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Ceviche Salad and Sweetwater IPA: Light and delicious summer dinner

15 Apr

Ceviche salad + Sweetwater IPA = Excellent dinner

Living in Florida definitely has its advantages.

But lets face it, this place is hot as hell.

With no pool, living in town that’s 2 hours from the beach and recently discovering people judge you for slip-n-sliding as an adult, it’s a struggle to stay cool.

So cold beer and cold yummy food are of the upmost importance to stay cool in my post slip-n-side days.

In addition, bathing suit season is right around the corner and I’m feelin’ the need to eat a little healthier and maybe shed some LB’s before I spend some time on the water.

Now, I normally don’t review food, I’ll leave that up to the pros, Healthy Lazy Food and Brave New Food, BUT this was super delicious, easy and involved no cooking. I happened to have some Sweetwater IPA’s in the fridge and a bunch of other random things that ended up being the perfect blend for ceviche!

Ceviche is a blend of random seafood, veggies and citrus. The citric acid actually mock-cooks the seafood, turning it firm and pink, as if you had heated it (no pots and pans – yay!).

The light citrusy flavor of the ceviche went perfectly with the Sweetwater IPA, which is a hoppy, citrusy beer. This is one of my favorite IPA’s, right up there with Bell’s Two Hearted, Swamp Head 10/10/10 and Dogfish 60 minute. Both were tangy, flavorful and light.

I kind of just threw some stuff together, but it ended up turning out great, so here you go.

Random Ceviche Recipe (makes 4 servings)

Ingredients

Just the ceviche, now add salad and chips and beer. DONT forget the beer

12 Large Shrimp

1 Avocado

1 Cucumber

1 Tomato

2 Limes

2 Lemons

1/3 cup Orange Juice

1/3 Cup Cilantro

pinch Cayenne pepper

Directions

  1. Chop up all veggies and shrimp, put in a bowl.
  2. Squeeze lemon and lime juice, add all other ingredients.
  3. Stir up, cover, let chill for an hour or so.
  4. Serve over lettuce (I used organic spring mix), with tortilla chips. Enjoy!

More about Sweetwater IPA! 

Sweetwater beers are delicious in general. Brewed out Atlanta, this craft brewery has been slowly expanding over the past couple of years and now ranks at the 27th largest craft brewery in the US.

They make an impressive IPA – very hoppy, well balanced and has hints of citrus, especially grapefruit. It’s bitter, but not overpowering. It also is not overly sweet, as IPA’s can sometimes be. It has normal carbonation, foam and is overall and excellent beer – worth a try if you like IPA’s or want to try a good, strong (6.7% ABV), summer beer.

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Starr Hill Brewery – 2-for-1 Special

11 Apr

If you live in an area where Publix dominates the grocery industry with their good looks, fresh produce and uncanny ability to employ the fastest mentally challenged bag boys on the face of the planet, you must have come to know and love the Buy 1, get 1 Free specials they offer.

Now normally, I end up with a cabinet full of stuff I don’t need or really even like, such as soup, popcorn and random cereal, but this week they have a sweet deal and I thought I should let you know about it.

They are offering Starr Hill beer 6-packs buy 1 – get 1.

They are normally $8.99, so you will be getting 12 for the same price. Wait, put your phone calculator down – I got this.  You’re paying 75 cents per beer, which is a great deal.

They have some pretty tasty beers, brewed out of Charlottesville, VA. The Master Brewer Mark Thompson seems super laid back. Check out this Q and A with him, it’s pretty funny.

Starr Hill is a pretty cool little craft brewery, definitely worth an honorable mention, that <3’s bright lights, chill music and other trippy stuff.

I haven’t made my way over to Publix yet, but my picks would be Northern Lights and Dark Starr Stout.

For your convenience, here’s a run down of some Starr Hill beers:

Northern Lights – 6.5% ABV. This is a good India pale ale.  It’s not overwhelming, and certainly not as strong and bold as, say Bell’s Two Hearted, but definitely a good beer. It’s slightly hoppy, amber in color, floral smelling with fruit tastes.

The Love – 4.6% ABV – This German Hefeweizen is a light unfiltered wheat beer with tastes of banana and clove.

Jomo – 4.6% – If amber lagers are your thing, this could be a good option. It’s won a couple of awards at the Great American Beer Festival.

Dark Starr Stout – 4.6% – I had this at a recent beer festival, but it was toward the end and everything sort of tasted the same. But, it is a dark, heavy, chocolate stout. They brew it with coffee, so you may want to give it a try if you like stouts. It has also won multiple awards.

Lucy – 4.4% – This spiced golden ale is their current seasonal that is out. It’s spiced with ginger, lime and coriander. I have not had this beer yet but I’m guessing it’s light and herbal.

On their website, they claim this Lucy beer will “remind you of warm summer nights on the beach”. Now this makes me wonder why this is named as such. Could it be a waterfront hook-up or a beach-side Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds experience?  Considering master brewer goes to Bonaroo, loves Grateful Dead and said he thinks he should have existed in the 60’s, I’m going to go with the latter. Rock on Mark Thompson. Below is a video of what may or may not have inspired this beer (Beatle’s stuff is super copyrighted, it’s one click away!)

Layered Beers: Because some of us just have to have the best of both worlds

30 Mar

Do you order your pizza’s half and half?

When the waitress asks you, French fries or salad, so you ever think, damn, why can’t I have both?

Do you know what an Arnold Palmer is and order them on the regular? (Its half lemonade, half tea and 100% delicious)

Want a truck but want a car too? El Camino.

Labradoodle. Goldendoodle. Peekapoo. Poogle. Pugapoo. All halfsies. All Cute.

Ligers,  Mules and Prius’ – all functioning hybrids.

Variety pack of anything? Yes please.

This post is for all the people out there who can’t make up their minds and enjoy having the best of both worlds.

Layered beer, along with being very aesthetically pleasing, can give you the best of two beers or a beer and cider. The only catch is the beer on top always has to be nitrogen based (usually Guinness) so that the beers do not mix and they layer.

Here’s a couple layered beers to try: 

Black and Blue

Black and Blue

Black and Blue (The Tina Turner): Guinness and Blue Moon (or a Blueberry beer such as Sweetwater Blue)

Black and Tan: Guinness and Bass
Half and Half: Guinness and Harp
Snakebite: Guinness and Cider (Magners preferably)
Dirty Hippie: Guinness and Sweetwater 420 (or any extra pale ale)
Black and Purple: Guinness and Abita Purple Haze (or other raspberry beers)
Black Magic: Guinness and Magic Hat

How to make a half-and-half beer: Half and Half

Step 1: Pour carbon-based beer into glass until it is half full (or half empty, you pessimist).
Step 2: Find clean layering spoon.
Step 3: Pour light stream of Guinness onto spoon so it runs off over the the side of the spoon and layers.
Step 4: Give to customer Drink yourself.

Gainesville Beer Festival

27 Mar

I have to say the 2011 Greater Gator Beer Festival was a success.

Beer festivals are like a blend of speed dating and the biggest power hour game imaginable…except 4 hours. Any ADD ridden/extremely impatient person can appreciate the ability to bounce around from one beer stand to the next at your leisure and the ‘anything goes’ atmosphere these things provide. Oh yeah, old drunk man, you just ran over my foot with your wheelchair , don’t worry about saying excuse me. And don’t worry big sweaty stranger who told me “I pregamed this thing with Jager”, lean on my shoulder even though you outweigh me by double.

All inclusive food and beer?  You had me at all-inclusive beer.

Beer festivals are lots of fun and gives people a chance to sample beers and find what they like without the commitment of buying the whole 6-pack. It’s also something different to do, usually in the sun. A little vitamin D is good for the soul.

I went with the roomates, one being a novice in beer drinking and we all had a great time. The attendants of the beer stations are usually knowledgeable and friendly.

There’s one downfall to this type of thing, as you may know from going to any outdoor concert or festival – port-o-pottys(gagged a little typing that). Can I please wait 20 minutes doing the “pee dance” to go into the worst smelling, Claustrophobia-inducting, germ-ridden box. I try to not drink any water before I go to these things…not the best advice for your health -Sue me.

So I decided to do an awards ceremony for the sake of this blog and here is what I came up with. Here’s some good beers to try:

1st Place

Southern Tier Choklat Stout – Sooo good. This chocolaty bitter beer is black with dark brown foam. It’s very strong, full-bodied and delicious. Obviously, this is a dessert beer. I could not drink more than one of these. It’s definitely worth a try if you ever come across this beer. It would probably be great paired with something else chocolaty.  Also check out the Crème Brulee Stout I have reviewed earlier, this company knows how to make good dessert beers. Like many dessert beers, this beer is very strong – 11 percent to be exact. Being almost as much alcohol as class of wine, you should only drink one of these bad boys.

2nd Place

Oskar Blues Old Chub – delicious. This Scotch Ale rings in at 8 percent alcohol and is smooth and worth a try. Only available in a can, like all Oskar Blues beers, Old Chub is reddish brown and color with hints of caramel and malt. It is a bit smoky tasting with hints of roasted nuts or fruit. Overall, this beer is strong, and surprisingly enjoyable.

3rd Place

Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale is a long time favorite of mine. Although I am partial to Sweetwater beers because I have been to the brewery and have seen this brand grow from just a wee little baby to a well-received craft beer company, I still think it is worth a mention. 420 is just an all around good extra pale ale. It is smooth, bitter and hoppy, but not overwhelming. It’s a sharp tasting amber color ale and contain 5.2 percent alcohol.

Au revoir friends. After all this beer and typing, I need a nap.

Do’s and Don’t: A Snarky Rant from an Overly Tired Bartender

21 Mar

For some, crossing the plane into a bar equals losing all morals, manners and any trace of behaving like a normal human being. Keep your self together people – stop “sheening” around and be nice to your bartenders. Here is a short list of do’s and don’t I have compiled to help you regain some of your dignity.

DON’T get on chairs, flail arms/money around, yell my name/girl/bartender, snap, whistle, or do anything you wouldn’t do to your Starbuck’s bartista – I see you, I know you are there, I will get to you. I understand you cannot socially function without a brewski bro but 30 seconds of waiting isn’t going to increase your chances with that Megan Fox look-alike.

DON’T leave me change. I am not homeless. If you can’t round up to $1 bill, don’t come to the bar.

DO ask for samples of beer before you get it. Get to know your beers, love them, embrace them. Naturally, I am all for you trying new beers.

DON’T ask me to take pictures of you and your 25 drunk friends, look at it, decide you look horrid and make me take 10 more pictures. I am not your personal paparazzi. Ask the door guy, he’s probably bored.

DO ask for a taxi. Usually every bar has cards for taxi drivers or would be more than happy to call you a cab I laugh hysterically when I see your DUI mug shot in the paper the next day I don’t relish in seeing your mug shot in the paper the next day, although your make-up and tear smeared face did give a good laugh over my morning coffee.

DON’T fit 6 girls in a bathroom stall, take forever and leave it disgusting. I know that your future ex husband is flirting with your best friend, but I don’t give a crap, and I really have to pee. Go have an emotional breakdown somewhere else por favor.

DO come in for happy hour and chat with your bartender. Hell, this may even land you a free beer.

DON’T stay at the bar if you are sloppy/falling/vomiting. Go home, your bed is the only one who loves you right now.

DO start a tab. If you know you’re going to be at the same bar all night, it is much faster and easier for me and you if you start a tab. Instead of making change or running through a credit card, you just have to tell me your name and *bam* it takes me 2 seconds to get your drink. You can still pay out in cash at the end.

DON’T ask me to hold your purse, jacket, heels or anything behind the bar. It’s not my fault you came to the bar in 6-inch heels with that body bag you call a purse. There are things called clutches and sandals, they are great, try them.

DO tip good the first time (at least the first time). Good tip = I will remember your face = I will make sure to come back to you first = great service = you never having to wait long for drinks. It’s a mutually beneficial thing.

DON’T ask me for free beer or try to weasel your way into getting one. No, it didn’t hurt when I feel from the sky, my legs aren’t tired from running through your mind and of course I come here often, I work here, dumb ass. Pay for drinks and move along.

Having a beer and talking about beer with Patrick

20 Mar

For your listening pleasure, I have interviewed Patrick, local brew house bartender, home brewer and a fellow beer lover. We sat down to have a beer and talk about beer. Patrick shares some insight on what to look for in a good beer and makes some beer recommendations. Thanks Patrick!

Beer Tip Of The Week: Frosty Mugs Are The Jam!

7 Feb

Beer mugs = priority one in freezer, ice cream is a close second

There are a couple things in this world I know for sure. One of them is beer tastes better out of a frosty mug. Every bar I have worked at has a beer mug cooler for this reason. There are a few advantages to this including taste and helping the beer stay colder for longer. Sacrifice some Lean Cuisines, frozen veggies and ice cream and pop some pint glasses in your freezer – you will thank me later.

***Words of the wise: Hot glasses (out of dishwasher) + freezer = Cracked glasses. Let them cool first.