For this edition of RWW, I have two observations: A grill isn't just for grilling, especially on Thai night
And, I love grilled garlic.
That is all.
Saturday marked the culmination of Dayton Beer Week with the annual craft beer event, AleFest.
Nestled within the grounds of the historic Carillon Park, AleFest shared space with an old time baseball game, the original 1905 Wright Flyer III, and throngs of beer lovers.
In fact, when we pulled up just past opening time, the lines to get in weren't just long, they were staggering. Thankfully, things moved quick and I can about guarantee that when everyone left at the fest's conclusion three hours later, the opening lines were a distant memory.
As we made our way through the opening gates, we were handed our tasting glass and tickets. We were off.
Drew arrived before us. He had a plan and by the time we had rolled through, he had already hit the highlights and cheerfully passed on his reconnaissance. The rest of us were less prepared and although armed with a map, opted for the leisurely random stroll.
Although AleFest was packed, and at times difficult to navigate, everything moved smooth. As history has proven before, our first actual taste is usually a big miss. One year we inadvertently stumbled into the Pabst Blue Ribbon line. What a way to start. This year it was worse: Peroni. What are the odds?
Even with a rickety start, things picked up fast. Outside the huge and varied amount of beer, there was a lot of cask this year, too.
Anytime I see a tapped firkin, it's a moment of joy. When I received my pour of Heavy Seas Loose Canon American Hop3 IPA, I could smell the hops before I even had the glass in my hand. That's a fresh beer.
We visited with New Holland, Troegs,
and Sam Adams, as well as several, several others.
Gary equated a trip into the tasting lines like a bombing run. How much fun was he having?
Yeah, "that much".
As we worked our way through the grounds, we happily ran into Maureen & Brian from the Fifth Street Brewpub. Ohio, and especially Dayton, is undergoing a beer renaissance. In just the last year, at least four brewpubs have either opened, or slated for opening, in the coming months. The Fifth Street Brewpub is one of them. However, unlike the rest, the Fifth Street Brewpub is a cooperative. It's the first in Ohio and as of yesterday, we are all now "owners".
Initially hoping for 300 charter members by the end of July, here it is in late August and they are already over 800.
It's not everyday you can buy an interest in a brewpub for $100. The idea is novel, contagious, and very exciting. The membership drive is still open, so if you want in on a pretty amazing adventure, check out their website and sign up. You will be in great beer loving company.
We had an absolute fabulous afternoon, even though it was unbelievably hot. I found sweat in places I didn't know existed.
The grounds of Carillon make a convenient and wonderful destination. Not only do these memorial grounds mark Dayton's rich innovative and engineering history, they set the stage for the legacy of beer in the Miami Valley. Plans are in the work for a $2 million historic brewery on this very site.
One last thing. What would be a group shot without a photo bomb? Well, ask the guy on the left.
Thankfully, he was nice enough to get our requisite group shot in and for that, we are appreciative.
Dayton Beer Week has been amazing. We now look forward to doing it all again in 2013.
When someone says, "it's magic!", I don't envision coins pulled out of an ear or a lovely lady cut in half. No, when I hear those special words, I think of one thing: a bone-in filet.
Now, I know you are saying to yourself, "how exactly is that magical?". After all, it's a piece of meat...with a bone attached to it. OK, I will give you the observation, but allow me to repeat myself: a bone-in filet. When I get excited about bone-in meats, I'm not talking about t-bones, porterhouses, rib eyes or strips, I'm not talking about the unicorn of bone-in cuts, the mystical, magical, filet.
A bone-in filet is actually a porterhouse steak cut in half. Part of the cut becomes the bone-in filet and the other half becomes a bone-in strip steak. Above, the bone-in filet is on the right and a "regular - lesser" filet is on the left.
Personally, I make a big deal out of bone-in filets because I almost never encounter them. Except, of course, when I stumble into my favorite neighborhood, wine, beer & fine meat store, Jerardi's. Owned and operated by the rocking blues man himself, Eric Jerardi, I thank my lucky stars he has such a passion for fine fish and meat. One day a week Eric gets in a supply of the some of the finest meat and fish available in the Dayton area: dry aged, prime, and awesome.
So, as I perused the weekly selection, there it was, the unicorn: the bone-in filet.
Bone-in Filet (and "lesser filet") with Bacon, Whiskey, Peppercorn Sauce
From Another Pint Please
2 beef filets (with or without the bone)
salt & pepper
1 slice of bacon, chopped.
1 Tbls olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 Tbls peppercorns, crushed
1/4 cup of whiskey
3 Tbls butter
3/4 cup of heavy cream
For cuts this big, I recommend a reverse sear. Yes, you could char the hell out of it with direct heat, but to get that uniform medium rare center, the reverse sear works really well. The bone-in filet pictured is over a pound in weight. That's a big fat piece of meat.
Prep the grill for indirect medium heat. Remove the meat from the refrigerator at least thirty minutes prior to grilling. Salt and pepper the meat generously.
Place the meat on the indirect grates and close the lid. Next, ready the sauce.
In a medium size pan pan over medium heat, render bacon until cooked, but not super crisp. Add the olive oil, garlic and onion, cook an additional 3-4 minutes. Next, add the crushed pepper. To crush the peppercorn, the underside of a heavy cast iron skillet works great.
Grab your whiskey. I opted for Jack Daniels, as everything else on hand I would prefer to drink.
Add the whiskey to the pan and allow to cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The whiskey will cook down and get absorbed by the onion. Add the butter and 3/4 cup heavy cream. Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, then keep warm until ready to serve.
In the meantime, the steaks have been cooking outside, hopefully. An instant read thermometer is your best weapon to ensure reverse sear success. I'm looking for medium rare, which in order to achieve, is about 40-45 minutes, or when the internal thermometer reads about 120-125 F. When it does, remove the steaks from the grill and crank the burners to high, or if grilling on charcoal, place directly over the lit coals and fully open the air vents.
Drop the steaks back down on the hot grates and sear for about a minute a side.
A quick aside...
During the last few minutes of cooking, a great side is some stir fried chard, kale, or whatever green you have close at hand.
Heat some oil (I used peanut) in a wok. Once hot and shimmering, toss in some diced garlic and ginger. Give the pan a quick toss and then throw in the chopped greens. Allow to cook until bright green and wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
OK, where was I? Oh yes, dinner.
Plate the steaks, plate the veg, and top with the sauce.
The reverse sear worked just as expected and somehow, I ate the whole thing.
This weekend marks the beginning of Dayton Beer Week. This third annual local celebration of all things craft beer includes 80 plus tastings, events, and outings before culminating with AleFest next Saturday afternoon. For beer lovers, it is an amazing itinerary and quite the week. To start things off right, we organized a Brew Night to kick off the celebration a little early.
As with any brew day, or in this case, brew night, two things are required: great beer and great food. The food started early, as I placed a brisket on the Saffire in the morning before I left for work. The rest, including some beer can chicken, came together as the night went on.
Four of us brewed and as tradition/habit dictates, we settled into our routines and places.
Zach and Dave worked the grain crusher and Drew, with his fierce look of determination, started his mash.
Greg cranked out a new burner and was by far the most expeditious. This is less notable, and more expected, since he's the engineer of the society.
As is normal for me, I ran around, snapped pictures, and generally lagged behind everyone else.
As we look back through the years of getting together, it's been fun to watch what what constitutes BYOB. Whereas six packs where common place in the beginning, they have almost been entirely replaced by bombers, growlers and most importantly, kegs. If you aren't grunting as you carry 5 gallons of beer into the backyard, you really aren't following proper BYOB guidelines.
It's fair to say that when we get together, we break some sort of rule or practice of common sense. For instance, operating a hot propane burner on a wood deck. It's not every day you watch sap sucked out of wood.
At this rate, Brew Days may permanently segue into Brew Nights, which almost makes them Man Nights. The only difference between the two is with Brew Nights there isn't a costume theme and we are actually doing something productive, like brewing. The differences end there.
Oh, there is one more difference from other Brew Days: a peanut gallery.
Yes, a few of the wives decided to enjoy the evening from the sidelines…mostly filling their time watching our ensemble and shouting out the occasional wisecrack.
As the brewing continued on, dinner was finally served.
Although the brisket was not one of my best, that didn't stop it from being devoured. Dave also added a beer can chicken into the mix. It turned out great.
The only downside was having to use a can of Budweiser to prop it up.
Speaking of beer, I set out to brew something for Christmas, but ended up brewing a pale ale. I'm running super low on the homebrew front, so I have the feeling I will be adding in some solo brews in the near future. This batch necessitated a new 50 pound bag of 2-row, so between my bulk base grain purchase and the never ending mix of left over grains in the basement, I've got the makings of something. Now just to figure out what.
Eventually the boils subsided and the fermenters were filled. As our "summer of brewing" turned into a summer of "not brewing", the early sunset and cool evening provided the perfect ending to our gathering.
There is no doubt fall is around the corner. Hopefully it will yield more opportunities to brew, for whenever our schedules allow, if there is time to brew, the Society will assemble.
Sorry this is a day late. I've been battling Time Warner since Monday. We finally "cut the cord". Unfortunately, Time Warner can't differentiate cords. They cut them all. As easy it could be to turn this into a rant. I won't. Sure, it took 3 days to quasi remedy our Internet service and yes, I made a new friend in their upper level tech support who "hooked me up" with a reconnect, but I'll save my true angst for the letter I'm composing. It is well deserved.
In more positive news, I spent one of the hours I was on hold working on a find-what's-edible-in-the-fridge-and-stuff-it-in-a-pepper-and-grill-it-dinner. The result was a refreshingly delicious stuffed pepper. Although Relatively Wordless Wednesday is not only relatively wordless, but recipe-less too, I promise to follow up in the near future. They were that good. In the meantime, enjoy Wednesday's dinner while I enjoy having the Internet.
When it comes to beer, my favorite time of year is fall. As the nights turn cool and daylight starts to dwindle, nothing gets me more excited than watching my local fill their shelves with style after style of rich malty fall beers. Drinking IPAs all year round (not there's anything worth with that…) is kind of like living year round in the Caribbean. It's always the same thing: hot.
In Ohio, we are lucky enough to have drastic changes in seasons. Summer is hot, fall is cool, winter is unbelievable cold, and spring is nonexistent because it's so damn hot again. Beer is the same way. The seasonal brewing rhythm makes old beers new again. I love it.
Just like this year's summer, this year's fall beers have arrived early. Unlike the summer heat we've endured, I'm not complaining. Along with my usual favorites, like the absolutely fabulous Octoberfest from Samuel Adams, my favorite Boston brewery has launched something new from their Small Batch Series, and it's right up my ally, a double pumpkin ale aptly named, Fat Jack.
Each barrel of Fat Jack is brewed with 28 pounds of pumpkins. Yeah, 28 pounds.
Pumpkin beers have a special place in my heart. Whenever I see one sitting on a shelf, I snatch it up. Some are great, some are not. Fat Jack fits its bulbous personality squarely in the former category. It's probably my new favorite.
My tasting notes started and ended with one word: stellar. There was pumpkin all over the place and once the initial wave of pumpkin died down, it was quickly followed by tastes of cinnamon, all spice, and maple syrup. Next, another small wave of hops, and then more spice. I'm not kidding, this is really great stuff.
If you love pumpkin beers, I urge you to seek Fat Jack out. I stumbled on Tasman Red, another Small Batch release, on draft earlier this year. I will seek out Fat Jack.
Note: Samuel Adams provided me with this bottle of Fat Jack. I hate them for this. I now want to buy a case.