Beer Dinners, and Why They’re Awesome

If you’ve ever attended a well-run beer dinner, you know the treat it is– the thoughtful pairing of beer and food.  I attended one not too long ago, featuring an extensive list of Firestone Walker’s portfolio, paired with wonderful dishes, ranging from Bavarian pretzels (with Pivo Pils) to pork belly (with Double Jack).

Beer and food pairing is an excellent creative exercise, and one Garrett Oliver goes to explain at great lengths in his book, The Brewmaster’s Table.  This is also a valuable concept to understand when studying for and taking your Cicerone exam.

For those of you who follow me and are local to Warren County, NJ, I’ll let you in on a little secret:  I’m brewing up a celebration of sorts, a beer dinner that will feature the three Hackettstown breweries all under one roof.  That’s right, Czig Meister, Man Skirt, and Jersey Girl will share the spotlight one night in the semi-near future at a location I’ll disclose as I get further along in the process.

Excited?  I know I am.

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The Wonderful World of Beer Podcasts

For every passion and hobby, there is a podcast (or so I imagine).  Beer is no exception.  Ranging from casual to more academic and technical in nature, there’s a beer podcast out there for everyone.  I personally, enjoy the following:

Home Brewing Radio:  Hosted by Brad Smith, the creator of BeerSmith Home Brewing Software.  Informative discussions of all aspects of the beer world with a wide range of guests.  The knowledge in the minds of both Mr. Smith and each guest is enough to make my brain hurt.

The Perfect Pour Craft Beer Podcast:  Two lively guys in California discussing beer, being silly, and drinking good beer.  Feels more like a morning-zoo show, but definitely entertaining.

The Coolship Podcast:  Co-hosted by Warren Wilson (owner of Homebrew University in Hackettstown, NJ) and Siebel Institute-educated owner and head-brewer of Czig Meister Brewing, Matt Czigler.  Matt Czigler, you know- the creator of Kane’s Head High IPA.  Dedicated to all things beer for amateurs, professionals, and beer lover alike, these two provide excellent “edutainment.”  They occasionally go off the rails, so I’d caution that this show might be rated R for language and content.  Regardless, it’s a fun ride.

Have other favorites?  Leave a comment with a link to the show for others to enjoy.

 

Put This in Your Pipe and Pipe It: My Day at Czig Meister Brewing

Pipe_Cutting_at_Czig_Meister_Brewing

Last Tuesday, the 29th, I volunteered my time (and a talent unbeknownst to me) to helping a new friend do work on his soon-to-be-open brewery.  Matt Czigler, a young, successful professional brewer, has made his dream a reality.  In the 9,000 sq. ft. space which used to be an old auto-repair bay in the center of Hackettstown NJ, his brewery comes together, piece by piece.  My piece in all this involved helping him cut hundreds of feet of pipe to be used in shelving to be installed behind the tasting bar.  Now, the few of you who know me in real life, know I’m not the most industrially-skilled individual.  But, within minutes, Matt instructed me on the procedure, and away we went.  An hour in, I was running the machine like a pro.  For those unfamiliar with the process, this machine holds the pipe and spins it as you use a clamp-like device to cut to desired length, then a second piece (which I’m seen holding) lathes the end to produce the threads in which to screw in an elbow or tee-joint.  The bucket below is filled with oil and the filings, the gun applies the oil to the lathed end to keep it from smoking from all the heat and friction.

It was a relatively straightforward affair, except for the times I had to remind Matt what stage we were on as attention was diverted by phone calls from officials, contractors, friends, and family.  More than once people stopped in to say hello and take in the progress, all of them excited to see Matt’s vision transform into reality.

He now has his fermentation tanks in, and if all goes well, will start brewing on April 9th and open by the end of the month.  I had the privilege of sampling his beer he plans on brewing on the large scale.  Tasty stuff, I might add.

I had so much fun working with my hands and volunteering my time, no doubt I’ll have pictures up of your favorite beer blogger next Wednesday.