in love with the Bulldog. 

The sun may be shining, but these nights are getting cold! Begin your weekend with this warming spiked Hot Chocolate with Guinness, Whiskey, and Baileys. So, this recipe has a couple more steps, but they are well worth the effort.
From our blog, The Kitchen Table

Fall is here! You know how I know? I’ve already had two kids stay home from school sick. There is something about the transition from hot to cool that plays havoc with the immune system. Since our weather has been a bit non-committal with one week being chilly and the next week climbing back up to 90, it’s no wonder the two of them went down without much fight. And don’t get me started about flu season…

With the possibility of more colds to come, I bought a bunch of chickens and got to making stock. Perhaps it’s a myth, or an old wife’s tale, or even just plain witchcraft but something about chicken soup helps people recover from colds quicker. Really. I think they even did a study on it. Check Google.

While I love a good chicken noodle or, even better, a matzo ball soup, I almost always head in the direction of comfort food when I am not feeling well. My “older son” is the same way. (He’s a twin. He’s only older by a minute but to him, it’s an important minute.) Which is why I found myself making him some chicken and dumplings Saturday night to get some of the magical chicken qualities in him and to make him feel better. I like to tell myself it was just for him but I know better.

Anytime is a good time for chicken and dumplings and I haven’t made anything like this since last fall. I love chicken and dumplings but this is the same son who can finish an entire large pizza by himself and still want dessert so I made a big pot. It was marvelous but there were no leftovers. Sigh.

The good news is he was back in school the following Monday. Whether that was because of the soup or sheer boredom from being at home remains a mystery. I choose to believe it was the chicken stock. The recipe is below if you would like to try your own experiment….

Vendor of the Month

October's Vendor of the Month is Sierra Nevada Brewing Company because they consistently brew great beer.

This family-owned and operated craft brewery produces a great lineup of year-round beers, many of which we carry in our store including Sierra Nevada Indian Pale Ale, Torpedo Extra IPA, Kellereweis Bavarian-Style Wheat, Porter, Old Chico Chrystal Wheat, and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

And this month, we are especially featuring their Oktoberfest, the perfect beer for this time of year. In fact, Men's Journal called it, "The world's best Oktoberfest." Sierra Nevada teamed up with Germany’s Bitburger Brewery to craft a drinkable Oktoberfest that turns backyards into beer gardens. Oktoberfest's rich amber color and smooth malty flavor bring the flavor of Munich to Northern California.

In 1980, Ken Grossman built a small brewery in the city of Chico, California. His goal was to brew exceptional ales and lagers. Today, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is considered a premier craft brewery in the United States. And the beer? Critics proclaim it “among the best brewed anywhere in the world.” And, they keep pushing boundaries, whether that’s in the brewhouse or with sustainability.

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Visit our recipe blog to learn what Amy, our VP and resident foodie, is cooking up in her home kitchen.