Hopped Up Eugene

Hopped Up Eugene


To say that there is great beer in the good state of Oregon is easy. To say that about another state, as an Oregonian, is a little harder. However, I have good friends spread across the country and they have endeavored to “open my eyes” as it were, by trading beers with me. Packages have been received and shipped. It has been a great summer in that regard. Sad to say, the dog days of summer are nearly over, but we can still enjoy the fruits of our labor and with a little summer pasta paired with Flying Dog Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA (Frederick, Maryland)

photo: www.flyingdogbrewery.com

What is a Belgian IPA? A combination of Belgian yeast and American Hops. Sweet fruit and a hopped finish. Not all will find it appealing, but I certainly do. Raging Bitch is a perfect balance of the two, a lighter IPA, not so heavy on the tongue as a local IPA. Refreshing scents of dried orange, mango and yeast. A lovely light amber color with a nice head that left a nice lacing in my Spiegelau glass. A sip reveals a mild sweetness and malt that finishes mildly bitter on the back of the tongue.

Flying Dog’s website suggests pairing this beer with tangy fruit and cheese or cajun spice, and I can see why they suggest this, strong flavors pair with a strong beer. I chose tomatoes from my garden diced up in a lemon pepper pasta with burrata mozzarella on top.This recipe is probably my family’s most favorite, it helps that it only takes the time to boil noodles to get it on the table.

photo 2

[gn_box title=”Ingredients (for a family of 3-4)” color=”#253″]

2 packages of Trader Joe’s Lemon Pepper Pappardelle Pasta

2 packages Trader Joe’s Burrata Mozzarella

1 container of cherry tomatoes (or from your garden as mine were)

2-3 cloves garlic

Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Salt and Pepper

In a large pot filled with water, add 3/4 tsp salt and a glug of olive oil. The water should taste like the sea. This is absolutely necessary, otherwise your pasta will have no flavor, even though it is lemon pepper. Enhance it, bring that flavor out with salt. The olive oil keeps pasta from sticking. Bring to a boil and add pasta. (Tip: put burrata containers on counter top an hour before you start boiling the water to bring it up to room temperature).

While pasta is boiling slice up your garlic and mash it a bit with the flat of your knife. Put it in a large bowl and add about 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1/8 cup or more of balsamic, 1/4 tsp salt and a crank of pepper. Slice your tomatoes in half and add them – mix everything around and let them sit. I kind of mash the tomatoes a bit on the side of the bowl.

Add pasta once cooked al dente and toss well. Fill three or four bowls with pasta. Place a whole, or half, ball of burrata on top of the pasta. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic. Add a pinch of salt. Sit down to enjoy.

photo 3

How did the two work together? They paired beautifully. My husband and I shared the bottle and wished we had more. Sips of a slightly sweet and bitter beer to balance out the flavors of the sun ripened tangy tomatoes and perfectly cooked lemon pasta. Finished with a silky smooth bite of heavenly burrata.

The beer trade is alive and strong. I enjoy receiving just as much as I love shipping. To be able to share some of Oregon’s bounty of craft beer with my friends across the states, and have the ability to talk about what they are sipping on is fantastic. If you find yourself in need of some Flying Dog Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA, contact Lacey on her website www.hophunting.com for a trade.

Hopped Up Eugene


According to The Hungover Gourmet, there are a lot of potential cures for the dread hangover.  We all have our thing that works for us, and we have all shared our tricks with others.   It is camping, BBQ, and just general “Great Outdoors Season” here in Oregon, and we all like to have a good time, so I too am going to share my tried and true recovery method.  We are going to combine two separate restoratives for ultimate effect.  Because you know that at some point this summer, or in the past, you have had need for The Cure.  Especially after a long day of golfing or rafting.

Tomatoes offer a boost of vitamins and nutrients for the tired body, and booze helps stop the head hurt.  Shuffle to the kitchen.  Grab a beer, preferably a lager.  Fosters works great for this, especially since their 25.4 oz. oil cans don’t mess around.  But desperate times and all, you have what you have.  I have Worthy Brewing Easy Day Kolsch.  I am not much of a Kolsch drinker, but I really dig this stuff.  Next, grab some tomato juice.  If you don’t have any, tomato sauce works in a pinch.  Now do the somewhat horizontal fridge search for some Tabasco, but remember to keep the head above the stomach!  Grab some salt.  We aren’t going fancy on our first glass, just getting the job done out of sheer necessity.  Pour a third each of tomato juice and can of beer into a glass.  Hit it with a dash of hot sauce and a pinch of salt. Swirl it around, drink it up.



 Take a deep breath and stand there for a minute, preferably not swaying.  Feeling better?  It doesn’t take long, does it?  Now that we are clear headed, we are going to wake up the palate and the mind by adding some spice and citrus to the final glass.  

I was recently gifted some Rokz Bloody Mary Infused Salt and some Citrus Jalapeno Infused Salt.  Rokz is a small company here in Eugene, they make a wide array of fantastic drink salts and sugars.  Get the rim of your glass wet and heavily sprinkle some of the bloody Mary and citrus jalapeno salt on the outer edge, and sprinkle some inside to combine with the beer and juice. A couple of splashes of Tabasco and some bloody Mary mix if you have it, top that with at least half a cup of tomato juice and the rest of the beer.  Salty, spicy, zesty and smooth. Take a seat on the couch, sip your drink and relax.  Follow that up with a heavy dose of water and you are golden.


You know you’ve done it. Maybe you rafted the river and drank a bunch of light beer like it was water. Maybe you went to Vegas…need I  say more?  Maybe you pulled an all nighter, hopping from bar to bar, waltzing down the street singing Beastie Boys songs with your friends, only to end up in some late night diner for an early breakfast. You wake up some time the next day, and wow. You do not feel well. There are several things you can do in this situation to minimize the damage. Power through it, you don’t no help! Eat some aspirin and chug some water. Go back to bed and pretend you never woke up, and pray that when you do, you won’t feel like death. Or you could drink Breakfast Beer of Champions and get your day moving!  And watch this. Definitely watch this.  

Traveling Beer Festival Aims To Be The Largest Craft Beer Celebration In History



Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has announced that it has invited every craft brewery in the country – more than 2,700 – to take part in a multi-weekend traveling beer festival this summer. Beer Camp Across America is a celebration for the entire craft beer community, bringing together brewers and the fans who have buoyed their success.

“We’re about to open a second brewery in North Carolina, and while that’s exciting for us, it’s an even greater reason to celebrate the future of craft brewers everywhere,” explained Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada’s founder.

“We’ve watched and learned from each other for decades, and together we’ve seen tastes change and craft’s momentum snowball. Beer Camp Across America is our way of reflecting on this—with thousands of brewers, fans and great beers. It should be pretty fun.”
Beer Camp Across America will feature seven stops—in cities with thriving craft beer cultures—moving geographically west to east, much like the craft movement has historically spread.

Each tour stop will feature that city’s local and surrounding regional brewers. The festivals will appropriately begin and end at Sierra Nevada’s two brewing locations, kicking off in Chico where it took root in 1980, and culminating in Mills River, NC for the grand opening of its East Coast brewery. The festival schedule is as follows:

  • Sat, July 19th: Northwest Edition at Sierra Nevada Hop Field in Chico, CA, 12-5 p.m.
  • Sun, July 20th: Southwest Edition at Embarcadero North in San Diego, CA, 1-6 p.m.
  • Fri, July 25th: Rocky Mountain Edition at Sculpture Park in Denver, CO, 5-10 p.m.
  • Sun, July 27th: Midwest Edition at Navy Pier in Chicago, IL, 12-5 p.m.
  • Fri, August 1st: New England Edition at Thompson Point in Portland, ME, 5-10 p.m.
  • Sat, August 2nd: Mid-Atlantic Edition at Penn Treaty Park in Philadelphia, PA, 12-5 p.m.
  • Sun, August 3rd: Southeast Edition in Mills River, NC, 1-6 p.m.

Each festival will feature up to two beers per brewery, food vendors, and live music by the MarchFourth Marching Band spectacle. Tickets are now on sale at www.SierraNevada.com/BeerCamp and are limited to 5,000 per venue. Tickets cost $65 for general admission, which includes a tasting glass and unlimited tastings (in most locations, see the website for full details). A designated driver ticket is available for $30. Ticket prices are exclusive of taxes and fees, which will vary according to location.

In conjunction with the festivals, Sierra Nevada has partnered with a dozen exceptional craft breweries to create 12 different beers for one mixed 12-pack – including 10 bottles and two cans – another first in the craft beer world. The Beer Camp Across America 12-pack will be available throughout the U.S. this summer, and the dozen brewing partners will join selective legs of the festival tour. Craft drinkers can explore all 12 beers at www.SierraNevada.com/BeerCamp.

Beer Camp Across America is also a giveback program: proceeds will go to the state brewers guilds in the festival host states and to hop and barley research to foster the development of new types of hop varieties and barley crops to fuel the pursuit of new flavor experiences for the ever-expanding tastes of craft drinkers.

I’m hoping to make it to the San Diego event!  Anyone else want to go?

Hopped Up Eugene


Hopped Up Eugene May 22-28

As the three day weekend better known as Memorial Day Holiday comes upon us, people begin pulling out dusty smokers and contemplating what they will drink and eat over the long weekend.  It is both a time of remembrance, honoring those who have died protecting our country, and a nod to the upcoming summer months, which can only mean grilling and beating the heat with a frosty beverage.  To that end, I give you Salem’s Gilgamesh Brewing Mamba Beer and a Smoked Meatloaf Sandwich.

Photo: www.madeinoregon.com

Gilgamesh Brewing’s website describes this beer as “a unique malt beverage defined by black tea, bergamot, tangerine peel and rye.”  As a person who enjoys a very hoppy IPA, this is a serious departure from my beer drinking norm.  I was not too sure about it at first.  However, it is filled with scents and flavors of summer and it pulls a person in fast.  The beer paired perfectly with the open faced smoked meatloaf sandwiches I made, and was quickly dubbed a perfect summer unison.

I have never in my life smoked anything.  I BBQ year round, but smoking? I talked about wanting to do it, but never made the time.  It took a free smoker from a neighbor, some serious blog reading, and a bunch of advise from the people on the Eugene Foodies! Facebook page to get it done.  I am now addicted. meatloaf

Smoked Meatloaf:

2 lbs 85/15 hamburger

1 lbs Italian sausage

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup diced sun dried tomatoes in oil (drained)

1 Tbsp pesto

3 Tbsp horseradish

4 cloves black garlic (you can find it at Trader Joes)

1/2 cup diced red onion

1 1/2 tsp hot smoked paprika

1 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 cup ketchup

2 eggs

For topping:

1/2 cup Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce (or other)

1 Tbsp lightly crushed rock sea salt

Get your smoker ready before you mix the ingredients up.   Here is a great website/recipe to start with if you are new to the process, or need guidelines for the process, please review it.  Thoroughly combine all ingredients together in a large bowl, except for the last two.  Take out a small pan and form the meat into a loaf.  I used a 9×12 cookie sheet that I made sure fit down in the smoker.  Or form hamburger patties – this would make an exceptional burger as well.  When the meat is smoked to the correct temperature (165 degrees), coat the top with the BBQ sauce and sprinkle salt over the top.  All in all, I smoked the thing about 3 1/2 hours at 225ish degrees. mambomeatloaf

The beer with the food.  How did it fair together?  Meatloaf sandwich on a slice of thick white bread with mayonnaise and mustard, topped with salad fixings tossed in a black cherry balsamic.  Black garlic for rich sweetness.  Horseradish and  hot paprika for a kick.  The BBQ sauced and salted outside for a caramelized crunch.  Sips of a sweet black tea with slices of orange in it, just like grandma used to make in the summer, but in beer form.  This hopless ale offers a fruity nose with hints of rye, a very intriguing sweet black tea and orange flavor at first sip, finishing dry with a citrus rind tang at the end.  This pairing  is both complex and simple at the same time.  It offers flavor dimensions of unusual meatloaf ingredients and nontraditional beer.  Simplicity in that people have been eating meatloaf sandwiches and drinking beer for forever, the pairing just upped the ante a bit.

Gilgamesh Brewing is a family owned business, operated by three Radtke brothers and their father. When it came time to name their operation, they were inspired by the Epic of Gilgamesh, perhaps the worlds oldest written story. The tale chronicles epic battles, camaraderie, and feasts full of food and beer. Head Brewer Mike Radtke says “These elements of their life really resonated with us…Our Emblem is an ancient Sumerian cuneiform which is the original written word for beer.”

Gilgamesh takes the word “camaraderie” seriously. In addition to a large food and beer offering, their brewery campus in Salem is very active in the community, with offerings such as Armed Forces Day this past May 17th with bands, BBQ and discounts for all military members, Salsa 101 lessons, and Science Night with the next topic being Weather, Climate and Meteorology on June 19th.  Check out their facebook page and website for more details, and watch this short and funny video about the family made by Portland Loves Pints.

Photo: www.gilgameshbrewing.com


Hopped Up Eugene


Hopped Up Eugene May 8 – 14

There are a very small handful of recipes I will use time and again, because we like variety in our house, and I like the challenge of preparing new food. Rarely do I make a recipe twice.  It keeps  me, and my family, interested in good food.  I will say too that with beer, my philosophy is the same. Oregon is ripe with so many amazing breweries that I have a hard time drinking the same thing over and over again.  Fire Mountain Brew House is the exception to this rule.

Photo: www.marrowmag.com
Photo: www.marrowmag.com

I first met Henry, the brewer, at a Market of Choice here in Eugene about a year and a half ago. He was sampling his wares, and I stood there for a good ten minutes drinking and talking about his operation.  Fire Mountain’s brewing process is dialed in.  They employ steam heat to warm tanks, and manually open and close valves.  Everything is hand operated; nothing is computerized.

I’d like to think my kitchen is that way as well.  Hand operated.  Nothing much processed going on here.  However, I have been traveling for work a lot lately, and when that happens, I try to simplify our dinner menu as much as possible.  Sandwiches, salads, soups, etc.  I have a friend from New Orleans and she keeps talking about Muffaletta sandwiches like they are the best thing ever, and I knew that I needed to try making them myself.  Quick to make, and full of savory flavor, they would be filling for the mouth and soul.


To enhance the meal, I paired it with Fire Mountain’s Bad Henry IPA, knowing that the beer has strong hop and fruity aroma, with an earth and citrus rind flavor character, and a mildly spicy and bitter aftertaste.  Some would maybe argue that the flavor does not compare to the initial aroma when compared to other IPA’s in the state, but here in this house, it is a strong contender to pair with many different dishes because of it.  As a slightly milder flavored IPA, this particular beer offsets the salinity in a sandwich such as a Muffaletta, bringing out the flavors of the cheese and meat.

A person can find any number of Muffaletta sandwich recipes on the internet.  Sometimes it’s spelled “muffUletta”, sometimes it is spelled “muffAletta”.  The bread is very specific in the south, here in the Pacific Northwest, I used what I had – a french baguette.  Olive relish, I made it with kalamata and green olives, with a bit of sundried tomatoes in olive oil.  For the innards, provolone cheese, pepperoni and italian dry salami. Traditionally, mortadella and ham are used as well. Muffaletta; chewy, salty, hearty and delicious, with a nice pull of Bad Henry for the palate cleansing properties of a good beer.

Photo: www.facebook.com/pages/Fire-Mountain-Brew-House
Photo: www.facebook.com/pages/Fire-Mountain-Brew-House

To find out why Bad Henry is “saving souls one glass at a time”, take a Sunday drive up to their brewery in Carlton, Oregon, and ask Henry himself.  Or see them at one of their many tasting events, next up in Eugene is at the Sasquatch Brewfest June 7.  I see that they are also rolling out their Outlaw Brew House limited edition beer in the near future, something I am looking forward to trying. The brewery is open on Sundays from 11 am – 6 pm.

Hopped Up Eugene


Hopped Up Eugene May 1-7

In the back of my defunct freezer that I use to cure meats and store beer in sits a Portland Brewing Rose Hip Gold Belgian-Style Ale.  It has been there for a good couple of months.  I bought it on a whim, intrigued by the words “rose hips”.  And there it sat, due to the same words, and the fact that it was unusual.  Rose hips in beer?  I like hot tea with rose hips. Was not so sure about it in a bottle of ale.  However, the chance to drink it finally arose, when a lighter beer was needed to drink with stuffed Pasilla peppers and nachos with tomatillo salsa.

Photo: www.notsoprofessionalbeer.com
Photo: www.notsoprofessionalbeer.com

Perfect for the upcoming Cinco de Mayo, this brew is a complimentary pairing with the mild peppers and tangy salsa used in this dish.  For every bite of cheesy potato filled pasilla, a pepper with its own mild and unique flavor, a balancing sip of beer that is herbal and malty. Cilantro, charred pepper and mild rose scents fill your nose, salty cotija cheese, zesty lime and refreshing beer fill your mouth.


Tomatillo Salsa

1 lbs tomatillos with the shell taken off

2 shallots

1 garlic clove

1/2 bunch of cilantro

1/2 bunch of italian parsley

Juice of one lime

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp smoked salt

Roast tomatillos on bbq on medium heat.  Turn them over one time, once the side nearest the grill starts to turn brown.  Remove as soon as the turned side starts to brown or tomatillo bursts. Place these and the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth.  Taste to ensure the salsa is salty or sweet enough, to your liking.




Stuffed Pasilla Peppers

10 peppers (pasilla is often a general term, poblanos and serranos will also work well)

4 new potatoes – 3” wide

1/2 round cotjia cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp smoked salt

3 Tbsp tomatillo salsa

1/2 cup flour

Olive oil

Roast peppers on all sides on bbq until skin starts to pucker and blacken.  Place in a quart bag and close to let steam.  This will help the skin release easier.  Chop potatoes into 1” pieces, place in a bowl and place in microwave for 4 minutes.  Check to see if cooked thoroughly, if not, cook for another 4 minutes.  Repeat process until cooked.  Place sour cream, cotjia, salt and salsa in food processor (if you make the salsa first, simply leave some in there).  Add in potatoes and pulse until creamy and smooth.

Turn oven on to 450 and generously coat a large cookie sheet with olive oil.  Take peppers out of the bag and lay out on cutting board.  Peel off skins, slice one side open and remove as many seeds as you can without tearing the rest of the pepper. Scoop about 1/2 cup of potato filling into each pepper, and close around it.  Place the flour on a plate and gently roll each pepper in the flour. Lay finished peppers on the cookie sheet, and lightly coat the tops of each pepper with oil.  Bake for 20 minutes. Nachos are self explanatory, however I suggest tossing some tortilla chips in a mix of salsa, white beans and corn and laying them on a cookie sheet with some jack cheese over the top.  We often eat nachos for dinner, and have found that coating the chips prior to baking lends to more flavorable eating experience. Put the nachos in the oven at the ten minute mark.


Ripe for upcoming summer months, this dinner is a crowd pleaser. While you can add more protein, I find that keeping it simple is better.  The cheese and beans are heavy enough, but if you need more, I would suggest chorizo.  The peppers are even better the next morning for breakfast.

I would call Rose Hip Gold a sessionable beer, the ABV is only 6%, where as most similar beer in Belgium rates well above 8%, and sometimes around 12%.  I have sampled more than my fair share in Brugge, I am not sure that the term “sessionable” would even apply in that country!  A quick search on their website, and I see that you can find Portland Brewing Company beer at many Eugene markets; Winco and Bi Mart to name a few.  Knowing that I can drive down the road and grab a few bottles, I look forward to drinking this beer over the summer, while in the garden digging up weeds and BBQing some good food.








Hopped Up Eugene


Hopped Up Eugene April 23-29

On that rare occasion one cannot finish a growler of beer before it goes flat, what does a person do with it?  I have been pondering this question for several weeks now, as Bend Brewing Co. Ching Ching sits in a third full growler in the back of my refrigerator.  In Oregon, it has got to be a downright sin not to finish a growler full of anything, so I was determined to do something with it.  Given that this is a 2014 bronze medal world beer cup award winning sour beer, what came to my mind was reduction.  A slow simmer on the stove to syrupy perfection. Good for a variety of uses – replacing vinegars and acids in a salad dressing, or incorporation in an otherwise too sweet dessert.

Photo: www.newschoolbeer.com
Photo: www.newschoolbeer.com

I first tasted this beer at a Eugene Foodie’s event at the Tap & Growler this past March.  When I asked the guys behind the counter to make up some food and beer pairings, they did not disappoint.  All three pairings were well thought out, taking food and beer from their menu and explaining why they believed they were a good match.

The pairing that stood out the most was the Ching Ching paired with vanilla panna cotta and raspberry drizzle, courtesy of Noisette Pastry Kitchen.  Sweet velvety panna cotta with just a hint of raspberry.  Nose full of tart cherry and grain aroma, a very drinkable sour beer with tasting notes ranging from lemon, to cranberry and rhubarb.  This pomegranate and hibiscus brewed sour does its job, leaving a slightly acidic after taste that bolstered the flavor of the dessert.  Inspired by the flavors of that night, I opted to make a strawberry shortcake.


Strawberry Shortcake is fairly straightforward. So is reducing any liquid down to a syrup.  As the simmering process starts, the house filled with a heady Ching Ching scent.  Yes, it smelled like beer, but we also caught the piquant fruit and floral scent it is known for.  Forty five long minutes later, patience is the name of any liquid reduction game, the results were in.  I was left with a tenth of what I started with.


It tastes fantastic reduced down to its most sour of forms. The syrup is slightly sweet, but gets you like a Warhead Extreme Sour Candy if you try to suck if off the spoon, which of course you will do, as none can go to waste.  None.  I have since used Ching Ching Syrup on a multitude of food. Of course the shortcake, for which I both drizzled the syrup over and into the whipping cream for a little extra something.  And it works wonders in salad dressing.  Some smoked salt, a good olive oil, a good bit of whisking in the thick syrup and you have an amazing and refreshing dressing.

Laceys simmer post
Simmer slowly until the liquid starts to thicken


As much as I hate to waste good beer by not drinking it, all thoughts point toward further syrup reductions and the multiple bottles I’ve got out in my garage.  Some sacrifices must be made so that I can “eat” my beer again in the near future.  I think a sour beer is the perfect starting point, but there is a Moab Brewery Hopped Rye out there that is calling my name, saying it must be reduced and put on a cheese plate for dipping bread in.

The Eugene Foodies meet on a monthly basis, always in the last week. They are hosted by a variety of restaurants, breweries and vineyards in and around Eugene, with intentions of bringing good food and drink to food lovers.  There is even talk of a pop up restaurant concept in the works.  The Foodies have grown exponentially over the past several months, and welcome any and all to their ranks. Please check them out on their facebook page for daily food conversation and each month’s planned event.

salad dressing

Hopped Up Eugene


Hopped Up Eugene April 2-8

Square Mile Ciders; food and cider pairings for a weekend at home.

Square Mile Cider? Never heard of them until I went perusing a local grocery store for some cider to pair with my weekend menu last Friday.  I was looking for something different than the usual cider line up we have been drinking for the past year, so when I noticed the green Spur & Vine “Hopped Apple Cider” six pack, my interest was piqued and I immediately grabbed it.  Upon getting home, I realized some sneaker had replaced three of the Hopped bottles for Square Mile’s classic The Original.  Can’t complain really, trying both sounded like a good idea to me too.

Farmer’s Board | photo: Lacey Harrison

In my opinion, it is a rare meal that doesn’t pair well with a hard cider.  Nearly everyone will enjoy a cider, where not all would enjoy a super hoppy IPA, or a heavy Cabernet.  This makes ciders an easy pick to pair with two dinners over a weekend where the plan was to not leave the house.  What did we make you ask?

Saturday Night Farmer’s Board

3 zucchini

3 sausage links – for this we used Sabatino’s Chicken Sausage with smoked mozzarella and artichokes

1 baguette

1 cup homemade ricotta cheese 

1/2 cup garlic chive pesto (combine 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1/2 lemon juice and zest, 1/2 bunch of garlic chives in food processor and combine until smooth.  You may need add some water for the consistency you prefer.  A few basil leaves or mint is also a good optional addition.)

Slice up your baguette, and plate the ricotta and pesto in small bowls on a large cutting board.  Slice your zucchini at a diagonal to about 1/4″ thick, coat with some olive oil, salt and pepper.  Grill these and the sausages to a nice sear on each side.  On the last turn, put the sliced bread on the grill to heat it up.  Line up the zucchini, bread and sausage on the board with the cheese and pesto.  You can choose to cut the sausage or not.

Sunday Evening Beef Pot Pie | photo: Lacey Harrison

Some of our  most favorite meals are simple, quick to prepare and eaten standing around the kitchen while talking.  Of these, this is the best.  There is nothing like smearing some pesto and ricotta on a piece of bread and choosing a piece of squash or sausage to top it off with.  Both of Square Mile’s Ciders paired well with this meal.  Casual, yet complex and full of flavor.  The traditional cider, bright and sweet, combined well with the strong flavors of the sausage and pesto.  Spur & Vine’s hoppy fragrance and complex flavor complimented the homemade ricotta and bread so well that I could have survived all weekend with these three things alone.


Sunday Evening Beef Pot Pie

1 lbs beef stew meat

1 bin winter chanterelle mushrooms

4 shallots peeled and diced

2 carrots peeled and diced

1 1/2 cups frozen peas

2 stocks celery diced

1 large potato peeled and diced

2 cups red wine (any will do)

1 cup beef broth

pie dough recipe (do not double)

Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

9×12 baking dish or similar

Coat your stew meat with a healthy dose of salt and pepper and sizzle in some olive oil until cooked through in a large pot.  Add in your diced shallot, carrot and celery.  Saute until softened.  Pour in one cup of red wine and simmer until liquid is reduced to half.  Add in the peas, potatoes and mushrooms, last cup of red wine and cup of beef broth.  Simmer until the potatoes are cooked thoroughly and the liquid is reduced down by 1/3-1/2.  You will need to make sure you have enough liquid to cover all of the fixings, but not so much that there is anything left over when you cover with pie crust.

Place the filling into your dish, roll out your pie crust and place on top of the dish, pressing around the sides of the dish to anchor it.  Poke several holes in the top.  Bake at 350 until the crust is a nice golden brown.

Plate the pot pie with a nice salad using that left over ricotta and a lemon/olive oil dressing.  Sit down for a traditional Sunday dinner with a nice week-ending family meal. This dish is heavy with bold contrasts.  The depth of the red wine broth having been simmered down with flavors of garlicky shallot, sweet carrots and earthy mushrooms are music in your mouth.  Flaky crust and bites of tender stew meat leave a person well satisfied after a lazy weekend.

Delicious | photo: Lacey Harrison

Hands down, my husband and I agree that the Spur & Vine Cider won the taste test with this dish. Only slightly sweet, yet strong in flavor, drinking this cider along side the richness of this pot pie is pure pleasure.  Hopped up in all the right ways, a person smells the hops and only mildly tastes them, making this cider one of my favorites I’ve drank this year.  And there have been many. Neither the cider or the pie falls by the wayside or competes with one another for domination in your mouth.  I think Spur & Vine could be the “gateway drug” for those who do not like Oregon IPA’s, leading them gently into loving that strong flavor like the rest of us.

Let’s talk aroma here for a minute.  A house filled with scents of cooking and baking, culminating in a steaming dish on the table filling your nose with savory beef.  An ice cold glass of Spur & Vine Cider that smells of both a hoppy IPA and cider at the same time.  Your nose questions it, but agrees with your mouth.  It is a good combination.

To be sure, Square Mile is a company to watch and support.  Like their website says, their “cider pays homage to the fortitude and perseverance of the original pioneers.”  The beautiful photos on their website tell a visual story of the Pacific Northwest, and their ciders express the same sentiment with a bounty of reinvigorated flavor.


Hopped Up Eugene


Hopped Up Eugene March 19-25

Buffalo Bill’s Brewery – Blueberry Oatmeal Stout 7.5% ABV

My friend Katie, a cook at Jiffy Market (where else), recommended that I try the Blueberry Oatmeal Stout, and I am extremely glad I heeded her advice.  What a pleasant surprise and a very tasty beverage Blueberry Oatmeal Stout is.

I initially cocked my head in wonder at how it might taste.  I had visions of my older brother eating his daily breakfast of Blueberry Pop-Tarts, which I never really cared for. Thankfully, I put this childhood memory out of my mind and purchased the Blueberry Stout.

Blueberry Oatmeal Stout | photo credit: DailyBeerReview.com
Blueberry Oatmeal Stout | photo credit: DailyBeerReview.com

Blueberry Oatmeal Stout pours smoothly and is dark, dark blue.  A very minimal head remained as the pour finished.  Settling quickly, Blueberry Stout has a little of the same action a beer consumer would see in nitrogen-ized beers such as Guinness or Boddingtons Pub Ale. The flavor and aroma are ambrosial.

The oatmeal endorsed with blueberry aromas creates a wonderfully vivid cacophony that alight my olfactory receptors, bringing a smile to my face – an ear-to-ear grin can be enhanced by such amiable zest.

Upon first sip, the Oatmeal and Blueberry impressions were obvious.  The brush of chocolate enlightened my mouth and a wonderful ballet of flavors ensued as I let them breakdown in my mouth with very little nip.  Blueberry Stout is incredibly smooth as a slight quaff travels to the breadbasket unabated and with influential charm.

With a small head uncharacteristic of a stout, Blueberry Stout can appear light for its breed; however, this is minimal in the long run.  The peppy and bright qualities are enhanced by chocolate notes, bringing forth a new appreciation of the primary blueberry flavors.

On a side note, blueberries contain one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits, vegetables, spices and seasonings.  However, Blueberry Oatmeal Stout should not be considered a ‘healthy beverage’.  Classifying it as such would be comparable to drinking a diet soda and eating a candy bar – they’ll cancel each other out. (smirk)

Blueberry Stout boxes
Stacks of Blueberry Oatmeal Stout | photo: Buffalo Bill’s Brewery facebook page

Beer Advocate rates Blueberry Oatmeal Stout as a 75 or ‘ok’.  Reviews on Untappd.com were generally favorable with a few in disagreement.  For these reviewers, I am unable to determine their unfavorable notes, perhaps their brothers also ate Blueberry Pop-Tarts for breakfast.

For this reviewer, I was in favor of the complex and pleasing essences brought to my attention.  Blueberry flavoring brings an individual characteristic to this stout, a component I have previously not experienced in a beer.  I was rather pleased to have reveled in this beverage.

Unfortunately, I have only found Blueberry Oatmeal Stout by chance at Jiffy Market, in southeast Eugene.  I have not seen Blueberry Oatmeal Stout on other stores in the immediate area, so I shall forward the brewers information, then others can search for this groovy, taste gleaming beer.

Buffalo Bill’s Brewery

Hopped Up Eugene


Unique Challenge Puts Beer Book in National Spotlight:

“Most fun book ever!”

Brewtal Truth cover2

While most of us are resolving to eat and drink less in the new year, two Washington, DC men are doing things a little differently. They’ve set a goal to sample – and tweet about – each of the more than 100 beers featured in award-winning Eugene-raised writer Adem Tepedelen’s recently released and highly acclaimed Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers.

Will Cook (@PCBCBrewMetal) – who calls Tepedelen’s guide “the most fun book ever” – is a brewer at the Port City Brewing Company in Washington, DC. John X (@whitecluster69) is a DC-based DJ and craft beer lover.

Their tasting project has created a unique and entertaining Twitter conversation that has drawn in craft-beer lovers from across the continent. On December 7, for example, they took part in a discussion about a particularly spicy beer featured in the book:

@PCBCBrewMetal – Just drank hottest beer ever! Ghost Face Killah by @TwistedPine from @BrewtalTruth Guide to Extreme Beers! pic.twitter.com/d2exVmq80A

‏@dan_tilford – Tried this the other day! literally felt like my mouth and throat were exploding! poured half out!

‏@PCBCBrewMetal – Quitter! Ha ha. I loved it!

Brewtal Truth Ninkasi page
Ninkasi’s Sleigh’R is featured in the Brewtal Truth

“It’s pretty satisfying to have people not only liking the book, but really engaging with it,” says Tepedelen. “And, of course, the publicity it’s generating is pretty great, too.” Will Cook and John X have already sampled more than 40 of Tepedelen’s featured beers – and have been joined in their quest by numerous other beer lovers.

Tepedelen’s book is also receiving widespread acclaim from critics. Vancouver’s Province newspaper calls it “a wildly entertaining read.” Invisible Oranges says it has “definite classic potential.” And the Minneapolis Star Tribune says “Tepedelen is just the writer to introduce drinkers to severe suds.”

Tepedelen is a winner of the prestigious Michael Jackson Beer Journalism award, which celebrates excellence in reporting on American craft beer. He is also co-author of Island Wineries of British Columbia, named best wine book in Canada (and third best in the world) by the 2011 Gourmand Awards. Tepedelen is the Divine Drinks columnist for YAM Magazine, the Brewtal Truth beer columnist for Decibel Magazine and a regular contributor to other publications locally and across North America, including Fine Cooking, Imbibe and Northwest Palate. Also a highly respected music writer, he was editor of Seattle’s The Rocket during the height of the grunge movement and has since written for dozens of other magazines and websites including Mojo, Rolling Stone, Revolver and Warp.


Eugene Daily News has a brand new copy of Tepedelen’s book, “The Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers: An All-Excess Pass to Brewing’s Outer Limits” up for grabs.  Simply comment on this week’s Hopped Up Eugene either here or on our Facebook page and your name will be put into a drawing to win the book!

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